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Idaho Potter

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Everything posted by Idaho Potter

  1. #2 if the lip had just a little bit more of an outward roll instead of so straight. Less dribbles because your lower lip has caught them before they even form.
  2. I learned the hard way that outdoor ceramics need to be fired to at least cone 4 to survive harsh winters--and definitely glazed or taken indoors before the first hard frost. Kudos on the gargoyle at the front door. Style points! Shirley
  3. I concerned about you using household drains to cleanup studio messes. The sedimentary residue from clay, glaze, and other stuff will eventually block your drains and could cost you a lot of money to repair. That stuff sets up like concrete. Cink's are expensive. However, you can make something similar using laundry tubs with standpipes under your stainless sink. I've been using mine for over thirty years, never had plumbing problems, and when I moved to Boise, brought the whole thing with me and set it up in my new studio nine years ago. I use twin tubs, so once a year, I bail out water from one side--let it go dry, and scoop out the sediment into the trash. Then I do the other side. If you are interested, I could probably come up with some drawings. Basically it is based on a deep sink with a standpipe that was designed for cleaning up plaster from molds, etc. Works like a charm, and cost is low--laundry tubs, some PVC pipes, and enough room under the tubs for a P-trap. (my stainless sink is set high, and I cut the legs off the tubs to lower them but keep space for the P-trap) Shirley
  4. Kohaku, I use Coleman raku (firing range 06 to 10) and it is fine grained. (It's from Clay Art Center) It also is endurable during the kiln to smoke pot, I don't do much by way of carving, but think this would work well if you are sticking to raku firing. Your work is so beautiful, I'm kind of with Chris--try another firing technique. If it's the luster quality in raku that attracts you, a second firing and you can have your lusters on a well vitrified clay. B-mix without grog is smooth as butter and carves very well. Shirley
  5. Wow! Nice stuff! Electro-forming is not familiar to me. Does this happen before, after, or instead of glaze firing?

  6. Have been meaning to comment on your new avatar. What's your secret? You just get younger looking every day.

  7. Several years ago I was teaching a class of 10 to 14 year old girls. Three of ten were lefties. It turned out to be easier for me to learn left hand throwing (clockwise) than to burden them with changing their dominate hand. Worked out well for all four of us. The second round of classes I explained why we in America work counter-clockwise, and because of classes and workshops later in life it would be wise to learn both ways. One girl was so promising at ten years of age, I figure she'll be studying in Japan, Korea, or China someday and won't have problems adjusting to eastern methods. I will still occasionally work the other way as it seems to relieve some of my back problems--maybe just the fact that I'm leaning and stretching the muscles on the other side. Shirley
  8. Sorry, I don't believe I've met Jerry, but his name seems familiar.

  9. Jim, I am becoming addicted to your ever changing avatars. Your work was wonderful, but this new turn is joyful! Thanks for the lift.

  10. Happypots, I, like you, have given "private lessons" to adults, with a different take, however. If the student wants to learn ceramics, they start with handbuilding and work their way up. I remind them that getting work fired by someone else (other than in my studio) isn't all that easy. Most places feel more comfortable knowing the student has at least the fundamental basics under their belt. And I try to convince them that the first piece of equipment they need to buy is a kiln--not a wheel. I have also had students who only wanted to learn wheel throwing techniques. My classes are three hours long (reality check--set up and clean up equal approx. 1/2 hour which is one-third of your alloted class time) plus the student can practice on their own for three hours a week as well. The classes (and the practice time) run for six weeks--no extensions. This is still only 36 hours total (providing they are motivated enough to practice). There are restrictions during class time. They do assigned work--cylinders, bowls, bigger cylinders, shaped cylinders, bigger bowls. If they practice, they can experiment as much as they like, but when they come back to class they do assigned work. Someone who took pottery in high school will advance more rapidly, but tossing a total newbie into wheel throwing without that background is a disservice to your student. They need structure until they master centering, opening and repeated attempts at drawing up the clay into a viable form. Just as an untrained horse doesn't know what to do with that bit in their mouth, the newbie needs gentle, steady reinforcement so trust and confidence can grow. Rethink your method and maybe the time set aside for classes. When that student actually draws up a slightly wobbly cylinder and it doesn't collapse--their smile will light the whole studio. Once they feel they can throw well, I put more stumbling blocks in their way. They are expected to weigh the clay and make three whatevers of the same size and shape. No, I don't expect the outcome will be exact, but it is something that is important to working with pottery. They are also expected to draw what they intend to produce. No fancy drawing, jut a line drawing showing dimension measurements. These are not "rules" for teaching, they're my methods. I think they need goals--even if I have to set them. If you are giving group lessons, invite your student in to see the progress of others (or maybe drop in to the community center to take a peek).
  11. It was quite a jolt when I saw an entry with my name that I knew I hadn't posted. Looked again and saw you ran both words together. Small difference in spelling, big difference for others who might not recognize the small difference. You might get some strange emails.

  12. No way a penny could make that much material--not enough to start with. The stuff coming out of the glazed bowl looks like mild rebar (the thinner stuff you can form with your hands) coated with glaze. Something fishy going on.
  13. Love the drums! My percussionist son-in-law wants me to make him one. I keep telling him it will be a bongo.

