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Rex Johnson

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About Rex Johnson

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    Acton, CA

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  1. In JC I was immediately drawn to the feel of the clay, the tactile 'quality', and the process. I liked how I could manipulate clay into a 3D 'something'. The relative immediacy made the effort rewarding in itself. Having endured painting and drawing, clay was actual fun. I still feel the same way to this day. Having said that, I was later drawn to glassblowing like a moth to...talk about immediacy!
  2. For you the OP, you're looking at some big kilns. Not sure what you plan to do, but you did mention 'to learn how to fire'. If you're starting, I'd look for something half that size. Ya gotta think about (like Mark said) it takes many pots to fill a big kiln. Do you want to experiment with all your pots? Less is definitely more here as far as the learning curve. I'd look for something smaller, though not always readily available, or, take a basic design and build something small. A couple burners, a half dozen boxes of soft brick (or used bricks) and some old bed frames wi
  3. I recently tried throwing Laguna porcelain. I'd stayed away from it since being a student where I found far it too challenging. I found it surprisingly easy to work with though. But I also found that some simple bowls warped in the bisque. I think partially it may have been from the lack of attention to making the warped bowls stressless in while throwing, rather, a consistent compressed and pulled wall. That said, I think the stress was accentuated by the uneven firing of the kiln, that is, closer to the flame than the others. I'd say maybe 2 or 3 warped out of about 15. I
  4. Painterly undergalzes work well if you like to paint, but yes they are glazes that need a clear glaze over them unless you want a dry look. Speedball is what I tried with good results.
  5. Agreed, I never was attracted to those commercial or other raku's that raises the whole kiln off the base. When using tongs to transfer pieces from kiln to whatever your using to hold your debris/sawdust, you want the transition to be as least stressful on the piece (and your back) as possible. I'd rather pull pieces from a low front loader. Heat rises, you don't want it in your face.
  6. Methinks there's a misunderstanding here. No matter the clay, once it's been bisqued it's all earthenware. It's not until you high fire the bisqued piece doe sit become stoneware. For instance, a raku or saggar pot remains earthenware when it's complete. A glazed (or not galzed) pot that's fired to stoneware temps like cone 6 becomes stoneware.
  7. Using an iPhone is fine in some ways. But the thing is it distorts the actual shape of the piece, giving a misinterpretation of what it actually looks like. Kind of important if you're using the photo to sell a piece. For instance, this cylinder has absolutely straight up and down parallel walls. It does not taper bottom to top. Hard to capture this with the iPhone lens...
  8. Yeah, it's all about the studio flow if your space allows for it. Even with space outdoors like I have, I'm constantly trying to improve on the flow so that I don't ave to be moving stuff around causing more physical work. But I have to adapt. Ideally in a straight line or U shaped space I'd like to wedge>throw>hand finish or slab build>dry>bisque>glaze>and load. But that ain't gonna happen...
  9. Trouble I've found using my iPhone is that it distorts the actual shape of the piece due to the lens type. Hard to get a true perspective.
  10. With an updraft like you have (and I have), in my experience, you're going to get flames coming out of the flue hole at some point in the firing to get it to target temp. There's always going to be some reduction in the atmosphere. However some flame is okay, it's when fuel is not being burned and you see smoke that it's in heavy reduction. You need to monitor that flame to where you're not getting smoke. On the stacking 'protection' bricks on top, try instead making a 'chimney' (4 sides) using the same bricks next time. I'll use 3,4,5 hard bricks stacked on their sides or ends
  11. I recently fired 2 dozen cups to cone 6 and forgot to glaze them...(don't ask). I took a chance and sprayed them with clear and re-fired. I couldn't believe it, if they turned out perfect!
  12. Yes, gas kilns are all about the fire triangle, oxygen/fuel/heat. If you keep that in mind when firing you're going to get a better idea of what's going on during a firing. But we also have one more thing to consider, and that's draw, how the fuel and heat is being pulled through the kiln from burners to flue. Until one gets it all dialed in (kiln schedule), it's a process that takes attention. I assume commercial gas kilns with automated devices help mitigate the guess work. But I rememeber over-firing our college kiln first time I tried
  13. I tried using a Laguna Glacier White porcelain slip on my cone 10 (B-MIX) clay pieces this year with some good and bad success. The bad success were the pieces that I had brushed and then fired (Olympic updraft) that has real uneven firing and the pieces where close to flames. They peeled and flaked. The good stuff was all sprayed evenly when leather hard or near dry and fired in my downdraft kiln. Only a few pieces close to the bagwall flaked... I think at least in my case, even application and attention to placement in the kiln is essential. Sprayed piece when green...
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