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Mesi

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  1. Like
    Mesi got a reaction from GiselleNo5 in Amaco "Potter's choice" glazes   
    I adore my potters choice glazes. I've got tons of them. You have to apply THICK. I've never seen any of them go on too thick, but its easy to go too thin. I fire mine to cone 6 and they turn out great. Under-fired they look muddy, and I once had a load get over-fired (guessing about cone 7) and they all looked muddy and had a brownish tint to them.
     
     
    I've got:
    -Olive speckle
    -sienna speckle
    -ironstone
    -iron lustre
    -blue rutile
    -midnight blue
    -tourmaline
    -temmoku
    -indigo float
    -frosted melon
    -deep firebrick
    -seaweed
     
    maybe some others I've forgotten. I'm a glaze impulse buyer. You get some suprising results by layering, and in my experience, nto always what the amaco test pages show.
     
    And I second layering with other glazes. My all-time favorite glaze is now a layer of amaco sahara oatmeal over ironstone. Looks like ancient jasper, but it turns out right every time
  2. Like
    Mesi got a reaction from dolly in What bisque firing schedule do you use?   
    I would LOVE for someone to write a detailed guide on firing. As a potter who is fairly new to firing my own work, it's been a tough road trying to figure out what I'm doing. And I, like the OP, have a kiln with a sitter and only the vaguest idea what the cryptic knobs equate to. Its difficult to translate that into a ramp of x degrees per hour, if you don't know what each knob setting does. So far I've just had to wing it, and have had passable results.
  3. Like
    Mesi got a reaction from Laurarose in For Christmas.   
    So... Many.... Egg separators....
     
    Closely followed by spoon rests.
     
    Third runner up are (oddly specific )mugs with trees on them. Any kind of mug. Any kind of tree. People around here have been losing their minds for all three of these items lately.
  4. Like
    Mesi reacted to Idaho Potter in Expectation And Appearance   
    This has been a most entertaining thread!  Years ago I traded fad and fashion for comfort.  Sweats + T-shirt and Birks in summer, spring and fall.  Winters I add a sweatshirt on top and socks on bottom.  Everything covered as best I can with an apron.  Dress up is for weddings and funerals--I don't like going to either one.  When mingling with folks at the grocery store, I trade sweats for jeans and wash up.
     
    Reading about the critics reminded me of a potter friend of mine who had Dragon Lady fingernails and her hands always looked like she'd just had a manicure.  At a show, I heard a "customer" dispute the fact that she had produced all the pottery exhibited in her booth had been done by her--because of the length of her nails.  She responded with, "It is because of my martial arts training.  I can throw pots, or disembowel an opponent just as easily."
     
    I wanted to applaud.
     
    Shirley
  5. Like
    Mesi reacted to ChenowethArts in Maybe We Have Been Missing A Trick.   
    I subscribe to the "unintentional osmosis" school of getting as much clay on your body while throwing...for "health reasons".  Yes. That's it...nothing to do with being sloppy, right?
     
    I am hoping my clay supplier doesn't market this clay-eating idea.  I can see it now, "Start Your Day With a Spoon-a Laguna".
     
    -Paul
  6. Like
    Mesi got a reaction from InspireArtStudioandPottery in Building A Basement Studio   
    I've tried a LOT of mops and I find that the replaceable sponge mops are the best.  They hold up well and clean out easily.  The rope mop was a clay-caked disaster.  I got the floor squeegee from Home Depot or Lowes.  18 inch squeegee head on like a mop handle.
  7. Like
    Mesi reacted to neilestrick in Building A Basement Studio   
    I always ran a dehumidifier in my basement studio during the humid summer months. It not only helped dry out pots, but it made the whole house more pleasant since we didn't have AC. If you can, have it drain into a floor drain so you don't have to empty it all the time.
  8. Like
    Mesi reacted to Babs in Building A Basement Studio   
    Good footwear would help with that. The shoes that chefs wear, actually clogs most of them are great,
    Rubber mats which can be hosed down , the ones with holes in them, great to stand on all day,again commercial kitchen use. 
    I've found the stand all day can be avoided by consciously changing tasks to help your body do it for the long haul.
  9. Like
    Mesi got a reaction from InspireArtStudioandPottery in Building A Basement Studio   
    1.   What type of utility sink will be sufficient-will "plastic" hold up?

