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  2. Good to hear this in this thread topic.
  3. Hey Neil.  I was reading some threads and saw you have a 1500 sq ft studio.  Is your studio a membership studio or just a school?

    I live in Los Angeles and have gained an interest in ceramics from my sister, who runs a children’s ceramics program.

    As I dive more into the business of clay, I’ve learned that every membership studio is booked with a waitlist, so I am thinking of opening a studio.  In starting this process, I am trying to determine the cost of running a studio with a range of members between 70-150.  

    I’m in the exploratory stage and open to any and all help in determining hard costs associated with this. 

    Thank you for any wisdom you can provide!





  4. I'll bite Cone 10 porcelain mostly Daves from Laguna -fired in treduction atmosphere to soft cone 11. All homeamde glazes dipped and some brushing. Aslo use a bit of 50/50 porcelain and some Babu both from Laguna clay company. down to 6-8 tons per year now.95% thrown forms with minor slab work.I fire in two gas kilns-a small 12 cubic footer (fired my 18th laod yesrterday for the year in that kiln and my car kiln. (35 cubic feet) fired my 17th load yesterday for the year in that kiln. I like porcelain as it tougher and shows the glazes off better than stoneware and chips less as well.
  5. I am thinking of opening a members only clay studio, as all of them in my area have long waitlists and the demand is there. I haven’t found any recent threads on the operations costs or best practices associated with running a studio. Can anyone help me out by providing hard expenses associated with and any tips for this business? Thanks in advance for your help!
  6. By what type of clay I mean there's clays with different ratios of silica and alumina so some melt or mature earlier than others. You'll just have to fire samples to different cones and see what happens or have it sent for testing. Testing it would be good so you can incorporate it into glaze calculation and know exactly what is in it. I'm assuming this would make it easier to determine a good clay recipe as well.
  7. Hey all, I heard about people adding RIO to clay a long time ago. I was wondering what percentages of RIO do to the clay. I was thinking about mixing it into some pugged clay to get a more consistent color. Are there any recommendations/concerns that I have to be aware of. The clay that's pugged is like four different clay bodies and is brownish when fired. It's probably around 35% Standard 211 making it brownish, but has other whiter bodies in it making it a bit lighter. I just want to get more consistent color throughout it. Any tips or articles I can read? Thanks For help!
  8. I guess I'm not sure what you mean by "what type of clay it is". I'm guessing it's a type of high iron, terra cotta earthenware. The soil is from the west San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, in the shadow of the sandstone bluffs where I grew up. I know the S. F. Mission made its roof and floor tiles, as well as some tableware and storage ware from locally sourced clay, so this keeps me hopeful it is viable with the right treatment. I assumed I would have to do extensive testing because I haven't found a lot of other folks doing it online, and I have a tendency to do weird things few people do for my own creatively nutty reasons. Commercially available clay is great, but I want to add a personal, unique twist to my work if I can. I wasn't sure I would get this far, so I'm excited to do the work. I purchased some ball clay (OM-4) and feldspars for mixing my own glazes (another new experience of experimentation) so I will start to play with those ingredients and see where I get. It would help to have a methodology for adding such materials in the right ratios. It's not a deal breaker if I can't make a stoneware out of it, but I do want a durable and versatile local clay body for functional wares. A ball mill is not a budget priority so I will just have to work around it. Although I have a desire to see if the nearby sandstone can be used as a glaze ingredient. I did find a report on the sandstone. It is composed of 54% granite; 45% feldspar, cemented with limonite (iron ore). So who knows I might eventually get a ball mill (maybe a large rock tumbler? ) for that and see what happens. I've been trying to decipher the survey maps myself. I've read several, but they're pretty general for the area; no actual analysis of the specific soil, just suitability for farming and erosion characteristics. "Sandy loam" is not helpful. Mineral content of the soil is still eluding me, but I hunt on. Edit: P.S. - Any insights regarding the 50/50 blend with ^10 B-Mix? Does this theoretically up the maturation temp? I have only found one other person who has done this, and fired it to ^6 with success, but they haven't done any more than that. Thanks, Dave
