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Member Since 07 Dec 2011
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 12:47 PM

#76284 Living The Dream

Posted by TJR on 27 February 2015 - 09:28 AM


this would have been a great question of the week. I am inching into the half century mark of working in clay. I began raku firing in the 60s. I have always been draw to the firing aspect in clay as well as searching for colors and surfaces that express an idea no matter how abstract.  I have taught for most of my career in clay. I have been fortunate to have had 2 Fulbright awards and traveled and met potters from many other countries. We all share that clay bug! I am satisfied with what I have contributed to my students. I still hear from many of them. I am still intrigued and seduced by clay. I have the best studio I have ever had and good kilns. 

I am still exploring texture and firing processes. Obvara is one of those seductive elements that keep me investigating possibilities.


As my friend Marge Levy pronounced at the NCECA conference, "Keep n, Keeping' on" and we all danced to it. -a Happy Potters Dance!



Made me smile. One of my Gr.12 students came to me yesterday and told me that she is planning on going to art school. What a great feeling for me! My little darlings are carrying on the torch.


#76279 What Causes Glaze/clay 'tide Mark'?

Posted by TJR on 27 February 2015 - 09:16 AM

I am looking at Barium Carb as the culprit. You can switch your barium to strontium carb by multiplying the barium by 0.75. You will have less stront. in the glaze than barium.


#76253 Living The Dream

Posted by TJR on 26 February 2015 - 11:12 PM

I have always been amazed at the the properties of clays and ceramic materials. I make my own glazes. I am always searching for the elusive colour or effect. I am always amazed that handles stick and pots retain their shape.I always am amazed that you can reconstitute your scraps and bring back workable clay. I have been doing it now for 40 years. I have the dream studio with heat in the floor and my own glaze lab. I can now make and sell anything I want.What is your dream? What do you want to get out of Ceramics? What is your ambition? What do you strive to attain?


#76168 Mouse Stains In Ceramic Molds

Posted by TJR on 25 February 2015 - 02:21 PM

Beware of Hanta virus from mouse droppings. Where a dust mask, use rubber gloves, and wash with bleach.


If you find a pair of yellow shorts[tiny], return them to;

Care of M. Mouse, Anaheim, California.


#75922 Nceca 2015 Providence, Ri?

Posted by TJR on 22 February 2015 - 11:05 AM

I will be going. Haven't been in 17 years, so I am pretty excited. I know Pres and Marcia are going as well. John Baymore is presenting and I will be going to his session as I am a neophyte when it comes to Japanese tea bowls.

I am hoping to see some of my homies from grad school. I want to attend Linda Christian's throwing demo. I will check out some commercial displays and the galleries. Should be a great time.


#75647 Pots Away!

Posted by TJR on 18 February 2015 - 08:47 AM

Custom orders give me hemerrhoids, but sadly, at this point, they are my lifeline. I'm too broke to advertise much, and work very slowly. I have so many ideas floating around in my guinea head, but custom orders always suffocate them...it's miserable. I hope someday soon that I can just live off my normal pieces!! ;.;

I am hoping to one day just live off love, but it doesn't seem to be working. My wife expects me to have a job.


#75629 Pots Away!

Posted by TJR on 17 February 2015 - 06:21 PM


O.K. I didn't mention this one. I also had an order for a casserole dish hanging over my head from the summer. Finally made four of them. Three of them cracked in the bisque. Fourth one made it out of the kiln alright. I am now done with special orders.

Learned my lesson.


#75487 How Do You Price Your Stuff?

Posted by TJR on 15 February 2015 - 11:37 AM

It depends on what you want to get out of it. If you are creating sculpture that takes a long time, your prices would be higher than if you were selling mugs.

If you price your work too low, you are undercutting your colleagues. Word gets around fast and you will be ostracized.

Check out a number of galleries and set a fair price according to what others are offering for their work.

I was in my city gallery yesterday. I saw some woodfired mugs priced at $40.00 each. They were beautiful, though I would never buy them. My mugs were on the next shelf over, priced at $18.00 each. I resolved to raise my mug price to $20.00.