     

    Mine's plastic and it holds up fine.  I've got a trap in there as well to catch all the clay goobers.

     

     

    3.  About how much room should I leave around the kiln in a separate room for stacking, maintenance, etc.

     

    18 inches I think is what most manufacturers recommend.  Due to space constraints my kiln is in the same room as the studio itself, i just close the door and stay out when firing.

     

    4.  I'm building a 4x8 studio table.  Any suggestion as to a material for the top?  I am considering hardboard.  But would a Formica-like product be better.  I am concerned about moisture and warping.

     

    hardboard is probably going to absorb water and deteriorate.  I've got an ancient formica-top dining table right now, and its fabulously easy to clean.  I took and covered 4x4 drywall sheets in canvas duck for when we're doing clay work (take them off and lean them against the wall when we're glazing so we can just wipe off the formica).

     

    5.  Cleaning floors:  I know damp mopping is best but should I vacuum up the dust first with a shop vac?  If not, wouldn't I just be pushing around mud even if I rinse frequently?

     

     You'll regret shop vac-ing.  Sooo much dust in the air.  We throw water on the floor (concrete with epoxy over) and scrub with a mop, squeegie it into a puddle and soak up the puddle.  Our studio gets FILTHY (My business partner says my carving has a "blast radius") and even at its worst 2 or 3 rinse and squeegie sessions get it sparkling.

     

    6.  I plan on painting the concrete floor with appropriate paint.  Should I leave the kiln area unpainted?  

     

    Ours is painted and it's been fine.
  10. Downvote
    Mesi got a reaction from OffCenter in Another "my first show" thread (sorry)   
    Lots to think about , but good advice. I never considered a T shape, that's something I'll definitely try too.
     
    As for pricing, since last weekend was my first show, maybe I'll keep the pricing static this weekend (same venue) and I think next weekend too (different art and farmer's market the next town over, slightly deeper pockets in that crowd). If people are still hesitant about things maybe I'll reconsider how my prices are set. That way I'll at least get a larger sampling of reactions. There's another potter in the area who way undercharges for her work, and she sells her stuff like hotcakes, so I guess I'm a little insecure about that. We sell very different work, so I'm not worried about "competing" per say, but if the crowd I'm selling to is used to very low priced ceramics, I'm afraid of putting them off. I guess we'll see. Most expensive item in my booth is $40 (14" Flower pot with a sculpted gargoyle face), so its not like I'm asking astronomical amounts. Most of my stuff is around $20-25.
  11. Downvote
    Mesi got a reaction from OffCenter in Another "my first show" thread (sorry)   
    My one table is placed at the far back of my 10x10 tent, and I was standing behind it. I have another table extending in front of it to form an L. Do you think scooching the back table forward a foot or 18" will detract too much from the arrangement? It just eats up some of the dead interior space of my booth, and since there are no sides to it, I don't think it'll be too crowded. I will totally slather up and wear my dorky sunhat though (and I have a pretty phenomenally dorky sunhat ) if you guys think it would be a bad move to eat up my booth interior. Thoughts?
  12. Like
    Mesi got a reaction from GEP in Success - what is it?   
    I have been dabbling in pottery off and on for many years. Only recently have I begun working with clay in earnest, and it has consumed me. it has become the full time job on top of my real full time job. The difference is that one of these I love, and I'll give you a hint, it isn't the one where I wear a suit.
     
    To me, there are two different milestones of what I would consider success:
     
    The first, and more lofty in my opinion, is being able to make the ends meet without my soulless day job. I'm not asking for much, just the ends meeting. I'll even live on a diet of all $0.12 instant ramen noodles, and I would consider myself successful.
     
    The second, and maybe more realistic marker of success is a little harder to define. I would consider myself a successful potter when I feel as though my soul is nourished by what I do. Whether I ever gain recognition, or have my work in a gallery, or quit my day job, or make a dime, I consider clay work to be a successful endeavor if I feel rewarded doing it.
     
