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Member Since 14 Feb 2014
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 07:32 PM

#125461 Quick Question: Sea Shells - Cone 6 - Which Type?

Posted by alabama on 17 April 2017 - 09:23 PM

Shells are made from layers with a type of adhesive or bonding agent between the layers. The adhesive burns out above 451 degrees and the layers change to calcium hydroxide over 951 degrees. Calcium hydroxide is a powder that absorbs moisture from humidity, expands, and if there is enough crushed shells in the clay... The vessel will disintegrate with in a year! I know this is true about mussel shell... And assume sea shells are the same/similar!
But then it doesn't hurt to experiment. :)

#124718 Reduce Drip Marks

Posted by alabama on 02 April 2017 - 09:22 PM

We might need a photo or two... I add dripmarks to many of my vessels... I like the way they look! I accept every mistake and flaw on my stuff now a days... But there was a time when I'd freak out over drips, finger prints, runs, bare spots, etc. But I no longer do... What I tell the students who bump and cause fresh glaze to flake off is there's a 50/50 chance that mark will improve the surface. It's hard to convince them!! I'm not sure what would set me off...but rest assure it's not anything near a drip!

#124502 I'm Trying To Figure Out How To Make A Pipe?

Posted by alabama on 30 March 2017 - 02:25 AM

I make pipes by rolling out a 6 inch piece of clay on the table. Take a long stick or artist paint brush handle and stick it thru the 6" stem by wetting the end of handle, stopping 1/2 inch from end, leave the handle in the clay and take a needle tool and probe the clay til you find the end, then mark it by wallering the marked area out. Then make a bowl in hour hand or rolling out a piece of clay on the table then attach the bowl to the stem...with the bowl attached, remove the handle... allow it to become leather hard, than carve it when it becomes leather hard with a pen knife to get the shape you want. All my pipes have two openings on each end. A pipe isn't something you need to over think!

#123907 Improving Clay Plasticity

Posted by alabama on 17 March 2017 - 03:27 AM

I was told to improve plasticity to pour the water of boiled potatoes or rice into the clay. That water by itself doesn't work as well. I never tried it though since if I didn't like the characteristics of one clay I'd find another clay vein at another river bank or add regular store brought clay to the bucket of local clay. I did find one dark blue clay that would only shallow bowls, The Gray clay below it would make anything so I mixed the two together then only dug the lower clay. And I've had to mix two different store bought clays together to improve one of them!

#123083 Glazing Lidded Pots

Posted by alabama on 01 March 2017 - 09:23 PM

I prefer lids that over hang the vessel for at least a couple of reasons. I once saw a student make a 9 inch casserole where the lid fit nicely in the galley. She loved the rutile glaze....the glaze ran off the lid and filled the galley.. Take your pick, as it turned out to be either a 5 pound paperweight or a ceramic football with an attached handle.

The other reason is if the lid sits down into the galley, any dirt or dust that settles on the lid will fall into the jar when the lid is removed.

Good luck

#120322 Challenging Undertaking - Outdoor Pottery Workshop, No Power. Advice?

Posted by alabama on 09 January 2017 - 11:28 PM

Traditional Pottery of Papau New Guinea by Margaret Tucker is a good book to read to see how routine it can be.

#120226 Claybody Blues...

Posted by alabama on 08 January 2017 - 11:03 PM

I'm thinking vinegar dissolves lime...if so your problem is solved.
If not, you'll have to find another source of natural clay.

Pour a bottle of vinegar in a bucket of clay and see if it fizzes...if it does, then it's working... The way you duplicate "hole tempered" pottery is to make and fire shell tempered pots, then soak them in vinegar and the shell dissolves. Early 20th century amateur archaeologists found pottery that the ground had leached out the shell, and it was classified as hole tempered. :)

Good luck...

#117128 Why Pine Needles In Copper Alcohol Reduction

Posted by alabama on 25 November 2016 - 09:05 AM

A couple years ago I met a colonial potter who also make smoking pipes from a gray earthenware clay. She fires them in her camp fire. On one visit she was fixing to fire some pipes and had a couple of green branches of pine needles. I offered to get some drier needles but she told me that green needles give her pipes the purple and reds she likes, (and customers too)!! How can you argue with success? The purples I saw on her pipes was identical to the neck of the vase.

Try your raku without the alcohol, but with different evergreen leaves to if the effects change..


#116941 What Clay Would You Recommend?

Posted by alabama on 22 November 2016 - 09:16 PM

Heavy grogged earthenware should do it. One of mine survived a house fire. My friends house burned down around the pot!

