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Mark C.

Member Since 09 Jan 2012
Offline Last Active Today, 12:58 AM

Topics I've Started

Decal Work Lusters And Fuming

27 November 2016 - 07:15 PM

There has beed a few posts on these subjects lately

Here's some of all three from my archives -this porcelain slip work was done in 1974 thru1976

The Chamberlain's is salt fired and fumed-one of a kind

The sailing ship is on a washed out celedon  glaze with cobalt decal-its a one of a few I did in 1976 for a art show-I was an ocean guy way back then as well-Did I mention my 6 month sailing trip on a schooner around the horn?? to settle in California from Nashua New Hampshire?

The old crow is a whiskey flask with gold luster-I made about a dozen of these and sold most of them -I still have 4.


Now many may ask what about the lawsuits from old crow  bottle as i used one of their bottles and after the 30 year litigation I had to sell all my belongings

except for a small electric test kiln which I had in my backpack for a few years getting back on my feet. Once I moved into a dump with power I slowly made more old crow flasks and was able to slowing get back into the ceramic business. The rest is history

speaking of history somewhere in my stuff I have old unused decals from those early 70s years like these. The ships I did for the 4th of July 1976 show as it was our 200th anniversary for you youngsters who recall that date.

The decals and luster where all in the cone 017 range

The fuming was done in a salt kiln at collage- dull red color range on cool down, Back then as it was before digital pyrometers where around.

At this time I was throwing like crazy and in school learning as many techniques as I could get my hands on.Mold making and casting was just one of them.

Gas Vs Electric Firing Costs

24 November 2016 - 01:46 PM

There has been a lot of chatter about electric firing lately and its low cost.

I’m curious as to a true cost analyst

I just got my last month’s gas bill and went to work with my kiln logs

I have stated that I could not do what I do now in gas kilns with electric kilns

Lets see if that is true-


I live in Nor –Cal where electric cost are high I have a TOU meter (time of use) and my last bill is .21 cents per Kilowatt and that’s at 75% off peak hours of use.I fire a bisque now and then off hours at this rate

What are your Kilowatt charges???


My gas bill is 614$ and fired my 35 cubic foot kiln 4 bisque and 4 glazes fires as well as my 12 cubic foot gas kiln I fired 5 glaze fires only so that was a total of 200 cubic feet of glaze /bisque fire pots in total for the $614total

For a cost of $3.07 per cubic foot of finished glaze ware that included bisqueing.

It would be nice for one of you cone 6 electric potters to post your firing cost of bisque and glaze per cubic foot for a comparison on electric to Gas firing costs.

What’s it cost per cubic foot in your electric for bisque and glaze to get a cubic foot of wares out??? Is less than 3.07 or more???

Nerd since you do tile this may not work for you as tile setters take up so much space.

This will be a complex math problem as you will need to keep track of your  electric meter unless yours is a studio meter only like my gas meter is for me.

I would like to know the cost of electric  fired pots per finished cubic foot of pots for you.

In business you need to know your costs so many may already know this figure??


Making A Line Of Work- Start With A Forms List

23 November 2016 - 12:08 AM

As a functional studio potter for over 4 decades I thought I would share my current forms list with you

This list does not cover all pots I currently make like two size square plates and two size dinner plates-thats why there are blank lines in the form. I also make several sizes of different forms not on the list like small rectangle baking dishes for example.

As the list changes over the years and I add a form I try to take one off. The list is currently at 35 lines and I have a few extras-Not so many years ago I did not make sponge holders but had pincushions . I like to hold the line at 30 some forms no more.

Once you have mastered a form and it sells well you start to build your list. These are forms I offer my outlets -not all outlets but some

Keep your list fluid to what works for both parties-wholesale or consignment or retail at shows for yourself.


I have another list for limited forms like say a wholesale mug outlet.I'm currently in a New large Natural Foods store in a small town I always wanted to have a outlet in (think Whole foods like)I started working on this deal with the owner when store was a set of blueprints and just an idea. Now in my 4th month its about 1k a month in mug sales with a 60/40 split turning to whole sale next year for mugs and sponge holder only.I go there every two weeks to fill stock orders.