    I often grapple about which of these markers I strive for more, or should strive for. Do I really try to make the ends meet? Or do I find solace in "real life" by just being able to work with clay? It's difficult to decide. But, for what my two newb cents are worth, the above is how I would define success.
  13. Downvote
    Mesi got a reaction from OffCenter in Success - what is it?   
    I have been dabbling in pottery off and on for many years. Only recently have I begun working with clay in earnest, and it has consumed me. it has become the full time job on top of my real full time job. The difference is that one of these I love, and I'll give you a hint, it isn't the one where I wear a suit.
     
    To me, there are two different milestones of what I would consider success:
     
    The first, and more lofty in my opinion, is being able to make the ends meet without my soulless day job. I'm not asking for much, just the ends meeting. I'll even live on a diet of all $0.12 instant ramen noodles, and I would consider myself successful.
     
    The second, and maybe more realistic marker of success is a little harder to define. I would consider myself a successful potter when I feel as though my soul is nourished by what I do. Whether I ever gain recognition, or have my work in a gallery, or quit my day job, or make a dime, I consider clay work to be a successful endeavor if I feel rewarded doing it.
     
    I often grapple about which of these markers I strive for more, or should strive for. Do I really try to make the ends meet? Or do I find solace in "real life" by just being able to work with clay? It's difficult to decide. But, for what my two newb cents are worth, the above is how I would define success.
  14. Downvote
    Mesi got a reaction from OffCenter in My weird kiln won't reach temp   
    Now, I know there are a number of troubleshooting threads on here about kilns not reaching temperature, but my problem is a little more complicated. See, I have an old Nova 18 kiln. Its a ceramic fiber kiln where the elements are embedded in the walls.
     
    I'm trying to fire to cone 6, and have successfully done so many times before, but this time (probably because I have a show the first week in May, and hey, what could stress me out more?) it will. not. reach. temp. And it is SO CLOSE. The kiln color and look of the pieces leads me to believe its hovering around cone 5. Maybe even ^5.5. Its very close but my touchier glazes aren't there yet. I've tried 3 times to get it to temp and every time it's timing out before hitting temp. And I'm being more than generous with the time. I had some suspicions that something might be going last time I fired. I took the cone out of the sitter and it wasn't quite to 90 degrees. Bent certainly, but a little under where it usually is. Had I been smart I would have put witness cone packs on all my shelves and checked it out further, but I didn't. Live and learn.
     
    The specs:
     
    -Nova 18 model KL-21830 Series 218
    -6120 Watts, 240 V, 1 phase
     
    -Interior size is about 18" deep by 18" in diameter
     
    -Kiln sitter model LT-3K
     
    Breakers are fine, plug is fine, I know the electrical going to it is good, I had a master electrician install it specifically for this kiln. Fires to lower temps within a normal time range, the last firing had the cone barely under-fired looking. Generally a glaze fire takes me about 7 hours, 1 on low, 1 on medium, then I turn it up to high. I've reliably used this glaze firing schedule on all my previous firings. This time I did the same, one hour on low, 1 on medium, turn to high. I checked it at the end of the time, and it had timed out but the latch on my sitter had not dropped. I immediately reset the timer for 5 more hours (figuring I would just keep checking on it) and restarted it. Again, it timed out and didn't reach temp. I started it AGAIN, and it just hovered there, looking like it was about cone 5. 4.5 more hours and I just turned it off. I let it cool yesterday evening and last night and peered into it this morning, and things just look kinda under fired. It was still too hot to open up and check the cone. I'll do that tonight when I get home from work. I'll also turn it on high with the lid open and see if I can see the elements glowing through the walls. It's really hard to see though, as the ceramic fiber all just glows when heated up.
     
    Something I did notice last night was the lack of noise from the sitter. Generally it hums on and off, punctuated every once in a while by little popping noises. Now, I'm not sure if this is normal sitter behavior, but it's normal for mine. I don't know much about the nuts n bolts of kiln controls, so I'm at a little but of a loss here, but do you think there's any chance that it could be something in there that's going?
  15. Like
    Mesi got a reaction from GEP in Another "my first show" thread (sorry)   
    So I had my public ceramics debut this weekend at my local farm and craft market!
     