  14. No matter what combustibles I use (sawdust, pine needles, straw, leaves, etc) I always use a (at least) double layer of newspaper as a fairly smooth place for the pots. More newsprint on top. The bottom layers are for cushioning and prolonged combustion--the newsprint because I've found it to give the blackest blacks on unglazed clay. As John said, if you know your clay, glazes, and combustibles you can pretty much repeat the same results--at will. I have one particular glaze that gives sort of a white with blue overtones--blah. However, overfire it and you get a mauve tweed that looks good with basic black. Start with a small selection of glazes and see what happens at different temps and times. For heaven's sake, have some fun!
  15. As I said in my first reply, I place my shelf on the three soft kiln bricks (on their sides) that I aim my flame at. The kiln is only 20 inches in diameter and 20 inches high so I don't use regular posta. If I need to lean a plate or bowl, I use another kiln brick as support. I can also use that brick to elevate another piece above items on the shelf. I have been using Coleman raku clay (cone 06 to 10 firing range) for almost 30 years and my loss due to breakage is less than 5%. Hardy stuff, and doesn't mind being only a shelf thickness away from the flames.
  16. I've been firing raku since 1985. First in a galvanized sheet metal kiln that was in two pieces--bottom was total of 6 inches with a rim set at 4 inches so the top (20 inches) slid over and sealed the kiln. Mouse hole in the bottome section for burner (weed burner with every safety device known to exist), lid made of expanded steel lined with ceramic fiber. I made it this size because together the two sections were 24", the size of ceramic fiber rolls. I used that kiln until 2008 when I had the bottom sections (same size) made of expanded steel. The firing chamber was placed on soft kiln bricks which were placed on hard bricks, which were placed on used, red, fireplace bricks. In the chamber I placed three kiln bricks, two to the side of mousehole and one directly opposite mousehole,and this is where I place my shelf. Because I frequently fire raku without help, I've kept the kiln small (overall dimensions are 20" in diameter by 24" high) and in two sections so I could pack it (and the bricks) in the trunk of my sedan. I took the setup to demo shows sponsored by the galleries that carried my work. That meant setting up on concrete areas and not causing damage. The red bricks never got too hot to handle with regular gloves, so the concrete was safe. Yes, there is a safety factor using a top opening kiln, but the gas is turned off while the pots are removed, and if working with a group of kids (fifth graders) everyone had an assigned job, and nobody wandered into other peoples spaces. I romoved most of the pots because I was taller than the kids. Personally, I believe there is more danger during the post-firing-reduction part of the process because folks tend to under-estimate how much the combustibles can flare up when the smoke pot is opened. In a perfect world we would have a perfect solution to firing raku. I rather think that the serendipity of the process is extended out to how you initially set up your kiln and area. We tend to work best with a process we learned and made adjustments to for our convenience or comfort. Mine is probably not the answer for many, but because it is something that I can handle without assistance, it is perfect for me. Like Marcia, I fire my first load for 45 minutes to an hour. After that--depending on which glaze I'm using--I can run loads through every 15 to 20 minutes. If I get ahead of the smoke pots, I just let the next load sit on pilot light power until everything clears and smoke pots are available again. The only other thing I'd suggest is if the day is chilly, have pots sitting at least in the sun or use a propane heater to prewarm your pots before placing in kilnn
  17. You might be asking for something that's not out there--yet. If you could find someone to make your molds--close to the detail you want--$50 bucks sounds okay to me. A mold maker would do a prototype from your original, then make production molds and charge you over $100. Remember, the smaller the item is, the more difficult it is to include detail. This makes everything more expensive. I would suggest you use your silhouette figures--provided they are clip art (so they are free of copyright law)--take them to Kinko's and make copies the size you want. Make your simple molds, and apply them to your work . Enhance them with color or slip for raised motifs. If someone came to me and asked for a smaller than 2x2 design with detail, I'd turn them down, flat. It would take a lot of dollars to compensate for the time involved, and it would not be lasting for you. Each time the mold is used, the detail would slowly disappear. You'd be back with something without detail, and out a lot of money. Sorry to be a downer, but if you could get a mold (candy would probably be the smallest, wouldn't it?) close to what you want for $50, I'd jump on it. Whether you have to lower your expectations; change your vision of your finished work; pay the quoted rate; or take some classes to learn how to do this yourself, I don't think there's a quick solution to your problem. Shirley P.S. Fimo is a polymer clay similar to Sculpey--it's great for small molds because it doesn't seem to lose detail as fast as plaster.
  18. Pres, after reading your comment on pugmills, came here to say I think we have a lot in common (I'm a little older than you) in that I love making pots (wheel thrown or handbuilt)but do a crappy job of glazing except in Raku. Like your posts.

  19. Hi, fellow Boisean. Have you always lived in Boise? I moved here seven years ago from McCall. Maybe we'll meet at Scott's place and say hello in person.

  20. Don't know who's screwing with your head, but every time I'm online and check out the forums, I look for red. Then I click green--even if I don't know a person. Everone is allowed three clicks a day. Shouldn't be difficult to get to green and hold it.

  21. Thanks for the info on shrinking/enlarging posted photos. Valuable advice.

    Shirley (Idaho) Potter

  22. I get a lift every time I make the trip to your website. Everything looks so clean and fresh--your colors sparkle!

  23. From the album: stuff

    © shirley a potter

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