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Stephen

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  1. Like
    Stephen reacted to Pugaboo in Wedging Clay   
    When using my slab rollover I don't wedge right out of the bag. If using scraps or reclaimed clay I always wedge. To wake up the clay, I do always slam it down a couple times as this seems to make it softer and more pliable.
     
    T
  2. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Joy pots in Wedging Clay   
    What I've been doing for production for a few years now and not having any issues. We have a de-airing pug mill though so just use the reclaim out of the sleeve as well. I do lightly wedge and cone up and down several times. But like Bob said just go with what's right for you, once you figure THAT out.
     
    Where I have a good routine your's might be different based on all kinds of things including the clay body and the environment everything is used and stored in.
     
    It is confusing and can be maddening when you are starting out. Change something and often your routine will have to be adjusted.
     
    That's why old potters live in the same house for 50 years using the same wheel, kiln, clay and green glaze they started with in 1976 and go into a tizzy when the owner of their supply house dies of old age, retires or worse yet turns it over to their kids who have been waiting in the wings wanting to change everything for years.
     
    Just remember when it comes to pottery, change is bad! 
  3. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Rae Reich in Wedging Clay   
    What I've been doing for production for a few years now and not having any issues. We have a de-airing pug mill though so just use the reclaim out of the sleeve as well. I do lightly wedge and cone up and down several times. But like Bob said just go with what's right for you, once you figure THAT out.
     
    Where I have a good routine your's might be different based on all kinds of things including the clay body and the environment everything is used and stored in.
     
    It is confusing and can be maddening when you are starting out. Change something and often your routine will have to be adjusted.
     
    That's why old potters live in the same house for 50 years using the same wheel, kiln, clay and green glaze they started with in 1976 and go into a tizzy when the owner of their supply house dies of old age, retires or worse yet turns it over to their kids who have been waiting in the wings wanting to change everything for years.
     
    Just remember when it comes to pottery, change is bad! 
  4. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Sara78 in Wedging Clay   
    What I've been doing for production for a few years now and not having any issues. We have a de-airing pug mill though so just use the reclaim out of the sleeve as well. I do lightly wedge and cone up and down several times. But like Bob said just go with what's right for you, once you figure THAT out.
     
    Where I have a good routine your's might be different based on all kinds of things including the clay body and the environment everything is used and stored in.
     
    It is confusing and can be maddening when you are starting out. Change something and often your routine will have to be adjusted.
     
    That's why old potters live in the same house for 50 years using the same wheel, kiln, clay and green glaze they started with in 1976 and go into a tizzy when the owner of their supply house dies of old age, retires or worse yet turns it over to their kids who have been waiting in the wings wanting to change everything for years.
     
    Just remember when it comes to pottery, change is bad! 
  5. Like
    Stephen reacted to Bob Coyle in Wedging Clay   
    Hi Sara78
     
    Your best friend as a beginner... other than all the friends you will make here... is Google and YouTube. Just go and search on "wedging clay" and you will have access to how all the people of the world approaches wedging. I got  190,000 internet links to wedging and 5390 on line videos on how people do it.
     
    Just Pick the one that works for you. There is no right or wrong way . ceramics has been around for millennia and every aspect is still evolving.
     
    To begin with, just use the clay out of the bag. When you develop scrap that you will want to re-use then you MUST wedge it to get the air out.
  6. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from flyemma in Multiple Clay Explosions In Bisque   
    wow, only had one piece explode in the 7 years I have been doing pottery. My sister in-law had carved a head once that exploded because she didn't hollow it out but that's it and we (two) of us are production so a lot of pottery. We use porcelain and let everything sit for a few days getting bone dry and bisque, no candling but I am on an electronic.
     
