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Posts posted by GiselleNo5

  1. I did the math once and figured out that a kiln which holds 12 utensil holders is worth exactly the same amount as a kiln holding 30 mugs. And the utensil holders are easier to make of course because they don't have handles. However. The utensil holders sell much more slowly than the mugs, so just focusing on them would be a huge mistake from a business standpoint. So I fit a few larger pots in the bottom shelf and then I can get about 20 mugs into each load. It has been working pretty well for me. It's such a balancing act, and we as small business owners don't have huge million dollar marketing research departments to tell us which products will be best to focus on. It's all on us! 

  2. I used to pack my glaze kilns as full as possible but I learned the hard way with items ruined by fuming and dripping to leave enough space that my hand can pass between. 



    I do a lot of work that I leave portions unglazed to show the clay but if it's going to be used for food I always glaze any portion that people will have to touch a lot. My mugs, I glaze the handle as well as the rim (a little over 1/4" on the rim). I have some that I've applied the glaze to the interior and left the exterior including the rim and handle bare and those mugs just never sell. Fortunately I figured it out after only doing that with a couple so I don't have too many items that are just sitting here. 


    In the photo I don't know if you can tell (I applied the clear a tad too thickly to this one) but I carve a little well around the base of the handle and also around the portion at the top. This makes glazing it much easier as the glaze has somewhere to stop even when applied too thickly. The glaze tends to fill the little wells and render them invisible. 

    I realize this is NOT the question you were asking Joseph but I always think information is useful and who knows, this may give some ideas as to how to handle your kiln. 


    A side note: When I'm firing a kiln load of these pieces I actually put them real close to each other to encourage the clear gloss coat of the glaze to fume onto the other pieces. It gives it a really interesting look, I think just a little reminiscent of wood fired pieces I've seen. Gives the decoration more depth and interest in my opinion. :)


     it also tends to fire a tad hot.  ;)



    Try adjusting the sitter: http://www.hotkilns.com/how-do-i-adjust-my-kiln-sitter




    It's not my kiln, it's my dads. I have never personally done any kiln maintenance on it, but I do know that he adjusted it already. It was firing to Cone 7 or 8 when it was set to Cone 5. Now it fires to Cone 6 when set to Cone 5. LOL I generally use that big kiln for bisque and then do my glaze firing in smaller batches in the other one, which is a Duncan Teacher-Plus. 

  4. My dad has a Jenkins kiln that someone bought, never fired once, and then sold 35 years later. He replaced the coils and that thing runs like a beast. It's in beautiful condition. He's planning to spring the money to convert it to automatic since currently we have to turn it up every hour for the first three hours and it also tends to fire a tad hot. Still, for a 35 year old kiln that's impressive. 


    Incidentally my dad is almost 70 and he can outwork me any day of the week. Seems he found the proper kiln. ;) 

  5. I like formica or painted wood surfaces for the table as they are easy to clean. Then I use ware boards, newspapers, or sheets of canvas laid on top of these surfaces. This way I can have the best of both worlds. 

    I had the privilege of watching my friend develop her pottery studio from the first year when all she had was a tiny corner of her garage with wheel and kiln; so I saw the problems it caused her to have a canvas covered table. Lots of dust while working (not about the mess, it's really bad for you to inhale!) and also if you use any darker clay bodies you have to use a ware board for lighter clay anyway. 

  6. Thanks.  It was my primary care physician who made the diagnosis; I'll be seeing him again soon and will ask about a specialist.  And I'm trying to avoid the cortisone shot -- probably it's the right thing, but I've had a couple.  Depending on where they do it, it can be no big deal or horribly painful.  The thumb sounds like the second of those options...  


    Thanks for the advice.


    Shot horror story: I had stitches in 2014 for a deep cut on my pinky and she gave a shot of local anesthetic in the joint at the base of the finger. The shot crunched in through cartilage and everything and I believe she damaged a nerve because the location of the shot throbbed worse than the cut and four stitches and hurt for a long long time after the rest of the finger had healed. Also recently I happened to bang the side of my hand on a corner table right on that joint and the pain came back again for weeks. 

  7. I had a conversation about throwing and thumbs with my dad only today. A few years ago he cut the tip of his left thumb off (accidentally) with a saw and he said he thinks that makes throwing harder. 


    When I throw I use the heels of both hands mostly for centering, and in fact tend to keep my thumbs out of the way entirely except when working on the rim. I didn't learn to throw this way on purpose, I just happened to realize today that I could probably throw even if I had no thumbs.


    I can take a picture or video of my hand positions for you if you think it might help. 

  8. I thought both challenges left lots of room for creativity while still sticking to a theme. For example, a flowerpot inspired by spring was pretty specific and yet everyone's was vastly different! I think setting two guidelines gives a nice limit of range to the competition.



    Lots of the ideas I would have said have already been shared here but I think these are different: 


    1. Emotion: Happy, sad. Hungry. Home. Love.


    2. Shape. (Oldlady's comment inspired this idea) You could say something like "a triangular functional pot". No other rules. It could be wheel thrown and altered, slab built, pinched. does this make sense? It could be shallow and plate like or a closed 4-D pyramid. Lots of wiggle room. 


