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Everything posted by kswan

  1. I am a former elementary school classroom teacher and now I am trying to concentrate on making and selling ceramics. I literally had to quit teaching because I was so burned out the stress of it was going to kill me! My husband supported me in that decision, knowing that I would be unemployed in the transition to whatever career path I took next. I've had some part time work since but his insurance covers the both of us or I would still have my own full time job. I have a small income from selling, and we live pretty frugally, but I'm happier with what I'm doing with my life than I ever have been before.
  2. I like all the ideas about making it nonslip. Lots to check out. Oldlady, I am a little south of the old town, on a ridge, no flooding worries! I will check out the association to see what they recommend, thanks.
  3. I like the idea of a sealer for concrete floor. I work in our creepy unfinished basement and we are going to have walls and insulation put in so I don't have to wear my coat to throw. I don't want to add flooring though. Is doing a sealant easy enough for a homeowner? We are trying to keep costs down, and if I can do this myself I'd prefer that.
  4. I did my first juried craft fair this past December. I had a little table with my stuff, some people looked right past it, others gave a compliment and moved on, others bought a few items. One woman picked up many of my mugs, and told me that earthenware was always so heavy, why were my mugs so heavy? I started to say that they were stoneware, not earthenware, but she cut me off saying, "Whatever, they're just too heavy." (They weigh 1.25 lbs) Then her daughter proudly told me that she just bought an enormous mug at the drugstore for $4 before they moved on to the next table. Hearing these similar stories, it makes me feel more amused than offended, as it obviously can get much worse from the "customer is always right" crowd.
  5. I love plants that are native to the eastern US, where I live. Drawing them really gets me to focus on the smallest details. I have made a couple of vases with carved images of plants on them, which is really enjoyable for me. I know a plant better after looking at it so closely and following its lines, as well as reading its description in my guide books that help me look for the details to include. The images I attached are of a maple leaf viburnum, a broad beech fern frond, and a wild geranium.
  6. Thanks for all the input. I will be more careful from now on to keep air around the bisque. Luckily it was only two pieces!
  7. John, as I was trying to read up on this topic, I did come across one site that mentioned the localized reduction, and yes it does have a little grey tinge to it. None of my books mention this problem, so I have been perplexed. Is it reparable with another bisque firing? Also, these pieces will be gas fired in reduction to cone 10, so will this localized reduction still matter if the whole thing will have much further body reduction later on? Or has it trapped the carbonaceous material permanently? Giselle, they were all of the same clay body, so there was no contamination happening. Joel, the clay I use is a very dark grey after reduction firing, so it kind of made me think looking at it that it might have gotten some reduction happening because of the way the pieces were keeping oxygen out.
  8. D'oh! Well, it's only in certain areas of the bottoms where the discoloration is, so they don't have the finished ring sound to them because the rest is the right looking bisque.
  9. I ran a load of bisque to cone 07. I have a manual kiln with thermocouples, cone packs and a sitter so that I know what has happened inside. But I stacked too many flat pieces together and instead of the pinkish color that my Standard 153 clay usually gets, it was white where they were too thickly placed together. What might cause this? Should they be rebisqued in case those areas didn't reach the same temperature?
  10. It was so nice! I bought a couple little things from Mea Rhee, and talked to a whole bunch of very kind and creative artists. There are some very impressive works of all types there.
  11. Yes, I am going there today, looking forward to it as it will be my first time to this exhibit. It's also been a long time since I've been the Building Museum too, what a beautiful place.
  12. What type/brand of digital scale did you get, Mark?
  13. I speak in various baby talk voices to all my pets, my husband, or really to anything that's cute, and I make up ridiculous names for them all. I have been doing that my whole life. First time admitting that to anyone outside the family, and it feels kinda good. I have also always been attracted to miniature things since I was little, dollhouse furniture and the little accessories that go with it, or tiny animal figurines. I have recently formed tiny little barnyard animals as handles on some of my lidded jars. It was fun to make details on these things that are only about an inch tall. That satisfied my little-kid self. I can identify with Mea's post, because I have also eaten ice cream as a meal, along with other not-so-healthy food choices sometimes...
  14. I always feel sorry for the little pieces that aren't deeemed "good enough". They remind of the unwanted animals you find in a shelter, they still have a lot to love about them. (I guess that's why we have 5 pets at my house...). I am not a professional potter, so I don't think any of my work will ever bother me to see it again. Mark, it's good to know that your uneanted work is being used somewhere. One thing that bothers me about making pottery is the amount of waste when things go wrong.
  15. kswan

    wood2014 033

    Very nice work! Is that a piece of wood attached as your handle or is it clay?
  16. I will echo what many others of you have already stated, that this forum seems to be a comfortable place for potters of all experience levels to share their knowledge and questions and ideas. I've been reading this for a while to get information especially about things you can't find so easily in books. You can find a teacher in any corner of the world, since everyone has some small piece to share with others. I also enjoy reading the personal aspect you all add to the discussions.
  17. I am going to be doing my own glaze testing as well, as I just bought some small sizes of the various chemicals to mix. I used an Ohaus triple beam balance scale in a class I took on glaze mixing and I knew they are expensive. Today I was at a thrift store and picked one up for $15!!!!!! I brought it home and tested to be sure it is still accurate, and it seems to be weighing correctly. I was leery of paying over $200 for a brand new scale so I feel it was so serendipitous to find a used one.
  18. Have you looked into engobe recipes and pictures? That sounds pretty much like what you're talking about, as an engobe is somewhat in between a slip and a glaze. It's applied on greenware or bisque, always under glaze and not on top of it. Here's an article from CAD: http://ceramicartsdaily.org/ceramic-supplies/ceramic-raw-materials/slip-engobe-or-underglaze-robin-hopper-demystifies-three-common-pottery-materials/
  19. I will definitely take the time to visit the Potter's Council exhibit! I am driving up there on Monday since I will be working all day Tuesday for the conference. Then I get most of the rest of the time to enjoy it. I have already made some notes on which sessions I would like to attend.
  20. I just got assigned a volunteer position for the conference, and I have never been to one of these before, so I am looking forward to the whole experience! Does anybody have advice for a newbie?
  21. I also like the Smithsonian's webpages for ceramics and other objects, and I also like the Met's online resources. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/ I also use Pinterest often to put together images of things I find interesting, would like to try a process myself, or to learn more about. I got to see a potter's work at the American Craft Council show in Baltimore because I came across one of his works on Pinterest, and I had not heard of him otherwise. An example from the Metropolitan Museum's exhibit are things like this that I adore... http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/pnch/hd_pnch.htm
  22. kswan

    Jar with Lid

    From the album: stoneware

    This will hold my dog Joey's ashes after he passes away. It is stoneware with Horseman's shino.
  23. I'm sorry you lost your rabbit. I have a 12 pound Flemish Giant and I understand your feelings for him. About your urn, I am facing my dog's death soon as he has lymphoma. I have made an urn in preparation for him, although on the wheel as I don't hand build things. I don't know how to put a picture on here as I am new to using this forum, but it's shaped like a ginger jar with a lid that I plan to seal with paraffin once his ashes are in there. I put a carving inside the lid to keep him company in there. I saw another potter with a bunny drawn with underglaze pencils on his piece, and if I could draw that well, I'd put my dog's picture on it. Maybe you could use your bun's photo and do a very detailed portrait of him. I just put a picture of it in my gallery.
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