This list is longer than most potters have but I have been at this a long while.When something slows down It off the list.



What Am I Forgetting?

19 November 2016 - 02:56 PM

Well I'm ordering My next years materials

I have a few items for other potters materials on this list like the stoneware white bodies

and some small quantity materials in 10# increments 

It looks like about 23,000 lb order for next year-good thing I'm slowing down-as my back is hurting looking at moving this into my clay shed which has less than a ton left right now.

I think I'm covered  well but you may see something I'm missing??

I'm also doing a (B) order for another potter-small order of a ton of Porcelain

This stuff will come in January


Liscom Hill Pottery Order (A)


Material- Cone 10 wet bagged clay


4 Tons WC 384 Dave’s Porcelain newest stock on floor Pent-#6 ¼

6 Tons WC 383 Dave’s Porcelain-pent #6 Special order

1000#s WC 631 550 Porcelain-newest stock on floor

500#s  WC 428 Babu Porcelain-newest stock on floor

200# WC 841 Danish White plain

500#  WC 842 Danish White W/sand


250# WC 419 wood and sagger clay IF Available ? Small chance



Dry materials (A)


10# Zircopax plus

10# Spanish red Iron oxide

10# Red NR-R-02

10# Alumina Hydrate

20# cobalt Oxide

50# custar feldspar

50# 325 mesh silica

100#s Nepline syenite A-270 (50# bags)

100#s whiting

2 bags Alberta slip (44# bags)


1 FS243 protection tube

1 FS 24012 thermocouple with block

15 -4 inch triangle posts (4 inch long X 1 ½ ) Please do not send square posts

15 -3 inch triangle posts  (3 inch long x 1 ½ ) Please do not send square posts

15 -1 inch triangle posts (1 inch long X 1 ½ ) Please do not send square posts

Ceramic Pincushions-Everything You Need To Know To Make Them

04 November 2016 - 08:43 PM

Ok maybe you never have thought about them but if you did here is how they are made or at least one way to make them.

I used to make these and do not anymore due the fact that the market died. I made hundreds of them each year in the 70’s -80’s and 90’s. My guess is folks stopped sewing about 2001. Maybe it was a few years later. If they develop an App for sewing on the I-phone, maybe sewing will come back someday. Since I’m one the sons of a mother who taught home economics for a lifelong career I know a bit about fabric and sewing.

This is the only pincushion I kept from 3 decades of making them. Most where glazed in solid colors. A few had these cobalt cats and some pigs and a few dogs as well as a few other animals but the lions share where solid glaze colors. All where fired to cone 10 and all porcelain? The glazes where snappy bright.

The holes that hold the string are optional ( they work without this touch) and if you make a tool like the one shown which is laminated plastic it will make the holes space out perfectly-they now sell this tool on the market now from some supplier(MK?). I made mine before that existed in the 70's. It makes the 6-hole space very quick.Just drop in center of circle form and use a needle tool to score some light marks for the holes.

You throw the base and let dry a tad them add the holes –I use a brass hole maker to cut the small hole in the clay when its just right moisture wise. Dry, then fire as normal.I suggest cleaning the glaze from the holes with a needle too or (small drill bit-best) before firing so they do not clog up

The fabric is 10-to 12-inch squares-I used to but only remnants as cheap as I could fine prints and solids. I used polyester batting as the stuffing. I got mine free from a local manufacturer who used large amounts and would give me the non-perfect stuff-I got it by the truckload literally. To assemble you would cut the batting and stuff it into a piece of ladies pantyhose (I got large amounts of these at thrift shops). You would cut the legs into 3rds and stuff the batting and tie it off into a ball. These where covered with the fabric and color matched to the glazes-I use about 15 glazes not counting combos. Matching it up is an art as well.

I use a 3.5-inch neoprene rubber bottom on them to keep them from sliding around-I bout these by the hundreds. These where a big hit especially during the holiday’s as gifts.

Now that you know how to make them you can make a few yourself .I considered writing a piece in a magazine about these but this is easier and more direct. My last suggestion was never responded to anyway. Those editors must be a touchy bunch.

I gave up this form over a decade ago.They still are cute and you never know somebody may still sew?

Happy pinning