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Everything posted by perkolator

  1. Main reason why I discourage people from using wadded newspaper and other armatures when hand building sculpture, they're usually unnecessary with proper construction methods and can create problems like you're experiencing. I'd bust out a drill and make a hole up into the neck cavity from the base, then get at it with extracting as much paper as you can.
  2. Silicone only really likes to stick to silicone, otherwise you're looking at more of a mechanical fit. My best advice is to get a hold of some food-grade casting silicone and basically cast your own ONTO the clay object.
  3. First thing you EVER do when working in a new studio is measure the kilns
  4. For shelves I usually start with hand tools -- cold chisel/hammer/silicon carbide rub-brick. Bad drips that eat into furniture I use a 4" angle grinder with a diamond-core grinder head -- I used to use a silicon carbide masonry head but the diamond-core head works amazingly well in comparison.
  5. Anyone looking for a good stick blender, I finally found one. Waring Pro WSB33 commercial grade at only $80 on Amazon. Went through 3x Cuisinart stick blenders, they all failed at the connection where the shaft detaches for cleaning (plastic parts inside). Anyways, this one does not come apart, steel guts inside and haven't been able to kill it yet Follow up with small Talisman test sieve. Larger batches using a drill with paint mixer head (do Jiffy mixers really do that much better???) and follow up with Talisman crank sieve. Rarely do dry mixing of glaze, it's always inside a lidded container if I do - like an old casting sip gallon container or 5gal bucket with lid.
  6. No prob. I think the key to his success was to make a base coat of exterior house paint, then he'd use acrylics and whatnot to do his line work. He only used quality acrylics, like Golden I believe, I doubt the cheaper paints would last as long as these did. Good luck
  7. Nail polish, enamel paint, acrylics, latex paint, etc. Artist friend of mine used to paint a lot of his work with "oops paint" from hardware stores and good quality acrylics -- his painted surfaces have held up on some of his outdoor pieces exposed to CA sun and "winters" for the last 10+ years and only in last few years have seemed to fade (the acrylics)
  8. FYI, Placer High School in Auburn CA is hiring a new Art Faculty to take over Ceramics. Job just got posted this week: https://www.edjoin.org/Home/JobPosting/1016332 They want someone good, someone who knows ceramics and who will help continue inspiring and attracting students to their awesome art department - so pass this along to anyone you know who's looking. The classroom is already setup - lots of nice butcher block work tables, an elevated wheel throwing area for their electric wheels, attached kiln room with a brand new Skutt oval and another 1227, outdoor kiln yard setup with clay storage, de-airing pugmill, a small gas kiln that works and a larger gas kiln that was acquired years ago but never hooked up (looks barely used, but needs work on burner system IMO). It's a pretty nice setup for a HS compared to other studios I've seen.
  9. Correct. This is why I'm looking for alternate sources
  10. Wondering if anyone can please share their source for thicker nichrome or kanthal wire and rods? Thick as in anywhere from say 8-16 gauge thickness (~3mm-1.5mm), not the thin stuff. Want to make some custom kiln furniture such as stilts and bead racks, etc. The nichrome at all the local places is too thin for our application, like 20ga or thinner. They do carry the normal 1/8" bead rack rods, but they add up $ quickly when sold a la carte. Some of the thicker rolls of wire I'm finding are about 12ga at about $1.75/ft For something like 9ga I'm seeing about $4/ft Can anyone comment on using kanthal vs nichrome for suspending things in kilns? I'm reading kanthal is slightly stronger, but can transfer iron to clay (I could just coat it with ITC-100 to resolve that?)
  11. ^Sorta, yes. The glaze in question is just a matte white, the speckled look you want comes from interaction with the iron in clay body mainly. If you're looking for something to experiment with I'd suggest you try ilmenite. Can be added into your glaze or wedged into your clay body to create speckles.
