Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Isculpt

  1. I know it sounds kind of brutal, but I'm wondering if there is a way to saw off part of a fired ceramic piece? What has me wondering about this is a mishap at a show last weekend that left me with a broken sculpture. I was wrapping it for a customer when it fell and a section broke off near the bottom. If I could saw off the bottom third of the piece, I could at least keep the upper part for myself. The piece was made from raku clay (range 06 to 8), fired at cone 2.
  2. Thanks for the reassurance and advice to keep an eye on the crack. And that's good to know about the hinge since I'm kinda hoping this kiln will last me for a good long while!
  3. Neil, thanks for your time. I misunderstood your earlier statement "if the floor is not well supported" to mean the floor of the studio, as in a wood floor on inadequate framing. Sorry, I get it now. I've gone all the way around the kiln and the feet seem to be seated firmly on the floor. I then checked where the kiln meets the stand underneath and I can't slip a piece of paper between those points. If the problem isn't that the kiln is poorly supported, does that indicate a more serious problem? The hinge is the kind that goes all the way down to the bottom ring, which is why Olympic will send someone to replace the lid. Apparently Skutt's hinge is much easier to take off. Jayne
  4. This is a picture of the stand under the 35"x25"x29" high kiln. The other image is of the damage I did to the outside.
  5. And Neil, There doesn't seem to be any rocking in the kiln. (Of course, now that it has settled and cracked, maybe there wouldn't be any rocking? The floor is ceramic tile on cement, so that shouldn't be the problem....
  6. No heavy work was in the kiln, just a single layer of sculptures. I used the shelf supports turned on their sides to support the shelves. The one deeper crack in the first photo is directly over the support stand's legs, but the other is in the middle of the kiln, front to back. I paid the kiln retailer to have the kiln delivered and set-up. Should it have been leveled? Would that have avoided this? And should I expect that the cracks won't get worse, since this is apparently "settling"? This is the kiln that was delivered to the retailer by Olympic with a big crack in the lid where the handle was screwed on. (I needed the kiln before Olympic could get another one to me, so it was delivered with the cracked lid and a promise from Olympic to send someone to my studio to replace the lid...eventually.) I'm just wrecked by the cracks in my hard-earned first kiln, but apparently it isn't unusual or an indication that it's gonna fall apart?? So....here is where I mention that I also inadvertently left a plastic dish drainer leaning against the beautiful, shiny kiln. It melted and left plastic and discolored metal on the kiln. I've googled to see how to remove plastic from the metal, and the best suggestion I found was to heat it back up and use a plastic scraper to get the plastic off, then to scrub with nail polish remover after it has cooled down. Anybody else dumb enough to have done this?
  7. After the first bisque firing to 06, I discovered these cracks in the floor of my brand new kiln. Is this normal??
  8. 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!
  9. I hate to disagree with Neil, who knows darned near everything, judging from his helpful posts over the years, but..... Coming from a custom cabinetry and construction background, I would only use MDF if it had a great deal of support under it. It is often used for relatively inexpensive custom cabinetry bookcases, but I've seen it sag in a 24" span under a load of lightweight books. The same is true for its coarser cousin, particle board. For my slab roller table, I chose to use a solid-core exterior plywood door from Lowes. I cut it to the size I needed (hence the sold-core over the hollow-core), and then I glued formica to it. The formica isn't necessary, though....a good quality water-proof finish would work, too. It's nearly indestructible, and so far shows no signs of sagging. Jayne
  10. Wow, thanks for the details of your schedule! Before I found your message, I set the kiln to preheat for 12 hours -- maybe overkill for half-inch thick work that is 2-4 weeks old, but I'm suddenly having lots of trouble with my clay sculptures cracking while they dry (no idea why this has started happening!!), so I'm being very cautious in the firing. I then used the "slow bisque" setting. All in all, the kiln ran for 24 hours and everything came out okay. Now the work has to survive the copper carbonate firing, and then the underglaze firing, so I'm not out of the woods yet, but I'm feeling hopeful! My crappy old kiln has a broken kiln sitter, a funky element, and measures 18"x18"; while the new kiln with electronic controller is 35" long x 29" high --- so I feel like I'm driving a Maserati in the studio now!
