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Everything posted by synj00

  1. Baking Soda Eh? That idea is going into my next test batch. I hadn't thought to look into soda firing techniques for usable materials. Got any pics of ware glazed like that? Thanks, Sebastian
  2. @Stephen thats where I'm at too! I think too much, but I dont think you can overthink your observation for this type of thing. Static plans don't work. Nothing ever works out exactly the way we plan. I"m old enough to have seen enough of my static plans fail. But a good flexible plan with plenty of analysis and observation to get you -towards something - is a good thing. I'm old enough to have seen enough of those work.The more we are aware of, the more able we'll be to spot trends, improve, etc.. and when we come to a crossroads, we'll be better able to make decisions when the time comes. And yes, improving skills is a given. It would be just armchair tactics and dreaming to be talking about it as a real business it if we weren't already putting in the work. I think offering a few different things at the booth wouldn't push people away. There is always the peripheral customer, maybe a woodworker, that comes in to look at your boards, and spots something ceramic, picks it up and takes it home. Or the other way around. I think I read somewhere that 3 diverse but coherent / related products was a good limit to have. I also agree with the buyers supporting the artist almost as much as the wares they sell. I'm a firm believer in that. What I make, part of me goes into that object and will forever reside there. People huff at that concept but for me it's a reality. I put as much of myself into something as I can. Which is a hard thing to let go of once you finish it, but it's a good lesson in being 100% present and honoring what you are doing it, while you are doing it, and then letting it go.
  3. Zebra tools makes neat little tools for carving. But Neil is right, you dont need them, just use what you got and you can even make your own tools out of bent saw blades and such.
  4. I couldn't resize my pics either ... sorry peeps! :-(
  5. My guess as to the layers is that they actually ARE layers or they are cuts into the clay and ripped away. I'm sure there are dozens and dozens of ways to do it. Akira Satake does it very well. I find that well grogged clay makes for the rough tears and if there is little or no grog then it will tear away almost cleanly with just a light texture. Of course this all depends on the direction of tearing and such and what you want out of the end product Take a small block of clay, cut into it with a wire a dozen or more times and rip that portion of clay off, you get a really nice layered effect. What I don't like, for my personal work anyways, is having the scoring marks where I want to break a piece off but then there is that very slight line of perfection before the rough edge. Maybe I can do something with that specifically but I haven't thought of anything yet. I like the very natural look. Akira likes his work to have the natural AND the straight lines combined for some of his work. But those works are clearly made with that in mind. Such as the vase below. Anyways, just have a good think on it, implement and if it doesnt work, surely more ideas will come from that, and think again, etc.. and have fun with it. All we really do is to play with mud after all. Its very serious, and absolutely not serious, both at the same time. Like Straw Dogs :-)
  6. You get better at what you do the most and the longest. I certainly wont tell you not to keep on doing exactly what you are doing. Out of what you do will come WHAT YOU DO. How could it be any other way? I cant speak from a pottery perspective because I don't even have my own line yet (still working on it, and will be tweaking forever probably haha) but I can speak from a consumer perspective. If you give people too many choices, they generally will not choose. That's been proven by people who get paid waaaaaaaay more than I do, to study consumer habits and what sells and why and what doesn't sell and why. And take into account gas stations and convenience stores. All laid out generally the same. I remember a time when Quick Trip / Racetrack / Wal-Mart / Target, they were there but every store was different, you had to walk around and find things, doable but not ideal. Now I can go to any one of these places, walk directly to what I want, pick it up and go check out. Then also there is the familiarity concept that ties in with that. Humans are creatures of habit, we generally park in the same spots, we generally say hello to those we are familiar with. Sure we may strike up a conversation with a stranger but chances are better with the person we know better. We gravitate towards familiarity. We have jingles that go along with a product to further engrain a name or a slogan so you are more likely to choose it. I find the subject and the psychology behind it absolutely fascinating. Added bonus, when you learn the techniques people use to try to sell you things, or persuade you of something, you get to make more informed choices rather than just because it "feels" some kind of way. There are TED talks on marketing, books, all sorts of strange and fascinating things out there to learn about how our brains work and how we make decisions.
