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Everything posted by peb

  1. Thank you Marcia for introducing this process to me. I would like to try it with my class. Could you tell me the temperature to which you bisque fire the pots? and the temperature when you pull them? Many thanks again. Peggy
  2. Thank you both. I should have included that the clay I'm using is Highwater's Phoenix Stoneware. I will try to look into its content and its firing recommendations.
  3. I have always bisque fired to ^06 but have recently begun doing some "naked raku" for which bisque firing to ^010 is recommended. I have tried both, and the naked raku results for pieces bisqued to ^010 are nicer. My question is, how will pieces bisqued to ^010 behave in high fire (^10 gas reduction)? I would like to avoid having to conduct separate bisque firings, but I haven't been brave enough to try glazing and firing these ^010 bisqued pieces in high fire. Thanks in advance for your help!
  4. Many thanks for sharing that link... very helpful. Have a wonderful day. ~p
  5. From my 12 years experience in the construction of wooden birdhouses for Sparrows, Parus major, Parus caeruleus, Blackbirds, White Wagtails and Tawny Owl, I would have to agree with the importance of researching into the size of hole and depth of birdhouse in order to assure the suitability and success for habitation. I used the Latin names (above & linked to Wikipedia) because this website censored out the common names I originally supplied (also used by the English speaking world as well as Wikipedia!) This always trying to maintain the politically correct aspect for the Puritans is total BS..... Anyway......I've maintained 15 birdhouses on our small property for the past 5 years and by researching and building to meet their needs, I have insured full habitation in each of these houses for the selected breeds throughout the entire year (except for the Wagtails who favor migrating to sunnier/warmer Africa for their winters). It's very important in construction of birdhouses that are intended for actual habitation, as Mossyrock mentioned, that a means is built-in that allows for easy clean-out on an annual basis. When I clean out my birdhouses, I can visually check on the brooding season's success. Normally these birds will have three to four broods of four to six eggs during one summer season. The clean-out will show each brood level (similar to a soil stratification/profile) with an occasional abrupt end of nesting if one of the young or fledgling has died in the nest, for some reason. Occasionally I've found one or two eggs in one of the lower levels that remained unhatched, as well. After the nesting season is completed, generally the bird house is too full of material for continued nesting the following year, hence the importance of vigilant yearly clean-out/maintenance. Our birds are most always finished with their last brood of nesting by early to mid-August. I wait until about the end of September (end of October for the Tawny Owl) to clean out the nesting boxes of old material and any insects, so that the birds will have ample time to gather fresh dried grasses, moss, etc. to rebuild their insulated winter nests, which I will witness them doing so within a couple of weeks. These birds continue to nest year round through the snowy and cold winter, while I supplement their feed with about 100 pounds of blended wild birdseed, tallow and apples. Some of our sparrows have nested continually in the same house for the past four years, so they are almost like family... Just this morning as I was taking sunflower seeds out to the feeder I noticed a little sparrow head poking out of its bird house awaiting its breakfast. No sooner had I closed the door, it and its mate were at the feeder indulging in vittles. This particular couple (pictured below during early August) has the best view of all our bird houses and are seen throughout the year just sitting together on their house, soaking in the rural ambiance. Being close and visible from the house it is also easy to keep tabs with their 'goings-on', as well. Note the size of the hole (in the picture) compared to the size of the sparrows. The hole is 25mm in diameter and from the appearance of the birds it looks to be too small. The birds are mostly feathers and air-filled lightweight bones and squeeze in quite easily. The small hole allows for greater security towards the young. I would add that it may be equally as important to furnish habitat during the winter, as well as the summer months, but this may be more specific to the particular region and type of birds the habitat is geared towards (ie, they being migratory or not). My thinking with constructing a ceramic birdhouse would be to at least glaze the exterior top to provide a more secure waterproof shelter if one desires to offer winter protection as well. But as Mossyrock pointed out, the size of the hole is imperative as well as the interior dimensions, if one desires to attract nesting birds. I've found that a hole varying just a few millimeters from the specific range of size required by a distinct species of bird can and will determine whether or not the birdhouse will have borders moving in. The actual finished size of these requirements need to be taken into consideration along with the appropriate compensation for clay shrinkage through the drying and firing cycles. Myself, I haven't built any ceramic birdhouses because I always have an abundance of scrap wood to build with and wood is a better insulator from heat and cold then ceramic. My wooden houses, I believe, tend to offer cozier habitats against our cooler climate here in Scandinavia. An additional note... Birdhouses do not need a post sticking out in front of the door for the birds to land on. I've never seen these even in the forests, where the birds find their natural nesting habitats as well. It is for the most part a detail that most avian aficionados would eliminate as it provides a perch for predators like magpies and squirrels to rest on, while feeding on eggs or young chicks. Wow. These are wonderful responses and ideas. I guess I have some research to do too. I so appreciate the generosity of this forum. Many thanks. ~p
  6. Thanks John. Another great idea. I'd seen these a long time ago and but had forgotten about them. I'm excited about all these ideas and hopefully will have some to try this spring. ~p
  7. Thanks for those tips Marcia. I'm not familiar with Hamer & Hamer, but I'll look into it. ~p
  8. Interesting. Thanks for your feedback and advice. ~p (Indiana)
  9. I have only worked in stoneware, firing to ^10 in gas reduction. I am interested in making a series of birdhouses (to be used by real birds) and wondered if terra cotta is considered better for this and why? Is a more porous clay considered better for outdoor use?
  10. Oops, this is probably a better question for the Clay/Glaze topic. I didn't realize where I was... so I'll pose it there as well.
  11. I have only worked in stoneware, firing to ^10 in gas reduction. I am interested in making a series of birdhouses (to be used by real birds) and wondered if terra cotta is considered better for this and why? Is a more porous clay considered better for outdoor use?
  12. Hi, I know of several places that your niece might want to check out. First, is SF City College. They have a ceramics studio at the historic Fort Mason (which was originally established as a militray fort in 1776 by the Spanish). It's right next to the bay with great views of Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, and Angel Island. It's also probably the cheapest place to tryout ceramics in SF. The studio is nice, lots of regulars and newbies, supportive environment, all that good stuff. She would't have a lot of freedom in terms of doing her own thing but probably doesn't need it since she would be just starting out. If she really digs clay, she may get the chance to participate with her school at the annual Califorinia Conference for the Advancement of the Ceramic Arts in Davis. Second, Sharon Art Studio in lovely Golden Gate Park (Think NY's Central Park only smaller with fewer homeless). This is a smaller studio but vary quaint. They are more expensive then city college and offer 10 week courses but she would be allowed to do her own thing in less time. I had some friends take classes there after they graduated from SF State and they liked it. The biggest problem is that there are a ton of people trying to go there making classes fill up on the first day of registration. So, you have to get there early, like, 7am early. The upside, after class you can hone your bocci ball skills at the near by bowling green. Third, Ruby's Clay Studio a non profit ceramics studio in the Castro. This is probably the most expensive option but they are the most centrally located. I went to school with a few of the teachers there and know they are talented but I have never visited the studio. Hope this helps:) Spring Thanks so much, Spring. I will forward theses ideas to my niece. ~P
  13. I am Indianapolis ceramic artist with a niece who's interested in taking classes in her area. She lives in San Francisco-proper. Any recommendations?
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