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Callie Beller Diesel

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Everything posted by Callie Beller Diesel

  1. Some cone six clays will warp (porcelains, some red or dark bodies with high flux levels), so that’s another reason not to stilt your wares at this temperature.
  2. I do this full time, and do not doubt it folks, it most certainly IS an obligation. As a professional, I have effectively made promises that I will make work for people who want my skills. I have made commitments with my community to share my knowledge. I am obliged to myself, to my family and to my customers to be a responsible business owner and show up and produce and market and sell and photograph and do paperwork wether I feel like it or not. As a professional, I have made promises, and I am indeed obliged to keep them, and I have to follow through. I liked working in clay enough to choose it on purpose, so now I have a responsibility to do the work. That is NOT to say that I don't enjoy the obligation most of the time. My job is a very fun one! But it is still a job. I am not always calculating how and when to get to the studio any more than someone else calculates how soon they can get to their day job. There are days where I'm physically exhausted. There are days when I need a break. There are days where I experinece all kinds of self doubt, question my life decisions, get frustrated with the slow pace and I don't want to trim those bowls today because it's sunny and I'd rather be gardening. Sometimes it's frightening being the only person responsible for absoloutely everything, and please dear god let me not screw up anything involving RevCan. Some days are lonely. And all that is before any of the usual ways clay itself can go sideways. But there are also days where I get to see people's eyes light up and smile at the sight of a thing I made. There are days where I get to exercise my skills and feel very powerful in that. There are days that I get to help a husband pick out a 20th anniversary gift for his wife that he is still head over heels for. There are days where I find out I've created something that really resonates with someone else, and that is a VERY profound connection with another human being. Some days I get to help a new clay person solve a problem and watch them get excited. Those are all good days. I am very happy that I get lots of those days! I think if you haven't had a serious, debilitating case of the I don't wanna's or some kind of an artist block and had to work through it, give it time. It will happen. Cut yourself some slack when it does: it means you've hit milestones, and you likely have some growth iminent if you let it happen. Show yourself some love, because yelling at yourself and calling yourself names won't help. I've worked with clay for 26 years, so more of my life than not. It isn't fun all the time. My personal expereince is that at least part of the difference between a side gig or a hobby and being a professional is knowing how to recover from hitting those walls. Learning how to clearly and realistically define what you are and aren't able to do, doing it, and communicating it clearly to others.
  3. @ChenowethArts Welcome back Paul! I’m very glad to hear you’re well. as to the original topic, it is so cool to see how far some folks have come that were just beginning in the last few years! I do some mug designs with a trimmed foot (and charge accordingly for the extra work), and some with a rolled and altered foot that is much faster. Is a trimmed foot strictly needed? No. Are they sometimes a nice thing to do? Yes.
  4. My Mom used to say that if my Dad couldn’t fix it, it couldn’t be fixed, so I grew up thinking figuring out how to do stuff yourself was just what people did. Like Liam, and Mea I like figuring it out. My default is to look up how to do it myself, and if it’s more of a can of worms than I can handle (like hefting a hot water tank so loaded with scale it can’t be drained out of the basement) I’ll call someone. If it’s a one person job, I am on it. I can tackle simple electric and plumbing, and I’ll insulate walls and mud drywall, but someone else can hang it.
  5. If you’re re-firing commercial tiles, it helps to know what temperature they were originally, because you can’t use a product that fires hotter than that. In the other thread you were asking on the other day, I suggested China paint to another poster who had no previous ceramic experience and was used to being able to see her colours. They also fire to the lowest ceramic temperatures, so there wouldn’t need to be a lot of testing to figure that part out. If you have access to your own kiln and have a little experience, Stroke and Coat are another possibility, but it fires a bit higher and would need a test to make sure the glaze doesn’t change. If the tile and the S&C are compatible, you could then create die cut stencils with a Cricut or something similar, and use them to apply your script. If you need a lot of them, having a waterslide decal professionally printed could be a straightforward option too. Milestone Decal will do small runs, as will Forage Studios.
  6. I use a lot of white slip over red clay, but I don’t ever spray it. I’ve always dipped. The only time I’ve had issues involving layering slip was when I was experimenting with an engobe and put the more vitreous recipe underneath something that didn’t start melting as soon in the kiln. You mentioned using casting slip: is it just a talc/ball clay mix, and are you firing to cone 6 or higher?
  7. There is no reason you shouldn’t. It’s just less common, that’s all.
  8. That's a fun party trick! Excuse me, I'll be back. I need to go get some squeezy bottles!!
  9. I have tubs that I think were supposed to be for drinks at parties that I got at the dollar store. Similar idea to what Liam has. If I have enough glaze, I can dip the outside of a bowl very easily, but more often I invert them and pour. The trick is to use slightly thinner glaze and pour for two full rotations. This doesn't eliminate drips entirely, but I'm of the opinion a small drip isn't a big deal. I'm making handmade ware, not working in a factory. Maker's marks, when left deliberately, are part of that aesthetic.
  10. I don’t spray big bowls. I pour the inside and outside separately, and usually add a little water to the glaze to thin it. Go to the dollar store and get some large diameter plastic tubs: it makes life waaay easier. When setting them up in the kiln, place other items evenly around the rim to create a heat sink. Test tiles, shot glasses, mugs, even extra kiln posts. It took my cracking rate down to nothing.
