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Dennis Bednarek

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About Dennis Bednarek

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  • Birthday 03/31/1948

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  • Location
    Mukwonago Wisconsin
  • Interests
    Ceramics goes back dfor me to when I was a Freshman in High School and took an art class. This class included a little clayy work and I produced an ash tray. The teacher loved the piece and entered it a contest for our state where it earned a 2nd place award for 3 dimensional art.

    Years later I went into college and worked on a double major in photography and electronics. Two opposing fields but in the photography major I could take other art classes and decided to take as electives two semesters of 3-D art which included some ceramic projects that I loved.

    Well the next 40 years I ended up working full time in the electronics industry and dis some part time work in photography both as freelance as well as weddings.

    Today I'm retired and do not want to get bored. So I'm combining to fields that I had enjoyed in the past mainly tropical fish and ceramics. With limited budget and limited equipment I'm looking at filling in a void of making practical aquarium pieces that are also decorative in ceramics. However the more I'm working clay the more I see the potential of my interest in ceramics expanding.
  1. As an individual that is fairly new to ceramics To date I have only used three different low fire clays. Two different terra cotta clays and one white high Talc clay. I had noticed a considerable difference between these clays. In working with them I noticed the white clay drys extremely faster than the others. The green wear of the white clay also is much more fragile than the Tera Cotta I initially used. I also prefer it considerably wetter in order to work it the way I prefer. And finaly during firing I had experienced my first blow outs with the white clay.. Considering this is a high talc clay without grog could the talc be a factor making this clay so different than the terra cotta clays I have been working with? Is there a white Clay that mimics the Terra Cotta more. My thoughts were trying to find a white clay woithout Talc and possibly with grog to be get closer to the terra cotta as far as workability. I prefer the white color but for workability I'm in favor of the terra cotta clays now. Any advice would be appreciated.
  2. This is an interesting subject for me. I personally use a considerable amount of V-361 Jet Black. However I had found that working it with an 18-gauge applicators I need to water it down to about a 1/3 strength. However when I use it with a brush application I use it full strength. However some of the other colors i will water down slightly for brushing, however I'll only dilute as much under glaze as needed for that day. With students in a high school environment I ca n very easily see them watering down the glaze. For there particular usage they might consider it to be excessively thick which is not an issue. But instead of just pouring out what they need into a separate container and thinning it they thin the entire batch. Is it laziness to get another container? Or is it that they cannot find another container with out searching for it? Note it only takes a couple drops of water to thin out some of the under-glazes.
  3. I think the biggest variable is how many pieces your doing at one time. As an example: Set Up might take you an hour. Then the shaping of the piece might take you 20 minutes Then your talking about clean up for another hour. Not thinking about the kiln time we jump to grazing again 1 hour set up 5 minutes to glaze one piece then again an hour clean up. So for one piece it took you 4 hours and 25 minutes. But using the same formula 10 pieces would take you 8 hours and 10 minutes. on a per piece bases that is a difference of 4 hours 25 minutes per single piece or 49 minutes when your doing multiple pieces. Now if you want to value your time based on the minimum wage your talking $6.00 labor to $33 for a piece. Then there is the other time spent lining up shows and showing your pieces. And who want to work for the minimum wage?
  4. 1. Make larger slab built pieces. 2. Create some molds to speed up decorative work. 3. Create enough profit to increase my equipment.
  5. Having worked for years in the electronics field I will say a 5 degree temperature difference is not extreme by any means. Looking at your temperature of 2241 with a 5 degree questionable difference is 0.22% accuracy difference. Many electronic devices start at 10% accuracy and when you increase the accuracy each step more accurate will double the price of the component. Yes you can usually tune a system to be considerably more accurate however movement, and atmospheric changes can require repeated needs to re tune the device. Note the difference between a cone 9 and cone 10 is 45 degrees roughly or 9 times the difference your looking at. A 1% accuracy should be more than enough for your purpose.
  6. For me the biggest variable for time is related to how many pieces your doing at once. Keep in mind I'm more of a slab builder tan a thrower but I believe it still applies. Initial set up 10 minutes Wedging for one piece or 10 pieces takes about the same amount of time for me. Close to 15 minutes. Then the rolling out and cutting the pieces is another around 20 minutes for one piece but about 40 minutes for 10 pieces. Big difference if your looking at time per piece. Now we have clean up time for another 20 minutes. The next step is the assembly and this will usually run about 5 minutes per piece. Clean up time now is only about 10 minutes. Carving is my next step usually done the next day and dependent on the piece will run an average of 10 minutes per piece. And again another 10 minutes clean up time. Then the last step before firing after it is bone dry is doing any touch up sanding. This I would guess is under 5 minutes for most pieces. But clean up from the dust is about 15 minutes. Firing time is not considered here as you can be doing other things My next step is under glazing Which I'll estimate at 10 minutes per piece. Clean up again about 5 minutes. Then the set up for glazing is about 20 minutes and the final glazing at about 3 minutes per piece. Followed by the final clean up. So for one piece I get a total of about 3 hours. But doing 10 pieces about 8 1/2 hours. but per piece it is only closer to 50 minutes per piece. If I were doing even more pieces that time would be even less per piece. also keep in mind that the complexity of my pieces vary considerably which will sometimes increase the time. On some off my pieces that I build more frequently I'm looking at ways to decrease that time as well.
