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Celia UK

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Everything posted by Celia UK

  1. As I thought then - thanks for the confirmation Joel, but 'under 100oC for a while' could mean lots of things! My first ramp is generally 100oC up to 525oC (I'm sure there was some significance in this - is it the chemically bound water thing? I THINK it was more important to leave out the bungs for glaze firing - ?can spoil the glaze, but am not certain. I do understand about getting the moisture out of greenware in the bisque firing, too.) Old Lady - I've mixed bisque and glaze firings too - when the temps work out, and have also never had a problem. However my glazing is pretty basic stuff - no special effects or the like. Pres - the mirror works perfectly for me and I've been surprised by how hot the kiln can be and still have moisture coming off what I'd have said was bone dry ware! At 525oC (977oF) there's never moisture, but I've still seen it at 400oC. I find the mirror reassuring as its so visual - guess you just have sensitive hands!!
  2. Now I know the full name, I'll check out YouTube. Thanks Doris.
  3. I don't get the idea of pre-heating? Is this only if the ware isn't completely dry? Doesn't a slow first ramp, with bungs out until there's no condensation on the mirror, cover this? Newbie questions again!!! I'm in (sunny!) England, so humidity isn't an issue and I don't bisque fire until things are completely dry. Celia
  4. I'm not familiar with Peters' drop technique - can you explain Larry? Thanks.
  5. I like this Old Lady - have done it myself with water before committing to glaze. It gets the muscle memory going!
  6. I think the Norfolk Video answers your question pretty well on its own. Good luck!
  7. I've used plaster of Paris & no1 potters' plaster depending on what was available. Both worked. One of my boxes seems damper than the others but I can't remember which is which now! Oh how I love my damp boxes - I have slabs, hand moulded leaves & flowers, thrown bowls I'm thinking about re decoration.. All just waiting for when I get back to them. Celia
  8. Brad - for the Magic Box video, Google "Youtube Magic Box clay" and it should come up first. Posted by Tim See. Celia
  9. Brad - for the Magic Box video, Google "Youtube Magic Box clay" and it should come up first. Posted by Tim See. Celia
  10. Having done a couple of years of ceramics 30 years ago, I knew it appealed as a retirement activity. My route 2 years before I was due to retire, so still v busy work wise, was ...... 1) Community Ed classes - I used to take pieces home and work on them between classes. 2) Bought a small 2nd hand kiln which meant I could also hand build at home and fire my work in my own time. 1 year later... 3) Bought an electric wheel. Although throwing will always be my preferred construction technique, I have dabbled with handbuilding - pinching and slabs, hump and slump moulds etc. while getting used to working with clay, trying out glazes and decorating techniques. There is a lot of scope without buying a wheel in the first instance, if you didn't want to shell out for everything immediately. At one point I did think I needn't have bought the wheel so soon, but I was right to get the kiln first. If your class has a number of different wheels, you'll have the opportunity to decide which suits you best, before you commit to buying your own. One piece of advice, given that you'll definitely be dipping in and out when you have a few spare minutes, is to make yourself some Magic Box damp boxes for storing your work. There is a video available on YouTube - I'll try to find the link. Basically - large cuboid lidded storage boxes with a słab of plaster about 1" thick in the base. With pottery, so much depends on the clay being at the right stage of wetness/dryness, an easy way to keep things damp until the next time you have a few spare minutes is a godsend! You don't have to wrap things up, spray them, keep an eye on them all the time. When one of the little ones demands your time & attention, just put your piece in a damp box and it will still be in a good condition to continue with, later! I spent years in school, with pottery club only taking place once a week, wrapping, spraying etc.etc. things drying out between classes....because I'd never come across the Magic Box idea!
  11. You must be thrilled to have such a batch of successes! I have several shelves full of early pieces - more failures than successes. I love your slip trailed designs, I had a go once, but I coloured the slip and didn't like the results at all. I am going to try this again with white slip this time! I've certainly improved my throwing in the last 2 1/2 years, but am still struggling to come up with decorating techniques that I enjoy. You've helped me on the way. I applaud your move to sell on Etsy - I'm sure it will be a great motivator, not that you sound as if you need it. Despite encouragement from friends who have bought my work, I've hesitated to commit to a craft show, even though I know it will really make me focus. Now I'm thinking - Christmas 2015.......perhaps!?