    My 2 cents though is If you have not had this problem I wouldn't start fussing with your routine that has stood the test of time, that will drive you crazy and seems like it would be unlikely to be the problem if your stuff is bone dry when you put it in. If you change something external and it makes what's really happening not occur then you are going to doom yourself to some odd routine. There was a poster on here I recall that solved a similar problem by some month long completely unnecessary drying routine and she is now convinced that pottery is THAT fussy. It is fussy but not fussy. I vote for the new sitter being screwed up. Can you take it back? 
  7. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Pres in Do You Like....?   
    I am noticing more and more that the loose and fun stuff tends to sell the fastest but without the tight matching stuff sales would really suffer. I work on doing a mix and like both. But I don't have that many forms and do a lot of mugs and tumblers and those are easy to do this way. One of the reasons I love making and selling pottery is that pottery lovers are all drawn to different types of pottery and that makes it so much fun and interesting.
     
    I do keep everything very functional but like LeeU I am trying to leave some handmade look and feel to my work. I don't always do the last rib work to smooth the surface and remove every non functional blemish. I also often leave the trim lines for some surface character under the glaze. I also have found myself less and less throwing to gauge or using profile tools and that makes them a little less structured and more fun. 
     
    I also am really working on establishing a good medium weight. I don't like heavy pottery and I don't like super light (feels machined to me and I think others). My mentor told me when I started throwing that what I was going for was my initial thought when I picked up a pottery piece being no surprise and 'just what I expected'. After a few seconds the brain adjusts and a heavy mug doesn't feel that heavy and a light mug feels heavier BUT when you first pick it up that initial reaction is the sweet spot. Off topic but weight was mentioned by a few :-) 
     
    Anyway make for yourself to your own tastes and there will be plenty of pottery lovers who agree and to the ones that don't, 'hey, they are not your audience' and some other potter will please them. BUT if I didn't like making mugs I still would or I would starve.
  8. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Min in Do You Like....?   
    I am noticing more and more that the loose and fun stuff tends to sell the fastest but without the tight matching stuff sales would really suffer. I work on doing a mix and like both. But I don't have that many forms and do a lot of mugs and tumblers and those are easy to do this way. One of the reasons I love making and selling pottery is that pottery lovers are all drawn to different types of pottery and that makes it so much fun and interesting.
     
    I do keep everything very functional but like LeeU I am trying to leave some handmade look and feel to my work. I don't always do the last rib work to smooth the surface and remove every non functional blemish. I also often leave the trim lines for some surface character under the glaze. I also have found myself less and less throwing to gauge or using profile tools and that makes them a little less structured and more fun. 
     
    I also am really working on establishing a good medium weight. I don't like heavy pottery and I don't like super light (feels machined to me and I think others). My mentor told me when I started throwing that what I was going for was my initial thought when I picked up a pottery piece being no surprise and 'just what I expected'. After a few seconds the brain adjusts and a heavy mug doesn't feel that heavy and a light mug feels heavier BUT when you first pick it up that initial reaction is the sweet spot. Off topic but weight was mentioned by a few :-) 
     
    Anyway make for yourself to your own tastes and there will be plenty of pottery lovers who agree and to the ones that don't, 'hey, they are not your audience' and some other potter will please them. BUT if I didn't like making mugs I still would or I would starve.
  9. Like
    Stephen reacted to Mark C. in Do You Like....?   
    I can appreciate all types of ceramics-loose or tight styles
    I like them both.
  10. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from janiebgood in The Only Absolutely True Rule For Potters. Pay Attention To This   
    Whenever I use a tool it is just for that moment only and then when I am done with it I know for a fact I will never ever need that tool again so I just toss it indiscriminately wherever I happen to be standing and move on to something else important, like looking for the last tool I thought I would never ever need again. 
  11. Like
    Stephen reacted to Mark C. in Instagram   
    Dirt poor
    My smart phone phone turned off our refer and would not let us into our house (via smart lock) -the car got hacked and my instagram wafers went stale.
    My Gas meter locked up with the wifi signals and photo bucket sprang a leak. Our house heater on a smart control has been running all summer and we cannot shut it off.
    I'd post some of this but my router is old school and needs a chuck key and my modem is out with a case of the twitters.
  12. Like
    Stephen reacted to No Longer Member in Just How Old Is Too Old For A Kiln?   
    That's a tough call. IMO pieces of equipment are just like people; everything ages, some more than others. While one individual of a certain vintage may be in poor shape, another may be perfectly fine. I once knew a  man that at 87 could work men half his age "into the shade". What he was capable of doing would most certainly hospitalize, if not kill;  most men that old.
     
