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  1. So glad to see you got well enough to try your wheel!! I'm not in a position to give advice, because I'm so new. However, I purchased Robin Hopper's DVD - Beginning to Throw on the Potter's Wheel. Maybe it was luck, but I doubt it. I was able to center my first session. Robin said he teaches the mechanics of throwing, & it all made perfect sense to me. I'm not trying to sell his DVD, there are lots of others out there, but it worked so well for me. He said there should be a straight line from your left elbow, through your wrist to the center of of the wheel - don't turn the hand outward or inward, because that causes stress on the wrist. Then anchor your elbow into your side, or waist. Once I got that line going, I was also centering. When you can't have a teacher by your side, DVD's really are a big help. I know lots of experienced potters hate hearing this, but I keep some of my work. Crappy bowls can still be glaze & firing experiments. I like looking at what I make, because I can see some progress with both glazing & throwing. Some have awful problems - heavy bottoms, thick & heavy all over, horrible glaze combos, or pin holes in the glaze that re-firing couldn't heal. They're each a spot on the journey - evidence & proof that I don't want to do THAT again, or exactly what I need to work on next session. Especially with the glaze experiments. I keep a firing log & a glaze log, but being able to see the results rather than try to remember how bad it was is more educational to me. I like to pick them up & feel what pin holes feel like or whatever crappy thing is going on. Eventually, when I get the beginner stuff worked out, I'll find the hammer. My clay doesn't seem to get smaller as I throw & rethrow, but it sure gets wet - so wet it won't stick to the wheel anymore. LOL! I usually end a session with lots of clay that needs to dry out. My new kiln gets wired in next Wed!!!! I'm working on some hand-built majolica pieces - tea bag holders & small trays, so I'll have something to fire once I get that first empty firing out of the way. Trying to find my own majolica style of painting.
  2. Oh Wuvie! Congrats! I just got my Clay Boss (same one) a few months ago, so I, too, know your excitement. I was feeling very much like my dogs when they get a treat. LOL! Now, I'm in the same state of mind, because I just told the electrician I accept his quote & to schedule a time to do the wiring for my kiln!!! I'm loving my wheel! (I wish I had room around it to put that type of shelf on it - very nice!) I hope you get better real soon, so you can give it a whirl. Pewmonia is NO fun, so take it easy & have a quick recovery!I'll be looking for your post to tell us what you think of using your new wheel.
  3. Yes, the patio is NOT an option for me. It would be waaaaaaaay too cold during parts of our winter to be able to fire it out there. Lots of people have wood burning stoves in their homes here. They are the appropriate space away from walls (my Skutt needs to be at least 18" away from a wall.) They lay down fire resistant brick to set the stove on, & often will tile the wall behind the stove. Venting your kiln is about the same as venting a wood burning stove, however, there are times when you will need to prop the lid of your kiln open, or have peep holes open, so even vented, there can be fumes. My kiln is in our garden-level mudroom & is next to the garage. There is a door into the house, but once my kiln is wired, I'll keep that door closed while firing. My kiln sits on a cement floor & 1 wall is cinder block, the other 2 have sheetrock, so I'm making tiles to put on those 2 walls about 1/2 way up where the heat will be. As you've already heard, don't place it on the wood floor. In my city, once the electrician wires the kiln, a city inspector has to come out, so you probably wouldn't pass a fire code inspection if it was on the wood floor here - something to think about.
  4. Hi! I'm a newb, too. I just bought equipment & set up my tiny studio in our mudroom (room between garage & garden level of our home.) I keep the door closed to the house to keep dust contained. I keep the room clean & use water to clean up, so there's never a huge amount of clay dust. I decided on what I wanted to make first. That led me to what type of clay & glazes to go with that clay. Once I decided what items I wanted to make, I knew what the highest cone I would be firing at & what HP wheel I needed. I purchased the wheel, decided that I would be firing mostly ^5 & ^6 with an occasional ^10 firing. I don't have plans to make anything large, 14" plates maybe & 17" jars/vases, etc. I decided on the Skutt KM818-30. I, also, purchased Clay-King's slab roller which I use constantly for hand-building & tiles. I love it!!! I, too, purchased everything from Clay-King, because the prices were the best & they shipped promptly. The studio space is small, but there's a perfect sized nook for the kiln & the slab roller sits against a wall. I have only 1 shelving unit on the wall & a rolling cart under it for supplies. The only place for my wheel is in the center of the room. I don't have room for a worktable, so I'm going to use a portable table with hinged legs to sit over the wheel, but that I can put out of the way when I'm using my wheel. Not the best situation, because it means keeping the table cleaned off. For wedging, I put my wedging board on one end of the slab roller table so it pushes up against the wall. When I'm finished wedging, I sit the board up against a wall out of the way. I'm purchasing my vent system this summer & have decided to attach the vent to wood & place that in the open window of the door. Otherwise, the only place to vent to is the garage. For water, I'm using the sink in the laundry room next door in the winter. Not real convenient, & it means opening the door into the house. This spring I'll put a barrel on a stand outside my studio door with the hose being the water source. I like the idea of a drain plug in the bottom with a bucket under the barrel. I'm storing my clays & glaze buckets under the slab roller. My studio needs some more wall shelving & is pretty cramped, but for only one potter in it, it's workable. I think it'll be years before I'd even consider selling anything, so I don't have the need for massive amounts of shelving for drying, etc.
