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Everything posted by GEP

  1. I developed a new platter mold, and a new approach to illustrating koi fish. I'm pretty excited about these.
  2. Dark doesn’t mean cold weather, and light doesn’t mean warm weather. Color theory is more nuanced than this. White is a winter color. Make good pots and they will sell in any season. If you change colors to match the season, you are trying to chase customers. Make customers chase you instead. People buy “serious” pots, and they can be light or dark, colorful or neutral. Any time you change the color scheme of your work, you are essentially starting over in terms of building an audience.
  3. Are you flipping it over in order to trim it? If so, then design a pot that can be trimmed in the right-side-up position. You can trim from the side around the base of the wall, but design it and throw it so the bottom doesn’t have to be trimmed.
  4. Not a huge disaster, but still an embarrassing brain fart. I was unloading a bisque kiln and had picked up two pots, one in each hand. One of the pots slipped out of my hand, For some reason, I let go of the other pot in an attempt to catch the first one with both hands. Failed.
  5. If this is for purely sculptural work, try polymer clay? You can have any color you want.
  6. I was a graphic designer for 20 years. This is exactly what designers do. In print design, the path between intentions and results is fairly easy to control, unlike ceramics. When I realized I could quit design and do pottery full-time, I was very happy to not have to do this anymore. I am my only client now. It’s a privilege and I earned it!
  7. For me, it’s a hard no. I tried it a few times back before I running a serious business, and learned all the pitfalls of trying to execute another person’s vision. In the end, the customer is never quite happy, so it's a waste of everyone’s time. Keep in mind that a person who believes a potter can a make pot(s) to their exact expectations is someone who has very little understanding of ceramics. These are not the customers you should be trying to please.
  8. Pots for a wood kiln need to be sturdy. If your usual work for cone 6 is thin-walled and delicate, these pots will not fare well in wood firing. Temperature is much more unpredictable and uneven. One half of a pot can be fired hotter than the other half. So there’s a lot more warping and uneven shrinkage, and sturdy pots can handle this much better than delicate pots. So make sure your walls and rims are sturdy. And for the same reasons, do not try to make flat pots like plates and trays. It’s very likely they will emerge too warped to use. If this is a rare opportunity, don’t waste it on plates! Design your pots with horizontal surfaces like shoulders and lids. These surfaces will catch a lot more fly ash.
  9. Totally normal! It’s called “spalling.”
  10. I am also in agreement that the one on the left looks too thick. I would advise developing some process/techniques to make sure your glazing is consistent from pot to pot, such as using a hydrometer, and timed dips or timed sprays.
  11. If you have a melted element or a glaze spill, one section of the channel (about 4 inches long) can be removed and replaced. And to agree with Neil, if the element is tucked in correctly, the corners of the channel act like pins and hold the element in place. It’s a very smart design. The inside of my 16 yr old L&L looks new. I’ve replace maybe three sections of channel over the years. Roberta’s elements will soon lose their flexibility and will no longer be able to pop out.
  12. This happened to me once. I had overstretched an element a little, and it came drooping out on the first firing just like yours. It was still flexible enough to nudge it back into place. It looked a little wonky just like yours, but from then on it had a normal life span.
  13. I've posted about this subject before, just want to share another quick story about how much more powerful email marketing is, compared to social media. The past two years, I have participated in an online show/sale of cups. Last year, I sent a blast email to my email subscribers about it, and I posted about it on facebook and instagram. My five mugs sold out in under 10 minutes. This year, I decided to skip the blast email, and just use social media. I was theorizing that my email subscribers prefer to go to my shows in person, and social media followers are more likely to not be local enough to do that. I only sold three mugs on the first day. Two days later, and person on instagram asked me for instructions on how to buy. Instagram does not allow hyperlinks, so I had to describe how to get to right website. Cumbersome, but it appeared to work, the fourth mug was sold that day. Two days later (yesterday), the fifth mug was still not sold. I posted on facebook about the last mug. I did not bother with instagram, because I could not link directly to the mug listing on instagram. Nothing happened. Three days later (today), it was still not sold. I had scheduled a blast email about a show coming up this weekend. So I edited the email this morning to mention the last unsold mug. It was sold 30 minutes after the email went out. Just remember your email subscribers are far more interested in your work than anyone who follows you on social media. Next year, if I do this cup show again, I will not skip the blast email!
  14. I started a pottery business in 2002, and bought my pugmill in 2007. You can get by for a while with elbow grease. You are aware of how much they cost, so start putting aside money from your pottery sales as a “pugmill fund.” The day you come home with the pugmill you paid for in cash will be a big day.