    We have a Skutt KS 1227 here from the 70's that was given to us; it's old and beat up but it does work. We used it as an overflow/backup kiln for our production runs and it worked great despite having been put through several firings and being beaten to death by it's previous owner. We got this kiln when we where just stating out. I haven't seen it in years and while it "worked great when last used" (sound familiar?), I couldn't tell you for sure it would go to temp if I pulled it out and fired it again today.
     
     It all comes down to how well it was taken care of, used, stored and what it's like now. My biggest problem with the one you are looking at iis the price. The guy wanted $500 for our "free" kiln and that just wasn't going to happen. (He was a friend of my father and just needed it and all of his molds out of the way so we more or less inherited it)
     
     
    I have the same kiln here as you're looking at but most likely newer (serial # 80484). It was stored in an outdoor screened enclosure next to a body of brackish water. The hinge had to be beat to close (stored open), switches frozen to the point the shafts broke before they would turn (but the sitter switch still works freely). It most likely "worked great" when it was last used too...
     
    Is it worth $375? (I wouldn't have given $3.75)
     
     
    Is the one you're looking at worth $375?  
     
    I dunno; can you show me an 87 y.o man who can swing a 45# chainsaw in 96 degree heat and humidity  for two weeks straight with a smile and joke the whole time?  (In WWII, he literally wore one M1 Garand out dropping Nazis and was well on his way to wearing out a second. He was a man if there ever was one. He was also *the* best, most loving, kind and gentle man I ever knew.)
     
    If you know of such a gentlemen, I would love to buy him a beer....but chances are he aint ev'r had a drop in his life.
     
     
    It all comes down to what kinda shape it's really in. In a worse case, are you willing to pop for $50 each for new switches if they need to be replaced? Why were the elements changed? Was this due to verified wear or were they chasing a problem? I've seen folks throw money at a problem not knowing the difference. It may need something else, so I would factor that in when considering price. It can be made to work if it doesn't, and like Neil said, it's just a matter of; is it worth doing so to you in the end? I've also seen folks greatly underestimate number of firings too. "Four firings" could easily be, and most likely is; 40.
     
     
    The only thing I can tell you with 100% certainty is; you never wanted to be on the business end of "Mr. Smith's" Garand...EVER!...  
     
    (I've have a great story of him with a 30 caliber Browning machine gun while in basic training.)
  13. Like
    Stephen reacted to Mark C. in Just How Old Is Too Old For A Kiln?   
    I think I read they found an old kiln while unearthing a tomb in Egypt from the Babylon years . It was an older electric and the elements where toast but the bricks where in mint condition . It still had a papyrus instruction manual that was readable-cone 6 if I recall.Back then they rated them in Reeds not amps.
    It all comes round again they say.
     
    Ok I may have been off on that one but my kiln from the 70's still works fine.
  14. Like
    Stephen reacted to neilestrick in Just How Old Is Too Old For A Kiln?   
    There is no age limit. Kiln bricks can sit for a hundred years and still be good as new as long as they have stayed dry. If the bricks look good and aren't turning yellow or dark- which happens when they've been fired a bunch- then they're good. The wiring can get brittle over time, but that's cheap to replace. The contacts on the sitter itself can also corrode, but you can always pull it apart and clean it up. I've worked on kilns that have been fired weekly for 40+ years that are still good.
  15. Like
    Stephen reacted to Chilly in Complete Beginner And Could Use Some Help.   
    Even without a kiln I'd still recommend you use ordinary clay.  I had some air-drying stuff and the difference is like trying to spread cheddar cheese on bread compared with cream cheese.  Close your eyes they taste the same, but under your hands/knife they are different.
     
    With ordinary clay you can throw it/slab build/coil/sculpt away and then re-cycle it and try again.  And again. And again. And again.  Until eventually you decide you've got the hang of it and need a kiln to fire your (by now) perfect items.
  16. Like
    Stephen reacted to Pugaboo in Complete Beginner And Could Use Some Help.   
    I've used air dry clay in the past for kids projects and it's definitely different than stoneware clay. As others have said set that air dry stuff aside to use for other stuff later on and get a bag or 2 of either low fire or mid fire clay.
     
