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Everything posted by Foxden

  1. My best purchase was the Northstar Univesal Bat system. It's a large bat with smaller, 6 inch inserts. The set cost less than $50. I was surprised how many things I made fit on the smaller bat inserts and took up so much less space when left to firm up on the smaller bats. It seems like potters get pretty tool oriented. I remember how at NCECA whenever a workshop demo leader mentioned a specific tool there would be a mad rush to buy it at the vendor's booth.
  2. I seem to go from rut to rut, with moments of inspiration between them. I do find that cleaning up the studio is a way to get me around the materials and get me kick started. Deadlines always help, not the self-imposed ones but the real ones. I enjoy the process of making things and then go brain dead when it comes to glazing, which explains why I seem to go back to my dependable favorite glazes.
  3. Based on your own description of your experience level, I would echo comments above. That kiln is too big! That size is typical of a kiln used in a classroom or studio situation. A kiln that is too big just won't get fired often which will impeed your learning and is a bit expensive to fire not filled. A kiln that is too small on the other hand becomes frustrating because you never can fit all your work inside. Skutt makes a great kiln, as do many other brands. It is all about condition and what furniture (shelves and posts) are included, as they will add costs if you need them. I would pass and keep looking. In the meantime determine your electrical situation as you may be limited as to what siz kiln you can buy. One other hint, I often see sellers on Craigslist give the brand as LT-3. That is the brand listed on their kiln sitter, not the kiln itself. It tells me that they don't know what they have. Usually it was purchased used, given to them or something they really never used. Potters would know they have a Skutt, L&L, Paragon, Olympic, etc. These people either ask way too much thinking they have something quite valuable or they practically give it away. Keep looking there are some good deals out there, just figure out what you need.
  4. That's great. Too many of my artist friends (my generation) were never exposed. Making a living was beneath their dignity.
  5. Nerd, you have quite the flair for marketing. I wish more art schools included promotional aspects in their curriculum. No way I would sell or make a thousand - of anything. I enjoy working in clay and have for years, but luckily it was never a a direct source of income. If anything, I flit from one thing to another. I enjoy the challenges I face with each new form or project. The mold making of my trivets, for example, was enjoyable as I had to venture into the world of plaster. Learned a few things along that route!
  6. Like your suggestion, glazenerd. It's a great compromise.
  7. Rakukuku, they are my version of cuerda seca glazing, where glaze is inlaid in depressed areas and raised areas are left as bare clay. I guess the non-glazed clay keeps things from slipping. Also because the trivets are fired flat and glazes are within a depression I can use glazes without concern for running.,
  8. I don't anticipate selling a ton of them although initial reactions have been good. I am concerned about passing something press moldied off as handmade. The original was of course done by hand, the mold made by me and each one is individually trimmed and glazed by hand. These aren't slip cast from commercial molds but they are nevertheless reproductions of an original. Does making it a limited run appear more desirable or should I just not make an issue of it?
  9. I recently made a few tile/trivets for our personal use. They involve substantial carving so selling them doesn't make financial sense with the time involved. I decided to make some plaster press molds of my originals and now am faced with a dilemma. Should I mark them #1/X and limit the series of pressings to a specific number and destroy the mold or just make them and not indicate they are one of many duplicates. As a person in clay I understand the difference but do you think it matters to buyers? Also, if it is a limited run, what is an acceptable number? 25, 50, more, less?
  10. FYI, that sprayer is currently on sale for $8.99, expires today 8-21-16
  11. You probably won't like the answer. Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Some colorants are refractory, stiffening the glaze while others are fluxes, making it runny. It also depends on the type of firing, some might be fluxes in reduction and not in oxidation. So the real answer is test it.
  12. Here is a good explanation for calculating your firing cost. http://www.lakesidepottery.com/HTML%20Text/Tips/estimating-electric-kiln-firing-costs.htm
  13. I have never had a test kiln and know the frustration of not being able to fire test glazes all that frequently (at least based on my own frequency of glaze firings). I took a community class just to experiment with glazes. The kilns at the center were fired a few times each week so I got plenty of tests in over the course of the term. Also, the frequent firings allowed me to make slight alterations of certain glazes and see the results rather quickly. i do prefer to fire test glazes in the same type or size kiln I will ultimately use as the effects of cooling will be more consistent between my actual firing and the firing of the test tile. Of course a computerized kiln controller may make them quite similar.
