Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by potterbeth

  1. Consider hardwiring the kiln to the power box instead of using an outlet/plug to avoid corrosion from humidity. Give your electrician a copy of the wiring requirements from your manual and BE SURE they are followed with type and weight of wire. You'd be surprised how many electricians do not understand why kilns require copper wire. Also consider how long the run is from your main power box to the kiln which can affect power supply. Call the kiln manufacturer before proceeding with any questions. If you enclose the porch, consider a kiln vent.
  2. Are the bottoms warped or the rims or both? Your process seems sound, and your finishing looks clean. It doesn't sound as if you're warping them in handling, but it is easy to warp a piece like this if it is lifted before it is past leatherhard. If you are not already doing so, place a board on top of the piece in the mold, flip it, and pick the mold up off of the piece. If the center of the piece will slump when you do this, it may not be ready to unmold. If you need to accelerate the process, you can use a blow dryer to get the exposed surface of the piece to leatherhard while it still sits in the mold. If it is just a little too wet, you can use a small piece of foam to support the center of the form during the flip. Once it is out of the mold, sandwich between two boards to flip upright. Use this "pancake and flip" method until the form is too dry to warp. What are they sitting on when drying under plastic? It needs to be an absorbent surface (I use drywall boards for forms like this). But if that surface becomes too damp, it will actually slow the drying of the bottom which can lead to warping on a flat, wide form. To avoid this, slide the piece to a dry surface that will allow the bottom to continue to dry along with the rest of the form. A single sheet of newspaper under the form will help with the moves (too much paper can wrinkle and mar the piece). Two days to bone dry! Pretty fast. Rims can warp if they dry faster in one area such as near the edge of the plastic. You might need to wrap in more layers of plastic. I have students dry each piece like this on its own board with two layers of plastic wrapped completely over the piece and under the edges of the board. It does slow down the process, but they experience very little warping.
  3. I don't believe anyone has brought this up; my apologies if I'm repeating.... As I understand it, you're not able at this time to do shows. For the experience of selling your work in person without doing shows, sales galleries exist where you rent display space (jury of your work usually required) AND commit to spend some amount of time acting as gallery staff. While you are not there all of the time, this offers the potential both to see customers interact with your work and for you to interact with customers. I know several successful potters who do this in addition to shows, custom orders, straight commission gallery sales, direct sales from their own studio, etc. One caveat, you can lose money if you don't sell enough to cover your rent and transportation costs to/from the gallery, let alone paying yourself for the time you spend staffing the gallery. Congratulations on your new business!
  4. Glaze the inside first! Wipe away any drips, allow to dry, then spray the outside. If you want the inside glaze to overlap the outside glaze at the rim, clean an appropriate portion of the rim bare after you glaze the inside, then do a rim dip after you spray the outside. If you don't want any of the sprayed glaze to get inside, you might be able to use Press and Seal wrap or wax resist to mask off the interior during your spraying.
  5. A number of my students have experimented with adding glass to their work at cone 6 electric. First, unless you are firing to VERY low cones, most common glass will melt entirely and flow to the lowest point it can reach. Experiment only on the interiors of test pots first...unless you want to replace kiln shelves for the studio.... Second, less is often more. Experiment by beginning with small quantities of glass (just enough to cover the bottom of a piece), then increase to gauge results. Third, real glass beads from the craft store are another source to explore. But they are very light and roll around. If you use glass that can roll, it is helpful to glue it in place to make it easier for the person loading the kiln. Just regular glue, like Elmer's, which will burn off long before anything starts melting...not an option to hold the glass where you want it for the entire firing.
  6. One avenue to achieving beautiful matt glazes in a mid-range electric kiln is down firing (controlled cooling). Steven Hill offers great advice and a link to an article on the subject on his website: http://www.stevenhillpottery.com/articles/ Double ditto on Neil's advice about not giving other people in your studio access to anything that isn't food safe. If you plan to share glazes with other studio users, you might consider keeping such glazes and materials in an "off limits" area for only your use.
  7. If you're firing to mid-range stoneware and have a nice, stable white glaze that dries to a durable surface (we use Coyote White), do some tests applying underglaze on top of the glaze...faux majolica! Usually works best using the underglaze as a thinner wash, think watercolor style. If it is applied too thick, it will not fully incorporate into the glaze and gloss up during the firing. Thickish applications will remain on top of the glaze and be dry/dull.