  9. You can use your clay in a clay recipe once you figure out what type of clay it is. Cone 6 clays contain clay, flux and Feldspar. The flux and Feldspar help fuse and strengthen the clay, allowing it to mature or vitrify at a lower temperature. If your clay is short you can buy ball clay to mix with it, or try ball milling some of your clay as well and using some of that. You'll just have to do a lot of testing and adjusting as you go because no one else has done the work on this clay before you. If you have a bureau of land management office around you, you can look up historical mineral mining maps and such. Some states have this available online as well through your local department of natural resources website, but as geological survey maps. They're a lot harder to decipher in my opinion but provide better information about the actual geology of the area. I'm just getting into amateur geology and find it all very interesting, especially in my area which has volcanic, block and fold mountains, big basalt columns and all sorts of great places to explore.
  10. Thanks for the link! Turns out I've done most of what is suggested. I will do vinegar eat tonight because I know there was a lime industry uphill from my source and this is part of the geological makeup of the region. I have found more information about the source material (sandstone) than I have on the actual soil. Any help for where to look for that is appreciated. I tested a bar of it and broke it in half. No carbon coring at all. I do not have a small test kiln per se, but I do have 2 kilns to work with, one ^6 electric. 3.3 cu ft, and an ancient 7 cu ft gas kiln that can easily handle up to ^12, so I'm set there. I am in the process of testing, but I'm really new to this and want to make sure I get all the info I can. Also, if someone has already gone down the same paths I'm on, maybe I don't have to do as much work. I want to explore all the possibilities with this wild clay. What can I do with earthenware? How can I make it a clay body that matures at ^6 and/or ^10? All the stuff. Thanks, Dave
  11. I don't think I've ever seen a downdraft vent last less than 5 years now that they don't mount the motors under the kiln. I've got 11 years and 2000 firings on one of my downdrafts. Vent-A-Kiln hoods seems to last forever. All of the kiln vents on the market work very well. I think the've struck a good balance between ease of installation, functionality, and price. Yes, you can build a better system for less money, but for the average customer it's a good, simple solution to the venting problem.
  12. Processing found "wild" clay has come up on the forum a number of times. This is one thread in particular that is worth reading. Checking for black coring (and amending the firing schedule if this happens) and checking for lime pops with vinegar are both a good ideas to start with. Look up the geological survey info for the area you got the clay from, it should give you some more info. Are you looking to make a vitreous body including the found clay as part of the recipe or are you thinking of using it for lowfire earthenware? Do you have a test kiln to do some testing with, firing some samples to lowfire, mid and upper mid ranges to check melt / absorption / slumping etc? (firing samples in waster bowls)
  13. Model c will center all the clay you will ever need
  14. Yesterday
  15. Hello Forum Folks, One of the current projects I'm working on, now that I've acquired a little skill and knowledge, is to make some functional pieces from native soil. This is something I've wanted to do since I was a kid playing in the fields where I grew up. I collected about 40 lbs of soil from an excavation site, slaked it into a slurry, and sieved it to ~40 mesh. I dried it out on a hardibacker board, wedged it up and let it sit for a week. I netted about 20 lbs of a VERY sandy and short clay body. I decided not to use or test it because of the sandy consistency. I slaked it again and sieved it through 80 mesh which removed about 5 more lbs of fine sand. Dried/wedged/waited a week as before. This resulted in 15 lbs of a still short, but significantly more plastic, smelly clay body of a very dark, grey/green/brown color. It dries to a light grey/green. I'm guesstimating a 35% - 40% clay content??? Given the geology of the area I expected a very iron rich content. There are a lot of gold speckles when viewed in the sunlight that leads me to think Pyrite is plentiful. Maybe mica? The soil is from an alluvial plain about a mile from sandstone formations that was used for agriculture before heavy development in the middle of the last century. I wedged up a couple of chunks to see how it would perform on the wheel. It gave little resistance and was remarkably soft and easy to throw. Like really thick peanut butter with sand in it. I decided I wasn't going to try and make anything too fine or thin because I was afraid