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Everything posted by Isculpt

  1. Oh absolutely. It seems that when the work is still wet, I think it's great, and then when it's completely finished all I can see is where it failed to live up to its potential. I have been feeling that "all my work is pointless crap" feeling for several weeks now, having just finished a delivery of 15 finished pieces to a gallery. I got an email last week from a teapot show informing me that they sold one of my teapots to the Kamm Teapot Foundation, which started 35 years ago as a private collection by Los Angeles collectors Sonny & Gloria Kamm and has grown to over 10,000 teapots, many of which are on loan to msueums. On good days, I think "Yaay! I can't totally suck!" and on bad days I think "Well - 10,000 teapots - what's the big deal? It would be harder NOT to be in the collection!" Downer Jayne
  2. Chris, you perfectly expressed the "artist's angst" that is the downside of today's easy access to the work of so many others. As I wrote the word "angst", I wondered if that was too melodramatic a word for the way most of us feel when we look at the work of talented other folks. So I looked up the precise definition and found: "Angst is a transcendent emotion in that it combines the unbearable anguish of life with the hopes of overcoming this seemingly impossible situation". Yup, that about covers it!
  3. Hmmmm. It's that last part that usually does me in!
  4. Congratulations, Benzine! It came out great! That is an incredible amount of detail for so small a sculpture -- good eyesight and dental tools??? I would never have expected it to survive handling with tongs, let alone the stress of raku firing. You have inspired me to toss my sculptures into a sawdust-filled trashcan and let 'er rip! Jayne
  5. Clearly, it's time to bisque a bunch more test tiles and see what effects I get with glazes sponged off, washed off, and wiped off. Time to make a WHOLE BUNCH of test tiles!
  6. Babs, thanks for mentioning that fact. I've been experimenting with glazes on limited parts of my sculptures, and I've been wondering about that possibility. You're a mind reader!
  7. Hi Babs. Yes, I'm wanting a wash that has a metallic or "iron" look to it. And it has to be applied to bisqueware since raw ware would likely lose a few details when I start rubbing & washing away excess wash. There are times when I can't really scrub even the bisqueware because of areas that are too fragile. I just bought a bottle of Amaco manganese dioxide wash, but it provided nothing but a dark, almost black color -- no sheen or iron look to it at all. I'll give the black copper oxide and manganese dioxide mixture a try after my next visit to the clay store. Thanks! Jayne
  8. Oldlady, I forgot to answer your other question. The standing figure is about 25 inches...and the head is about 1.5 x life size. Jayne
  9. Oldlady, as you can see, neither of the dark washes was obscured by the acrylics, although the Mayco wash is definitely more assertive than the copper carbonate. Copper carbonate used this way is a little unpredictable, but I have added more cc to the water and gotten a darker effect, although not as dark as the Mayco "Stoneware Wash". On the other hand, the Mayco "Stoneware Wash" may give a lighter effect if greatly diluted. Time for more experiments! .
  10. Hi Oldlady. I'm using Highwater Clay's Raku, cone 06-6. I'm sure different effects would result from different clays. The standing figure "Green Mansions" is bisque fired, then one coat of Mayco's "Stoneware Wash" is applied diluted 1:1 with water. That is the specific glaze name given to it (also number 304, I think). It is then wiped off and fired to 4. (That glaze can be fired 06 to 10.) In hindsight, I think I should have diluted it more. It would have been easier to apply and maybe it would have stayed in the crevices rather than covering some nearby areas (the feathers' high ridges to be exact). I'm afraid the color tone in the image isn't entirely true, because it is under fluorescent lighting. For comparison, the head "Memories Become Bouquets" is bisque fired, then coated with copper carbonate mixed with water. The excess is wiped off and the piece is fired to cone 5. (That's an arbitrary choice; I get almost the same results firing to cone 06 as to cone 6.) Using copper carbonate wash on earthenware gives me a more iron look - what I call metallic - instead of mainly just brown color, as here. I wasn't able to post pictures of the two pieces fully finished here, but for the finished sculptures, which have been washed with greatly diluted acrylics, see the next post.