  8. If you are doing all of the loading, remember to pay yourself for labor! It's great that you're making the resource available, but a fair price for providing a firing service should be at least double what it actually costs you. Even at that price, it will still be a bargain for participants. I rent part of my personal studio space to other potters. Renters are responsible for the cost of all of their own expendable materials and have assigned storage spaces for their work, tools, and materials. I have two firing fee structures, one if the renter does all of his/her own loading/unloading and another if I load their work. When I load, I base the cost on the height of the shelf required to accommodate their work and/or the percentage of the kiln space used, rather than weight or actual square inches. Ultimately, it is my judgment call. I strive to be fair and usually err on the side of charging on the low end of my estimate. I haven't had any complaints. Finally, if renters want to use my glazes, they pay a fee per 25 lb bag of clay opened. This grew out of the system we use in the teaching studio where we buy the clay and sell it to the students with an up-charge that covers the cost of the studio glazes and underglazes.
  9. We have been using 240 and 112 in the teaching studio with commercial glazes (purchased powdered) in 5 gallon pails for about 5 years, firing in a vented electric kiln to cone 5 tip touching. This cone suits the glazes we use, many of which will begin to overfire at cone 6. We have not tried the 630 clay body. At cone 5, none of the Standard white bodies (aside from 630 which I have not tried) are truly mature. If the glaze is not tightly sealed, the clay body can absorb enough water to ruin your grandmother's antique dining table. We have run into a couple of glazes recommended at cone 5 which did not prevent seepage. I struggle with even using the clay in the studio, but our adult students love the feel and the fired results, so we march on. (Until very recently, Standard was our only easily available clay so we had little choice. Now, all the test tiles are made!) At cone 6, you will likely find more reliable results, but beware uneven kiln temperatures. I have also tried all of the white Standard bodies which include cone 6 ranging up to cone 10, none of which were remotely satisfactory at cone 5-6. A Standard tech once told me that my personal standard for clay body maturity seemed to run around 4% absorption or less, but the industry standard for stoneware begins at a higher absorption rate. The 240 is less forgiving re: warping and cracking, especially if it's too thick, if there is large variation in wall thickness within the pot, or if it has not been well compressed, but you have the experience to deal with that. Surprisingly, children's work is LESS likely to have problems than adult's work, probably because they're working smaller and getting more one-on-one tutelage plus the benefit of the instructor determining how their work dries, etc. The 240 provides an excellent background for commercial underglazes. As an aside, the speckles in the 112 do show through many commercial underglazes. Also, the two bodies are similar in shrinkage/absorption and recent experimental agateware shows promising results, but the jury is still out! Re: using the same glazes on the 240 and the 112, all of our glazes will work on both although some are more aesthetically pleasing on one body. Consistently, glazes are MORE prone to running on the 240, especially in layering glazes or thicker applications. I have found this to be the case on all mid-range white clay bodies. Going back to the clay body maturity issue, the glazes that allowed water seepage on the 240 did not have any problems on the 112. Anticipating the question...yes, glazes, especially transparent ones, are more likely to craze on the 240. Finally, recycling 240 and 112 scrap together results in a lovely light tan body with speckles that is great to use. Glazes results are very similar to those on 112.
  10. What is your desired goal? Do you want a cohesive body of work so you can begin doing retail shows, or consigning to shops, or seeking wholesale orders? If having a cohesive body of work that speaks to your aesthetics and defines you as an identifiable artist is not a necessary goal at this point in your ceramic career, then exploration is vital in finding that voice (even though exploration continues to vital forever). There are lots of great suggestions above. Here's another thing you might try: when you see a pot that really speaks to you, make a copy of it. Frequently, in that making process, you will discover the essential parts of the pot that sing for you, and you will have to explore how those features were achieved. Then you can take what you have learned from that exploration and apply the principles to your own work, whether they be about proportion, decoration, color, finishing, edges, attachments, alterations, assemblages, etc. Eventually, the collection of knowledge from all sources will help inform your own voice. That leaves only one problem...what to do with copies? Give them away or keep them for yourself or consign them to the shard pile. Just don't present them as your original ideas.
  11. Be careful using chlorine buckets! I almost gassed myself once when taking the lid off of a newly emptied one. Not pleasant. I don't know if chlorine has any potential to affect glaze... Another alternative for larger containers is rectangular plastic bins with lids (like Rubbermaid). You might try filling one with a like quantity of water to see how it performs before going whole hog with them for glaze.
  12. http://rosenfieldcollection.com offers an amazing array of contemporary pottery. Currently over 2000 images representing almost 500 artists with only a portion of the collection documented. The listings are not perfect (some misattributions, some mistakes in type of firing, etc.), but it's a wonderful resource.
  13. In addition to how the elements look, with the kiln unplugged (or power shut off from a duck box), run your finger over the elements. The smoother they feel, the better their condition. Roughness comes with use. If they feel like coarse sandpaper and they're leaning over, bunching up, etc., it's probably more than time to replace. Good tip above about checking for corrosion in the control box.
