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Everything posted by MMead

  1. An update. I did speak with my friend and she was shocked - of course she doesn't candle or even use setting 1. Just goes straight to setting 2 for 2 hours. Further info: Th local Kiln builder came to have a look why my kiln isn't working. A switch was blown and some wires wrongly connected at the back. Now getting sorted so my kiln should work by next week. The "energy regulator" is a dialed switch 1-6 and the man told me it's like the dial on the stove top. 1-2 is low/simmer 3-4 med heat and 5-6 "high" Remember I'm in South Africa so our everything is limited. Many first world aspects and so so many third world glitches. Thank you all so very much for helping me work out this mystery
  2. Okay - I've tried the high tech so here's the low tech - just going to copy the damn firing schedule here. I think I've realized what she did and while ask asap. I think she totally skips the warm up on setting 1. Bisque Firing to 980C 1) Keep door closed throughout the firing 2)Leave the bung out of the door and chimney. Set energy regulator on no. 1 and leave overnight 3)Set energy reg. to "2" for 2 hrs Set energy reg. to "3" for 2 hrs Set Energy reg. to "4" for 1 hr Set Energy reg to "5" for 1 hr Set Energy reg to "6" put bung in door, leave chimney plug open. Leave until desired temp is reached or cones bent. 4) The kiln can then be switched off. Make sure that the main regulator is switched off. 5) The bung in the door should not be removed above 400degrees Celius (approx 12hrs) If the more scientific and knowledgeable of you wonderful folks could PLEASE explain to me what the Energy regulator 1-6 do I'd LOVE to know because it would help me be much more methodical when I try the raw firing at a later date. I want to follow Stephen Hills firing schedule if possible. I was doing my best before and it did work but it wasn't very scientific.
  3. Hi Chris - I do want to make this offer with the next load. It's a small kiln so not a big deal to fill up. Gives an excuse for lots more testing too
  4. I will get the firing schedule. My pride has now calmed a bit and it seems from this thread that it's also about drying my pots further. I would very much appreciate some help with the firing schedule. She has a VERY old kiln - nothing computerized. I've been given a Kiln that may be even older and doesn't even have a thermocoupler. I'm having the people out in the week to try and see if it's worth fixing. Thank you all again very much. I'm keen to learn as much as possible.
  5. Funny you say that - when I did my short apprenticeship with a production potter he taught me to add bentonite to my recycled clay. Maybe that's what did the trick?
  6. I do apologize I seem to have been confusing. Thank you all so much for your input and the questions. It reminds me how important every detail is and how wonderful community is. I tried to answer all the questions throughly and clear up the confusion. I was not firing raw here in this experience of a bisque fire. My Raw firing was done all of last year. My friend does the two fire process so I was following the two fire process and hoping to talk her into a raw fire at a later time. Electric kiln. I had a few pots at each level and several were of the same size and shapes. I did fire several different things with her. Two different types. What survived was the Large recycled clay work. What exploded was the "first time" high fire white stoneware. Only one or two of these survived and I'm curious if they will survive the glaze firing. I love that y'all are like me in regarding firing but my friend as I've said is different. She turns her kiln on and follows the "after two hours turn to setting 2" after two hours turn to setting 3" etc - I don't think she is concerned with temps except the top temp. She sent me a note that from Noon to 330pm the kiln had reach 600C / 1112F I've not found my notes but I'm pretty sure this is too fast? Thank you again for all the questions and help. I am going to ask her regarding cones for a next firing (especially if we do glaze using my own made glazes - I've made for bisque and raw so I have this flexibility as I never knew what kiln access I would have).