    I was far from selling out, but that's not terribly surprising. I had no idea how large my body of work was until I laid it all out on my deck to price it last week. (if I never had to decide prices for things again, it would be too soon. I HATE pricing).
     
    The public received my work well, and I was invited to several more local venues, and I even met some local potters and scheduled some clay play dates .
     
    I have a feeling this whole show/fair/ farmer's market thing is going to be quite the learning experience. I already know a few pricing changes I'm going to make, and I'm going to arrange my booth differently next weekend. I put some of my flashier stuff out toward the front, but I feel like it sticker-shocked people and prevented them from coming in where I had all my little impulse buys. Will swap the arrangement for next time. I also had my tables in sort of an L-shaped arrangement, which prevented people from seeing a large portion of my work when just passing by, because it was blocked by other things. Not sure what to do about that though, due to space constraints.
     
    I think the final change I would make, is to make space for myself INSIDE my booth. I thought, oh, the market is shady, I'll be fine without sunblock. Well, I am one crispy critter now!
     
    Anyway, I just wanted to post, because I am very proud that I had the guts to get out there and actually do this, it was very empowering.
  16. Downvote
    Mesi got a reaction from OffCenter in Another "my first show" thread (sorry)   
    So I had my public ceramics debut this weekend at my local farm and craft market!
     
    I was far from selling out, but that's not terribly surprising. I had no idea how large my body of work was until I laid it all out on my deck to price it last week. (if I never had to decide prices for things again, it would be too soon. I HATE pricing).
     
    The public received my work well, and I was invited to several more local venues, and I even met some local potters and scheduled some clay play dates .
     
    I have a feeling this whole show/fair/ farmer's market thing is going to be quite the learning experience. I already know a few pricing changes I'm going to make, and I'm going to arrange my booth differently next weekend. I put some of my flashier stuff out toward the front, but I feel like it sticker-shocked people and prevented them from coming in where I had all my little impulse buys. Will swap the arrangement for next time. I also had my tables in sort of an L-shaped arrangement, which prevented people from seeing a large portion of my work when just passing by, because it was blocked by other things. Not sure what to do about that though, due to space constraints.
     
    I think the final change I would make, is to make space for myself INSIDE my booth. I thought, oh, the market is shady, I'll be fine without sunblock. Well, I am one crispy critter now!
     
    Anyway, I just wanted to post, because I am very proud that I had the guts to get out there and actually do this, it was very empowering.
  17. Like
    Mesi got a reaction from III in Another "my first show" thread (sorry)   
    That's why I keep posting this. I don't figure most people aren't terribly interested, but for posterity sake, it's good to hear these things. I know I appreciate show wisdom from people.
     
    This past weekend I did a larger market the next town over, and know what? I made out almost exactly the same as the weekend before when no one showed up and it snowed! (except, of course, that I paid 4 times as much to get in). Basically, I spent all day getting snubbed by a really big crowd instead of a small to moderate crowd. The lesson? Definitely scope out a venue before committing to it. It was totally not my key demographic (who wears stilettos to a farmers market, honestly?!)
     
    But the good news is that the next day when I went to grab some groceries at the farmers market I had been at previously, I was stopped by a bunch of people who recognized me and were disappointed I wasn't there with a booth. Maybe there is something to be said for just getting people used to seeing you.
     
    My layout was better this time around though, I think I'll try this setup again. I put 2 6ft tables out in the very front of my tent half shelves on top of them and with my chairs behind. Inside the tent was just for me and my partner, and a third banquet table that we had setup with all of our packaging materials. I hung all my windchimes and hanging pots on the front of the tent too, and mostly just stood behind. I feel like it created enough separation between us and the marketgoers, so they didn't feel trapped, but we were present to answer questions. It also put all the shiny pretty glazes out in the light where they are best viewed.
     
    So, lots learned once again. I've got a 2 week hiatus now before my next show, thank goodness. All the early mornings and loading, unloading, and setup are brutal.
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