  7. Whew that's a lot of clay!!! Thats a lot of pots !
  8. First off, Thanks @Joseph F !! Yeah its been a while! Second, I would disagree with your wording. You didn't fail, you got results and from the results you adjusted your course and eventually ended up perfectly happy. That's what counts! I see a lot of people who are just absolutely miserable in their lives and professions. Really, I feel for people with that perspective. I don't hate my profession. I actually love the people. I occasionally get some satisfaction from a job well done. It took a looooong and miserable time to get to this point and perspective. Lots of people do things from a purely reactionary perspective. "I hate my job, I love doing _____, let me change it up real quick." I dont have the luxury to be able to do that kind of thing. Maybe when I was younger and working at a fast food joint with no bills and no family to support. I think we all have had the phone call or whatever "Ummm I'm not coming in today, or ever again." at least once in our lives LoL! Its part of the learning experience. So where I'm coming from is the path of trying to make my life and my families life better and be able to do more of the things that we love and want to do. Maybe 1% of people on the planet get to do what they want to do for a living. I have a 1% chance of doing what I want and being able to support myself and my family. If I don't give it a go I have a 0% chance. I am willing to work hard and be extremely patient for what I want. Of course I may come to the same conclusion, that it isn't for me, or that it absolutely will not feed us and I'm really ok with that, I'll change course and pursue the path that brings myself and my family closer to our natural rhythm and happiness. And a HUGE part of that is being DEBT FREE!!! We were debt free for a time and long story short I had to take leave and didn't get paid for months. We eventually did get paid but the damage had already been done because of living off of credit cards. Not enough in savings to cover an extended period of absence. Lesson learned. The hard way. So that will happen and other things will have to happen and line up before I decide that I can or cant make a full jump. That single thing, by itself, is going to open up a lot of avenues that were not available before. As far as the firing method goes, I was smitten from the beginning with the aesthetic of high fired ware, the simple glazes, the history and tradition that goes with them. It's like the car you want when you can finally afford it. Yes the Ferrari has 4 wheels and goes fast but you want the Lambo because you had a poster of it in your room when you were a kid and the Ferrari test drive, while all the potential is there, doesn't really change your mind. And I didnt put this question out here just for myself. I hope this thread helps other people who might come across it with their planning and perspective. (not that I have the correct perspective, it's just my perspective) I'm really enjoying the discussion and reading everyone's thoughts on the matter. So much good advice here from everyone! I cant thank you all enough for your thoughtful input! I owe you each a cup of coffee and breakfast or something!
  9. Fantastic advice GEP, that is where I am at right now. Not quitting anything on a whim, it has to be viable or I just don't get to jump. Not the end of the world and clay will most likley always be part of my life. And I kinda feel like it's the best position to be in, I get to do the work, build something and see if it can work. I really want it to work of course. It is already hard work as I'm spending nights and weekends improving my throwing and out of that will come a line of pots that will be the first standards. From there, like everyone is mentioning, people will like them, or they won't. I can choose to adjust what I make, "some & some", or the plan is on hold until circumstances change or I re-evaluate and decide that it's not the right goal (which is always a possibility) And you are right, I have put a LOT of thought into this for the past few years. I am making sure that the plan is as flexible as possible without changing the core ideals that made me decide to pursue this goal in the first place. If you could be in my brain you'd see whats up lol. The garage is and will be the studio until I sales dictate that I move. That is a right-on fantastic piece of advice. I will be firing in the small homemade gas kiln to start off with (along with my wood fired work twice a year). I really am hearing the advice of being flexible with electric but I cant get past the gut feeling of putting my time and energy into something that I ultimately will most likely abandon in favor of high fire. Lots of this plan is dependant on what each step brings. IF the small gas kiln gets me, on a small scale, to what I want to produce AND people like it, then the next logical step will get taken, with risk measured and noted. Same for investments in facilities and equipment. IF small scale does not work, then no, a 15k investment in a large gas kiln doesn't make a lick of sense. It's kind of like a choose your own adventure story right?