  5. I've been researching how I can do zentangle on my pottery. I've decided to try glaze pens. Axner sells both an underglaze pen & an overglaze pen. The samples on their site look good.
  6. In the wood section at Hobby Lobby, I found wooden decorative pieces that you glue onto other wood items. They have the hand-carved look. I used one to make the center design on a tile mold. Recently, I went through my jewelry & made sprig molds & stamps - a little cameo, a hand-cast medieval design bronze pin that looks great on the outside of mugs, jars, etc. Little needle tools made by inserting various diameters of wire into brightly colored fimo clay handles. Include a hole, so they can be hung. I've repurposed lots of fimo clay tools for ceramic tools - modeling tools, a little wavy cutter, stamps &, recently, a little square cookie type cutter that I stamp with the medieval stamp, put a hole in one corner, then use for glaze tests. If they come out ok, they make really nice pendants. A tiny dog bone cookie cutter was a fun find that generated so many ideas I HAD to buy it. One of the many ideas was glaze testers. Take out the insides of a Bic pen & use the outer plastic tube to make holes. Lace & handwoven fabric to imprint with. Repurposed art supplies - brushes mostly along with my sketchbook & charcoal pencils for pottery idea sketches. Blank journals make really nice fully-bound firing logs & glaze recipe books. You can pay a lot for them, make them yourself, or use cheapy composition books that go on sale during the back to school sales.
  7. I loved Steve Tobin's video! Makes me want to blow stuff up!! I've been known to paint shellac on encaustic paintings & light them on fire... OK, I think that's what you want to do (Steve's approach,) but on a smaller scale. Here's an idea. If you have a compressor available to you, maybe you could put the end of the hose just into the oval piece, seal it real good so no air leaks around the edges, then blast air into it. You could adjust the air pressure & test on soft & leather hard clay to see what works best. If you can't get your hands on an air compressor, maybe a bicycle pump would work. I may have to try the bicycle pump - sounds like fuuuuuuuunnnnnnnnnnn! I blew up a bowl in the kiln - NOT pretty - damaged another piece & it was a mess to clean up.
  8. I just started firing bisque pieces with a small paragon. My new Skutt KM818 just arrived & is waiting to be wired. I'm scared to death to leave it unattended at the end of the firing - just wouldn't, but that's me. I read the manufacturer's instructions & the horrors of why not to leave it unattended & to definitely use cones. Not beating you up at all, but just saying I wouldn't. LOL! Your pieces that I saw are lovely by the way. So you don't feel too bad about making a mistake though, here's the stupid thing I did. I threw a bowl for the dogs. It was nearly a disaster at the throwing wheel, but I managed to trim it into a really cute bowl & save it. I just could NOT make myself wait that extra day to make sure it was completely dry (it had a thick bottom.) I knew better, but I wanted to get the firing done before the holiday, so I went ahead. Well, everyone knows the result - it exploded, & blew off the side of another piece in the kiln. I guess I just HAD to experience the sound of that explosion to be satisfied that it would indeed happen to greenware not completely dry. When I heard the explosion & saw the dust come out the vents in the controller, though, I did panic. It was not a pretty picture when I opened the lid, but one I will never forget. The destruction to the bowl was total!!! I'm not saying it won't ever happen again, but it WON"T happen again because I hurried the clay! Lesson learned & I seem to learn a lot of them the hard way. LOL! Mary
  9. Hi! I'm new to the forum, too & new to pottery. I LOVE this site!! There's so much here to learn from!! I'm here every day reading the forum posts & watching videos! I was inspired by Lyn Belisle's scent shards - faces from the past. I decided I could do it, so I followed her video instructions to learn the basics. I make a clay mold of the face of a statue, then use low fire earthenware to make the faces, & add some hand-building to them. The point is for the bisque to still be porous enough to absorb essential oil, but to still be strong. So, of course, I needed a small kiln & purchased a Paragon Firefly. I fired my molds last week - yay! I have 3 faces drying & they'll be ready to fire this week-end. I'm soooooooooo excited! Low fire bisque - unglazed. Easy peasy! We'll see how they turn out Sat. LOL! Well, now that I have the small kiln that will fire low-fire bisque & low-fire glazes I needed to decide what other items I could make. I decided on small cups & bowls for starters. Well, now I decided I needed a wheel & to learn to throw them, so I purchased a wheel. I have a great DVD that I purchased from the store here on wheel throwing. I tried out the wheel & learned how to center right away. Yay again!!! I have 2 weeks off starting the 19th, so I'll be practicing, practicing, practicing. I'm thinking about taking a pottery class in January from a highly recommended local potter, so I'll have a live person to help me with throwing. OK, I've decided that I'll eventually need a larger kiln. The 4.5" height limit of the Firefly just isn't going to work for the larger pieces I'd like to do on the wheel. Providing I get good enough on the wheel, I'll be shopping for a larger kiln. I've already talked to an electrician, & got some recommendations from our local supplier. LOL! I'm 59, so I don't have time to become a master potter, but I'm beginning to live this dream I've had for sooooooo many years!!
  10. I just joined today & mine is a 0. So, I guess I have a ways to go to even have a rep. LOL!
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