  12. For a project like this I'm thinking you need a slip/engobe that has a much higher than normal tensile strength or to cast it thicker - otherwise it's super fragile like you're experiencing, like look at it wrong and it's going to break, lol. The problem with trying to "layer" your material and gain thickness is that you now lose all the detail you were trying to capture -- such as the texture of fabric, yarn, sponge in this case, etc. The key is to have a very fine particle size and allow it lots of time to wick up into the material you're trying to impregnate with slip. Ceramics tensile strength is simply very very low compared to the incredible compression strength it has and is effected by many factors. To really refine this project I'd imagine you'll have lots of testing to do Some basic examples I can think of that effect this: particle density/porosity/particle size, vitrification level/sintering, crystalline structure/matrix/mullite development
  13. I can't think of anything either that resembles glaze and is a cold surface other than paint. Closest thing I could suggest is silicone ( and possibly clear epoxy resin) There are silicone casting products that are rated food-safe - an example would be Smooth-On "SORTA-Clear", which is a translucent silicone rubber (I think you can tint/color it too?) Not sure about the epoxy resin products. I'd assume fine for cold items, but not for warm items. Silicone is good up to at least 400+*F, you can stick it in the oven for baking or pour molten sugar in them for candy, etc.
  14. I sometimes use food coloring in my glazes - because I'm colorblind and many raw glazes look identical to me. Doesn't matter which brand you use, they will all make color and burn out in the firing, i've been using McCormack from grocery store. I first started doing it when I was spraying glaze - I'd put a drop or two into my sprayer pot, spray it on and change the color enough to see each layer.
  15. You could have a run of nice color decals made and fire them onto the white sake cups for them - that might be a nice treat since they bought them already EDIT: BTW - our "guestbook" was three 24" thrown platters that a fellow ceramic artist made for us. Everyone signed with a Pebeo Porcelaine china pen, which got sintered on in the kiln at like 500* -- pretty durable "ink" Also, something I saw recently at my wife's cousin's wedding that seemed cool -- they had a 1yr anniversary time capsule box; guests wrote best wishes and comments, etc and put it inside like a suggestion box, not to be read until a year later. Thought that maybe doing this out of clay for someone might be fun - that way it cannot be opened early unless you break it open like a piggy bank (maybe weaken some key areas on the inside of the form to break out easily so it's not completely destroyed)
  16. You shouldn't need kiln wash on the floor, because you should never be firing pots on the floor. Put a shelf down there, about an inch up. Broken kilns shelves are good for posts there. Sounds like you don't have multiple operators using your equipment If it were just me using the equipment I could get away with nothing, but with undergraduates who simply don't care about something they don't own personally, I've gotta do as much as possible to prevent little disasters
  17. Cool idea! My wife made me do pretty much the same thing for our wedding - make lots of extras! Ours were simple small teacup/shot glasses/salt cups thrown off the hump, no trimming, all glazed a ^6 lime green to match the purple and green color theme of the wedding. On the bottoms we made a new signature with both our initials and the wedding date. Since we were purple and green themed, I ordered a case of purple tulip bulbs to spread out on the table among the green cups and other centerpiece items. It looked good and to this day guests still comment ours was one of the best weddings they've ever been to and they definitely still ask me about the cups and say their flowers are still growing. Even though it's not "difficult" to crank out these cups, it sure does make a lasting impression it seems.
  18. I dunno where you saw that her kiln was having issues....I merely mentioned her observation and the reasoning for not choosing the L&L again. She fires A LOT and I suppose when you observe for a few years, side by side firings between different brands of basically the same thing, you may develop a preference at some point. Like said, you can't argue with results. Personally I'd consider getting an L&L because I'm curious about the element holders as I've no personal experience with them - but they look cool! But seriously though, I see most arguments about L&L favoring the holders, nothing else about the equipment really -- So with that I'd ask how often you actually plan on swapping elements based on your experience? I'm the one who works on my kilns and I don't really need to change them very often at all, they last about 100 firings for us. If anything, I'd say most of my elements fail because someone will eventually get glaze on it before their life is up, happens 90% of the time on the bottom two rings....and if they're managing to get glaze on the elements higher up than the bottom ring, then I'd seriously question the element holders because they'd get glaze all over them and we'd have a problem and the benefits would be a wash.
