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#126890 Help! Newbie Struggling With How Much Water?

Posted by Chilly on 18 May 2017 - 11:57 AM

I know the feeling.


When you watch someone else, it looks like they are working with clay the consistency of thick yogurt.  When you try it, the clay feels like almost set concrete.


Follow the advice above and just keep trying.  It took me about two years (intermittently at evening classes) to get the clay to centre and cone up and down.  It's just a case of getting in the zone, try it with your eyes closed, and pushing the clay with your mind as much as with your body.  It's a whole body workout, not your fingers, not your hands, not your arms, not your shoulders, not your back or your stomach, but all of them working together.


Experts make everything look easy, the rest of us have to practice, practice and then practice some more.

#126237 Teaching Ceramics to Adults

Posted by Chilly on 05 May 2017 - 08:38 PM


Any help would be appreciated.  We can't afford to buy greenware....we are totally supported by donations, so we really need to have someone teach us this necessary skill


Thank you in advance for your help


Sharon Wertz, ACBVI, Phoenix.


Hi Sharon, welcome to CAD forums, and good on you for volunteering.


I'm too far to away come and help, but slip-casting (pouring) is (to me) the easiest job in the studio.


Like everything though, you will need to test, test, test and make good notes.


  • Start with a two-piece mould.  Apply mould straps so mould cannot openup.
  • Using a soft brush, make sure there is nothing inside, no dust, old clay, spiders nests........
  • Stir your bucket of slip thoroughly for several minutes.  If it's been hanging around for a while you might want to sieve it.
  • Using a plastic jug with an open-bottomed handle scoop up some slip.
  • Pour the slip into the mould until it is full to the very top.
  • Hang the jug on the rim of the bucket, so it drips back into the bucket.
  • Set a minute-timer for 10 minutes.  I use 10 for earthenware, 20 for stoneware slip, but this differs depending on heat and humidity.
  • Meanwhile, find a pair of flat sticks or an old fridge shelf and place over top of bucket, to hold upturned mould.
  • When timer goes off, use a plastic tool to cut a small v-shape (10mm by 10mm max) from the setting slip in the pour hole so you can see the thickness of the cast.
  • Re-set timer for more if needed.
  • Pour slip from mould back into bucket.
  • Leave mould upturned on sticks until slip stops running out.
  • Leave upside down, or right way up for several hours (again this depends on humidity), until you can see the clay start to shrink away from the mould.
  • Use thin end of plastic tool (lucy tool - http://www.cromartie...85_800x479.jp)  to remove clay from the pour hole.  This action is a bit like scraping round a bowl with a spatula to remove all the cake mix.
  • Undo mould straps. Place mould on side with seam horizontal.  
  • Use thick end of plastic (lucy) tool to gently prise the two halves of mould apart, then lift top half of mould away from bottom half.
  • Allow to dry a bit more, then carefully remove "pot" from mould.
  • Put the mould back together, with mould straps and leave in a dry, airy place for <>24 hours before re-using (depending on, yes, you've guessed, the humidity.
  • Place pot on thick piece of foam and fettle (clean up the seams etc) when leatherhard.

Wash, rinse, spin, repeat


The really difficult bits are deciding how long to leave the slip in the mould, and knowing when to open the mould, and the physical size and weight of some of the moulds.


Not enough/too much time = too thin or too thick castings.  Opening the mould too soon usually results in tearing the pot apart as it is still sticking to parts of the mould.  Leaving too long for a simple vase, say, might not be a problem, but for a complex figurine, the shrinkage can pull the pot apart.


You can allow any boo-boos to dry completely and then throw them back in the slip bucket, or start a new bucket and add water.


You can add (I recall) up to one third recycled, dry slip to a bucket of new slip without too much problem.  More than that and you need to read this article: http://www.ceramicin...ul-slip-castingand then this one: https://static1.squa... Procedures.pdf.  It's a bit heavy going, but doable.



Good luck   :)  

#125485 Can't Throw, Can Extrude

Posted by Chilly on 18 April 2017 - 09:37 AM

Have you considered a hydraulic bottle jack?  They sell for $15US-$20US





What, and make the other half think he's not needed?  Maybe when he's no longer capable, but by then I probably won't be either!

  • Min likes this

#125395 Can't Throw, Can Extrude

Posted by Chilly on 15 April 2017 - 08:09 PM

Going to Potter's camp in August.  


Need to take 20-30 pots.  What, how many, that's 2 years work slab-building.


Dad, can you make me some hollow dies for my extruder please?  For my birthday?  Please?


Thank you to other half for the first (prototype/test) and to Dad who is now making some more.






gallery_59202_704_168302.jpgPicture shows three curvy extrusions stuck together and two single pots.  They were quite wet at this point, with no bottoms.  Now cleaned up and slowly drying under plastic

#125385 Mixing A Slip From Clay From Friend's Property

Posted by Chilly on 14 April 2017 - 12:42 PM

Or just a fellow insomniac?

