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Cindy in SD

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About Cindy in SD

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  • Location
    South Dakota
  • Interests
    Many different art forms, specialty is pottery/ceramic arts. Teach art at the YMCA--mostly children, some adult classes. Involved in an organic church start-up in Rapid City--this is a house-church type group with equal participation of all--no pastor, designated speakers, ministers, etc.
  1. Try standing up. I placed my wheel on a plywood & 2 x 4 table so the splash pan is at the level of my belt and mounted the foot pedal at thigh height just above my knee. If I throw a really big pot I'll stand on a wooden box, but otherwise this has proven to be the perfect height for me. It did take some experimenting. I screwed wooden blocks behind the legs of the wheel to keep it from shifting on the table. This is so much easier and comfortable than sitting all slouched over, and there's the added bonus that I don't have to get up to move my ware boards, so it saves time as well. The other thing, especially as you call yourself "newbie," is to remember to keep your body relaxed, and breath. It's easy to get into the habit of stiffening up and holding your breath. Hope this helps!
  2. Where I work there's a small attic room for the kiln. At first (before I came) they tried firing the kiln with no ventilation. It set off the building's sprinkler system, which wasn't used to that much concentrated heat in one place, and all the walls had to be resurfaced throughout the whole place. (It's an old converted historical residence.) So they put in a huge fan--temperature controlled. It works better than my kiln vents at home. They didn't put it in to vent toxins--they didn't know about toxins--but I think it works well. At any rate, to smell anything when the kiln is firing I have to go into the kiln room--and then it's minimal. Loud, though.
  3. I'd suggest, Mudlark, that you look into lapidary supplies and books. What you want to do is more on that line than pottery. I don't know a lot about stone carving--have done a little bit with my grandfather, who was a rockhound--but there's a lot of info out there, and those tools are the ones you'll be needing for what you want to do. Best wishes, Cindy
  4. Hey! I got a letter from someone from NY who knew me from Clayart, but my computer crashed while I was reading it and it's gone. Can't find it anywhere here, either. So . . . I'm not ignoring you, but I don't remember the name and can't figure out how to retrieve the information. Would you please contact me again? Thanks, Cindy
  5. I don't have much experience with low-fire clays, but I prefer applying underglaze to unfired bisque, too. Or to bisque and then refiring it before glazing. If you apply the underglaze too thickly, it will crack--you can often see this happening as it dries. In addition, some underglazes are extra refractory (copper comes to mind) and will resist your glaze if applied too thickly.
  6. I'm not sure this is something you're going to fix, Eyvind. I'll be interested to see what people have to say. It may help to try a different clay body with less shrinkage/more grog/sand. I have a Peter Pugger and have considered using it from some extruding, but I'd build a tile press if I were going to make a lot of tiles. Presently, I make tiles from slabs. They don't have to be perfectly flat as I only use them for coasters or for wall tiles. To keep them from warping, I dry them between sheets of plaster board (wall board/gypsum board/sheet rock). I wrap the edges of the plaster board with duct tape to keep it from crumbling into my clay. Of course, if your tiles are high relief, this won't work for you, but otherwise you might give it a try. You'll need a weight on top.
  7. I have an old L&L where I work and it's a great kiln. I love the element holders--that alone would sell me. Although it was a PAIN the first time I changed elements because the old ones were sooooo old they came out in little short pieces. I used a pair of needle nose pliers and some tweezers. Sheeesh! But if you're firing ^6, the elements won't last long enough to get that brittle. I have Paragons at home and I wouldn't buy them again. Have used the Skutt and like it, too. For what it's worth, I never use the pre-set ramps. You'll want to program your own anyway.
  8. Just a thought, but I like to use bisque molds. That is, if you're hand building--if you're pouring, then never mind . . . . I just throw a piece the size and shape I want, then trim the outside to be nice and smooth. That way I can coil/puzzle/pound my clay over the outside or make a smaller piece on the inside.