  7. Well I got my first firing back from the opalescent glazes. Wow do they create an interesting effect. With the transparent pearl over a F series Choicolate Brown it produced an interesting color effect. The brown was barely noticable and I would almost call the transparent pearl a white glaze. I just dropped off a another batch for glaze firing today. I used a white and pastel colors in the F series as a base with the transparent pearl over it. My hope is it will come out with just a touch of color pealing through the pearl. I'm also trying the black tulip glaze on some other items with this firing. I put the black Tulip over some Darker Blue and red base colors. This i hope will create a similar effect with the items being basicly black with a bit of dark color peaking through. Only time will tell. I have my first show on Sunday and it should be interesting. This is not an art show but an aquarium show with most of pieces designed for aquarium usage.
  8. The first thing that came to my mind after seeing the pictures were ceramic stains. Look up the Mason ceramic stains which can be mixed into the clay or applied as a underglaze prior to firing. From experience with floor tiles it is best to have the color throughout the clay rather than just on the surface as wear from abrasive foot traffic can show with just a surface treatment. As far as the cracking goes this has a lot to do with what is under the tile. Tiles over a wood base even thick plywood will crack as the undersurface moves. Our main floor is 80% tile. We have two layers of plywood plus a layer of cement board under the tile. On our lower level the tile was floated with a concrete base. In 14 years we only have line hair line crack in the tile that occured in the first month. The crack lines up with seam between two pieces of cement board.
  9. I had presciently gone to a local show and will say there as many sellers of acrylic, and oil based paints as there there were sellers of glazes. From that I would say it is not scuffed upon in the least bit. The point though is what is the desired durability of the end piece and the appearance that the artist is trying to achieve. Do you want something that will last for generations will it be exposed to the elements, will it be handled and it so how often. I believe glazes even underglazes are more durable in the long term than any of the present paints out there. But do you need that level extra durability? This is something that only you can answer. Would you be willing to give up the appearance you desire on the end product for more durability? It is the artists decision and mixed media is acceptable at the individual artist description.
  10. For Clay I'm using Amaco #25 White Art Clay now. However my earlier projects were using AMCO #27 Terra-Cotta Clay. On smaller objects up to 5" I see little difference between these clays. However now that I'm going larger i'm thinking I need to either go thicker or to a different low fire clay. To give you an idea of my projects think of a box which is roughly 4" square at the base but running 8" to 12" tall. These are aquarium ornaments with square holes in them roughly 1 1/2 inches wide and 2" tall. and the surfaces are carved with designs. Yes they will probably be handled somewhat but where i'm seeing the issue is there delicacy after they are air dried and I'm painting underglaze on them and scraping off some areas. I doubt this will be an issue once it is fired, but makes me extremely nervous before hand.
  11. While I'm fairly new at slab building I started building some larger objects than my prior projects. Using 1/4 inch thick slabs I had no problem working with objects up to about 5" tall. However my last projects were in the 8" tall range and it seems like the pieces are extremely delicate as green wear. I was hoping on building the next group of objects in the range of 12" to 15" tall . Is there a guid to slab thickness per the heitght of objects?
  12. If someone has a small compressor or even a larger compressor with a regulator consider this one. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004KNHGHS?psc=1 For spraying Glazes the 0.8 mm tip is advised compared to the 0.35 tip that is more common on air brushes. With the o.35 tip you end up thinning even enamels and laquers considerably to flow smoothly. Most Glazes are thicker than these so the 0.8mm tip would be advised. I believe this is the largest tip they make for most airbrushes. Dependent on the settings and thickness of the glaze you should be get anything from the splatter effect seen in the video to a very smooth fine spray that creates a fading effect from one color to another. While i had not worked with spraying glazes I had used air brushes with other medea and will say for smooth transition between colors they are the only way to go.
  13. With the velvet underglazes it should be no problem. However if velvet is not in the name of the underglaze it will flow and stick. Personaly I think some products are labeled as underglazes which are not truely underglazes as they have frit added to them. An example is Stroke and Coat.
  14. My problem with this it the price of these programs. The program your linking to is basicly $600.00. The present Photoshop package I would recommend is $19.00 per month which includes the constant updates to keep it the latest. With the price difference your getting about 30 months to break even price wise. But what is the possibility that the operating system will change in 3 months which will make the $600 program unusable. This is what happened to me after purchasing a $2,000 software package when XP was the latest operating system. I got 4 years out of it and then it would not run with my new operating system.
  15. Have you experimented with the resolution and contrast of the image your transferring. I had used the old photoshop programs and initially saw the same fuzzyness when converting colored images to hard black and white images. But If I kicked the resolution up to the max on the colored image before converting it to B and W the fuzziness decreased. Then on the B and W image I would drop the resolution down to the 120 range and the lines would be very smooth but still very sharp as each pixel is either black or white. I had not converted these to vector images but doubt that it would be a problem from this point.
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