  10. This is why I decided to put it out here, I dont want a bunch of confirmation bias. I needed some diverse opinions and input and you guys delivered. Thank you for the thoughtful comments. The input here helps to round things out and gives me lots to chew on and add to my plan. The comment about "if it cant work part time it probably won't work full time". That's exactly where I'm at. I'm under no spell, thinking that this is going to be some kind of easy feat. That is why its a multi year project. So if I cant get this up and running to the point where I can make a jump, then I won't. I'll scale it back and it will be that which feeds the soul and then I'll keep the job that feeds the family. I'm in a good place where I can give it my all to do it, if it doesn't work out then, I'll keep doing it, it just won't be my full time gig. I also appreciate the midfire comments, it's just not my thing, I guess it seems like I'm being inflexible. I get that comment all the time and it will surely play into how the plan turns out. I'm just the type of person that if I want to do something specific, I'm going to put all my effort and energy to do THAT THING or I'm not going to do it at all. I'm weird that way :-) I do hold a mortgage, not renting my home currently. We do not have sufficient space to build another structure. We won't be at this house forever and sometime down the road if we move the extra space will definitely be a consideration. I have read back through the threads here and elsewhere and a gas kiln in a residential garage overwhelmingly seems to be a no-go. I have a converted electric kiln and burner and I will use that for the time being to get my atmospheric skills up to par (which I will do before I invest ANY kind of money in another kiln. Money isn't cheap you know! ;-) Oh I should put it out there, that I don't JUST want to make money by doing pottery. That's not the goal at all. I'll make this extra hard on myself - I want to make what I want to make AND make a living doing it! Other people do it, just not many. So statistically speaking, I'm almost sure to fail, but it wouldn't be fun without the odds right?!
  11. Well folks! I've been off and on here for a while now and I thought I would ask the community what they thought of my 5 year plan (now 4 years). I've never in my life been so motivated to create something like this. If anyone has stories they want to share or advice about making the jump from one career to another it would be greatly appreciated. First a little background on my situation - I work a full time job and am compensated fairly well. Its just not something I want to do the rest of my life. We have debt that we need to pay off that should be done in 2 years if all goes well. I have accepted that this venture might fail, or that we might not make enough for us to survive on. But that is not stopping me from going full steam ahead and will not be used as an excuse to let things slide or for any type of failure. Accepting that things don't always work out frees up mental energy so I can focus on the things that need to be done. I have to work my day gig 40+ hours a week. Nights and weekends are dedicated to improving my throwing, building some standard shapes and pieces and general scheming and dreaming. We've procured and LLC and a CPA (have not gotten a Sales Tax ID or a Tax Exempt ID because we are not officially selling as a business yet) A business loan and credit cards are pretty much out of the picture. My wife is working full time and is currently on course for a degree in business administration so that is helping out a lot too! We have a business plan in place and are researching our customers and demographic and where and when to sell (this is a continual investigation but Etsy will probably be our first sales platform as we have used it before) I know a lot of that depends on what we are making as a studio - Functional Ware / Cups / bowls / Plates / Serving Dishes / Vases / Lidded Vessels / all in various sizes to create my own line (while like every other potter - experimenting and improving along the way) We are building our social network presence slowly but surely. We are calculating our current personal expenses, time, operating expenses, capital, etc... (again since it's an ever changing thing its ongoing and we'll get dialed in the more data the further we move along) Currently we are working out of the garage with two wheels and an electric Kiln which is being used as a bisque kiln and a test fire kiln. I have a spot where I can woodfire twice a year. This is my sticking point. I am not interested in mid-fire at all. Woodfiring twice a year does not give me enough feedback or testing or experience to line up within this timeframe. Woodfiring is a 10 year goal. Getting up and running in my own studio is my 5 year goal so high fire with gas makes sense. I will be investing in some large propane tanks and I already have a burner and a converted electric kiln so I can do experiments and small amounts of work fired in that for the time being. A decent size gas kiln will be a considerable investment and the heart of the studio. I don't think it is possible to run a good size gas kiln in my garage studio. Someone correct me if I'm wrong. I think renting a building and installing a gas kiln does not make sense at this point but at some point I will have to get up and going at full scale. For those of you that own studios when did you consider renting and installing a kiln? Thanks for any input / experience you want to share.