  12. They're lovely Ray. I agree with SD - only you know that you expected something more perfect. Quality is a spectrum after all - my perfect mug might be someone else's second or even third (or even in the trash!). As Grype says, I've also seen professional potters' pieces with minor glaze flaws that I (as a mere Newbie) would consider failures if they were mine. At a throwing workshop last year, I kept on and on turning one of my pieces because it wasn't good enough to my mind and I was chastised by the 'tutor' (a highly successful, renowned potter). - "it's handmade so why are you trying to make it look as if it was mass produced". Price them sensibly and the answer will be in your sales. If I liked something enough to buy it, I wouldn't care if the maker considered it a second as long as it was functionally sound. Whether or not you call them 'seconds' is your only issue. If they're being sold alongside other clearly more successful versions of the same design, then yes, you probably need to do that. Otherwise - well that's still your question!
  13. Me too Jolieo - no idea! My first thought was a dog walker! Not sure where that came from as I'm not a doggie person at all.
  14. These days I tend to listen to Radio 4 while in the studio, (and when driving and most other things) - rarely any music there. However, I sitll experience the phenomenon of looking at a piece I've made at a later date and having the memory of what I was listening to at the time of maiming it, come flooding back! Definitely something going on the brain there!
  15. Welcome Tanya - I too have a Hobbytech 40, but with a slightly different Kiln sitter. I was also in the situation of having the work whisked away when I was learning years ago, so had massive holes in my knowledge and understanding when I came back to it! I have had a digital controller added now, but I fired the kiln just with the sitter for about a year, but was only using earthenware clay. I've recently started using some stoneware and have fired it to 1200oC but no higher. As Neil says, although these say they fire to 1300oC that would really be pushing it! Even though I've never tried going that high, I know that it would be very slow to achieve the last few degrees to reach the top temperature. First time firing, as Neil says set the timer to high number and see what it stops at when the kiln switches off - the difference will be the length of the firing, so you can set it a little longer as a safety net thereafter. I have to say, on mine, the timer knob tends to stick so doesn't really give me an accurate picture. (not needed now I have the controller, but I still have to make sure it's set for longer than the firing will take) Use minibars in the kiln sitter - an 04 or 05 will bend and switch the kiln off just fine for a bisque firing of around 1000oC. If you make up a cone pack with 3 cones, say 03, 04 and 05 and run it with an 04 minibar in the sitter, you'll be able to see how closely they relate. (Can't believe I'm giving this advice, as I've never got into the habit of using cone packs myself!) I'm sure I've read somewhere to use a minibar one cone lower than you want to fire to. So an 05 in the sitter may actually relate to an 04 firing. Before I had the controller, I used 05 minibars for bisque but I have a friend with the same kiln who uses 04! The higher the bisque temperature, the less absorbent the clay will be for glazing. I have always found the technical experts at Potterycrafts and Potclays very helpful with queries about glazing and firing, so a 'phone call there with a specific question is another option for you. Better still, someone at Northern Kilns (Google them) would be even more appropriate. If you're using commercial brush-on glazes, although they're relatively expensive, I'm sure you and your Hobbytech will get on just fine. It all gets a bit more complicated and frustrating if you start mixing your own (she says from experience!!!!!) but stick with it and you'll get there. Lots of Googling and questions here .......loads of expert advice to draw on. Enjoy!
  16. At grammar (High) school, I was quite academic, but not really aware of it at the time. No history of college or university in my family (grandfather and father both furniture makers, mother - clerical), so parents not really aspirational for me. I first got my hands 'muddy' in art class at age 11 and it definitely sparked something in me. Art at school stopped aged 13 unless you took it as an option for O levels. I was choosing between music (I've always loved singing, but never stuck at an instrument), art and dressmaking & needlework. The latter won the day! At 16yrs old with a wadge of good O levels I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career and had a narrow understanding of what was possible. I started A levels in Biology, Maths and Geography but apart from a real love of biology I really don't know why I ended up with these three subjects - advice to an 'academic' student from teachers I think! I was ill in the first term with hepatitis and glandular fever and after an absence of over 2 months, couldn't motivate myself to continue at school. I had a friend who had left school to become a Beauty Therapist & I was rather in awe of her. Somehow, aged 17 I ended up at college in Manchester, on a 3 year, full time course in hairdressing and beauty therapy. In my first year, my Mum became ill with lung cancer, and I left college to help look after her. Sadly she died very soon after and the following Autumn I went back to college, dropping the hairdressing, to continue a 2 year course in Beauty Therapy. While the course content suited me well (in-depth anatomy, physiology, chemistry (cosmetics), physics (electrical treatments), nutrition, physical education and ART which I loved, as well as all the practical aspects) I was never really suited to this as a profession. I passed all my courses with flying colours and intended using my qualifications in the Occupational