  11. I've never been paid for an urn, not that I ever asked to be. They were all family. I don't think the stones are a particularly unreasonable cost. The last time I had to price out a casket probably 13 years ago, a basic pine box was about $300. That's not the kind they recommend for being present at any sort of service: they do not look nice. It's the kind you get cremated in. The caskets that you'd get buried in, or have present at a service of any kind started at $800-1000, and those were about as plain as you could get. Top end was $5000. Urns from the funeral home (really ugly, basic ones) started at $300. I'm sure prices have gone up in the last decade. The reason I know all this isn't because someone was trying to scam me. I was speaking to a funeral director at one point about offering urns for sale because I felt at that point I'd had some experience with them. He was fantastic and walked me through what the requirements might be for them, and gave me an idea of what a reasonable retail price would be for them. For the record, he said he tried to steer people away from the stupid top end stuff, but some families want a big sendoff.
  12. Hooray for repeat business! I have had a rush in that I've had stores to restock, but I'm not encouraging new orders at the moment, beyond a little online. The whole last quarter is such a rush and there's so many hours put in, there needs to be some balance. This time of year I go back to more of an 8 hour day instead of running 12-14. I try to use January and February as time to put the studio back in order, work on new forms, and to restock my existing stores who are heavily picked over after Christmas. I've got one store topped up, another one will be ready to go after I unload the kiln next week, plus I'll be adding some things to my website for V-Day. Once I have that sorted, I found a travel mug lid that I think will be more forgiving than the fit-over-the-rim kind, so i'll be working on some to-go cups, plus some butter dishes, berry bowls for spring, and some things that customers were requesting a lot of in the fall. I have some glaze and slip testing to do as well for a comission. Oh, and show applications. So it's more "idea time" for me than big sales right now.
  13. I’ve had to provide urns for 6 family members on my side, 2 on my husband’s and for 2 dogs. It’s an honour, and it sucks all at once. Different people seem to want to deal with cremains in different ways. I’ve known some who had a very hard time letting go that would find something like this very tasteful and comforting. Certainly better than keeping Grandma in a vase in the spare room closet (literally something my MIL did). There is certainly a creep factor in keeping any form of a dead body around, wether they’re in a jar or made into pretty rocks. If I had to have someone hanging around for a while (maybe waiting to inter with a spouse), I think the rocks are nicer. $600 is less than you’d pay for a casket, so it’s pretty reasonable. It’s really gross being upsold on fancy caskets by a funeral director if arrangements weren’t made in advance.
  14. Did you by any chance put the pieces in while they were still a bit damp on the bottom?
  15. +1 for a white slip. It’s how I get my bright glaze/dark clay contrasts.
  16. For those who remember another page to this thread, fear not. The conversation was getting very technical, and was going well beyond the scope of the original question. In the name of not overwhelming beginners who might be encountering this thread now or in the future, we've split some of the conversation into it's own topic. Should any wish to go down a clay testing rabbit hole, you can follow along here. Callie and The Moderator Team
  17. https://ezscreenprint.com/ Their standard stencils (as opposed to the hi def ones) will take underglazes as ink. They talk about Speedball on their website, but I have a friend who says the Chrysanthos ones are also good straght out of the bottle. They have some ready made ones available, or you can get one covered in uncured photo emulsion so you can make your own in sunlight.
  18. Hey Neighbour! You'll be fine. You mentioned having a kiln sitter, which won't require heating up, so you're golden. I'm going to load a bisque myself this weekend. I've never had cracking problems and my kiln is outside in a garden shed. Like Neil said, as long as you let things cool off enough, there are no problems. If you do wind up pulling your pots out a bit warm, just set them on a wooden surface, or something else that won't transfer too much cold to the pots.
  19. Lidded jars are one of my favourite things to make! Everyone else has already chimed in with the good stuff. I am in the no alumina camp, even though my clay does tend to stick to itself. I have a stick next to the kiln, and a few firm taps frees everything up. I always fire the pieces together because I overfire my clay and it moves. I mostly do a lid that sits in a gallery. I find if you throw the pots and the lids at the same time (no shrinkage happening before you take the lid measurements), the lid will shrink a hair more than the gallery will, because the clay has a tendency to cup back in. This happens both in drying and in the glaze. If you make your lid carefully to the exact measurement of the gallery, the shrinkage will create the amount of room you need to have the lid fit tightly once the piece is finished. I find if the lid fits perfectly in the green ware stage, the lid will be too big in the end piece.
  20. @Rae Reich Tissue transfers are just ceramic pigments and probably some frit silkscreened onto a strong, flexible tissue paper. Its easiest to use them on fresh clay, but I’ve applied them to bisque as well. You can buy tissue transfers from a few places, but I got these ones here. They’re lots of fun to play with!
  21. If it’s got glassy bits in it, it might be something like chick grit or decomposed granite.
  22. These bell Christmas ornaments. To write out the process it sounds like a lot of input, but hands-on time is very little. They’re fired to maturity so they make a pleasant sound, but they’re unglazed. I can make 2-3 dozen in an hour and they sell for $12. A slab gets a layer of white slip and a full sheet of tissue transfer. Once it sets up, I cut circles out of it that then get cut in half and formed into cones with a small hole in the top. The stems/clappers are just a small coil formed around a chopstick. Dry, fire and assemble.
  23. It sounds like an exercise in Ghost-inspired silliness. I’d focus on the fun, and make sure there’s pictures taken. Does the piece they get to take home strictly need to come off the wheel, or can they decorate a quick ornament as a souvenir and focus on clay olympics-style play?
  24. What about using it as a glaze ingredient instead of as a clay? If f you have access to a ball mill, maybe you could make terra sigilata?
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