  7. I did some searching but strangely didn't find info regarding my issue. Im a newbie pottery of 3years, created my own studio two years ago. My teacher said she couldn't teach me more and I went to apprentice with a production potter. In my opinion my skill is good for only 3yrs but still has far far to go (I can throw shapes I choose and I can throw at a decent rate of pots/hour) I have done several raw firings in a borrowed kiln and had few if any failures over the last year. Having moved house I am sharing a kiln with a friend now. She bisques and then glaze fires. She fired some of my items when I very first started pottery. My items blew up - I put it down to them not being dry and thickness issues etc. During my year with a kiln to myself I had no breakage no blow-outs and with glaze testing I had nothing sticking to shelves even with raw firing - I'm as meticulous as possible. I use witness cones etc. Now with a lot of practice my pieces are more uniform. Not having access to a kiln I decided to fire with her again and try to grit the bisque/glaze routine. Strangely nearly every bowl was either reduced to rubble (literally a pile nothing recognizable) or the whole base was blown out. The pots where dry (there was a moist day the day before the firing) my large bowl was fine. Some of the bowls were fine. My friend is the opposite of me and uses no cones, I'm not even sure she every peeps through her peep hole. My question is this - had the bowls simply blown out at the base I would believe it's due to dampness. What I'm confused at are the piles of rubble. I've never heard of such a thing. This leads me to wonder if perhaps the firing was to fast. What about air bubbles - the clay we access has changed considerably but they factory is VERY private about what's in the clay the content etc. I am very much wanting to put cones in her kiln and ask if I can camp there for the next firing. I think she'd be offended as she never has a problem with her own items. I'm seriously doubting myself now and am finding a more advanced teacher than the one I originally started with. One so my techniques can be checked and two for the firing.
  8. Hi Birdypotter Thank you for the links - I'm wondering what gauge wire you used? I'm wanting to make a "space separator" hanging with many tiles - approx 3/4in wide with 3-6in lengths. My goal is to glaze both sides however I've never done such a thing. I'm finding it difficult to get Nichrome wire and after reading your post (I'd like to fire cone 6 and cone 10 stoneware) I'm wondering if Kanthal is my answer. Our pottery supply shops don't seem to carry much so I will probably have to order from the UK Thank you
  9. I found an Emmanuel Cooper book with a listing of slips. I searched the entire book to understand what an IS slip is. I worked out all the others: YS, BS and GS. Is it possibly indigo? he states that layers with a clear glaze IS turned a pale green. I'm very keen to try to work this out.
  10. The other big point is: Every successful artist has allowed their limitations to show them a path forward. Here you have been given the best advice: Look to others in same category, experiment, research.
  11. Thanks Pres- I was definitely not shooting for a luster- 😉. On the positive side I feel any firing that doesn't blow a pot out or weld one to a shelf is success. Can't wait for the next one!
  12. The firing is finished. There were numerous technical issues. To express a few:power at my friends kiln kept tripping just before I reached peak temp - my attempt at a soak nearly liquified cone 5 and 6. I made the decision to leave the bungs in when the fire finished at 9pm - I'm sure this was not my best decision especially as the kiln overfired. What I am left with is: burned out reds and a few other odds. The controller is totally manual and 30yrs old at least. I really struggled to control kiln temps. My cones were either up or liquid. There was never a bending time. (I check the kiln every 30min/60min) Several questions beg an answer if you could please be so kind as to suggest what happened: 1. there is a lot of pin holing - more on the bisque commercial glazes used as control subjects. Why? Especially since there was a LONG ramp up between 500'C and 1000'C (this also was a problem in that it took longer than it should have). I very meticulously dusted the post before spray glazing. 2. there is much cratering in pinhole type effect - I'm wondering: is the alumina calcine I put down so carefully able to fly about in the kiln and cause this (specifically on lower shelves). The other questions aren't so imperative as I will need to reformulate to the raw glazes with higher clay content. Much of the commercial glaze chipped off/ fell off before firing - what stayed on fired on well with little pin holing in the raw clay. I will also need to refire at the right temps to understand the colors and thicknesses etc. As soon as I work out how to up load my pics I will put them in the gallery for learning purposes. so long I have them on FB..https://www.facebook.com/melissameadinprogress Thank you for the help I received here thus far. I'm looking forward to the next glazes and firing. I'm also on a hunt for a kiln of my own.