  11. Okay, nevermind. It finally occurred to me to stop Googling "how to fire with an electronic controller" and to look for a Bartlett manual instead. Done. I think I've got it figured out. We'll see.......
  12. My shiny new Olympic kiln with the fancy Bartlett 6-key electronic controller just arrived. Yaaay! I've never used an electronic controller, and after reading the manual with its kinda skimpy instructions, I'm really, really confused. I'm firing sculptures that tend to crack unless I preheat them for a long while, so I want to program the kiln so that it preheats for 8 hours below 212 degrees, then slowwwwly bisques to 06. I've run a test cycle with the empty kiln, allowed it to cool to 100 degrees, and now I've loaded the kiln. The Ramp/hold program asks: (1) how many segments I want (Two??) (2) rate of temperature rise (100 degrees? - since it's already at 100 degrees, that would keep it below 212, right?), (3) end point temperature (200 degrees?) (4) hold time (8.0 hours) After entering this info, the readout shows 250 degrees....So obviously, I've guessed wrong about how to program this gizmo. Can anyone tell me how to achieve what I'm after? Thanks, Jayne
  13. thanks, Marcia, I'll pursue those avenues as well....
  14. Bob, thanks for the advice; I know it is heartfelt. But the reason I'm asking for help is not because I don't want to bother with experimenting or researching -- I've done a great deal of both. I've done a number of trash can firings and I've been present when my Native American husband fired his pots on the ground in the manner of his tribe, whose pottery tradition is believed to be an unbroken 5-6,000 year old tradition. I know first-hand how varied the results can be, but I can't help believing that having some grasp of the chemistry involved will help to reduce the incidence of specific undesirable results. And those are the facts and specifics that I've had a hard time finding, despite having read, viewed videos, and discussed pit firing & trash can firing for several years now. Information like "extreme reduction = solid black pots" or "a fire that isn't hot enough = greyed and muddy pots instead of pots with bold carbon markings" can help us to diagnose the problems we're having instead of randomly altering different aspects of the firing. If you get certain results without understanding why you got them, it's hard to know which aspects of the process to tweak. Particularly frustrating is watching my husband use the same materials that his grandmother and great-great grandmother used, yet getting the same results only occasionally. Thanks to folks on the Forum, I now know how to avoid some of the unsuccessful results he has gotten in his coil-built pots and I have gotten in my sculptures. Jayne
  15. Jean, thanks for sharing your experiences with me. I have my feelers out for a workshop a bit closer to SC, although I'd love a workshop with Summi! Long before I had heard of her, I was visiting Taos, NM, and found and bought a decoratively fired sculpture of a woman holding a pot. I asked the gallery owner for the artist's name, and the gallery owner went one better -- she called Summi while I waited and asked Summi to email artist info to me. Later on when I became interested in clay as a maker rather than just a buyer, I was thrilled to find her name in reference books and articles. Y'know, about that pet litter -- I figured it meant shavings, too. So to test my assumption I googled "pet litter" -- and all I found were references to cat litter!!! But I'm sure you're right!! Jayne
  16. Jean, Don't stop!! Seriously, this is such useful information. I've read everything I could find & watched youtube videos, but the information is usually very general. And it's so helpful to know the "why's" of something. (kind of like giving a fish to a hungry man vs teaching him to fish). This article makes the point that the lower temperatures in sawdust firing can't fume the salt to produce red coloration, which helps me to understand why my trashcan fires haven't worked as I hoped. I can't figure why Bonnie is putting pet litter sprinkled with copper and salt, as a bottom layer beneath the pots, though. Any thoughts on that? Also, regarding Summi's video, I'm wondering about that blower system of Summi's. I don't think I've seen metal pipes like that, perforated all over with holes. She says that they only last through 3 or 4 burnings, so they clearly aren't made for this kind of use. I wonder where would a person find the kind of metal pipes that she uses? And I'm guessing that's just a leaf blower or some such thing to provide the air? Since you created that beautiful pot, would you mind sharing your technique? Thanks, Jayne