  14. I was working in a university pottery studio when they switched from two forced air pipe burners to two venturi burners. We only did cone 10 reduction glaze firings in the sprung-arch hard-firebrick downdraft gas kiln (bisques were all electric). I believe the kiln chamber was about 40-50 cubic feet. It was absolutely wonderful to no longer have to worry about power outages and back burning. BUT our firings were long...ridiculously long...up to 24 hours versus 12-14 hours prior to the burner change. Long story short, our venturi burners were too small. Changed them out for two larger venturi burners and everything was back to normal. We did not have to add any burners. So, if you decide to make the change, be sure to cover that topic. I fire all electric now and can tell you that my firings (slow ramp up, no down firing), whether cone 06 bisque or cone 6 glaze, run between $10-15 each. There is a part of me that wistfully remembers gas firing....
  15. Would you have room to attach a board to the end of a storage rack? Or would you have enough room to create a very short shelf on one of your racks where you could store boards holding tiles that you could slide out when you need to use them? I understand the frustration with lack of wall space!
  16. You could press your macaroni stars into clay, bisque fire, then use the bisque mold to make your own stamp out of clay & bisque fire it for use. The resulting star would be a little smaller but more durable.
  17. Thanks, Crusty! I know you're right about the plate racks...I've never been know for my efficiency.
  18. And even if you're not planning on selling it, you may not have control over the pot's entire future. What if it's still around once you are not? Subsequent users will have no clue. I've used this caution many times with students who want to use non-dinnerware safe glaze on the interiors or rims of potentially functional items...
  19. If I read correctly, you're making the slab plate and then throwing on a foot, right? Is the slab plate mostly flat or is it slightly curved before the foot is added? Or is the center of the plate slightly curved with a wide flat rim? If the plate is flat or has a wide flat rim and the diameter of your foot ring is too small for the diameter of the rim, this can cause the rim to drop and the center of the plate to pop up in the glaze firing because the foot acts as a pivot point (think see-saw) when the clay softens in the glaze firing. Gravity wins. Whether the slump is consistent around the entire rim or is worse in some places than others is usually related to how carefully or casually the clay was handled during construction of the piece.
  20. Have you layered these glazes successfully before? It's rare, but in my experience some commercial glazes just don't "play nice" with each other. It's also possible that the total number of layers applied resulted in too much total glaze thickness. If you're brushing, most commercial glazes seem to prefer no more than three total coats before excess thickness can cause problems (for example, 2 coats black plus 1 coat other glaze for 3 coats total). Of course, the liquidity of your glaze will impact that...I'm basing the 3 coat norm on the glaze having the consistency of heavy cream.
  21. PLATES: 9-9.5" are our everyday favs; 10-11" which seem much larger only come out when all of the others are dirty or when things like corn on the cob or large baked potatoes make them worthwhile; 6-8" serve well for small meals, snacks, desserts, etc. BOWLS: we have a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all get used or they get kicked out of the cabinet...have to do something to keep it from falling off the wall. Another cabinet holds mugs, sorted by large and small usually used for hot drinks. Yet another cabinet holds tumblers usually used for cold drinks. I collect as well as make, so mix and match usually trumps matching sets. I throw my dinner plates using Standard 266 to an 11" diameter. They end up 9.5" glazed. Aside from being our favorite size to use, I can dip them into a 5 gallon glaze bucket (no decanting into a wider container) and can get three plates on one full shelf in a Skutt 1027. One picture attached. (Sorry the photo paper is upside down! Haste makes waste.)
  22. I've also had this happen when the splash pan was pushed too far off center...
  23. Low fire pottery is usually bisque fired to a higher temperature than its glaze temperature (bisque to 04 and glaze to 05-06). Bisque firing to cone 04 ensures that organics in the clay have burned out so they don't cause problems during the glaze firing, and any clay shrinkage has already occurred before the glaze firing so the glaze does not have to shrink to fit the clay. Plus the clay is still porous and can absorb the glaze. The good news here is that you probably won't have any fit problems in applying and firing the glaze on your cone 5 fired piece. However, if your piece has become non-porous at cone 5, applying the 05 glaze will be more difficult. Commercially produced glaze purchased as wet mix usually contains enough gum to allow a decent coating, but it may not go on as thick as it would on bisque which could affect the color and texture of that glaze. Additionally, your cone 5 glaze may be affected by the re-fire at cone 05. I've seen both good and bad results. Until you finish one of these pieces, you won't know for sure what you will get. So, moving forward, some test tiles in your clay body using your glazes might be desirable. Otherwise, your work is the test. Finally, some low fire glazes do not respond well if they are fired in a kiln with work being bisque fired. Once again, I've seen both good and bad results. So your tests should take this into consideration. Have fun!
  24. I use Standard 266 (dark brown clay body, no grog), bisque to cone 06 and glaze to cone 5. Even then, I will occasionally get a bloated piece, particularly with one glaze. But the beauty of the rest of the work makes the risk worth it. I know of another studio using the same clay body that had horrible bloating problems at cone 5...but they were firing a low bisque at cone 010. Just another factor to consider.
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.