  14. I have to admit I'm in agreement with ayjay. The purpose of the community studio should be to teach beginners how to properly work with clay and glazes. I suspect one could argue what is "correct", but I think once basics are mastered people can begin to do things their own way. Once experienced with glazes and glazing, adapting a glaze for brushwork, if that is what is needed, could be learned. It is a bit like beginner students that think their failing collapsing pot is art because they have seen altered works by some talented potters. Learn the basics and then expand your horizon as opposed to adapt to your inabilities that come from a lack of experience, not necessarily talent.
  15. The course grog added texture which I was pleased with, but the application of a soda ash wash didn't enhance the color. Looked the same as without it. I will try again and use more soda ash. I would like the clay to begin to have a sheen.
  16. What's the liability on a mug? Handle breaks, scalds user. McDonalds here we come.
  17. I stopped for a moment to reflect on females that were well known. Without resorting to Google or picking up a book, plenty of names came tumbling to mind. M.C. Richard, Susan Peterson, Janet Mansfield, Monica Young, Lucie Rie, Vivika Heino, Toshiko Takaesu, Karen Karnes, Beatrice Wood, for example. Not to mention scores of more contemporary female artists. While I will agree that the majority of students in my credit classes and in community art centers were female, the individuals that had a great impact on what I call modern ceramics seem to be well represented by women.
  18. Yes, they are the grout sponges and came in a six pack if I remember correctly. $10 or so.
  19. We use those large sponges and they do hold up fine. Even cut them up into smaller pieces for wiping glaze off the bottoms of pots. I believe we purchased them at Lowes or Home Depot.
  20. I would look to see if there is some connection at that location. It might not be tight and is arcing. Perhaps it is a failing crimped connector. I would think that if it were actually shorting between the element and the kiln jacket you would have blown a fuse. When it's cool, UNPLUG it and take a look at where you saw the blue spark. It may be a simple fix.
  21. Assuming the studio buys their materials in bulk, i.e., by the 50 lb bag. Those ingredients, other than the Zircopax cost less than $1 per pound. Zircopax costs in the range of $2.50-$3.00. You can figure the rough cost of the ingredients and the it's a matter of how much is it worth for them to mix it. It would take less than an hour to weigh, mix and sieve the glaze.
  22. It would depend on your source of compressed air. Most compressors are adjustable and have their own regulator.
  23. I have the Harbor Freight gun. It works fine. It adjusts the spray fan direction (horizontal to vertical) the spread of the fan and the amount of glaze that comes out. I have been quite happy with it. I have other sprayers purchased from ceramic supply companies but find this one to be better. You can buy a stand for it as well as spare containers.
  24. I will follow your progress on this as I find it quite interesting. For a number of years I was making my own biodiesel from recycled restaurant oil. At that time I thought about a biodiesel fueled kiln, too. I went so far as to purchase a used Beckett Oil Burner (eBay), used in oil furnaces. I never did hook up the burner to see if it burned the biodiesel as my source for used oil dried up and I quit making the fuel. I think you will find data regarding these burners and the BTU produced. Based on my readings you would need 10-16,000 BTU per cu ft if your kiln is 9inch thick soft brick. Based on output you could calculate the maximum size kiln you could fire with such a burner. It may take more than one burner. Keep us posted.
  25. Two thoughts come to mind. One was when a person was watching a throwing demo and challenged the demonstrator for charging so much for a pot that took five minutes to throw. The demonstrator's response was-"not five minutes, 20 years and five minutes." When I taught classes I would ask my students why they were taking the class. Every once in a while an absolute beginner would tell me the reason was to make XMas gifts for friends and family. I would encourage them but secretly be thankful I wasn't on their XMAs list. Things that often look easy are the result of hard work and practice.
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