of overworking it too quickly. It produced little slip and soaked up a lot of water. I kept what slip I had and let it dry completely. It is very hard to break and snaps apart without crumbling, if that means anything. The 2 items I made had excellent green strength. attaching a handle was an exercise in patience because of how short the clay turned out. I fully expected the handle to pop off in the bisque firing. I also made a 10cm test tile to check shrinkage. Dry shrink is ~6% or 7%. Next, I decided that I couldn't leave well enough alone. I combined equal parts ^10 B-Mix with the native clay, wedged it to homogeneity, and threw a small mug. This improved plasticity, was easier to throw, and demanded less water. It behaved like a sandy B-mix and was a lot easier to put a handle on. I then did a ^06 bisque load in my electric kiln. I was expecting havoc and woe when I opened the kiln, but was pleased with the results so far. The native clay body fired to a deep terra cotta color Pictures do not do it justice. The blended clay body is a light salmon-y color. The native has a bright ring when thumped; the blend a little less bright, even though it has thinner walls (prob. b/c of B-mix?) I have attached before and after photos for consideration. Next I need to determine a suitable final firing temp to glaze and mature my experiments. I also want to improve the workability and plasticity of the native clay body, but I'm not sure where to start. I've read various methods for doing this, but it's like brewing: ask 10 brewers a question and you get 12 different answers. I'm sure that combining with the B-Mix was a quick and dirty impulse fraught with peril, but I can't help thinking it is a viable way to go. What does this combination do in terms of glaze matching and maturation temp? I think the native clay is a bit more straight forward in that it is terra cotta, so there are probably easier options to choose and test. I'm thinking Spanish style of a white or red glaze (clear?). I also want to use some of the processed native soil to glaze with. I've seen it work on ^10 clay bodies, but not at ^6. Thanks in advance for the wisdom. Dave
  16. I think the horsepower ratings are just marketing ploys, but I agree that within the same brand (does not work cross brand) it's a good way to determine where that wheel is on their product line.
  17. This might be another opportunity for me to be wrong :), but I would think the higher horsepower rating would help the motor run cooler, longer under load. How much it can center probably has more to do with the gearing than anything else. In order to get the torque from a small rated motor, they would have to use as small a drive pulley and as large a driven pulley as possible. A higher HP motor would let you use a larger drive pulley and then you'd have more flexibility regarding belts. The Pacifica 4 O ring belts are a work around because of the small drive pulley, IMO. I think the higher HP motor is always better.
  18. ...perhaps similar, usually run four shelves/levels, aiming for $x per level this season - hence 4x per glaze fir, $x+ next year, and reach target the year after. That "x" value resonates - the mix of pieces, more discards (to reclaim!), etc. Looks like my target numbers are somewhat conservative...
  19. I figure I should get about $1 per cubic inch of glaze fire. My kiln not counting shelf thickness is 5184 ci. I box up the load at between $4500 and $5000 pretty consistently. It just gives me a starting place when I'm looking at a new design so I can judge whether it's worth making or not. Obviously, some pots take more time and materials to make than others, but I think this is a pretty valid view. Anyone else look at it this way?
  20. How fast are you firing? Also, do you have a kiln sitter firing gauge? Looks like this. Probably isn't the issue but it is a good idea to check the sitter once in a while. Instructions here on how to do it. Video on using a kiln sitter here. It's from Skutt but the use of a sitter is the same regardless of what make kiln it is on.
  21. This has been super helpful. Thank you everyone! Karen
  22. I'm really stumped. The only reason a cone should break is if there was some pressure put on it. Just to be sure you're doing it correctly: 1. Lift the weight 2. Push down the claw, which raises the sitter rod and holds the weight in place 3. Place the cone
  23. Where my folks lived - Tennessee river valley - everything outdoors is either alive or molded, if not both.
  24. @Peggy Marion If it was me, I’d snap it up, but I already know I like clay. If you haven’t had your first class yet, I’d maybe give the large equipment purchases a pass until you know for sure how you want to work, and how much work you want to make. Kiln choice should be based on your level of output and your need. Exhaust your class and it’s facilities first.
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