  19. Congrats, always nice to get new equipment - especially your first kiln! Yes you want to do the break-in firing for the reasons already stated. I've always been told to pre-fire all kiln furniture prior to actual use in a stack -- you never know if there's a manufacturing defect that will show up in the first firing, this is cheap insurance to make sure. I've had brand new custom SiC kiln shelves bloat in the 1st firing and also new electric kiln shelves crack in 1st firing with no weight on them. Things happen. I'm a fan of kiln wash on my electric kiln floor, hate removing glaze from soft brick. I also add a thin film of mortar to the top soft pricks to keep down abrasion when reaching inside. Good call on re-torquing of the tension bands on the outer jacket.
  20. A friend was looking to buy a new oval to replace her old one (a 20yr old Bailey) - I asked her about kiln choice and explained Skutt is easy since it's what we have in studio and might as well keep it all the same, but on paper the L&L product looks awesome with those element retainers. She explained to me that she used to have an L&L kiln, it worked great, but then she explained to me the exact same thing Skutt mentions in that link above, regarding how the heat dissipates inside from the elements. She's been doing ceramics for 40+ years, so I trust her opinion. Anyways, after looking up stuff online at all the current kiln manufacturers, we decided that if she were to replace the oval, a Tucker's Cone Art would be the choice for the best bang for the buck. In the end, she decided to not fork out the $ yet and invest in a replacement kiln, but instead upgrade to digital control box, new elements and new lid/floor slabs. If I won the lottery and could have any electric kiln I wanted, I'd likely go with a Nabertherm front-loader. Not sure why as I know nobody with one, but I saw one once in person and it just seemed like one of those "someday" purchases
  21. The first three that come to my mind: Granular ilmenite Granular manganese Magnetite
  22. If you're storing it for several years before you touch it, I'd say you're better off storing it dry, not wet. In dry form you have tons of options - stick it in your lined crates, in buckets, bag it up, leave it in a pile on the side of the yard, whatever's clever When you're ready to think about starting up your project, simply mix it with water and let it sit for a week or two to get more plastic. It's not like you're using clay body from a fine-tuned recipe that promotes max plasticity, you're using natural clay from the ground and it sounds to me like you don't really know ceramics yet - so to me it makes no real sense to try and store it wet and maximize plasticity through aging. But if you were storing it wet, I've simply used 5-gal buckets in the past. Seal up well to hold moisture and small enough to still be able to move it when full. Good luck!
  23. Awesome, I'd love to setup my own studio from scratch some day. Some things I'd include in my own studio: - Drains in the floor. You're in a garage, so I suppose you're ok to hose out the doorway. Heck, I want this in my house! - Plywood walls, not sheetrock. Ability to hang stuff anywhere is a huge benefit, as is the resistance to water so you can simply hose down the walls on cleanup days. - Recessed can lights, on multiple switches + track lighting system. Use can lights for regular stuff, use track lights for spot light/directional/gallery - Gallery space. Some sort of clean, white, gallery-like space you can use for presentation or for photographing/documenting your work. - ALL furniture on locking casters so you can move it around by yourself. Don't get the cheap Harbor Freight ones, they don't have good lock options, get good quality casters in higher weight capacity than you'd need. - Air scrubber/cleaner for indoor air quality. - Compressed air system for general use or for pneumatic extruder. - Lots of electrical outlets (on GFCI in case you get wet on cleanup day and because wheel throwing). Also at least 1-2 drop-downs from ceiling for misc tools or supplemental lighting, etc. - Spray booth or some sort of setup that will collect overspray and dust from glaze spraying or dry grinding on kiln shelves, wares, etc. - Glaze mixing area/table, dry chemical storage, wet glaze storage. - Sink trap and hazardous waste container. - Central vacuum system, so I can vacuum up stuff without having shop vac in room and to keep dust down/no sweeping - Stereo system that goes to 11
  24. Our students use crawl glazes on vertical surfaces all the time. The work is lifesize and being made by 18-20-something year old undergrads with no prior ceramics experience...and usually once-fired to ^04 I've noticed the key to getting crawl glazes to stick is to water it down and build up the surface in layers...or spray it on. We definitely use CMC gum, which helps as a binder, and trying to not mix the glaze too far in advance seems to help too. The students have found many crawl recipes over the years but for the most part they're using: SDSU crawl, LW Lichen, 3rd Degree Burn and whatever experiments they choose to do.
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