  15. Yes, you definitely need the fines from the sludge. But they don’t need to be blunged in. They can be wedged in. I use a bucket of throwing water for several days, until it becomes too thick for throwing, then toss it in the slop bucket. I usually add a little more water from the sink, but just a little. My trimmings are usually bone dry before I add the throwing water. Flopped thrown pots can be smushed out on a plaster batt, then rewedged in a hour or so. I sometimes do that because I try to pug only as much clay that I need for one day. If I flop a large pot, I will need to reuse the clay in order to finish that day’s to-do list.
  16. If you are mostly using one clay, the blunging is not necessary. It takes a lot of water to make the slop loose enough to blunge. You only need to add enough water to rehydrate the leatherhard parts. It will reach the right consistency a lot faster. Then wedge. Wedging will easily incorporate the small scraps of different clay.
  17. You don't need to de-air your clay in the vacuum chamber if you are still planning to wedge it. Wedging is a mixing and de-airing process. Even if you had a pugmill, you need to get the slop to the right moisture content before pugging. So you can still only process as much as your plaster/climate parameters can handle. The pugmill only saves you the effort of wedging. Which is a significant savings in terms of wear and tear, but it still takes work and a disciplined system to keep up with the reclaim. I wrote a column for CM last year that details my reclaiming process. I can process 40 lbs at a time without needing extra space. It's done by stacking up a tower of plaster slabs. This does not require a pugmill. The reclaimed clay needs to be either wedged or pugged before using it again. But again, the key to my method is to not accumulate more than 40lbs of slop before processing it. https://www.goodelephant.com/uploads/3/5/9/2/3592345/rhee_dec18cm.pdf You might be better off throwing out your 500 lbs of reclaim, because it might be impossible to process it all now. Clay is cheap, so it's not that big of a deal. Start over with a small slop bucket and keep up with it all the time.
  18. I use a tiny bit of black nickel oxide in one of my gray glazes. It’s a neutral brown, kind of like iron oxide but without the red undertone. When combined with a tiny bit of cobalt carb, I get a pretty pale gray with a slightly blue undertone.
  19. Just to echo what @liambesaw said, there do exist smaller private websites with well-curated handmade craft. https://www.artfulhome.com/ is another one. Artful Home is basically a wholesale deal for the artist, you split the retail cost with them, then you drop-ship the work to the customer. You pay Artful Home much more than you pay Etsy, in order to have your work displayed among nothing but well-curated work. The other well-curated online craft sellers that I know of also work on a 50/50 split. It’s a trade off. If you want something with lower costs like Etsy, you can’t tell them to lower the volume of work. If you want to be seen in a well-curated environment, you need to pay them for the added value of their venue. It's expensive! It should be treated it like a gallery relationship, as in you have to compete to get past their discerning selection process, and give them half of the sale.
  20. My suggestion is to use paper clay. Paper clay will allow you to make much thinner walls that don’t fall apart. Plus the small voids left behind when the paper is burned off in the firing will help make the fixture translucent.
  21. @allenc27 What is the make and model of your kiln? I’ve honestly never heard of a combination electric/gas kiln for pottery. Someone can correct me if I’m wrong. My understanding is that a reduction atmosphere would be too corrosive for electric elements, unless you have very heavy duty elements which are generally considered too cost prohibitive for pottery kilns. Also, if your kiln is meant to burn gas, it should not be inside your house.
  22. @motox you might want to try oil-based clay, otherwise known as “modeling clay.” Rather than air-dry clay or the water-based clays that need to be fired. Oil-based clay is used by sculptors. It doesn’t dry or shrink. It hardens when exposed to air or when it gets cold, but it can always be softened up again by warming it, I don’t know much about making fairing models, but the car industry still sculpts car models using oil-based clay.
  23. I recently developed a need for a pincushion. I started shopping for one, and found that all of the ones you can buy either look like they are not very functional, or they are way too cutesy for me. Then I remembered that @Mark C. had posted his pincushion design with instructions on the forum. I searched the forum and found this thread. Now I have a new pincushion that is very functional and suits my tastes. All of the materials were already in my house, so it was free too. Thank you, Mark!!
  24. Ok, my next questions are, what is your experience level at making pots? And how long have you used this particular glaze? Glazing is a skill that takes a lot of practice. Even those of us with a lot of experience know that when we start using a new glaze, it takes a while to figure out the best way to apply it. You are brushing on a commercial glaze, which indicates you might be a beginner potter. (nothing wrong with that ... we all started as beginners!) Brushing is the most inconsistent technique for applying glazes, because it's hard to gauge how thick you have actually applied it. I think what's happening to your pots is that the glaze on the inside is much thicker than on the outside. Even if you brushed on the same number of layers inside and out, trying adding another layer or two to the outside.
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