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Isculpt

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Posts posted by Isculpt

  1. I'd love to be a powerful thrower on day Babs! I'm workin' on it!

    My Husband's last name is Diesel. (Canadian common law for fifteen years. I might not be settled down with him yet, but we've been running around together for quite a while!)

    Truth? I thought his last name sounded cooler for a potter than my own.

    For the record, I am Calandra Elaine Beller.

    MS. Diesel Clay, if I had a name as musical as Calandra Elaine Beller, I'd be flaunting it!!  

    signed, 

    uhhh, well.... just jayne :( )

  2. Well, Babs, maybe we can persuade Diesel Clay to tell us the origin of her chosen name?  I know I'm certainly curious!  That's a funny crack about the teapot show; you never forget anything, do you?  And they only hold the teapot show every third year, so I've got time for an attitude adjustment!   And no, my husband hasn't been able to alter that gorgeous clay that he dug up and brought home.  It turns out that it's good only for very small things - traditional pipes and peace pipes and such, but no additions have made it strong enough to create anything over 4" high. And in the personal galleries, I CANNOT find the "delete" button for a single image -- an entire album, yes; a single image, no.  I'll have to post a question about that delete issue.  Maybe someone knows.....

     

    Jayne

  3.  

    One alternative to indented letters is a beautiful solution by Diesel Clay. When I asked how he achieved such impressive lettering, he generously provided this response:

     

    "Because i was making so many of those mugs, I went to a sign shop that has a plotter and had them cut me a stencil of the phrase out of Mylar. Then I took clay body slip and pushed it through the back side of the stencil onto strips of newsprint. Let the letters set up a minute or two, and then apply the strip to the soft leather hard pot. Don't remove the paper until the letters are fully set up. Best to leave it on until it falls off, in fact."

     

    Pretty darned clever, huh?

     

    Jayne

    Psst. I'm a girl:)

     

    I was just gonna post some images, and there they were already!! I will maybe add that the stencil cost me about $25 CDN, so it's a good value if you'll reuse the image a bunch, and it might not be an untoward cost for something like a wedding gift. It's probably not a good route to go if you're making different words every time, though.

     

    Pssst!  I KNEW that!!  But it's the "Diesel" that keeps messing with my mind!   (oooops!)  Jayne :blink:

  4. Well, now Ms. Babs, THAT is an open-ended question!!  Would it be referring to my recent problems with my first attempts at using "real" glazes?  Or my queries about how to join glazed surface-to-glazed surface?  Or my worries about making a vase waterproof?  Or my warped sculptures that rocked like rocking-horses even when they were meant to stand steady and still?  Or perhaps the crappy clay that my poor husband dug 500 lbs of, then toted it in buckets across muddy fields only to find that it has no strength?  ORRRRRRRR – drumroll, please - the results of my second craft show in 5 years, in which I dared to hope for sales that matched last year's record-breaking (well, record-breaking for me) $5100?  I'm just back from the show and pinching myself because, even though most of the 32 sales were in the under-$250 range, I sold $6200 worth of sculptures!  For pictures of some of the new work, check out my gallery - and then tell me how to delete most of the newer images because I accidentally posted the unimproved images instead of the cleaned-up ones!  

     

    Arrrgh! With the exception of the successful show, this post reads like an episode of Perils of Pauline!   

  5. One alternative to indented letters is a beautiful solution by Diesel Clay.  When I asked how he achieved such impressive lettering, he generously provided this response: 

     

    "Because i was making so many of those mugs, I went to a sign shop that has a plotter and had them cut me a stencil of the phrase out of Mylar. Then I took clay body slip and pushed it through the back side of the stencil onto strips of newsprint. Let the letters set up a minute or two, and then apply the strip to the soft leather hard pot. Don't remove the paper until the letters are fully set up. Best to leave it on until it falls off, in fact."

     

    Pretty darned clever, huh?

     

    Jayne

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  6. I use metal lettering stamps produced by Chip Art for the scrapbooking industry.  They come in a variety of typefaces, sizes, and upper and lower case letters. 

     

    After I stamp into the slightly leatherhard clay, I bisque the piece and then apply a wash of underglaze (or for a slightly metallic look, I use the copper color of Mayco's "Stoneware Wash").  I apply either underglaze or Mayco glaze diluted 1:1 with water to keep it from dyeing the surface of the piece too much.  I then scrub it off with a generously wetted sponge, which leaves the color in the crevices formed by the letters.  Be aware that unless you apply a resist, the washes will remain in all crevices in the piece.

     

    The stamps can be ordered from Amazon. (search for "CHIP Art letter stamps by Melody Ross")  Be aware that not all packages come with the metal shaft (which makes stamping easier).  It isn't necessary to use the shaft, however.  

     

    In the images attached, I've used two different sets of stamps on the bust with the Emily Dickinson quote "hope is the thing with feathers" -- the small letters are "chickadee" and the slightly larger letters are "sparrow", both of which are lower case. On the bust with the tree branches and the blindfolded bust with the Poe quote ("dream within a dream.") , I've just used the "sparrow" lower case letters, which are about 1/4". 

     

    There is a larger, more formal 1/2" letter called "Bluebird" which comes in lower and upper case. The Amazon link for the Bluebird lettering is :   http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003TIZM26/ref=pd_luc_rh_sim_01_03_t_lh?ie=UTF8&psc=1. 

