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Mark C.

Member Since 09 Jan 2012
Offline Last Active Today, 11:48 AM

#112020 My Favorite Wax Is Going Away-At Least From Laguna Clay Co.

Posted by Mark C. on Today, 10:19 AM

OH NO, is this the Laguna wax resist I use? I've tried so many other wax resists and this is the best. :(

You could e-mail ceramicartspace-the folks your are ordering this from  thru amazon and ask them exactly what wax this is?

#111983 Narrowed It Down To A Couple Wheels?

Posted by Mark C. on Yesterday, 09:23 PM

I'm a Brent Fan -get the 14 inch head. I own 5 of them.

Model B or C is all you will need.Get the larger wheel head

#111871 Qotw: Epic Failures Anybody?

Posted by Mark C. on 23 August 2016 - 08:42 PM

Had a manual electric in the 70's on porch of house get stuck in the on position and I noticed it late that night glowing at the joints. I cooked the elements-thankfully it was a bisque so I all I had to do was throw it all away.


More glaze batches gone wrong in the 5 gallon size than I care to admit or can recall.


Let a friend put in a 100 starfish shaped forms in a glaze fire (he was using them for annealing glass between forms in his glass oven) He said the clay was high fire. It was not . It was cone 6 so the piles of forms only slumped and ruined only some of my stuff.


I let a friend light my kiln as I was at the movies he blew the load over messing with the pilot and then turned it off- thank god.

I never let anyone since light it. That was in the 70's


Blown up so many pots in the earlier days pushing the limits I now know what I can do without harm.

Used the wrong fiber on a roof and had to replace it

poured a 1/2 bucket (5 gallon)of glaze into my shoes while not paying attention

Kept the low fire clay outside studio thinking it could never sneak into a high fire load-wrong again it did and it was a mess-had fun with a grinder and lost some work as well.

Threw in a bunch of green waste into a going glaze fire in 1979  to cone 10 and ruined the glaze load (kiln is not a trash burner)

Watched a friend put experimental things like tin foil in his high fire bowls in my fire and all his bowls where ruined(heavy hard learning curve)

Just remember I have a art degree and studied ceramics full time for 5 years and still made these errors. Ceramics it makes you humble.

I'm here today on this forum in no small part so others do not have to learn these lessons in the school of hard knocks.


Whats amazing is still folks are trying to use meat grinders as pug mills and galvanized wire instead of High temp wire  and food kitchen items for glazes expecting good results. Its the horse to water saying for sure.Oh well the school of hard knocks always teaches best.

I have an advanced degree from that school after my BA in art was done.

#111766 Press Molded Tiles/trivets

Posted by Mark C. on 21 August 2016 - 03:47 PM

I do not think it matters to any pottery customers. Ceramics is not the same as other art fields like print making.

The only exception if you are selling  only one offs. Say ceramic sculptures.

Weather you make 250 or 25,000 it should not matter to anyone really.

Since every one will be a bit different glaze wise they all are different.

Limited runs I feel are for folks in other mediums .

#111705 Reduction Fire ^5/^6 Gas Length Of Time

Posted by Mark C. on 20 August 2016 - 10:48 AM

There is no magic key with rutile

its always a trade off. since I fire lots of glazes in every load .the damper is in some (lower 50s on the oxygen meter) and leave it there for the climb. The kiln will want to lighten up as it climbs I will push in the damper once or twice again to keep the meter in the upper 40's or lower 50's. I leave it alone until cone 11 is 1/2 down. Then turn off and plug the ports.

slow 2 day cool is best.Since my walls have lots of mass the cool down is slow. This helps the glazes.

In a 35 cubic foot load I may or may not have some pitting. Usually its in upper shelve on inside bowls or on mug lips.1/2 of these can be retires and saved the rest are trash.

No magic key

#111644 Ceramic Homemade Buttons-Everything You May Or May Not Want To Know

Posted by Mark C. on 18 August 2016 - 08:58 PM

I have made 100’s of these over my ceramic life.

I have improved them ever time I can.

For me since I fire to cone 11 so my buttons need to be able to withstand extreme temps.

If you are doing raku or low fire or lower temps than 2400 in a reduction atmosphere you can use other clays and lesser (thinner) wires


For me stoneware clays will bloat sooner than white porcelain bodies in reduction. Not that bloating is a killjoy but it will shorten the life, as they will fall apart sooner.B mix bloats sooner than say porcelain.

I choose porcelains that are not going to glassify soon that is they are to tight i have found-I avoid say translucent ones such as southern ice or frost.

I have learned to use ceramic fiber as gasket material to keep them tighter so the heat does not get behind button and cause the wire to fail which it will if its exposed to the heat and reduction sooner.

I have taken some photos of buttons in service that are in my car kiln and have many many hundreds of cone 11 fires on them-they show signs of bloating but have yet to fail

I have used them in brick kilns, fiber kilns, expansion wire wall kilns.

I used a clay box I was testing paint spraying on for a photo backdrop today for the button photo


A is a commercial button-I have used them -they failed to soon for me- Mullite

B One of my new ready to go wired buttons-porcelain

B one old used homemade button-porcelain

C homemade button for my salt kiln with stem-these work well in soda and salt(yes fiber can work in some areas in these environments )_I have used many long stemmed buttons in salt kiln

D old style homemade porcelain –a few hundred fires on it

E fiber gasket-You can delaminate your fiber into these  ¾ inch layers and trim with scissors to a round button shape-these are a key step to long lasting wires

F-bloated button with failed wire


Wire photo is thick #15 –thru #18 gauge wire I keep on hand

Use thinner wire for lesser temps. I use the thicker wire Nicrome or kanathnal

I have learned that thicker wire works better-its harder to work with but as you can see in my termination photo its just a matter of putting a washer on and rolling a pigtail.