    3. It could also be a specific process, like a slab built plate or platter. Or a wheel thrown item with sgraffito decoration of some kind. Would that deter people, if they don't like that process? For me, a flower pot is not in my comfort zone so throwing one with an attached saucer was a good stretch of my ability. 


  9. Giselle, don't let the fear of trimming through the bottom stop you from making foot rings. When it happens, say "oh well", recycle the clay and try again. That's how you learn to gauge the thickness of the bottom and how much to trim.




    That is excellent advice, Paul, and I will try not to cringe as I trim any more. LOL


    I recently saw a video on trimming by Hsin Chuen Lin and he did this sort of watermelon flick on the bottom of his pots as he was trimming. You could really hear the sound change as he trimmed. I have been trying it a bit, and I definitely have gotten bolder about trimming. My first couple of mugs have maybe 1 1/6" trimmed and I was sure I was going to go through. Of course they're bottom heavy and I could have trimmed off quite a bit more than I did. Now some are as deep as 1/4" and I haven't trimmed through one yet. I also could put on a new bottom (although even as a beginner making it over is already easier than that). 


    I'll throw in my 2 cents Giselle on the mug bottoms-I agree with Neils suggestions. I may add that a wet sponge on the sharp edges will align the clay particiles and smooth the bottoms. Having a smooth bottom on a mug is always a good idea.


    I'm working on my first glaze load of wheel thrown stuff so when I'm wiping them down I'll check carefully that the bottoms have no sharp edges. I've been using a sponge at the end of trimming but I wasn't trying to round the edges, just smooth it. Something new I get to try! :) Thank you! 



  10. I don't like washing bare clay on domestic ware whether it is for serving or cooking. So I cut foot rings. They look better and allow most of the base to be glazed. The only disadvantage of the foot ring is its tendency to collect grotty water in the dishwasher. I cut V shaped chinks in the foot ring, but that spoils the look. What I would like is the foot ring on a plastic mug I own. It has a foot ring of tiny half domes, but I can't think of any way to apply them efficiently to thrown cups. Any ideas?


    I've seen people make mugs with little "feet". They can be really awesome but of course it's another thing to attach so I would not call it efficient. Perhaps you could throw with extra clay left at the bottom, trim an oversized foot and then cut away all but a few points? Here is an example of a beautifully made mug with feet. 



    Neil: That golden mug you shared last is just wonderful in every way. 

  11. Thank you for the compliment! I'm finally starting to really see my progress, which is so encouraging ... I had nothing to keep for a long time so it was easy to feel that I had made no progress. Now I can literally line my successes up in a row and see the improvement. Pure joy.


    Also, I very much appreciate any advice from experienced potters like yourself. I have only one potter friend (and I've gotten some very valuable tips from her), but I had no idea this community existed and I'm so excited to read all these posts on different topics and hear from people at all levels and styles. Everyone is so generous with advice and information on here. 


    I do think my mugs tend to be a bit bottom heavy ... I'm afraid of trimming through the bottom so I think I'm not taking enough off. I plan to test out all the different styles of mug and handles as soon as they're glazed so I know what I want to keep making and what I want to change. I'll get there. :D

  12. Okay so I'm a beginner. But I can already tell you, if there's a support group I might as well join now. I started learning to throw in October and sometimes I just don't leave enough clay on the bottom for a foot. But already 80% of the mugs and bowls I make have a foot. I totally get where this would not work in production, though. Right now the time is less important to me than the learning experience. 


    I like that the footed mugs have a little color and I personally like to add a contrasting color of glaze to the bottom. Please note: I am not a production potter, my best session yet was 12 mugs and my fingers were sore the next day! When I can't sell them for more than $15 I may change my tune about footed mugs! ;) 


    I'm in the process of glazing my very first kiln load of wheel-thrown mugs and bowls so I don't have anything finished. But I've attached a photo of two Moroccan Sand footed cups right after I attached the handles. 






  13. Thanks for the responses.


    I'm in the process of setting up my studio and I can't believe I never gave much thought to this! At least I'm thinking about it before I start using the kilns in there. 

    I've just done some cramming on the subject and I guess what I planned to do was "crossdraft" venting by leaving the window open and a fan on, then thoroughly airing out the garage/studio before using it. I will look into a roof vent instead. Argh, an unplanned-for expense. I rent, so that adds another layer of complication; if this was my property I would just build a little kiln shed nearby. With the wiring situation that's not an option at all; as it is I'm paying myself to have a circuit run from the meter so I have the electricity to run the kilns. Currently I fire everything in my dad's kiln. Very time-consuming and stressful, especially to transport greenware across town. 

  14. I'm not doing any special kinds of firing ... do I need to worry about fumes?


    I plan to run an electric kiln to ^5 and ^6 in my garage. I don't keep my car in the garage and I will clear out all solvents and oil-based paints before I ever use the kilns once the studio is finished. After I fire I will probably keep the window and both doors open for awhile to air it out because I don't like the smell. 

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