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Everything posted by alabama

  1. From the album: pit fire

    Firing greenware pottery on Massacre Island in the pouring rain. One vessel is getting soaked, while the other is under the pile of sticks, fixing to be fired. Alabama
  2. Getting ready for Pirate Weekend on Massacre Island/Mobile, Ala. next Saturday. Checklist includes eye patch, dogs, sticks, greenware, and some fired pottery! Must practice saying, Arrrrrr! :)

    1. Roberta12


      Parrot?? Gotta parrot?

    2. alabama


      Yep, found my parrot! I have one 5 gallon bucket of river clay soaking down now. Will make pottery tomorrow to pit fire Saturday. Planning to take 8 greenware vessels for firing demo. This is a first time event, with 150 participants!!! Thx for reminding me of the parrot!!!

    3. Mark (Marko) Madrazo
    4. Show next comments  9 more
  3. Hey, I center my clay before I start. I used to toss it on the head, then muscle it in the center. I found out a long time ago, that when throwing 10-15 lbs. it was easier to center the lump of clay first. So my method now is to start with the lump of clay in the shape of a large Hershey Kiss with the bottom slight convexed, and place(not slam) the clay down. Then center using the index finger, scratching and pushing the clay in place. Then, once it's centered, I seal it to the bat, before any water is added...that keeps it from sliding off. This is how I center everything. Its a little OCD, but it works for me. Another reason I started centering this way, was because I didn't like starting with an 8 pound unit of clay, slam it down near the center of the bat, push it in the center, then take a rib and scrape off the excess clay leaving 7 3/4 pounds to work with. I weigh everything before I start so I can incise the weight on the bottom after its finished...starting weight. So if someone says, I like this form but like one smaller or larger or the same I don't have to guess how much clay to start with. . It border lines Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but again it works for me. Alabama
  4. Pertaining to pit fired pottery, my archaeology professor said there wasn't any historic accounts or archaeological evidence of a pit used for pottery manufacturing. There was one graduate student, Michael Hanson, who had some experience in primitive pottery. He said from the get go, 1. air bubbles are not the cause of spalling. 2. Once the vessel is leather hard, it can be dried as fast as you want without warping. 3. This is what a sintered pot looks like, and once its sintered, it can be fired as fast as you want without any worry of spalling/exploding. As for wheel thrown pottery, my instructor said to always pull handles and make more than you need then pick the best ones. For cups and mugs, trim the rim so that the bottom lip has a place to fit. Consider how wide the opening is, not too narrow and not too wide! If the openings are too wide, you can't see over the cup while drinking and people can sneak up on you! (Maybe that issue led to the invention of clear glass cups? ) We were told to go home and measure the openings of the cups in our cabinets. Most were 3 1/2 to 4 inches. Consider how high the handle is attached on the cup. If the handle is higher than the rim, your thumb will poke your eye out while drinking. Our pottery instructor would sometimes have potters visit and demonstrate. One was a former production potter. He said to always have an example of what you're throwing nearby for reference. The reference could be a sketch, photo, or actual vessel. He said he'd be instructed to throw 3-4 hundred Rebekah pitchers, and thru fatigue or boredom, the pitchers would morph into something else around the 125th pitcher without a reference. See ya, Alabama
  5. What clay is this and what cone is it fired to?? I like the form and style and color, a lot! Thanks!
  6. From the album: stoneware

    Medieval, 1250 AD. Picture of pitchers in the making.. Will be stained black, then glazed with translucent green! I can see someone in Tennessee making a variation of these with musical instruments!!! LOL

    © Ali bhama

  7. alabama


  8. When you get the wheel with the 14 inch head, place a 13 inch bat on the pins. Take a magic marker and mark the wheel head where the bat attaches. That way it reduces the fumbling putting on bats.
  9. You really should find a method of figuring out if the clay is too stiff or too wet to throw the vessel you want. My method is to first to see if the clay will wedge. Then I pull à wire tool thru the unit of clay. If I have to use my thumbs to hold the clay back, then the clay is too stiff/dry,, and water needs to be added, until the wire tool can pass thru on its own. The heighth and form really determines how stiff or wet the clay should be. See ya , AlabamÃ
  10. Years ago I once read that freshly dug clay had no smell or had a faint smell of dirt! But once wedged and placed inside a bag, and aged 72 hours, it would smell like dirt. I didn't believe it until I tried it!!! I think the jest of the article was to say, once the clay smells like dirt, it's OK to use. What book it's in, I have no idea. Alabama
  11. just got. back from picking up 1000 lbs clay from Trinity Clay East in Florence, Alabama! A 214 mile trip!!!

    1. alabama


      From my front door to theirs, non stop is 3 1/2 hours. Highway most of the time!

    2. Joseph Fireborn

      Joseph Fireborn

      Nice. I need to start buying in bulk. I usually buy 200-300# at a time, but my supplier is like 45 minutes away. Lucky me.