  11. Benzine, the Mayco stoneware wash looked great before the piece went into the kiln. The dark color was in each tiny, tiny groove on the feathers with the high areas between grooves wiped clean and showing the white clay. As you can see by the photo, it didn't come out that way. I'm guessing that the stoneware wash has to be really scrubbed off, and the feathers couldn't take that kind of abuse even after bisque firing. (?) Odd that I could see the white clay between feather grooves before firing, though. Ah well, live and learn. I do like the metallic look of the wash, but I'll have to do some more experimenting before I subject another sculpture to it. As a result of the dark wash obscuring the feathers, I have spent all day mixing a paint color that perfectly matches the original fired clay color and then painting with a super fine brush each teeny tiny, itty-bitty high ridge of each feather. Not quite the way I planned things....! Thanks for the input, Oldlady. I think I have a misunderstanding of the mirror test. I was trying to decide if the pieces were ready to move past that 212 mark without blowing up. I was testing for steam with a mirror at a temperature under 212. Duh!!
  12. Thanks for the validation, Neil. Is the mirror trick the best way to know if the moisture is all out?
  13. Thanks for the compliment, Benzine. I'm afraid that I've kinda screwed that piece up! I usually add copper carbonate to get dark tones to enhance the texture, but I've been experimenting with other glazes. Yesterday I chose Stoneware Wash from Mayco as a paint on and rub off wash, and it went too dark. Arrrgh! Now I'm trying to figure out how to pull it back from the edge! Benzine, That's a good idea about using a dehumidifier. I'll search for posts on the subject... I followed Mark's lead and went ahead and set the kiln to preheat at 200 overnight. It hasn't hurt the work!! Yaaay! So maybe I'll follow your lead and take a chance on shortening the overall preheat that I had planned on doing. I'm going to try checking for steam via a mirror as has been mentioned here on the forum. Unless there is a better way?
  14. Mark, this is a raku clay body. I chose it because I wanted a clay that was strong enough to survive my mistakes! Also, the intention is to pit fire (well, trash can fire) my work....one of these days. (My last pit firing was with an earthenware clay and it ended up broken into 8 pieces. I really don't want to stand by a fire and hear that many pops and cracks every again!!) Okay, I think I hear what you're saying, Mark. I just thought that if I slowly raised the temp to 200, there would be less likelihood of fissures. Babs, you make me laugh.
  15. Benzine, My sculptures tend to be a bit organic....which is another way of saying that they decide what they're going to be as we go along. Let's say I build a person's head, then add hair, then add feathers, then add....., well you get the idea. The attached image of a sculpture that stands about 25" high is a good example of that. Even though I've cut open the head and scraped it out to try to make the walls 1/4" thick, the individual ropes of hair and in this case, feathers, makes it impossible to keep to that 1/4" thickness. Also, it's VERY humid here, so nothing is every really dry. AND, I don't have the patience to wait the 2 or 3 weeks that some folk recommend for sculptural work. I did read yesterday's posts about using a kiln to dry wet work, but it didn't really address this kind of work........
  16. I have a one-year-old electronic Olympic kiln. I use the preset programs, always going with a slow bisque combined with a long preheat period -- usually 12-18 hours preheating at 200. Tonight I need to rush this load a little, but I don't think it's ready for 200 degrees! I'd like to dry the work a little faster than it can dry by just sitting in my studio (withits humidity of 85%). It seems that PRE pre-heating the work at maybe 125 for 12 hours before I use the actual preheat program, which is 200 degrees, would be safer than jumping the temperature on the sculptures straightaway to 200. Is my logic, um, logical? And if it is, can anyone tell me how to do this? I can't find anything in the instruction manual that tells me how to set the temperature to 125 degrees for a period of time. Jayne
  17. Thanks, Mark. I have a whole new understanding of what's needed to enable a slab roller to properly do its job and turn out a strong slab. My babying the slab roller was hobbling it.
