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Callie Beller Diesel

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Everything posted by Callie Beller Diesel

  1. Zinc is a flux, and an odd one to use at cone ten. It melts early and stays fluid for a wider temperature range, so it’s more usual at cone 6, in very fluid glazes, or in crystalline glazes. In the quantity it’s in and without running it through glaze calc software, it’s probably there to give some kind of visual effect involving running or fluidity. Maybe to clear bubbles? Where did you find this glaze and what is it supposed to do?
  2. The cake decorating thing sounds a lot classier than the old sock cornstarch pounce I was taught to use.
  3. If you go through the rest of her feed, she uses a fair bit of mother of pearl in the rest of her work, so I think it’s a reasonable assumption. Mother of pearl can be very difficult to photograph accurately with a phone, and optimal light conditions are needed. While I do know of some accounts that use a dslr to take their Instagram photos, it adds steps and isn’t typical. Or we could all do something whacky and ask her, rather than guess about it amongst ourselves. I messaged her on Instagram to see if she’d be willing to clarify about the optical effect.
  4. This persons’ work keeps coming across my desktop for some reason. I believe she is known to work with commercial glazes, so I have to second Liam’s idea about this being a reddish glaze with a layer of mother of pearl. @glazenerdThe texture isn’t a glaze run: this artist does a lot of heavily applied slip underneath the glaze.
  5. If you need to dissolve residue, you need some acetone. It’s in nail polish remover in smaller quantities, but you can get it uncut from places that sell auto body supplies. Canadian Tire has it for sure, and I think you can also get it at Home Depot in the paint section.
  6. Oh wow, it’s been a minute since I asked this one! In the name of updating everyone on what happened, I fired the mother of pearl to 017 and it worked great. I found I had to really mind my application thickness, because it will drip and run and make a yucky haze if you put too much on. I bought a couple of sable brushes that are dedicated for the use and cleaned them with olive oil. This one is definitely a pine oil base, and I had to use it outside because I don’t have Liam’s fancy fume hood.
  7. This will definitely get you in the right ballpark. You may find you have to fine tune things and do a more accurate measure on things you want to explore more, but if you’re doing line blends for colour, it works great.
  8. I am a basement dweller, although I do have walls. I’m not sure how it would work with one big open room, but I think if you aren’t able to frame and hang drywall, even just hanging some plastic sheets to designate your studio area could be a thing. I second what everyone said about keeping everything clean, and want to add that having a strict “studio shoes” policy keeps the dust out of the rest of the house. Your studio shoes don’t ever leave the studio, and you don’t ever go into the studio without putting them on first. Even to get your phone charger! I know this can be difficult, especially because I have to haul my pots outside to the kiln. But it’s important.
  9. While I think it’s worthwhile to be aware of trends, colour is something I find too difficult to generate fast enough to change every season. I’ll introduce one or two things a year and test them with the public in order to stay fresh, for sure. Having properly tested glazes that I know how to use successfully every 3-4 months isn’t workable for me currently.
  10. The flipping can also be seen at the 14 minute mark. That is a genius piece of equipment.
  11. It’s been a while, but my biggest mishap was knocking over about 8 5 lb jars with lids, which was my entire day’s efforts at the time. Just to put the icing on the cake, the instructor I respected the most and who happened to take a very dim view of swearing, came into the room just as I screeched out a creatively embellished F bomb at the top of my lungs. (He was very gracious, and told me I needed to go home and have one drink. Just one.) It was not my most shining moment ever. I have broken more and larger things since, but that one made me cringe the hardest.
  12. I can get a serious case of blank page syndrome when faced with a large block of clay and no other directives. I need to have some choices made ahead of time, and I like most things to be planned out before I head to the studio. I need to narrow the possibilities down, which is why I work within a functional framework. I come at it from a “This is my job” angle. In the early part of the year, I schedule play and design time, to work out new ideas and keep things fresh. There’s not a lot of sales in January and February, and I’m flush off of Christmas, so I have the space to noodle a bit. I think about the feedback I received over the year, and if I’ve noticed I’ve received a lot of requests for an item, I’ll make the effort to design one I like. If I had requests for larger items, I’ll play around with them at that point, because I have the space to do things like throw a large bisque mold, or glaze test, or try a new material or technique. The middle of the year is about testing those new designs in the market, and seeing who likes what and how well it sells and at what price point. There are adjustments made, but at that point it’s more about perfecting existing designs, or starting to make more of it, making work for ongoing markets and stockpiling the proven items for Christmas. Christmas planning starts in June, and and my cutoff for trying to work out anything new is the start of September. At that point my focus shifts from “what am I making?” to “how much do I have to make?” That last part is all based on numbers from last year at the same shows, plus who needs what for retail outlets and any online sales. Creativity gets put on hold for a couple of months, other than idea gathering and sketching. In a lot of ways I find the production time freeing, because I have a list and can just crank. Seeing a huge pile of stuff you’ve made at the end of the day is very satisfying. But at the end I’m glad for the rest, and the time to noodle.
  13. Oh man! That sounds like an amazing experience Mark. Have fun!
  14. I haven’t done a lot of wood firing, but I was always taught that soft wood released its energy hot and fast, sort of like sugars or simple carbs, and hardwood was a slower more even energy release, more like proteins. Thoughts?
  15. Mine’s outside in a tin garden shed, and I get a pretty wide temperature swing. The coldest I’ve fired in is -25/30 -ish C, and if it took much more than half an hour to finish than in summertime, I didn’t notice. And before anyone cracks any jokes, summertime averages are 25 C on the plus side.
