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About bciskepottery

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    Northern Virginia

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  1. Try Taos Clay Studio . . . just up the road. They have a workshop option that might work.
  2. I use a wire cutting tool to make 45 degree beveled edges on my slabs, score the edges, and assemble. Use the triangle piece cut from the edge on the inside to strengthen the corner, or a thin coil. For boxes with tops, I follow Min's process -- make the box, let it set up, then cut the top part off. On the inside of the bottom part, I add some thin slaps to serve as a gallery or sorts.
  3. Good starting point for understanding cones: Use cones to make sure your digital controller is accurate and validate its temperatures. Like an insurance policy.
  4. At one point, we were all beginners and newbies. Min and the others have given some good advice. On your bloating, does it happen throughout the kiln, or just top, bottom, or middle? Does your kiln have one thermocouple or three? Sounds like one -- which means your kiln controller is measuring its firing temperature at the middle of the kiln (also called one zone). To compensate for unevenness in temperature, the manufacturer will alter the elements for top and bottom to heat differently than the middle -- all part of their design to even out the firing. A kiln with multiple thermocouples typically measures top, middle, bottom and adjusts element heating accordingly. The cones will tell/confirm where your cool spots are. Then comes the fun part of figuring how to load your kiln to balance the heat and reduce/minimize the cools and hot spots. For bisque, if you are firing bone dry wares, no need to keep the top open -- especially if your kiln has a vent system. If no vent, some leave the kiln top slightly open, then drop it at 1000F. That allows any steam from physical and chemical water to escape. When I fired kilns for a community studio, we did a preheat because we were dealing with a wide range of work, some thick, some thin, some bone dry for weeks, some on the shelf that morning. That was a precaution for us. In my own studio, I know my work is dry, no preheat. For glaze loads, drop the top. My kiln top rises slightly during firing (1/8 to 1/4 inch) because air in the kiln expands as it heats. That is normal. If the lid does not sit flush when not on, or rises a lot -- more than 1/2 inch, you will need to adjust the hinge -- as Min suggested.
  5. Applying glazes takes practice; you should get better over time. Unfortunately, there may be many pieces made, glazed before you get the technique down. But I've found that is a learned skill. As many potters will have as many tricks of the trade they've developed. You sound like you have the basics (although I'm a three or four second dipper); just make pieces and practice. The part of potting that most "hate" is glazing, because it doesn't turn out the way you envisioned the glaze. But you'll get there. Some glazes are very sensitive to glaze thickness, so even rubbing down a drop on a tong mark or finger mark will leave a trace. I've use an artists paint brush to dab tong marks, let it dry, and then smooth it down until it matches the rest of the glaze thickness. Some leave the marks and let the glaze melt cover them, especially if the glaze tends to move while firing. Some glazes show those marks more than others. Spraying leaves no tong marks, but takes longer (and has a good learning curve to get right thickness).
  6. http://www.pixmaven.com/phrase_generator.html
  7. Yep, locally made . . . with glaze ingredients/oxides mined from Africa, kaolins imported from New Zealand, feldspars from England and Spain, etc. etc. etc. And don't forget to support your local artists . . . who are more than willing to sell/ship world-wide from his/her Etsy/Amazon/personal web site. I associate the word "bandwagon" with fleeting supporters/fans who join the latest fashion or fad. Give me long-term, loyal customers who buy regardless of trends. (Just feeling the irony today). ; )
  8. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019QX7CY8/ref=asc_df_B019QX7CY85233239/?tag=hyprod-20&creative=395033&creativeASIN=B019QX7CY8&linkCode=df0&hvadid=193166724913&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=1972749360143774791&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9008188&hvtargid=pla-362684347567
  9. I am not a "big" thrower; on those really rare occasions when I do make a big item, I take the Tony Clennell approach and throw in sections . . . 8 to 12 lbs. or so. At those weights, torque is no problem. Coning, centering, and throwing 25 lbs. or so takes strength I just don't have at my age. I had an instructor who would occasionally throw a demo with 25 lbs. -- and he would collapse the ware at the end of class.
  10. I have a Shimpo Whisper VL. Love it. Learned on Brents in a community studio that also had some old Shimpos and found the Shimpo foot pedal more responsive. Direct drive means fewer moving parts to replace down the road. Had I not gotten the Shimpo, I would have gone with either the Thomas Stuart (pre-bought out by Skutt) or the Bailey Pro.
  11. If you are up for testing, consider letting the half pint dry out into powder, then reconstitute with water (no gum). Then treat as a dipping glaze, like the undercoat of obsidian.
  12. Can you also get the second glaze in powder form to mix? That avoids the whole no-gum/gum situation.
  13. One thing to check out is if you can get your clay dry, not already mixed. That eliminates the need to dry it out to get a powdered form. Many clay manufacturers sell their clay dry.
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