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Posts posted by Stellaria

  1. ^6 test tiles have been added to my Milk-firing gallery.

    Starting with fully vitrified clay rather than bisque is definitely the way to go. I got way better color, and a much more glossy and water-resistant finish without having to wax at all.

    I still have a lot of fine-tuning to do to get my technique down reliably, and I'm sure I'll think of other variables to test in the future. But for now...I like!

  2. Give it a try. The least you could get is a bit of wasted milk and some browner pots.


    I'm waiting for some test tiles to be taken to ^6 for me to try the milk process on, to see if they will take on enough of the milk to make any difference. Normally I'm not a very experiment-y kind of person, but this has me wanting to play with possibilities!

  3. I gave it a try last night, after bringing my fired test bowl home from the studio. I gave it three sponge-downs with milk, allowing it to dry in between, then put it in the cold oven and set it to 550°F, which is the hottest my oven would go. I think it was in the oven for close to an hour after reaching temp.


    I did manage to leave fingerprints on it. Lesson learned.

    I didn't get decently even milk collection in all of the grooves, and it shows in the final result. I'll shoot for that as a goal for next time.


    Once it was all done, I mixed up some beeswax and olive oil (2 parts to 1 part) melted together and gave the warm pot a couple rub-downs with it. By the time I was done coating it, it had cooled, had milky waxy sticky spots, and was covered with lint from the terry cloth rag I used to apply the wax. So I stuck it back into the oven at 200°F for about 10 minutes. Once out, the lint all brushed off easily.



  4. That would be excellent! Mainly, I asked here rather than asking directly because first, I also sell pottery on etsy and I know some people are leery of sharing "trade secrets", which is understandable. And second, just because I was curious if anyone here had tried it.


    But yes, I'd love it if you could get more information on the process from the potter that makes the pieces you sell! Type of clay, firing temperature for the first firing, if the final firing temperature is held for a certain length of time...

  5. I will check my oven!

    So would it be best to fire the pot to complete vitrification first? The clay I'm using is a ^04-8 (not sure how that's possible, but whatever) red-brown, but sometimes the studio only bisques to 07. I should specify that I need it to go to 04 right off, then, correct?

  6. So about to cone 020, then, correct? Do they even make Orton cones that low-temp? My kiln only has a kiln sitter - nothing to register actual temp or to regulate. Would I be better off making a bunch of stuff to justify a special firing in the computer-controlled kiln at the arts center? Or could I just keep an eye on it through a spy hole until they get as dark as I want?

  7. The listings of both potters say that they are "bathed" or otherwise covered in milk and then fired again. One of them calls it "double kilning".


    I threw a bowl today that I actually *gasp!* surface decorated, which I will soak in milk after bisque firing. I'll re-bisque after that and see what happens. And yes, it will be whole, unpasteurized milk. Not chocolate :P

  8. Has anyone seen these pretty brown pots from the Ukraine? https://www.etsy.com/listing/169100068/ceramic-pot-with-lid-made-of-red-clay


    From what I've gathered from the vague descriptions of the process in her various listings, the pieces are bisqued, then soaked in whole milk, then fired a second time to 950°C which gives them a glaze-y, supposedly foodsafe finish.


    Has anyone here tried this? I'm seriously intrigued. I was thinking of giving it a try with Runyan's Red-Brown Body, as it has a very wide firing range.

  9. I think it was more that he wasn't prepared for the sheer volume of beginners that happened to be in that session. I'm sure his format works spectacularly when there's a couple beginners and 4-6 more experienced participants....but we had 6 beginners, and about half did not catch on to much of anything very quickly and required constant babysitting. One of the pitfalls of running an "any experience level" group, I suppose.

  10. I've only been working with clay as an adult for about 7 months, starting with an open studio type class in September. I came to that with the experience of three high school ceramics classes taken 20-some years prior.


    My expectations of the open studio did not match reality, as I didn't quite realize how much I did know already, how much other beginners DIDN'T know, and how much of the instructor's time would be taken up by the participants with zero experience. I figured we'd be getting more demonstrations each session, but the format was geared more toward just making what you want to make. It was really up to me, being more determined to learn a specific skill (wheel,) to research techniques and just get in and practice.


    When I was in high school, I was allowed to "fall back" on hand building when throwing didn't come easily. That kind of makes me mad now. Throwing ISN'T EASY, and I wish someone had pushed me a little harder then. The only part of that experience that I am grateful for now is that it gave me some drive to not just give up and take the easy route this time around. Yeah, I could be making press-molded slab plates like everyone else in my open studio group, but that's not the pieces I want. But I'm the one that has to push myself to get the practice in, because our instructor won't do that.


    I do rely on YouTube almost exclusively for learning techniques, troubleshooting, and learning new forms. It's not a bad thing. I watch videos on single subjects from a variety of potters, and play around to see what works best for me. In that way, I was able to set my own "curriculum" while still creating functional ware that I didn't have to just pitch out because I wasn't "getting" everything all at once. For example, I tried trimming a pot the second week of class, and felt WAY too fumbly and unconfident. It ruined an otherwise decent piece, so I was pleased to find a few videos on trimming pieces while still on the bat, and fettling/thumbing off flat-bottomed pieces. I did that while I worked on getting my cylinders decent, and used those pieces to work through glaze experiments, so by the time I was throwing nicer pieces that I *wanted* to trim, I had the confidence to give it a shot and was also not ruining the pieces with ugly glaze combos. But I had to decide all that. If I had just run with the pack of beginners, I'd have had to suffer through the pinch pots and fish-shaped serving trays, and might never have gotten onto the path I wanted to be on.

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