#115538 What Surface Do You Wedge On?

Posted by alabama on 01 November 2016 - 11:29 PM

I usually drop by the thrift shop, buy a pillow case for 50 cents, lay it on a piece of used plywood and trace around it with a black sharpie, cut it out, then drop the plywood into the pillow case...and staple one end.

PS, I don't care if it is some kind of Egyptian cotton with 1025 thread count, and the clay doesn't care either. :)


#115030 Qotw: Is It "hands Off!" In Your Studio?

Posted by alabama on 21 October 2016 - 11:52 PM

You would think with being a perfectionist with some obsessive compulsive disorder, that the thought of my stuff being marred would affect me. But when students in the past rubbed off the glaze of a freshly dipped cup...it was they who freaked out about the "damage" and it was me who had to show them I was willing to scrape the other side to balance it out, so they'd calm down!!! I tell them, that at one time it mattered but currently I really don't care. I tell them once its fired, there's a 50/50 chance that the flaw will improve the look.

Speaking of hands off!!! When I started off in archaeology field school, one of my instructors was telling us the day he almost got divorced. It seems he came home with a good deal of pottery sherds. Sherds he'd have to soak, clean, and pat dry. While standing in the kitchen thinking about the task at hand, he noticed the dish washer...it was empty and the wife wasn't home! So he loaded it up with freshly dug Woodland era sherds. The plan was have the jets of water gently clean off the dirt, which would exit and go away...! But the screen clogged up and most of the sand, dirt, and root fibers filled up the bottom of the dish washer. And then the wife came home! He said that was the moment he found out that the dish washer HE had bought actually belonged to his wife! :)

#114783 Qotw: Ceramics In Action Pictures Anybody?

Posted by alabama on 16 October 2016 - 08:57 PM

Attached File  IMG_20161015_130617.jpg   115.06KB   2 downloads

Attempting to attach photos to à post!

Two pictures are from the Ft. Toulouse Indian village and one at the bread oven showing a French butter bell and fresh butter made from but not pictured ceramic churn..

AlabamaAttached File  IMG_20161015_124258.jpg   81.52KB   1 downloadsAttached File  IMG_20161015_124105.jpg   127KB   1 downloads

#114104 Explosion In The Kiln And Firing In Winter

Posted by alabama on 01 October 2016 - 08:50 AM

Concerning the spalling a.k.a explosions any moisture becomes steam at 212 degrees at sea level. Moisture/water expand 17 times its volumn when turning to steam. I've seen the bottom of a vessel blow out leaving the rest intact...so there are a couple of things I do to prevent that.

1. I might trim more than usual, including a foot.
2. When the kiln temperature rises to around 210 degrees, I sometimes shut it off for an hour..then restart.
3. Sprinkle crushed bisque under neath the pot in question allowing moisture to escape. It takes trapped moisture longer to evaporate when the bottom of the vessel is sealed against the floor of the kiln.

Sometimes I place a piece of glass near the top spy port to see if it fogs up from steam.

I might apply one of these once or twice a year, whenever I think there's a chance of an impending disaster looming over a vessel in the kiln.

See ya,

#111840 Slip Trailing

Posted by alabama on 23 August 2016 - 03:11 AM

There are a couple of articles in the book, "Ceramics in America, 2001".

1. Dots, Dashes, and Squiggles: Early English Slipware Technology by
Michelle Erickson and Robert Hunter

2. Slip Decoration in the age of Industrialization by
Donald Carpentier and Jonathan Rickard

Both articles have bibliographies.

See if you can find a copy thru an inner library loan... Or just buy it.

I have several volumes of the Ceramics in America series. Some I haven't had time to open.

See ya,

#111781 Red Stoneware Clay For An Aged Look?

Posted by alabama on 21 August 2016 - 09:30 PM

If I were to make the vessel in your picture, I'd use red stoneware with extra grog, or mix red stoneware with High waters Craggy Crunch 50/50. I'd coil it the the desired height and roll the rim over...then bisque. After bisque, I'd glaze the interior, then cover the exterior with red iron oxide...or black iron oxide for the darker look. Then with a wet sponge start wiping the oxide off, rinse the sponge and wipe again, leaving uneven light to dark areas. At cone 10 some of the darker areas of oxides will burn off slightly.
Then high fire, and your vessel should look just like the one pictured!! :)

The vessel will take a couple or three hours... So pace yourself!

To avoid coiling fractures, make the coils in your hands, not on a table! AND
overlap them!

See ya,