Therapy department of my local hospital - but despite the promise of a position, financial cuts meant this never came to anything. Various unfulfilling jobs followed for a couple of years - mostly clerical positions, au pair, bit of salon work, lecturing in Further Ed. Then I started nurse training - my true vocation, met the man who later became my first husband. We married 1 year into my 3 year training, 2 years in he wanted to relocate back to our home town, so I transferred my training to the local hospital but never settled and made the fateful error of giving up nursing! Two children followed, and my marriage failed when they were 2 & 4 years old. I was unfulfilled, had no higher education qualifications, so limited career prospects and needed to be financially independent! After working a year as a temp in an office, to keep the wolf from the door, I knew I needed to study for a degree if I was ever to be able to have a professional career. With 2 dependent children under 5, I wasn't in a position to relocate, so my local college was the only option. They offered a 4 year BEd degree course in Primary Education. This included a specialist subject area which needed an A level (English, Maths, Science, Music etc.) but for Art & Design the entry qualification was an interview and a portfolio. Yay! Now 31 years old, I started my degree course, qualifying with an upper second class degree, 4 years later. In the latter 2 years we had to specialise in either 2D or 3D (ceramics) - 22 years after my first introduction to clay I was getting my hands dirty again. I taught the full breadth of the Primary Curriculum (5-11yrs) for 23 years, which included curriculum art and an after-school pottery club in the last few years of my career (Headteacher - 'Principal'). In the last 2 years leading up to retirement I prepared to get back into ceramics - bought a small kiln, set up a work room, then bought an electric wheel. I'm currently closer to being a potter than I've ever been. So .......until now I didn't become a potter, I became various other things along the way. Nursing / medicine would have been my vocation but teaching became my career (never a vocation - I just worked hard to become successful at it!) MY RETIREMENT HEAVEN: In addition to my pottery exploits I'm now 'scratching' the medical itch AND using the Beauty Therapy training by working as a Red Cross volunteer in my local hospital - offering hand, arm, back, neck & shoulder massage to patients, one day a week and also have plans in hand to set up a clinic as a volunteer in hospital, providing Cosmetic Camouflage consultations. I am also about to start training as a Red Cross trainer for the massage treatments. So despite many 'failures' and 'mistakes' along the way, at 60 years old it's all coming round and nothing has been a waste of time after all. Not quite a direct answer to the question in hand, but it got me thinking.......
  17. Too much information for me after 4 hours in the golf course and a couple of glasses of wine! I'm not dim, but I need to go back to basics on this and sit and think about it carefully. I do know that cones measure heat work but as I'm not in the habit of using them except in the kiln sitter as a back up, I haven't really got my head round the significance of it all. I think I've generally been ok using the digital programmer and final temperatures because I'm mostly using transparent glazes which I think don't need too much subtlety! No doubt as I get into more complex glazes I'll need to sit down and read this up and get my head round it all. Thanks for all the info!
  18. Thanks for your reply David - I'm such a Newbie that this almost reads like Double Dutch to me. What I really meant was WHY is there a different ramp for the last 200 oF? I'm using a digital controller on a v small electric kiln and slow down to 80 oC between 500oC and 600oC then go flat out to the top temperature. I haven't got into the habit of using witness cones I'm afraid! What are the pitfalls in this? Should I be programming another ramp for the last 200o??? Does it make any difference if I'm firing earthenware or stoneware glazes?
  19. Thanks rakuku, never thought of it in those terms! Not sure I like the cobalt myself - I prefer the copper carbonate ones I've made - a bit more subtle.
  20. Thanks for your comments Guinea - it's great to get feedback. You''re so right about being delicate. I have to be very careful drying these out as the stencil bits are so thin - c. 1/16" they easily snap if they dry quicker than the rim of the bowl. At the greenware stage, I've broken one just by knocking it as I worked at my table. Should have moved it!!! But my usual mistake is to fiddle about too much, removing joining slip, smoothing edges etc. when I'd be better leaving it and doing it after the bisque. Even transporting it to, and loading into the kiln is hazardous. Very satisfying when they make it through to the end! This stencil was taken from a laser cut birthday card, not sure if it's a bit twee? I prefer my other design - part of a landscape sketch - I feel I own it more because it's my own through and through.
  21. Cobalt Carbonate when fired turns into Cobalt Oxide and Carbon Dioxide. The same way that we use Calcium Carbonate to add Calcium Oxide you can use Cobalt Carbonate to add Cobalt Oxide. 'The theoretical oxide form has 93% CoO while the carbonate has 63%. So if you want to switch from the oxide to the carbonate in a recipe, multiply by 93 and divide by 63. To switch from carbonate to oxide multiply by 63 and divide by 93.' Joel - I just love these technical glaze chemistry posts despite the fact that they make me realise how much you know that I never will! Oh to be young again..........
  22. So, a Newbie question Neil - what's the significance of the last 200 degrees? Should this be slower or faster than previous ramp rate? Is there a standard Firing schedule for Cone 6 glazes?
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