  16. You're all going to hate me. I pay .068 per kilowatt hour. Or I did in September. I have a variable rate. It goes up in the winter, but I'd have to go digging for other bills.
  17. For me, I wouldn't sell anything repaired, but I make dishes. If it's going to last for a long time, it can't start out damaged. I have turned some glaze mistakes into planters, but it was an error that only I would have thought of as an error, and I don't make a habit of it. That said, there are some that work in a much more decorative vein who have capitalized on breaks, and incorporated them into the piece, making it more effective. I'm thinking of Mariko Paterson, who makes a lot of really involved, detailed work. She had some platters crack while in process, so she wound up filling them with hot pink epoxy and glitter, which assisted the subject matter of the piece. Since it was never intended for food use, in this instance something like that worked.
  18. I had one high fire glaze that carbon trapped the pencil lines, but for the most part it burns out cleanly.
  19. I think with commissions it really depends on wether or not you actually Ike doing that kind of work. Some people hate doing shows. Commissions are just another way of working and exercising your skills and talents. Some people find commissions rewarding way of working. It can offer interesting puzzles to solve, it frequently adds to your skill set, and when the customer is happy you look like a mystical wizard with untold wondrous skills. That's a HUGE ego boost! I think that if you’ve got your pricing structure worked out properly, you’re not going to wish you’d charged more, because you’ll have delivered something you expected to. If the client begins changing the parameters in the middle of the job, as a service provider you have an obligation to renegotiate things on paper. That covers your ass so everything is agreed upon, and includes any possible price increases. See? Communication!
  20. There's not really any guaranteed way to rescue a pot that's been glazed with something that isn't ideal for food use. Glaze doesn't act like an isolated coating like paint: when you refire a piece, everything melts again, so the cover glaze is going to interact and react with whatever's underneath it. This could make the glaze more durable, or it might unbalance the fluxes so it's actually even more soluble. You'd have to send the piece to a lab for testing, so you could see exactly what does or doesn't leach out to know for sure. If you're in the beginning stages of your clay journey, a hammer is usually a better bet. Your next pot will be better for learning, I promise. All that said, I will say that I think you're not likely to be acutely poisoned by your lone barium glazed bowl, and barium is not fat soluble. I wouldn't sell anything with a barium matte or use it myself on the daily as they're not that durable and they mark and stain, but if you need a key bowl, I'm sure it's fine. As Liam mentioned, the danger is in the mixing and firing of the glazes. Good hygiene (gloves, respirator, ventilation, no food and drinks in the glaze room, no working next to firing kilns, etc) is always a good idea.
  21. I used to work for a company that did nothing but high end, bespoke glass work. One of the largest contracts this company ever did was the stained glass windows in the Banff Chateau Lake Louise. That's the fancy castle-looking one on all the postcards. I was not a part of that one, but they are very deservedly proud of that project. Designs were NEVER replicated, although some themes, like mountains, were popular subjects. The business model can be quite profitable, but you have to be able to meet a few criteria. You MUST be a tremendous communicator. You will be dealing with people who have only half an idea of what they want, and absolutely zero understanding of what the process is or what it can and can't do. You need to be able to lead them through some things to get them to clarify their vision without confusing them with too much information. You need to be able to clearly define what you can and can't deliver, and in what kind of time frame. For all of that, you need some drawing skills and samples of textures, clays and glazes. You need to know your turnaround times, and make absolutely sure you have time to make it twice built into that. If you are offering an experimental technique, or a technique that is new to you, all time frames go right out the window, and you need to let your client know testing will be ongoing and that delivery dates can be estimated but not guaranteed. You need to update them as much as they want. You need to remember that your client does not give a flying fig if your kiln elements crapped out and it will take you six weeks to get replacements, so you have to be the kind of person who is on top of things like equipment maintenance and materials inventory. If things do in fact go pear shaped for reasons beyond your control and you cannot deliver what you said when you said, you need to be able and willing to communicate that, along with any solutions to the problems and the new timeline. Integrity in all of this is critical. Your fees must reflect that you are providing a high end service from a skilled provider. You are not just providing an end product! Deposits are taken at the start of a job, and are non-refundable. This fee should be enough to cover your design time and materials. The balance of payment is due when your customer is satisfied. For some jobs, you may wish to break this fee into three portions If you're a little antisocial (No judgement if you are!) and thinking of yourself as a service provider instead of a product maker does not sound like your jam, do not say yes to commissions. All that said, I do take on a little custom work now and again, mostly for companies that want mugs for corporate gifting, or with their own branding for ongoing wholesale orders. I do an in-person design meeting to hammer out details, carefully guiding the client through a couple of options that I know how to use really well, and showing glaze samples they can choose from. Custom colours are a no-go: they take too long to develop. They pay for any stamps or decals or templates that are needed to make samples whether we go through with the full order or not, as well as a nominal design fee so I'm getting paid. This is, after all, time consuming. I make a variation or two to narrow it down, and the client makes the final choice. Once the final design is agreed on, they place an agreed upon minimum order. I check back every six months or so to see how they're set for stock. Once the design is worked out, it's easy to knock more out in a couple of weeks. The payday is more in these reorders. If someone comes into my booth wanting any form they see with a different glaze that's also in my booth, it's a 50% deposit to discourage tire kicking and delivery is within 4 weeks.
  22. When I do my thick slip mugs, I apply the slip, allow it to come to leather hard and then apply the handle. I don’t have too many cracking issues that way. I don’t deflocculate my thick slip, but I agree that could be a solution.
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