  18. Thank you all for a mind boggling array of ideas. As for you, Babs, I can assure you that I do indeed have lots of problems.....and some of them are even ceramics related! Jayne
  19. Thanks for the names and labels, everybody. I now have lots of epoxies and glues to check out, not only for strengthening, but also for attaching parts. I've used the 5 minute epoxy, but haven't seen the 2 ton epoxy! John, if you look at my work, I think you'd have to agree that not many folks would say "Gee, I need TWO of those!" Nonetheless, I've thought about your suggestion and I think it's a good one. If nothing else, I can send one to a gallery and keep the other for the only show I do each year, the Piedmont Craftsmen Show in NC. And to be honest, I always look at a finished piece and think "Hmmm, if only I'd......." So if I follow your suggestion and make a couple at a time, I can try several sizes, proportions, colors, etc.... Angie, the fingers are spread as in a 'high five'. Not that I make sculptures of folks throwing 'high fives' around....... ! I don't know the grog size in the clay. It's Highwater Raku with a slight grog. I fired it to o6 to bisque and then to o6 after applying copper carbonate. I didn't use paper in the clay. For something that small, I don't usually like to use paper clay. I find it hard to get fine detail, despite first soaking the shredded toilet paper and then adding it to fine dried clay that has been reconstituted, and then using a food processor to whip it into a fine slip before drying. Yes, the hands broke after firing when the sculpture was knocked over. I've ground away most of what was left of the hands, and now I have to get a really smooth surface to join the new hands to. Anyone have a favorite grinding bit suggestion? An image of the sculpture sans hands is attached. I could've gone with wing tips on the ends of the "arms" but human hands just seemed to work better with the stone textured, mountain referenced, human figure.... (what was I smoking, right?) Jayne
  20. John, I can see the practicality of the "make three of anything done as a one-off", but the problem with that is that there are so many ideas and so little time!!! Actually, you've given me something to think about. As a sculptor, I tend to think that I "owe" it to the buyer not to make duplicates (even though, of course, they can't be exact duplicates unless I make a mold, and even then....). As I said, something to think about! Is there an epoxy that you'd recommend? I mix a five-minute epoxy for attaching small parts, but it doesn't really absorb very well. I was wondering if there is something thinner bodied.
  21. I've just broken the hands on a small sculpture and made and fired another pair of hands. The problem is that a 3/4" long hand with slightly spread fingers is bound to be very fragile. Can anyone recommend a penetrating glue or other substance that I can apply to these little hands to make them stronger? They're made from Raku clay that fires from 06 to cone 6. If I fire them to the higher end of the temperature range, will there be enough of an improvement in the strength to justify running the kiln for a pair of tiny hands? I can see that a pot fired to a higher temp would be stronger, I just don't know if it would matter with a hand that has fingers no thicker than 1/16-1/8"! Jayne
  22. Thanks, Terry. Whack it, huh? I can do that!! Jayne
  23. Old Lady, Bailey has been great. It was they who told me that my base was probably the culprit. Jed, I'm familiar with pipe clamps and you're right; they would hold it together through a tornado. I had screwed the cabinets together as if they were going into a kitchen where they would receive far less stress, so I took them apart after talking to Bailey and did basically what Mark suggested. So far, so good. And thanks for the compliment on my studio. I carved my studio out of an old wood-working shop that was filled with spiders, dust, junk and mold. Artist and potter friends thought it was a crazy way to furnish a studio, and I'll admit that open shelves and moveable tables are more flexible but hand-rubbed cherry cabinets create a beautiful aesthetic with 50 linear feet of counterspace and 26 full-extension, self-closing drawers that conveniently organize my mess so that my ADD doesn't distract me when I should be producing sculptures! With my kiln in the other half of the wood shop, and despite 2 big dogs underfoot, my tiny 350 square foot studio works surprisingly well for me (and my husband when he gets a chance to make a coiled pot or two). Thanks Mark for elaborating on the capabilities of a slab roller. I can seee that you're right: with me cutting the slabs so thin, the roller doesn't have to work hard enough to smash the slabs together. I'll try larger slabs and hope that I've stabilized the cabinets enough to take the strain.
  24. Wow, that's a wide range of ideas for ways to handle this challenge. I'm gonna try several to find the one that easiest/best for me. I don't quite understand the diagonal cut that Mark mentions, but I'd like to..... In answer to Mark's question about why I'm cutting the block into thin slabs, I had a problem last year (and posted about it here) wherein my 30" wide roller table (two cabinets joined together, 72" long overall) began to wriggle apart just enough that the canvas was getting sucked down into the crack between them when I tried to roll canvas and clay through the roller. I took it all apart and reassembled the two cabinets with much stronger joins between them. Since then I've had no trouble with the tables being pushed apart from the pressure of the slab roller, but I'm afraid that if I send too big a chunk of clay though, it might force the cabinet bases apart again. In the image attached, I'm showing the 25-lb block of clay that i get from Highwater Clay. Surely no one is suggesting that I try to force that big modacker through those rollers? How thick a slab should I feel comfortable forcing through my slab roller? Attached is an image of the cabinets as a slabroller table...And yes, I've been told that no serious clay studio uses expensive cherry cabinets for storage, but I was building my studio just as the housing bubble burst 3 years ago. That bust cost me my construction job, but it gave me a studio full of functional and beautiful solid cherry cabinets ... for cheap!! BTW, that's Mr. Evans and Mrs. Jones bookending the slabroller..... Jayne
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