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kswan

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  • Website URL
    www.swanpottery.com

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  • Location
    Ellicott City MD
  • Interests
    Throwing with stoneware; a tiny obsession with exactness; simplicity; noticing details that other people might overlook; native plants of the eastern US; birds, bees, bugs, and all the other life that resides together with me in my woods; bringing animals into our home who previously had no cushy, warm, dry places to lay their heads; learning every day, pottery or not, by taking classes, reading, or trying out an idea that is rummaging around in my head.

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  1. Hi @Callie Beller Diesel, I didn't know about doing that, but I wasn't too attached to my website as it was. I was always thinking I wanted to change it and never got around to it. It's now about as basic as it can get, which is fine with me! As far as email, it's just my personal one. I put ceramics related emails in a separate folder. I was thinking of making a separate email address for ceramics using the Hostinger one, but I'm scared to fix what ain't broke. My system has been working for me and I've had the same email address for 25 years!
  2. Hi Lee, I just went through the process of switching web hosts. I had a Weebly website, but since I have a custom domain they went from no fee to $16 per month, which was more than I wanted to pay. I was looking at two hosts with website builders: HostGator and Hostinger. I went with Hostinger, which has a starting price of $3 per month, then after two years it's $7 a month. I'm not selling online, though. It's just to give people a view of work I do and other information. The templates are pretty basic, but it was easy to figure out. It includes an email too, but I haven't used that yet. I just ordered business cards and I don't want to change them yet. Kathy
  3. @Jeff Longtin Those are nice! Have you tried also just clear glazing over the stained clay body? I wonder if that would intensify the stain color in the porcelain. I took a class where a student was trying to match the clay body and glaze color, and he discovered that just clear over it made a nice effect. I look at all the lovely possible mason stain colors and feel frustrated when they don't turn out right. Purple is still giving me headaches when trying to make my own underglazes. They keep disappearing when it's not applied thick enough, but I don't want it so thick. I can't remember which website it was, but I bought some of the remaining discontinued colors they had. They're sitting in a box waiting for me to try again to make them work. My plan this year is to mix up successful underglazes and glazes. Gotta keep working on that chemistry (not my strong suit). I don't use it in my clay body though, just painted on the surface. Kathy
  4. My clay says to bisque to 04, but I usually do 05. Once when firing to 04, it overfired to almost 03, and it was nearly impossible to glaze it right. I don't see much difference between even 06 and 04 for glaze application and firing results with my clay, so I slow bisque to 05 and whatever variations happen are acceptable to me. I have also got my specific gravity and dipping times consistent, although I don't actually count, it's just how I got used to doing it.
  5. @Pres That's a fabulous shape! Good design. The flared pedestal could work for the bowl as well.
  6. It could be that your clay may never be able to hold that cake stand shape. Many people make a cake stand without the pedestal by having a downturned rim. That would be simple enough to throw on the wheel upside down. You might try that and fire a pedestal separately and epoxy them together if you want, or just have the shorter cake stand. The bottom of your bowl should be thicker where the walls are curving upward, and then attach a wider pedestal there. If the attachment point is horizontal, it will be more likely to sag. You could also attach a coil of clay around the outer seam where the bowl meets the pedestal for extra support. If possible, fire in the coolest part of your kiln to reduce warping. I'd also suggest making slightly smaller versions of these items as you learn the physics of them and the limits of your clay. Good luck with them! I hope you'll share your successful results.
  7. You can also use your own body as an analogy about feeling the weight of gravity. If you hold heavy weights, you can hold them longer straight up as opposed to straight out. The same happens with clay, it needs support to not sag. An upward curve at an edge instead of horizontal will help. If your edge is thick, it is heavier and will sag down too. As Kelly said, thick in the support area like the base is important, and then thinner edges where possible.
  8. That's called dunting. You'll be able to tell if it happened during the heating cycle or the cooling cycle by looking that edges of the cracks. If they are sharp, it happened in the cooling. If they are melted and rounded, it happened during the heating. Either way, the process needs to be slower. You kind of have a perfect storm for that to happen: glaze refiring, one side glaze application, maybe a too thick glaze layer. You may not have the best glaze fit for that clay too. If you're set on using that glaze/clay combination, I'd add a foot ring to your plate to glaze both side and apply a thinner glaze layer. If you know there's a spot in your kiln that reaches the right temperature, make sure it goes there.
  9. 8 billion and counting -- yikes!
  10. Chip and Dale! We have a heat pump. I didn't know anything about them until we bought our house 12 years ago and it had one. The output doesn't get as warm as a gas furnace. I used to sit by a vent and read as a kid when we had a gas furnace. I called it the fireplace. Good times. I made the mistake of storing bird seed in the garage. Then I kept finding mice putting stashes of bird seed all around in the basement where my studio is. I'd open a drawer, look in a box, uncover a corner and there would be millet and sunflower seeds. I even found stashes in the kitchen around the stove. They found a little hole to get in there and were saving seed in the casserole dishes. Meanwhile the cat is just sleeping away oblivious to the work he needs to do. Sigh.
  11. Hi @Babs, just a thought but could copper be toxic to birds in a birdbath? They often drink the water too.
  12. Something else that may help you is to get the surface smooth after you trim. It looks like you have grog raised above the rest of the surface, maybe from wiping with a sponge. Trimming can also drag grog across the clay and leave grooves and holes. After you trim, smooth your piece with a flexible rib (metal or silicone) to even out the trimming lines and push grog back down into the clay.
  13. Thanks, Mark, for explaining details of your business process. It's enlightening to read about how you've structured your pottery business, including its eventual end for your retirement. Thanks to everyone else for adding your strategies and advice as well.
  14. As a kid back in the 80s, my dad had a sheepskin cover for the steering wheel and seats. I was always petting the inside of his car. Needless to say, they were in his BMW, not the family station wagon!
  15. Happy new year to all! Are you all using the same glaze inside and out when doing the magnet method? My liner glaze is different, and I've always hated when I dip something upside down and then it burps on pulling out of the glaze bucket. The burp slops glaze onto my liner glaze and I have to carefully get it off without also removing the liner. I tried practicing methods to reduce that effect, but I gave up. I know you can wax the lip, but I don't want to deal with that. Now I put my hand (or both if needed) inside the piece and lower into the bucket. It took practice to not let glaze flow inside, but it's better results for me since I can see what's happening. If there's a bare spot where the two glazes didn't overlap, I just dot glaze on with a brush, but most of the time it's fully glazed. I could see the magnet method being really helpful for a wide flared bowl where I can't get good friction on the insides to hold it while dipping. In those cases, I hold it by the top of the rim to dip and then brush glaze near the rim afterward. That's not such a great method, though, I'd say. It doesn't look smooth, and it's time consuming. My current goal is to find a permanent dipping container for my main glaze. I would love to have a rectangular container wide and deep enough for platters to go in dipped straight down. Not too big, maybe 6-8 gallons, sturdy and with a lid. I should probably do a separate post on that. I'm sure people know about resources I haven't heard of! I want to save strain on my body not to lift my whole bucket and pour it into a pan for glazing plates and platters.
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