    3. alabama


      I buy it in bulk to save money. 1000 lbs. = 31 cents a pound. See if you can buy 1000 lbs. and pick it up in two trips! If its worth it. That way it also keeps the clay fresh/soft.

    4. Show next comments  9 more
  12. Hey, There are a couple of articles in the book, "Ceramics in America, 2001". 1. Dots, Dashes, and Squiggles: Early English Slipware Technology by Michelle Erickson and Robert Hunter 2. Slip Decoration in the age of Industrialization by Donald Carpentier and Jonathan Rickard Both articles have bibliographies. See if you can find a copy thru an inner library loan... Or just buy it. I have several volumes of the Ceramics in America series. Some I haven't had time to open. See ya, Alabama
  13. I think you should read "Traditional Pottery of Papua New Guinea" by Margaret Tuckson 2 1/2 times and Pottery for the Archaeologist by Anna Sheppard, 2 1/2 times To shed light on clay preparation. There is primitive pottery and modern pottery! To combine one with the other makes it nearly impossible. See ya, AlabamÃ
  14. From the album: stoneware

    Stained stoneware stein to be glazed with opaque brown/tan glaze.
  15. Here is a cup with black iron oxide stain wiped on. Sometimes the brown opaque glaze I use for this cup will bleed thru. (A plus) Staining the bottom brings out the incised information...name, date, cone fired to, pounds of clay used to make the vessel, country of origin and date used.
  16. If I were to make the vessel in your picture, I'd use red stoneware with extra grog, or mix red stoneware with High waters Craggy Crunch 50/50. I'd coil it the the desired height and roll the rim over...then bisque. After bisque, I'd glaze the interior, then cover the exterior with red iron oxide...or black iron oxide for the darker look. Then with a wet sponge start wiping the oxide off, rinse the sponge and wipe again, leaving uneven light to dark areas. At cone 10 some of the darker areas of oxides will burn off slightly. Then high fire, and your vessel should look just like the one pictured!! The vessel will take a couple or three hours... So pace yourself! To avoid coiling fractures, make the coils in your hands, not on a table! AND overlap them! See ya, Alabama
  17. Concentrate on the physical properties, not the smell. If the effort was worth levigating the clay thru a wire mesh and lots of trash was removed, find another clay source. If you make clay beads and can crush the unfired beads and fired beads between the index finger and thumb, find another clay source. What are your goals with this natural clay? What tribe of Indians was in and around Connecticut b/n 1725 thru 1750? See ya, Alabama
  18. Yes stained red clay will help age the pottery vessels as in my gallery, but for what you're trying to do, I would look into mixing a red pigment into Hypertufa containers. They're cast planters for the out doors and no kiln is involved!! Alabama
  19. I haven't looked at a Ceramics Monthly for about 7 years or so. I did subscribe to Pottery Making Illustrator for a couple of years, but let it lapse last year. Archaeology Magazine suits me nicely since there is a chance of seeing types of Indian pottery or Colonial pottery, but I don't subscribe to it anymore. Lately, I've been ordering books, and a lot of them! I am searching for a small example of à green Medieval pitcher..., and can't find it. It might be in "If These Pots Could Talk" but since I can't locate it, I ordered another! I order two copies if I know the book is good anyway. Well, its time to walk the dogs, see ya later! Alabama
  20. Clay shrinks....grog doesn't shrink! Add more grog! Yes, I went thru a whistle phase around 1994. See ya, Alabama
  21. I never have had a credit card...I have a debit card since I no longer have checks to write...I use the debit card a couple of times every other year. I'm kind of a cash only person! See ya, Alabama
  22. Noticing pottery on the screen works both ways... The last time I watched an episode of Dr. Quinn,medicine woman was because of a piece of pottery. I put up time after time the steotypes, clichés, rewriting history, etc...but there was one scene that showed a San Illdelfonso pot from the 1990s on a cooking fire!!! I reached over and turned the TV off. It was a terrible show to begin with!.
  23. just received my newest book on Medieval pottery. I think the entire name is "A Dated Type-Series of London Medieval Pottery, Part 4: Surrey Whitewares" 1988. Its full of pictures, illustrations, and archaeological data. The last ten minutes have been great!!

    1. Evelyne Schoenmann

      Evelyne Schoenmann

      I can imagine that you enjoy reading that book. I am envious... ;-)

    2. alabama


      Yes, this book seems to rank up there with copies of my Tunica Treasure, German Stoneware: 1200-1900, & Pre-Industrial Utensils. The Surrey Whiteware book has decoration examples of trailing, incising, punctuation, sprigging, and modeling. This is about the 7th pottery book in the last couple of months!


  24. Just ordered Ceramics in America 1977: Early English Delftware!!! by Noel Hume's seems like it will be a colonial pottery edition by Mr. Hume's!! we'll see in 10 days!

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