    "Real" clay doesn't go to waste you can play on the wheel with it, wedge (smoosh) it back together and use it again. Play at making pinch pots, coiled pots, throw some, find an old rolling pin and roll it out and slab build stuff as well, etc etc. Even if clay dries out and becomes hard just put it in a bag with some water and it will soften back up and be usable again. Clay is amazing it's never wasted and can always be reused until you put it in a kiln. So while you are playing, learning and perfecting keep an eye out for a small kiln, if you live in or near a large city something will pop up.
     
    As for low fire or mid fire.... I would go with a mid fire stoneware since its great for just about everything... Others might say otherwise.
     
    To help fill in those forgotten ...ehem slept through as you say... Fundamentals, visit your local library and grab a few books on Pottery, ceramics, etc. I took a class and then checked out every book I could on pottery and learned more from the books and this forum than I did in the class.
     
    Oh and don't forget to HAVE FUN!
     
    T
  17. Like
    Stephen reacted to Mark C. in Selling Pottery 101   
    Spent my life living near highway 101 up and down the California coast -selling pottery it turns out
    Been up and down that road for about 63 years now selling pottery 44 of those years
     
    One thing to keep in mind about marketing (selling pottery) is what works for you may not work for me or vice versa.
    A few things to consider that need to be thought about
    The market area-is it big city, urban or out in the boonies?
    That will dictate to some degree your pricing of items.
    What is your skill level? Meaning is the work professional or beginning?
    What is the level of craftsmanship?
    Is your work tight and focused –meaning lots of hours in a piece or loose and fast meaning you can pump them out?
    This also will help you decide what to set the price on.
    Another point not spoken about much is where the market/show/fair sale is??
    Its been my experience that pottery sells for more the more east you get meaning if I travel from my coast to the east coast pottery sells for more there than here-I have no answer why this is but it’s a known fact for us west coast potters.
    The other point is the work production or is it say salt or raku or some other slow process that also will add to the sales amount asked,
    Also what is the show the Smithsonian? Or the flea market? That also will impact the price asked.
    The other point is this hobby or do you need to make a living at it-this is another price point to consider
     
    The last point I would like to make and my example is a spoon rest selling here on the west coast at a show say in the boonies.
    They sell like crazy at $5. They sell but at a much slower pace for $7
    You need to determine which you want to ask-If you are a slow thrower and looking to maximize profit ask $7 and be happy
    If you are a speedball and want to hundreds sell them for $5.
    The other point on this is how fast are you glazing and firing them
    As well as do they take up space or are they free space stuffers.
    I just loaded two glaze fires and put in 100 sponge holders in the free space not filled but anything else so firing was free gas wise.
    These are some of the other points to consider on pricing.
    There is no way anyone can guide you other than you doing it.
    What works for you may not work for me? and vice versa. I say this again because it’s true.
    Mark
     
     
     
  18. Like
    Stephen reacted to neilestrick in Sponge Holder Pricing   
    $8 is way too low for something that has to be cut and smoothed. You should go at least $12.
  19. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from PotterPutter in Outdoor Electric Kiln   
    why does it have to be so small? It just doesn't sound right to me, looking forward to hearing the kiln gods advice but a kiln tops 2000 degrees and the inside of that 4' box would be blazing hot. Why not just build a small covered are for it but leave it open and toss a tarp over when not in use or make the whole thing larger. That way you can store glazes and other firing equip in the 'kiln' shed and not have such a project to get ready for firing.
  20. Like
    Stephen reacted to Mark C. in Adding A 2Nd Medium To Booth   
    (The best way to learn about shows is to make friends with other artists that you meet at shows. We talk about shows a lot, but we do it in person and privately.)
     