  12. Interesting topic here! I’ll add my take as well. I started with the kit tools that everyone ends up with. The roundish trim blade on one side and a triangular blade on the other. Serves most jobs well. I went out and got a Sherill Do All trim tool (because I like to get away with using the least amount of tools possible for whatever reason) and then discovered “chattering” quite by accident. It was annoying. It teaches you to be very deliberate in your movements and to brace the tool as well as you can. I think that the tools you use, at least in the beginning, kind of influence the types of curves and angles you make. It did for me anyways but I was still very much in my “let’s just try it and see” phase. I have come to love a good semi sharp wooden knife for just about everything - as a long rib, burnishing tool, trim tool, decoration, whatever. It comes down to what you use and end up liking, which can and probably will change over time.
  13. I’m going to teach myself spiral wedging sometime, which prompted a question about wedging in general. I throw clockwise on the wheel, I usually just do a quick rams head wedging to prep my clay. I have not really paid attention to the direction of the wedge once I work it into a ball and put it on the wheel. But is it better to wedge in the same direction as your wheel or the opposite? My gut tells me it should be in the same direction but I don’t know why. Any input? Thanks!!
  14. It just occurred to me that we did an experiment with raku a year or so ago with some soft brick that I have since gotten rid of. I didnt have a temperature gauge or anything but do you think that with a big enough tank and enough soft brick to build something conducive for airflow would it reach cone 10 in a few hours? This would allow me to experiment with glazes, build different configurations, reduction and all that kick@%% stuff :-) Tell me good news! Thanks All!! Sebastian
  15. Grype! Great to see youre still at it! I had to take a break for personal reasons but I've picked up where I left off. I came to post the question "Does cooling have an affect on Tenmoku (Temmoku)?" and here I find some great information as you are already treading this territory. Here is my testing its at cone 8 oxidation with quite a hold time. The leach 4/3/2/1 recipe and it works but its not anything like temmoku at all in oxidation even with a long ramp down in cooling. It looks cool but its not what I'm after. Its the journey not the destination right? :-)
  16. Hey everybody, been doing some testing and went through my first gas firing. (click my sig link if you are interested in the firing) I thought it was a disaster but others tell me not so much. Expectations will absolutely RUIN your happiness. Anyways, I have 2 glazes that I really kinda dig. The first glaze is a leach white which is nice and I'm still doing some tuning on that. Below is an example of the leach 4-3-2-1 glaze that went through the gas firing with too much reduction and made it to cone 9. I put a sprinkling of FE203 Red Iron Oxide and a sprinkling of Rutile as well just to see what each would do. The second glaze is what I'm curious about. It's Malloy Clear. Its not really clear, its opacity is created by billions of bubbles trapped in the glaze which is actually quite cool. It gives it a warmer color and I'm quite smitten. Being that there are bubbles in this, and they do not affect the surface of the piece would these be in any way compromised in strength / durabiltiy / foodsafenes etc?
  17. I second the hardiboard. I dont have a table as I am a garage potter. I just pull out a piece and brace it somewhere and then kneel to do my wedging. Then you can put the board back against the wall to free up space. I'd say just grab a piece (they are huge 4'x8') score and break to the size needed and nail it to the top of the tables and replace when it needs it. $12 at home depot.
  18. Thanks for the detailed post BciskePottery! Thats why I love ceramics. With just a few ingredients and techniques one can come up with infinite possibilities. I'll be in Watkinsville, GA this month taking the workshop with Akira. See you in a few weeks Grype!
  19. Why the uneven firings? The hardest part is going to be to get the heat evenly distributed. There are a few options like a buffer brick, 45 degree input burner port, etc.. If I can get one single shelf to cone 10 I'll take it. Its for glaze testing and expirements with reduction and some small wares.