     

    Since my work isn't functional, I usually fire the piece and then use thinned underglaze which doesn't obscure the darkened letters.  If I wanted to apply a colored glaze, I would either apply a clear glaze over the letters, wiping away the excess around the letters before applying glaze OR I would apply a resist over the letters and wipe away the excess before applying glaze.  I would fire once again at that point. The benefit of using the Mayco Stoneware Wash is that it is a glaze and needs no further protection.

     

    Jayne

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  7. Terry, y'know how potters are always telling you to test, test, test?  Well, as a sculptor, I have to say that the idea of making a sculpture for the purpose of testing whether a preheat is necessary sounds just a little bit painful.  But I inadvertently ran just such a test.  My work never blows up or blows out a section when I do my usual 8+ hours of preheat, but when my kiln broke, I took my work to a community pottery place for firing.  I assumed that since all work fired there is handbuilt, and most of it is made by newbies, they would preheat the kiln.  When I went back for my work, I found that 4 out of 6 sculptures (about 2 weeks' worth of work) had blown. THEN I found out that they don't preheat.  I know some people insist that preheating is unecessary, but I have learned my lesson and I don't think I'll run THAT test again!

  8. But beyond all this, during the firing process the sintering of the very thin edges of these fine particles cause a harder surface than what will happen with a general slip covering. The clay particles "stick together" at the edges where thay overlap. It is not melting per se,..... but a special concept you might think of as "pre-melting".

     

    If you fire your Sigs too hot, you lose this effect as well as some of the burnish qualities.

     

     

    john

     

    I've been thinking about trying some terra sig, but didn't consider the temperature requirements. What is "too hot"?

  9. Okay, part 2 of Glazing Pots with Lids 101 : I have just noticed fine cracks that developed in the last firing. Arrrrgh!!! Should I just call these babies "non functional" and forget the cone 5 glaze firing? Will glaze seal the fine cracks or is the higher temp likely to cause even more cracks? I can always cop out and use an acrylic top coat on the "decorative" teapots, saving myself all sorts of anguish and stress, but I REALLY wanted them to be functional....

  10. I accidentally posted my question to "Clay & Glaze Technical", but no joy there. You folks, however, always help me out of the jams I get myself into. So...

    I've been following the post regarding lids stuck to pots by glaze, and it has raised some basic questions for me. I make sculptures, paint them with underglazes and fire them to cone 06. No sticking glaze issues because I only use underglazes. But I was invited to enter two sculptural teapots in a teapot show, and I suddenly find myself with glaze issues! I have bisqued the "pots", underglaze fired them (both firings at 06), and now it's time to add a clear satin cone 5 glaze. I had assumed that the lid and pot would be fired separate from each other, but after reading the post, it looks like that's not the way it's done (perhaps because they need to stay together to avoid warping differently from each other?). If I'm understanding this correctly, and I am supposed to fire them together, what is the secret to keeping them from sticking? Does it all come down to waxing? (Do multiple coats of water based wax help?) And do I have to worry about the glaze melting and running past the waxed area into the well where the lid and pot fit together? For that matter, since the two sculpture "pots" don't have a foot like typical functional ware, how far up the side of the pot must I wax to avoid glaze running down and sticking the sculpture to the shelf?

     

    All of this leads me to what may be obvious to a functional potter, but seems like a stumbling block to me: I would rather that the pots be completely glazed around the neck openings, but if I have to fire the pots with their lids in place, it seems that it isn't possible. Today is glaze firing day, so any help will be appreciated!

  11. I am going to play around with pit firing with saw dust. Has anyone had any luck with this without first firing it in an elec. kiln? Any ideas or tips would help! Thanks.

     

     

    A local Native American tribe has been doing a variant of this for, according to archeologists & historians, 2500 years. Prior to the advent of electric stoves, pots were heated in fireplaces or open fires. Nowdays the pots are pre-heated in an electric stove, starting pots at the stove's lowest setting and then slowly (over a period of 4 or 5 hours) raising the temperature to 500 degrees. When pots have been held at that temperature for at least an hour, they are carried to an outdoor fire built on the ground (not in a pit) that has burned down to coals. The larger coals are raked to the outer edges of the fire circle and the pots are placed in the smaller coals and then covered with branches or slender pieces of wood that almost immediately catch fire atop the pots. After this fire has burned down somewhat, any unburnt branches are carefully removed so that pots can be covered with a material that will produce smoke, such as pine bark. The pots are removed from this last firing while the pine bark is still smoking (in order to preserve some unsmoked areas on the pots). In such a firing, breakage and cracking can claim all the pots -- or none of them. I've seen ten coil-built pots fired this way with no breakage or cracking in any of them, but I've also seen an 80% loss in this type of firing. In my somewhat limited experience the typical loss is around 25%, with a long drying period prior to firing being a major factor in loss prevention.

     

    I have done roughly the same thing with sawdust by preheating the clay pieces in a stove, and then placing them on a layer of bricks covered by sawdust in a metal trash can which has been drilled with a 1/4" drill bit every 12 inches or so. I add sawdust as I layer the (in my case) clay sculptures, topping it all off with a 6" layer of sawdust. I add crumpled newspapers to the top, light the papers, cover 90% of the opening with the trash can lid, and leave it until the smoking has ceased and the sculptures are cooled. With this technique I have experienced cracking in 25% of the sculptures, with occasional breakage due to poor stacking in the trash can. To address the breakage problem, I'm planning to experiment with circles of screen wire propped on perimeter bricks between the pottery layers to prevent one layer falling onto another as the sawdust burns away.

     

    Hope this helps....

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