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Everything posted by Benzine

  1. I will also add, there is no reason to go to Cone 10, in an electric kiln. There are plenty of great, durable, functional mid-fire bodies out there, that mature at Cone 5 or 6. Most potters, who fire to Cone 10, do so in reduction (gas or wood) fired kilns. The reason they do so, is to get those reduction effects, and they need a body that can withstand the processes. As it isn't advisable to do reduction, in an electric kiln, and you can get some "copycat" reduction effects, firing Cone 5/6, most potters who fire electric only go up to those mid-fire temps.
  2. Bone dry is idea, so it pulls in the glaze. Leatherhard just doesn't do this, so the glaze will be very thin. Are you dipping or brushing on the glaze? If you are brushing, just have a rule, that the students cannot pick up their project, while glazing. Allow them to rotate them, but not handle. This would limit potential breakage. Alternately, you could have them underglaze, which would work better at the leatherhard stage. Alternately, alternately, you could just have them paint the projects, post firing. I know this removes the element of standard ceramic surface decoration, from the process, but I know a lot of Elementary teachers, who do this.
  3. Yeah, porous surfaces work waaaaay better. If the clay is wet enough, it will stick to anything, but wood is kind of the standard. I had a colleague try and use some "Non-Stick" rolling pins. I said, that the smooth surface would stick to the clay, and the claim of non-sticking was probably in reference to baking. She swore they worked great. She retired and the new teacher tried them. He gave them away, and went back to the wood ones, as he got sick of scrapping all the stuck clay off the surface.
  4. They make leveling casters, that can be adjusted, with a screw. You could also have something, like a small trailer jack, that could also be used to level a kiln cart. Alternately, you could make a small ramp, that would be the counter angle, to the slope of the driveway, that would allow the kiln to sit level. We definitely don't want to give you a ton of extra work, or to discourage you from ceramics, but we also want you to be as safe as possible.
  5. One of my classrooms, we had a commercial Raku kiln. We kept it inside, during most the year, as we only did a couple firings in the Fall. The Art Room was a converted Auto Shop, so we had a garage door, that we could open. We had a modified cart, that was previously used to move a grand piano, the kiln was sitting on. When firing, we would wheel it outside. Once cooled, rolled it back in. I was even hesitant to roll it in, when it was still *warm* on the inside, for fear that a piece dust or lint would magically fall on it, combust leading to the school burning to the ground. (I am also the person, who checks the settings on my digital controller to make sure the firing program I have been using ten years, didn't somehow change...) The cart was a nice solution, and worked well. But like Bill said, it is safer to find alternatives.
  6. That seems like a great solution. I think it would be more effective/ successful, to darken the dark areas, compared to lightening the light areas.
  7. Could you post some pictures, to give us an idea, of how it looks? What aesthetic were you going for? I use oxide washes, when I am looking to highlight textures and/ or create an aged look. If that's what you are trying to do, then sanding the raised areas should work. Just make sure you wet sand or wear a respirator, because the dust isn't something you want to breath in. A light glaze could *potentially* be affected by the iron, that is already on the ceramic body. I am honestly not sure on an underglaze.
  8. Bone ash, I didn't even think about that! Every so often, I have students ask, if you could get rid of a body, in the kiln. With a deadpan expression, I say "Yep"... Then walk away.
  9. Yes.... "Looked* like... Oddly enough, there was no evidence found, and for some reason the kiln was running later that day...
  10. I had a friend, who lived in Northern Maine. We always joked, that it was the moose antlers, that interfered with his internet and cell phone signal.
  11. The couple times I've been on Amazon Handmade, it looks about the same way. A lot of "handmade" stuff, that looks like the same mass-produced stuff that is on the standard Amazon.
  12. Oh, I believe that YouTube can be a pretty good indicator of many things...
  13. Sizzle Sauce sounds like the name for any drool that escapes, after you received a zap. Do Canadians blame pixies for their woes?
  14. Ah, good call. Also, is "Happy Juice" an industry term?
  15. That looks like some glaze got on there, and at through the brick, then the element.
  16. I like "Chiefly Ceramic", as it works on a couple levels.
  17. Finally got a new splash pan, for my classroom Shimpo RK-2.  The old yellow one, has probably been on there, since the Carter Administration.  It had been cracked, since I started in the District, and I have been meaning to replace it.  Finally, last year a bat flew off, and shatter one of the sides.  So that forced my hand. 

    The wheel head *really* didn't want to come off.  I actually had to remove the entire axle, just to get leverage, from the underside of the wheel head, to remove it.  Half a can of "Liquid Wrench" didn't really help, until that point. 

    Now, I just have to remove as much as possible, from the frame, so I can remove the rust and old paint, and give it a fresh coat. 

  18. Have you looked into bead racks/ trees? They serve the exact purpose, you are looking for. Porcelain does get very close to melting, as it reaches maturity, and larger items would likely dent, from a stilts, but I can't imagine a pendant having enough weight to cause any harm. Still, the bead rack, seems like a better option, especially if you plan to make more down the line.
  19. I have *never* used air dry clay, but I did a quick search, and it seems it can by rehydrated by soaking it in water. If that's true, I would imagine you can wrap some damp paper towels around your object, cover it in plastic to soften it back up.
  20. Awwww, look at that little guy.... The controller is bigger than it is!
  21. I should also note, that I used some of those Speedball bats, in my classroom, for a few years. I liked that they were plastic, and were not supposed to warp, which was a selling point with teenagers involved in the process... However, after a couple years, I ran into both issues, that the original poster did. The pin holes widened out, when actually led to some of them flying off the wheel, many times hitting the water bucket. They also did warp leading to the final form not being completely level. Also, it made things feel off center, even when they weren't. This made it difficult to teach the students to get a feel for the clay, when it always felt a bit off. I ended up buying new wood-ish bats from my clay supplier. Other than growing some mold, they have worked well so far.
  22. Good points @GEP. I know, when I glaze, on the inside, I start at the bottom, with quite a bit of glaze. I then use that excess, like a well essentially, to brush the rest of the inside. So I know, I have plenty of coverage on the inside. Obviously, I can't do this on the outside, so I probably have slightly less coverage, even with my years of experience.
  23. That is an overfired clay! Alternately, I've personally seen something like that happen, when a dried glaze powder was accidentally mixed in with wet clay, instead of a dried clay powder. Both powders were the same color and consistency. So nothing seemed amiss, until they were fired a couple projects, that used that clay. They slumped pretty bad, but didn't completely melt. They also took on a hint of the glaze color. So yeah, luckily that bad mix was just a couple student's mixed clay, and it just got tossed. I felt TERRIBLE though, because one of the students had a nice sculpture, that she put a lot of work into.
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