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About TheSmartCat

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  • Birthday April 12

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  • Location
    Southern Rhode Island
  • Interests
    Majolica Pottery; Gardening; Reading; Art History; Tea
  1. When I am brush colors on unfired majolica glazes I often use a few drops of glycerin, which gives me a brush stroke more like ink on paper. I don't know why it wouldn't work in glaze with some experimentation.
  2. It depends on the body. I have earthenware that I put in the microwave successfully; other low-fire bodies are completely no go. Whites in particular will burn your fingers off. It's necessary to test...a lot.
  3. Making Marks is one of my go to books for new techniques. Right now I am starting to explore Mocha Infusions and Ceramic Ink. I work in low fire and find that his information applicable for any firing range. I've enjoyed his blog and his reader friendly attitude from his first posting. This is the autobiography of an artist who has not hesitated to use all that comes his way to become part of his creativity. Another excellent book for decorating and using color on clay is Image Transfer on Clay by Paul Andrew Wandless.
  4. I totally agree with you, Lucille. When I was teaching I made sure the rules or guides were completely understood. Once that was achieved I encouraged pushing to the point of collapse, especially in designing and making work. I have always felt that you cannot discover what clay can do if you don't discover what it can't do.
  5. has not set their status

  6. I work in terra cotta majolica, almost the opposite end of the firing range from you, Chris. Most of my work is bisqued and glazed at ^04....and yes, I fire them together, usually on different shelves. By firing my bisque to glaze temp I assure that the pot will be stable when I do my glaze design. One interesting thing I have found is that I can once fire with a commercial glaze. With my own studio glazes once firing is a disaster. I have a Bailey 7 cu. ft. electric kiln with a blank ring on the top. As long as I have one ring of elements above the shelf the blank ring goes up to temp. After a lot of experimentation I have found that the preset ^04 cycle is the best for firing my work. When I used to fire with a friend, in a much smaller kiln, I found that I had to do a ten minute soak and an extremely slow cool-down. All this has taught me that every kiln is different and needs to be tested before firing favorite work.
  7. I build large pieces on a slab the same body and thickness of the piece I am working on. I never had any problems due to the fact that everything shrinks at the same rate.
  8. You don't say what temp you are firing to. I am in the U.S.A. and use Mason and Spectrum stains. It's my understanding from their literature that zirconium encapsulated stains are food safe when fired properly. Please be aware that the cobalt is a heavy metal and can leech if fired incorrectly. Your supply company should have a hot line or customer service that will answer your questions. P.S. I just went over to the Walker site. These stains look like the equivalent of Mason Stains. I personally would have no problem using them. Just be sure to follow the information guidelines provided.
  9. I've used blocks of wood as forms. I have some thick slabs, but have also stacked plywood and taped it with duct tape. When using a hump mold I always use a thin piece of foam between the form and the clay. The foam compresses as the clay dries and gives you a little leeway for clay set up. I also use tissue paper over the foam. If you are using a pan for a form the clay will stick like epoxy if you don't use some sort of release.
  10. Google <volumes and areas of shapes> Lots of sites with formulas available.
  11. I now use a product called Dorland's Wax Medium (encaustic medium) which I thin to a brushable consistency with odorless mineral spirits. I find I have much more control than I have with any water based wax. I put on two to three coats and let them dry. It keeps my colors from smearing as I am working on other areas and I can pick up any spots or overlaps with a disposable make-up sponge or (for tiny areas) a disposable eye shadow applicator.
  12. I love notebooks and sketchbooks. I keep a small graph moleskin book in my bag at all times. (I enjoy drawing on graph paper, hate lined books for drawing.) Because I do so many quick sketches on various sized paper I have a 9x12 portfolio. I also have in my studio a larger dedicated book for a year long project I am doing. I love the feel of pencil, pen and/or brush on paper.
  13. In just the last two weeks I have switched to wax medium, which is normally used for encaustic painting etc. I thin it with odorless mineral spirits to a brushing consistency. I use it mainly to mask painted areas in my majolica designs. But it seems to work very well for the bottoms of parts. I've also found that I can use more than one coat if I need to.
  14. @ ChiefMan 3D.....what temp are you firing to? I work between ^05-^03. It does not seem to make much difference whether I use tin or zircopax.....actually I use superpax, which seems to be a little finer than zircopax. I also add a *very* small amount of rutile to my base glazes. It gives them a creamy look, sort of like old lead glazes.
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