  13. Thank you Bob - I completely forgot to look at that site. I'm quickly learning not to trust google!
  14. the Turner's White Recipe from CAD 10% Dolomite 9% Whiting 25% Soda Feldspar 20% Custer Feldspar (this isn't available here, I understood it to be a potash feldspar so that's what I replaced it with - Potash Feldspar) 18% EPK Kaolin (again not available - the best suggestion was to use China Kaolin - but as I said - this settled right out) 6% Talc 12% Silica Add: Bentonite 2% As per your suggestions I should replace the Kaolin with ball clay (can I just "grind" some of my dried clay body for this - so it matches best?) this won't be the 20-30% you suggested - but's it's close. Then I should increase the bentonite to 5%. The other recipe is an Emmanuel Cooper recipe that I'm certain is going to have trouble as the silica content seems far to high. 40% Feldspar (I used potash again as I've read about the problems with high soda feldspar percentages) 4% Zinc Ox 3% Dolomite 15% Whiting 5% China Clay 33% Silica Add .5% Chrom ox 4% Iron ox - (I assumed red)
  15. Hi TJR- I addressed it to John because he's the moderator- but I'm keen for experienced advice please. I do have many question as I've read a lot and some is contradictory. Also I am not finding a whole lot of info as one does with bisque glazing and firing. T- if I add ball clay won't this increase the iron amounts the glaze can react with? I appreciate the explanation of the consistency needed for the glaze. Mine is obviously still to thin. I can't stand those pink pots- puts me right off! As for losses- I reckon since I'm a beginner it will only make me better faster. Do you spray, dip or pour? After reading Steven Hills many articles I decided on spray to decrease over wetting as much as possible. Thank you so much for your input!
  16. Hi John - I do hope you had a brilliant trip without too much jet lag. I'm keen to learn once firing in an electric kiln and luckily I'm very interested in creating my own glazes. I'm located in South Africa so raw materials are a challenge (Strontium Carbonate for example is not to be found and other common N. American materials are incredibly expensive). I have researched Steven Hill and Dennis Parks as much as possible via internet. I have a few questions to start with: 1. My first test includes the Turner's White recipe - however we don't have access to EPK Kaolin and the local supplier suggested China Kaolin. My gut is this was might not have been a good suggestion as it all settled out of the mix. The Turner's white and my red have already flaked off or shivered off the pots even before firing. I think this means I need to increase the bentonite to 5%. Your thoughts? 2, due to being new to pottery I have recycled stoneware clays which seem to grow black stuff underneath. The local supplier suggested this was great and many potters like this. My research seems to indicate this could lead to problems of increasing the amount of burn off required - your thoughts? (also because I'm new I'm throwing small test bowls instead of tiles for the practice.) 3. I have a red glaze I'm trying and I understand that reds like to fire fast - while I'm using S. Hills firing schedule (for electric kilns) I'm thinking putting the reds at the bottom of my kiln where it seems to warm the fastest may assist this issue of slow firing (but I'm expecting my clay to fire out a lot so either pin holes or gray glaze could result). Is the top better as hot air rises and that's where the chimney is. 4. Are there any good books with information and recipes or perhaps internet mentors? I have found Digital fire to be of immense help in understanding the glaze ingredients. These first tests I decided to use straight forward recipes like Turner's white because of the large firing range and also due to a belief that it sometimes will work. I have bisqued pots in with the raw as "control" subjects all sprayed in the same way. There is a local pottery who fires earthenware in a propane fiber kiln. He somehow uses alcosperse to hyper-flocculate his glazes and then he uses epsom salts to deflocculate? I'm not sure I understood and I'm not sure he wanted me too - but somehow this makes the water requirement less and also assists the glaze sticking to the dry greenware. Your thoughts? Thank you for any help, advice etc.
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