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About kswan

  • Rank
    Advanced Member

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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. I'd like to add my 2 cents to this topic, because it's something I am concerned with as well. I reuse clean packing materials, and I ask some trusted people give me what they collect as well. If you live near an Ikea, the dishes in their kitchen department all have thin foam pieces in between. People leave those on the shelf when they buy dishes, and the employees just throw them out. They will give them to you if you ask nicely. There are probably all kinds of businesses like that where you can ask for supplies. Reusing something is better than buying new, if it was already heading for the
  2. Why would you prefer using 2 of the 7 c.f. kiln to a 10 c.f. one? Just those particular models or in general? I've got a 2927 and I like the size since it's flexible space for loading., most of my pieces are all different sizes. Is there better energy usage in the smaller kiln in general, or again does that vary model to model based on something, like being direct wired? What do you think of the Quad Pro? Thanks!
  3. Here's one of the rolls of wire you need. They also have the thinner 24 gauge. I use both of them, both for supporting a bead on the rack and for inserting directly into clay. https://www.theceramicshop.com/product/1496/wire-high-temp-17g/ I had the experience of a pile of beads slumped and melted together on the kiln shelf and since mine are heavy, I use this on the rod between bead rack supports to keep wire from bending under the weight. Then I cut pieces of the 17 gauge wire and wrap to fit on the rod to suspend the bead. As long as you don't bend them often you can reuse them m
  4. I tried VC 71 on multiple clay bodies and it crazed on every one. I like the look of Marcia's matte, and how color still comes through. I have been using this recipe for about 4-5 years now on B Mix 5. I paint with underglazes and mason stains and I want a glaze that I can see through but has a nice feel in my hands. Some mason stains require a high calcium content for color development, so this works. My kiln is also a manual kiln sitter controlled, but it is 10 cubic feet, which may slow down the cooling a bit. I adjusted this Dixon Satin glaze by adding silica, so if you want it as ma
  5. I'm actually using a digital pyrometer right now, giving it a test run. It has 2 inputs but unfortunately I only received one cable so I've got it in the middle ring section. I think an IR thermometer could come in handy in other situations though, like checking the temperature of your lid or rings for leaks, vent piping, sick people...
  6. Sigh. Here is the face of greed. Maybe someone on Amazon is trying to sell TP for $25 a roll. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/14/technology/coronavirus-purell-wipes-amazon-sellers.html?action=click&module=Spotlight&pgtype=Homepage
  7. I wonder how to tell how well something like that is going to work, though. Are there any brands of pyrometers that measure at least 2 at a time you're familiar with that you'd trust? Or does it come down more to how reliable the thermocouple itself is? I'd always rather get something I think will be more reliable!
  8. Actually Stephen, I am in the same mind frame as you! I should not complain about my finances, as I am not solely supporting myself but adding to our income. I got scared in my early twenties (I'm almost 50 now) when reading about what could happen to women in their older years, so I began putting money away for retirement then. Use this opportunity to invest more in your retirement savings!! I already did so, even though it feels a little scary. I am new to this being my job, but not new to saving money. I also hate debt, and paid off my college loans 3 years early, never carry a balanc
  9. Okay, that makes sense. I guess I will put them in the bottom and middle rings where they already were, since the top ring is closer to what the middle ring usually is and the bottom runs cooler. Thanks for your help with this.
  10. This is my first year to try to do several outdoor shows, and one is already likely to be rescheduled. I was so excited to be getting accepted into a number of shows, and I quit my membership at the cooperative gallery to concentrate on fairs. I hope as well that the summer will start to return to normal. I was hoping to buy a new kiln this year, but that may not happen. We are lucky in that we can continue to work, those with individual studios, and you're right, it's not going to get moldy or rotten!
  11. So then I'd need to find a pyrometer that reads 3 thermocouples at a time, right? So far it looks like they do 2 at a time at most. Or would I just leave one dangling while I'm reading the others?
  12. Thanks, I think I won't go for an infrared then. As to the thermocouple flaking, I was thinking that I'd just insert the thermocouple in the peep holes when I wanted to get a reading, instead of leaving it in all the time. That would help slow down its decomposing and it wouldn't flake so much, I hope.
  13. I have an old manual L&L kiln that has an analog pyrometer, 3 thermocouples attached to a central gauge, which recently pooped out on me. I came to realize that I don't need to have them in at all times, since I only need to check the temperatures occasionally in order to turn the switches up or down. They were never really accurate anyway, since I could fiddle with the dial and the needle would fluctuate wildly, but gave me a general sense of where the kiln was. At first I looked for a digital version of the thing I was using, but then since I couldn't find one, I thought that I ma
  14. Yes, thank you! At our gallery, we ask people when they make a purchase if they want to leave contact information to receive emails from artists whose work they purchased. They write it in themselves or say no. I hate getting subscribed to emails just because I purchased something. I'm not planning to sell online. I don't like to do shipping, so I'm only selling locally and at shows within a couple hours drive. I plan to send emails once a month to tell people what shows are coming up. I find that the other artists and organizations that send those to me do keep me feeling informed, but
  15. Thanks for this insight. I have taken my first steps to set up a real email system instead of just having a list of contacts in my regular email. That way, people can unsubscribe and I can know if they want to receive them or not. I have no way of knowing if people are reading them or if they even want to get them anymore. We have a book where people can write in their contact information in our gallery, so when my pieces sell there, I put it in my email contacts group. It seems to me that people who get an email are going to see it, unlike with social media where it may get lost in the curren
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