#125277 Is This Strange?

Posted by Chilly on 12 April 2017 - 02:03 PM

It's, possibly, just mould from the damp newspaper.

#125166 2Nd Newbie Question - Resist Ideas For Holes In Pendants

Posted by Chilly on 10 April 2017 - 06:41 AM

With any tool for cleaning out the hole, if you can set the tool in some kind of holder, then you can pick up a bead, *apply bead to tool, put down bead, pick up next bead** (repeat from * to **) much faster than having to pick up bead and find hole while holding tool in other hand.

#124778 Need Pictures Of Kiln With Pottery Fired Too Hot In It

Posted by Chilly on 04 April 2017 - 05:27 AM

A $10 shelf fee to fire these pieces just doesn't offset the danger to our equipment.

I called around and nobody around here will fire work unless it's made on their premises. I called some places in other states, most won't do it either but a couple do with some kind of weird cubic inch formula that sounded like more trouble than it's worth.



The (refundable if everything is OK) deposit has to be high enough to replace the shelf, and all other pots if there is a failure.  That should be enough to put people off.  It's a ruse I use when asked to make something for a persistent asker.  Make the price out of their reach and they go away.

#124592 Pottery Knowledge Quiz Of The Week (Pkqw): Week 1 And Introduction/answers In...

Posted by Chilly on 31 March 2017 - 10:45 AM

And yes, I like this idea of a QuiOTW

#124432 Qotw: Pottery Attributes In The Studio

Posted by Chilly on 29 March 2017 - 02:34 AM


 If I dislike a texture I will actually "wipe" the unpleasant feeling off my hand. 


Oh yes, me too.  Sitting here cringing with the thought of some yukky textures.

#123969 Can You Make A Plaster Mold Of Glass?

Posted by Chilly on 18 March 2017 - 02:41 AM



Taken from Lark Ceramic's "The Essential Guide to Mold Making & Slip Casting".

#123681 Two Piece Molds

Posted by Chilly on 13 March 2017 - 01:35 PM

Did you see the video of the Horny Toad Mold?  It came up on the right-hand side.   https://www.youtube....h?v=C-iVrtfWDHQ


A good way of making a two part model.

#123573 Web Site Building And Marketing

Posted by Chilly on 11 March 2017 - 03:22 AM


Next question...any important tips about setting up a manual (Excel--not a purchased program) inventory tracker?


What I have come up with is a sequence across the sheet that captures: Item Number; Type Code (i.e. CA for catchall; ICH for incense cone holder etc.); Size (specific measure ments or S-M-L for ranges, such as under 4" is Small); Body; Glaze dominant; Treatment (incised/stamped/embellished); Sold.


I have separate sheets for financials and firing notes. Is this sufficient?I don't have a lot of quantity nor many duplicated items. 


Make sure you make full use of features like freeze so your headings stay in place when scrolling, and filters if you want to only see certain items.  Double-check after any "sort" to ensure all rows stayed together.  Angle headings to keep column widths as narrow as the content, to see as many columns in one screen width.

#123126 Web Site Building And Marketing

Posted by Chilly on 02 March 2017 - 01:33 PM


(1) what are a few UNCOMMON (not likely to be readily known from the standard instructions/tips that are out there) things you wish you had known before building your own web site ;


(2) what are a few things you did or learned that really HELPED you when building your site, and;




(1)  Ask everyone you know, what words they would use if searching for your product, then use those words on your website.  I'm a Cycling Instructor, and never use the word "kid", so it wasn't on my webpages.  


When I asked the question, lots replied with that word, so I added it to the pages, and every other similar word, slang or otherwise that I could think of.  


Now my site comes out quite high on Google.  If you ignore all the motorbike courses, that is.



(2)  I got a 30 day trial copy of Dreamweaver and used that to build my site. I maintain the site by opening the html files in Notepad and modifying words every month, to keep Google and the spiders (on Mars) on their toes.  


I pay for the website and e-mail addresses.  When I see other businesses using @hotmail I wonder how professional they are.




Keep your site clean and tidy, not too many pictures, make sure it opens quickly - click away time is 3 seconds - and is clear.  Proof-read it late at night when you are tired and have had a bad day/glass of wine.  If it winds you up, it will wind your prospective customers.

#123013 Glazing

Posted by Chilly on 28 February 2017 - 05:36 AM

+1 to everything above, especially the bits about test tiles not being like real pots.


Test pots, tiny mugs, bud vases need to be the next step after test tiles.  Or make test tiles that have both horizontal and vertical surfaces, and texture.  But hey, why not make something useful, in case you get a stunner.