I want to make lots of mugs and sell lots of mugs, I don't want them sitting around in a gallery. Therefore my prices are on the low end, but not too low.


#75316 Pots Away!

Posted by TJR on 12 February 2015 - 12:11 PM

So, right after Christmas, I get a call asking me to make 60 mugs for a conference.It's a teachers conference starting today. They wanted to give two matching mugs for each speaker.

I have dealt with this man over the years, and he is very reliable with payment.

Here's the problem;  we were all still in holiday mode. I had just gotten back from Cuba. Steve, my firing partner had just gotten back from Arizona.

I did have about the right number of pots bisqued, but no way could we fill a 40 cubic ft. kiln in such a short turn around time.

Three potters jumped on our wheels in an attempt to fill a kiln load in time to get this order out.

I made 12 collanders-5lbs each with saucers, another run of mugs, medium bowls.We got another potter that we show with to bring pots. We got a student from the pottery co-op.We got that baby loaded.

Then one burner would not light. Not ever. Call the plumber. We lost a day there.

So he picked up the pots Monday evening, hot out of the kiln. He took 65 mugs,a jug, two plates,a big bowl,a Majolica jar I had lying around,two large mugs, and two beakers.

I feel a bit violated, as my studio is now bereft of work. I did not get a chance to look at most of those pieces.

Do you have a pottery sale horror story? This one actually turned out well. Let's hear yours.



#75295 Potash And Soda Feldspars - Are They Interchangable?

Posted by TJR on 12 February 2015 - 09:12 AM

No they are not interchangeable. Custer is a potash spar for high temperature work at cone 9/10.

A soda feldspar like Nephelyn Syenite, if substituted directly for Custer will bring the glaze temperature down to Cone 6.


If that is what you want, then test,test,test.

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#75243 Art Crit Zingers

Posted by TJR on 11 February 2015 - 04:12 PM

The Cosmetology teacher across the hall from the art room said to me once; "Why don't you ever wear pastel coloured shirts?"

I replied; "Why would I wear pastels when I can wear pure colour?"Add expletive if you wish, to taste. :huh:


#75094 Quick Question: Progressing From Test Glaze Batches To Production Batches

Posted by TJR on 10 February 2015 - 08:39 AM

I like base 10.

I mix up one paper coffee cup of test at 100grams. Then you can easily see what percentage of oxides, opacifiers, bentonite etc to add.

From 100 grams it's an easy jump to 1000 gr., which is an icecream pail. all you do is add zeros to all your ingredients.

Then, easy move to 10,000 grams which is a 5 gallon bucket.[add more zeroes]

Your test tiles should have a vertical aspect to them so that you can see if the glaze runs. I have all these beautiful flat glaze tests, but then you put them on a mug that has a crack in the bottom, and they run TWO INCHES down the side.

Ain't ceramics fun?


#74913 Very Pale Cream Glaze Tests

Posted by TJR on 05 February 2015 - 02:27 PM

I used 2% rutile in a Mamo Matt and got a nice creamy white.

Mang. Dioxide is too dark.

Tin is an opacifier but very expensive. You would be better using 10% zircopax gto make a white.

You could also increase the dolomite in your glaze. You are only at 5%. Try 10%, then 15%.

Red Iron Oxide I wouldn't use either.


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#74806 What Is The Best Workshop Experience,incident Or Moment You Ever Had?

Posted by TJR on 04 February 2015 - 02:36 PM

Years ago, Bill Daly came up to Canada to do a workshop. The usual workshop involved sitting around watching somebody throw.

In Bill's workshop, we were all up making these huge architectural slab pieces, like his work.

I remember thinking that his drawings were works of art in themselves, and I really liked his sculptures.

I had graduated a few years before and was a working artist.

I made a really great sculpture . Big. We got the leather hard piece into the truck and muscled it up a flight of stairs to our studio.When we got it home, I realized that it would not fit in the electric .Too big.

The great thing about the workshop was that Bill came over to me and discretely said; "Man, you can really move clay."

He didn't mean moving it up the stairs.


#74715 Making Clay

Posted by TJR on 02 February 2015 - 07:46 PM

Here's my Haiku;


I mix clay myself

A chemical, where is it?

The clay will not work.