One last note-my main use is in a 10-11 inch wall starting on the hot face there is a 1 or 2 inch layer of 2600 fiber then a 4.5 layer of K26 soft brick then a layer of 4. 5 inch hard brick.Most will use buttons in a trash can kiln or a expanded metal kiln-whatever you choose use the gaskets and pigtails and washers no matter what wall thickness.

The hard brick has a 1/8 deep groove cut into it with a brick saw so wire lays in the slot-Wire is put thru a washer then wire is pulled tight to compress gasket and pigtail is made with needle nosed pliers. You can see a unused slot to the right of metal washer. 

These buttons can last for decades if you spend the time making them well-a slab roller and cookie cutter die is fastest(I have a tin can with bottom cut off as well as top). I high fire them and keep them in stock –some pre wired for easy replacement along with a box of button gaskets

Attached Files

#111543 That Time Of Year Again

Posted by Mark C. on 17 August 2016 - 03:58 PM

Back from big summer art show.

Inventory is low again and its sunny -time to make some pots and get them dry NOW in sun

This was yesterdays pots

today looks about the same.

Throw dry trim every day while the drying is great.

Fall shows just around the corner.


Attached Files

#111542 Qotw: Are You Showing Us The Best Piece You Made When Starting With Pottery?

Posted by Mark C. on 17 August 2016 - 03:53 PM

This was made in my second year of pottery while in High school.

I could not find my 1st mug but I know its still around as well as my 3rd grade pot.

This jug is dated 2/8/1971 and is low fire. XXX brew  carved into as relief on side.

Its a bit heavy but the handle is not broken and its made the test of time on bathroom tile floor all these years.I was 18 when I made this Jug. I'm still throwing pots today literally today.

I still make a jug every now and then.

Attached Files

#111439 Qotw: Are There More Male Or Female "well Known" Potters?

Posted by Mark C. on 16 August 2016 - 01:00 AM

In the field of academia the trends on gender may be changing

But on the art show circuit of those making a living selling pots its been a male dominated area and is just starting to shift some ,with more women entering the field the past decade.

I saw some new faces in ceramics at my large art show last week and they where mostly women.

more and more us old timers are fading out and no new blood is entering the field to replace us but seeing a few newbies in clay is a great thing.


There is a tend afoot that kids of today do not hike or backpack or scuba dive as much as other past generations-the internet connection is slow or non existent out there.

REI is starting a campaign to get younger folks back outdoors and I'm not talking about Pokiman to get them out.

I spoke to a dive shop owner on Widbey Island who said kids are just not in the classes anymore

#111390 Handles Torquing

Posted by Mark C. on 14 August 2016 - 08:52 PM

Iin the second photo the handle is attached just off center line to the right looking down. Thats what the top attachment looks like to me. My 1st guess is that it starting off center. The attachment angle could be off off as well-that is the cut has an slight angle and even if the handle is pushed straight when wet it may return to original spot.

These English style teapots are a classic form.

I'm right handed and tend to favor this side with more pressure and have to think about this when doing attachments.

#111323 Supplies To Buy When Buying A First Wheel?

Posted by Mark C. on 13 August 2016 - 01:16 AM

As Bruce mentions less may be more.

I used to use lots of tools and I deffently own more than my share of them but as progressed I use only a few items which are


water in a container

a wooden stick with a angle to a dull point on it

a sponge

a spinning potters wheel



sometimes I will use a chamois but often its just a sponge now

#111312 Liability Of Making Lamps?

Posted by Mark C. on 12 August 2016 - 07:26 PM

When you start with a Lawyer you will end with one or at least a bigger bill.

I would use the highest quality parts and not worry about it after I had the insurance . I have potter friends who have sold working lamps for 4 plus decades .

As far as suing it can happen over a napkin.

  • Mug likes this

#111257 Liability Of Making Lamps?

Posted by Mark C. on 12 August 2016 - 12:31 AM

Get business liability insurance

​I did this about 25 years ago and suggest it strongly.

Then do not worry about -As neil said you will not get UL approved. Just use top quality parts and pay attention to detail putting them together. Someone can choke on a sponge holder but that has not stopped me selling 10,000 of them (lowball figure )


A note on UL label from consumer reports-

2,000 to 8,000 per product plus audit fee of $4,000 to $7,000

#111224 Qotw: Are There More Male Or Female "well Known" Potters?

Posted by Mark C. on 10 August 2016 - 10:55 PM

I will add my own learning was 99% from men potters in late 60's 70's and 80's. Pati Warishima did help wreak havoc on my house at a clay party in the 70's but was  not an influence much clay wise. She was a party animal for sure.Some of my ceramic cohorts went to Washington under her.Like my roommate at the time.

#111222 Going Gas, Need Some Direction

Posted by Mark C. on 10 August 2016 - 10:36 PM

i would call it a hobby and build a pad outside and shed the kiln. It will be easier for you on inspection on gas lines.

The above poster should give you enough info.

do not buy a trash can gas kiln (looks like an electric) for all the reasons John said

Get a real downdraft gas kiln with an arch.

Learning to use it will take some time but the results will be worth it.