  17. BEAUTIFUL pot, Jean! And thanks sooo much for this video! I've searched for something this specific for a long time. I can't believe I now have access to such a wealth of information! Thanks again! Jayne
  18. My best trade : I thought I was trading with a weaver for a couple of scarves and throws, but ended up trading for a $700 coat -- and that was 20 years ago when a hundred bucks was a heck of a lot of money! It was all a comedy of errors that resulted in my owning a one-of-a-kind handmade winter coat of woven wool and brocade, made by two talented gentlemen who also spun the wool from their own sheep. The errors stemmed from the fact that I have slight prosopagnosia (inability to recognize faces), and I'm always trying to bluff my way through craft shows when I fail to recognize artists with whom I've been sharing craft shows for years. In this case, when a weaver approached me and told me that he always enjoyed seeing my work at the SIX shows a year that we did together, I didn't want to admit that I didn't have a clue who he was, so I pretended to be familiar with his work. When he offered to trade for a $375 dancing pigs sculpture, I said "sure, why not", figuring I'd unload a $375 sculpture that no one but me and him thought was worth owning. This was 20 years ago, when $375 would buy a lot of weavings, so I figured I'd get lots and lots of Christmas presents out of the deal. After wrapping up his sculpture and sending him back to his booth, I went to select my Christmas presents -- and found that this weaver offered only two products - a short coat for $450 and a long one for $700! The short one didn't look good on me, so what else could I do but opt for the $700 coat, which meant that I owed HIM another $325 in trades. Oh yeah, did I mention that I live in South Carolina where it gets cold enough to wear that coat about -- oh -- about once every five years?? But what the heck, it is a beautiful coat, and every Christmas when I fly to Santa Fe for the traditional Christmas Eve walk on Canyon Road, where temperatures range from 15 to 30 degrees, that coat pays for itself ten times over!
  19. Holy Moly, that sounds exciting!!!! Thanks!
  20. Thanks, Bob. Now I'll know what I'm looking at when I visit some pit firing websites.
  21. Thanks Bob, Peter and John. I'll certainly read up on making ferric chloride before I attempt it! Can you tell me what color(s) ferric chloride contributes in a pit-fire? For that matter, what effect does copper sulfate have? I know that personal experimentation is the best way to answer these questions, but pit firing is so labor intensive that I'd rather not spend half a day firing just to create a test tile or two...or even worse, to experiment on a sculpture that I've put lots of time into! I searched all three guys' galleries hoping to see an example of a pit-fired pot using those chemicals, but no joy. (It was a pure pleasure searching the galleries, though -- John's yakishime with youhen charcoal finish is breathtaking and Bob's electroformed pots are truly fascinating). Nonetheless, I'm wondering if anyone knows of an image of pit-fired pots using those chemicals.
  22. Thanks, all. I had never heard of a dry root killer until I read these posts and Googled it. I found copper sulfate crystals as well as powder, but I only found liquid versions of ferric chloride. Surely you don't pour liquid ferric chloride on pottery? Are either of these available at big box hardware stores - or only available online? Jayne
  23. thanks....it seems ironic that fertilizer and root killer would both offer something useful for pit fring!
  24. I'm wondering what component in fertilizer contributes color to a pit fired ceramic piece. Some fertilizers are more expensive than others, so I'm thinking that if I knew which component created color in a pit firing, I could price shop fertilizers without running the risk of buying a cheap fertilizer that is missing the agent needed. Lots of folks on the Forum have mentioned Miracle Grow, but it's relatively expensive. I'm hoping to find a cheaper alternative.... Jayne
  25. Thanks, Pres. I have no familiarity with kiln issues, and I wanted to know what was reasonable in this case. I appreciate your response. Jayne
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.