    Yes this is the best way-I to keep very quite online about shows for all the above reasons. I have seen so much carnage from staff and artists it best to just keep it to yourself.
    The thing is at any given venue my stuff may sell like hotcakes or be dead and this is true with most mediums and the only way to know is trying or at least getting 1st hand info from an artist.
    I have a network of potters who we trust and we keep to ourselves .
    ​All my show advice online is general in nature.In your case I just spoke to what I know to be true from my experience -Your experience may be 100% different
  21. Like
    Stephen reacted to Dick White in Converting Kiln Sitter Kiln To Electronic Controller   
    The V6-CF controller dirt was referring to is this one:
     
    http://www.bartinst.com/kilns/1
     
    It is the same controller that Skutt, L&L, and other kiln companies put in their digital kilns, but you can buy just the controller board direct from Bartlett.
     
    I have recently built a complete stand-alone controller with the newest upgrade from the V6, the Genesis, which has a touchscreen and many more options. However, I do not recommend this approach to those who are not completely familiar with: 1) metalworking skills, 2) high voltage electrical experience, 3) low voltage electrical experience, and 4) a complete understanding of general kiln wiring, the specific wiring of the kiln you are going to be working on, and the specific manual controls to be replaced. Unless you are just swapping out an old digital board for a newer one, it is not plug'n'pray.
     
    If you are looking for an easier way to upgrade a manual kiln-sitter kiln, consider either the Olympic Electro sitter, which is a complete replacement for the kiln sitter (take the old one out of its box, disconnect the main power wires, reconnect those wires to the new controller module, and put it back in the same hole), or one of the several wall-mounted stand-alone controllers. With one of these 1) install a thermocouple on your kiln, and 2) plug the new controller into the wall plug, plug the kiln into a plug on the side of the controller, load an appropriate cone in the kiln sitter, turn the kiln on to High, and let the controller turn the power on and off as needed based on the thermocouple input. Other than installing the new thermocouple, there is no alteration of the kiln and no additional electric work needed.
  22. Like
    Stephen reacted to GEP in Adding A 2Nd Medium To Booth   
    Stephen, my issue with AFI has nothing to do with personalities there. I joined that site when it was very young, hopeful about its good intentions. However, I quickly learned that the site had a major flaw, which many smart artists figured out too. It is crazy and dumb to talk about shows online where it can be read by anyone. It hurts you either way. If you complain about a show, you can be retaliated against. If you praise a show, that show will be flooded by new applications. I had both things happen to me at the same time. I wrote a mostly praising comment about a show, but criticized one person on the staff. The following year I was waitlisted then stuck in a bad spot. Coincidence? Meanwhile, others were also praising the show (it does have a great buying crowd) and now this show (which is local for me) has gained a national level reputation and very difficult to get in. KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT ONLINE is my current motto. The last time I visited AFI (admittedly it's been a while) all of the talk was about shows I had never heard of, by artists who are newcomers. Plus people trying to sell off their show gear. Not much high-level advice to be found there.
     
    The best way to learn about shows is to make friends with other artists that you meet at shows. We talk about shows a lot, but we do it in person and privately.
  23. Like
    Stephen reacted to No Longer Member in Converting Kiln Sitter Kiln To Electronic Controller   
    Build a stand alone controller that all your other kilns can plug into. The Bartlett V6-CF board is only $219; leave your other board be if you can and buy another to build a stand alone unit. That being said, if you are in a bind, there isn't anything wrong with using a kiln with a functioning sitter for the time being.
     
    It's important to remember that your little kiln draws less power, thus you just can't swap all of the guts over and expect it to run something that draws 48 amps. While I can't say exactly what you will need (seeing I don't know what you have), most likely you'll just have to add two more relays and wires to and from if moving the whole controller over to another kiln. We'd need more info (and coffee) before a more detailed answer can be given.
  24. Like
    Stephen reacted to Chilly in Converting Kiln Sitter Kiln To Electronic Controller   
    I bought a used kiln that had a manual control, no kiln sitter, just rotary switches.  Unwired that and wired in a digital controller.  All fine.
  25. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Chilly in Outdoor Electric Kiln   
    why does it have to be so small? It just doesn't sound right to me, looking forward to hearing the kiln gods advice but a kiln tops 2000 degrees and the inside of that 4' box would be blazing hot. Why not just build a small covered are for it but leave it open and toss a tarp over when not in use or make the whole thing larger. That way you can store glazes and other firing equip in the 'kiln' shed and not have such a project to get ready for firing.
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