  20. Thanks for the link to the electric woodfire conversion. I'll check it out! It occurs to me that if I make the exit flu a long rectangle such as on the Codyo site link above I can put kiln shelves in any place I want and see if back, middle or front are the most optimal along with giving the option of increasing and decreasing the damper. With that decision out of the way I can implement that tonight. Woohoo! HighBridgePottery - Its the MR100 Venturi Burner from Ward Burners. We spent time on the phone to go over the project and I was under the assumption that this was 6 cubic feet but it was actually only 4 with the extension when I got it. I got the regulator that allows for 11"WC pressure which is a standard. We went this way with the larger burner so that I could have some wiggle room with the pressure and not have to go full blast with a higher pressure. It shouldnt matter that the kiln is smaller, it will heat faster. If I was wrong and it was larger I might stand the chance of not getting enough BTU to heat or have to go to a higher PSI. Anyways, give them a ring, I got the standard reply back in email which was to call in and discuss. There are just too many variables to consider to do via email. Very friendly guy and I'm sure he would walk you through even if you are considering a weed burner or other brand of burner. Also I should add that I'm going to cone 10 so that factors in. Going to cone 6 would be easier and the 750 burner should be plenty. I'll keep you all in the loop. Hopefully this thread helps others who are considering making this type of conversion. Sure beats 4k for a new gas kiln! I'm going to fire this one until it disintegrates.
  21. Thanks for the replies and the links. Actually, Bciskepottery, I saw your page and got some great inspiration to do this! I dont yet have a pyrometer but have cones. I get conflicting information about chimney. Square burner hole apparently means round chimney hole and vice versa? I dont think it should matter that much. We just want to get a good even distribution of heat. Also another question I had was the chimney in relation to the burner port, it seems that if it is at the back of the kiln the heat will just hit the back wall go up and exit. If the chimney is on the same side of the kiln as the burner port it would have to travel inside, up and back to exit which seems would give a better distribution of heat. 3/4 of the way to a downdraft ;-)
  22. Since day 1 I wanted to do wood firing. I started with an electric kiln and although it is possible to do interesting things I'm still focused on ultimately doing Anagama. I cant truly test Cone 10 glazes in my electric and want to get as close to possible to that environment, which means a way to do reduction, neutral and oxidation. So I got a broke down Duncan kiln donated to me and the burner came in today so I'm super excited!!! Stripping it down tonight and getting the elements out then will figure out how to cut the burner port and the top opening. Then I have to find a 40 - 50 gallon tank. Gaaaaaaah excited! df
  23. Being in this around 3 years its all pretty new to me so I have no real problem finding new things to try. I do get stagnant from time to time though and I try to just focus on the present moment and pay attention. Inspiration is everywhere. Keep a notepad next to the bed with some colored pencils and I "dream" of new things to try and if they are interesting enough I'll make a quick 30 second sketch. I pay attention to nature and find inspiration there. I try to find relations between things. I'm currently focusing on concepts relating to ceramics. Connections / Divisions / Unity, that sort of thing. I am a photographer as well so having those concepts and connections already there is great but applying them to a new medium is not dead simple. It just takes some time and thought and has to run through your own "filter" to become yours. The more it resonates with you the more likely it is to be yours. I think that what you technically try to do depends on what you ultimately want to create. If it requires terra sig, then you go figure it out. If it requires a larger amount of clay than you are used to you practice until you can do it. I've got a million failed experiments that end up being inspiration and it does stretch your limits to try and do things that you have not done before. If you always throw big, start thinking about the concept of smaller (many of you may have already seen this amazingly small work http://www.viralnova.com/jon-almeda/) either by making smaller work or working in the abstract concept of small. If you usually throw small, same thing, try to do something bigger. If you tire of your glazes, go look at a wal-mart parking lot and imagine creating a glaze that looks like the oil stains after a quick rain. I love love love GiselleNo5's concept "Dancing on the edge of failure". (I'm totally stealing that btw, I hope you dont mind ;-D )
  24. Welcome aboard! I'm up in NE Georgia. It seems like you have some great knowledge of building and DIY! A lot of potters get very creative with re-purposing items and scrounging for parts and collecting bric-a-brac for their studios (I know I do!). I hope to see some of your projects! And of course your pots
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