  9. Vince Pitelka has a great description on how to make bats on a band saw in his "Clay: A Studio Handbook". It's apparently out of print, but Amazon has several copied advertised. Every potter should have a copy. I made a bunch of 5/8" masonite bats long ago and still have them. They warp a little, but I ignore the warp and use them anyhow. I didn't varnish them and wouldn't do it if I were to make them again. The warp isn't that bad, and varnishing would be a lot of trouble and would mess up the diameter of the bat pin holes. Figure the size you need, and figure the size square that will contain the circle. Cut as many squares as you want. I made mine a little smaller than the wheel head because of the size of the sheet goods. I drew an X from corner to corner of each bat and drilled a small hole where the lines crossed in the center. I drilled a small hole in the deck of the band saw. This hole must be placed exactly horizontal to the blade, separated from it by the distance of the radius of the circle. I placed a bat square (or two, or three) so that the hole lined up with the hole on the band saw deck, and slipped a nail down through both, to tie them together. Pivoting on the nail, I cut the circle, making the bat(s). You could also do this with a jig saw, but it's difficult to get a nice circle, and takes a long time. The guide hole in the center of each bat will fill up with clay and soon you won't remember it's there. Placing the holes for the bat pins can get tricky. It would probably be best to figure this out before you drill the center holes--I waited until after, and this threw me off. Measure from the inside edge of one pin to the outside edge of the other one. Divide it in half, and measure from the center of your bat square out toward the edges and mark the spots along the crossing lines you've already drawn. You might want to drill one even before you start cutting them into circles, just to make sure you've got it right. Be very careful about having your drill bit centered perfectly. I ended up using a file on all of mine to fix the placement. It was a pain. It helps to use a drill press if you've got one. Once you've got one bat drilled so it fits properly, just use that as a template for the others. Be careful, though, not to ream out the sides of the hole. This is the only really precise measurement, and it does have to be precise. Hope this helps.
  10. Yes! Amen! I gave up on Clayart long, long ago for that reason.
  11. You might try using some different clays. Something with a bit more sand or grog, perhaps. A clay body can make all the difference. Talk to your supplier if they're knowledgeable and ask which of their clays they'd recommend for what you're doing.
  12. I use canvas bats for plates and platters. Plaster bats are wonderful, but they can require a significant investment of time and/or money and they take up a lot of room. Just cut a canvas square large enough to overlap your platter by a bit. (You can buy canvas from a tent and awning shop or a marine supply place--hard to find at most fabric stores.) Dip it in slip to prime it (you only need to do this the first time--when it's still clean) and position it on a rigid (wood or plastic or whatever) bat. I like to smooth them down with a wide putty knife. Sometimes they can slip, but if you keep trying, you'll learn the knack of working the clay so that the canvas bat doesn't slip. Mostly it involves keeping some downward pressure, especially in the first stages of centering/throwing. Be sure to leave the bottom thick enough to trim. The thickness will also help you later, when you're removing the canvas bat. When you're done making your platter, cut the canvas off of the wheel. Just pull your wire through under the canvas. Take the wooden bat off the wheelhead and carry it to the place where you'll be drying the platter. With a pair of needle nosed pliers, pull the canvas bat (and platter) off the wooden bat onto the drying surface. After the platter has become dry enough to support its own weight, turn it upside down and peel off the canvas bat. I slide the platter onto a wooden bat, place another bat on top of it, and turn the whole thing upside down as though it were a sandwich. This has to be done at the right time. Too soon and it will sag; too long and it will crack. Turn the platter right side up again and fix the rim. If it's a large platter, trim it with double foot rings. A ring directly under the sauce dish would be nice. When the canvas has been used once, you only need to dip it in water to get it ready to be used again. I dip them in my slop bucket. You can use canvas bats for anything, but I mostly use them for platters and sometimes for especially large bowls--like sink basins.
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