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Everything posted by Textree

  1. Thanks. I've seen texture mats, spheres, rollers etc. I just thought it was interesting how the carved out divots were filled with a different material. It seems like glaze wouldn't fill them without running out or covering the boundaries or walls between the divots. but I guess it wasn't what I thought at all.
  2. I'm attaching a picture. Does anyone have an idea about how this was made? Specifically I mean the carved out honeycomb type texture of the clay that looks like it was filled in with I guess either different clay, slip, or glaze ?
  3. As for "bonsai colored" and staining it, your advice is in line with conventional wisdom . its a large masculine bonsai pot it shouldn't be too colorful. Unglazed or some kind of oxide wash would be pretty typical. Ill glaze mine, but something tasteful not too showy or flashy
  4. The studio just does cone 6. Although it sounds really cool otherwise . for a monthly fee I can come and go whenever 24 hrs. And they'll show me how to use everything. The ceramic store only has a couple things that are vitreous enough at cone 6 . So ill probably either do the armadillo buffalo wallow or 213 porcelain. They also have laguna frost porcelain, standard very plastic 551 porcelain, and an armadillo porcelain that's a little less vitreous than the 213 . the other midrange stoneware they have is either really dark colored or they say it may bloat at cone 6 I guess I could order something but I think shipping charges on 75 lbs of clay might be pricey
  5. As for doing a small test first. That sounds like good advice. Will do. As for mixing them I guess I could keep it simple. Save myself some time and money. As for the size of the pot - bonsai pots are small relative to the tree inside them. I have lots of smaller pots , (some shohin size that you can hold in your palm , some larger) A bigger one is harder to find and can be really expensive. But assuming normal shrinkage this would end up say....15× 11. (The wood positive is actually 17.5 ×13.5) That's really not out of the ordinary at all. Its large, but I've seen rectangles as big as 20 inches long . and I know lots of people with bonsai it takes 2 men to move , lift, and work on.
  6. That's the thing I don't want to wedge 75 lbs or more of clay together - sounds like a lot of work ... Correct me if I am wrong but if I mix it up as a casting slip then I don't have to. I will mix the moist clays in a trash can with more water with the drill mixer , let it dry out , bust it up , remix it thoroughly with the darvan and water . that way it gets two mixes. The ceramic supply store doesn't have a stoneware porcelain mixture . I don't want to mail order 75 or 100lbs of anything. I started building the wood positive. Its big! Is something this size (more like 17.5 x13.5 ×5 now) going to fire thoroughly in the standard cone 6 firing if say the walls are 3/4 of an inch thick?
  7. I'm guessing you have had some pots crack. I've heard people who live in the Midwest talk about pots breaking. And people saying they need to be completely vitreous but I think most of the time people use stoneware. Am I wrong in thinking stoneware generally isn't 0.00% absorbent ? I thought it was just very close like .3% and that if you over fire stoneware it can actually make it less vitreous
  8. Thank you again. I was thinking the buffalo wallow type and the 213 porcelain mixed something like 50-50 or 66-33 and throwing in a few (3 or 4) lbs of kyanite. Just because a bonsai potter said he has found it helpful and I was reading that some porosity makes good slips as opposed to plasticity . as for it being vitreous I don't think 0 percent absorbtion is necessary. Both those clays are approx. 1.7 I think ... I think something mostly or semi vitreous is sufficient. Would those two clays and kyanite be more or less off white at cone 6? I don't want any unglazed part (around the feet or inside or underneath) to be bright toilet white.
  9. What kind of clay Min? I'm worried about "super coarse". A nice bonsai pot should be vitreous or at least really close. Its wet and exposed to freezing and thawing and triple digit heat for months ...and porous pots will absorb water and break in time. truthfully for me , in texas, this is a vain consideration because it just doesn't get cold enough for that to be a real issue. I have cheap terra cotta pots that have lasted a decade. But if I'm going to the trouble to do it im going to make it nice and the best way. Stoneware and or porcelain. And ill write my name on the bottom . and my grandkids will marvel at my ingenuity and craftsmanship.
  10. I have no idea where or how to fire it, but if ultimately you cannot fire it and you've already made a mold then you might be able to make it again out of Portland cement or some other concrete product. It would be extremely heavy it might even need some steel , but I guess clay is heavy too... Just a thought .
  11. Maybe ill try that chilly . thank you. Even if its 150 lbs full I'm pretty sure I could tilt it and drain it. But just in case, I have a small 4 wheel dolly. Its flat. Similar to the picture below. I can fasten the block to it and the wheels should make it a little easier to tip. One reason the slip casting thing appealed to me is that it requires no attaching pieces together. I've read that those are the places that fail in drying and firing , the ones you glued together with slip which may not dry at the same speed. If the biggest problem with the slip mold is that its big and heavy then I'm cool with that . I'm a big dude. I was more worried about it being a waste if I didn't want several nearly identical pots. Its not cost effective but that's ok. Early on in my research I figured out saving money making your own bonsai pot is like trying to save money growing your own tomatoes . Sooner or later ill try some other techniques. I initially wanted to try the wheel but people here and elsewhere told me that is a lot harder than it looks. Thanks again everyone for the advice and information .
  12. Slip mold - someone else suggested a slump mold or hand building. I planned on buying porcelain and stoneware moist , cutting it up and mixing it , letting it dry, and then remixing it with less water and darvan.
  13. As for the tools for the slip - I have a heavy duty, 1/2 inch , corded drill and a whisk style mix attachment. I've used it to mix mortar and dry wall and, with a diamond hole saw attachment, it cuts granite so it should mix a clay slurry well enough. I'm going to pay the membership fee at the studio so I think they will let me fire whatever. I don't know if they let me use the pug mill for clay I carry in there (in case I wanted to hand build or use a slump mold of my mix) ill have to ask
  14. I didn't mean to suggest I'd wing it or cross that bridge when I get there. I will figure it out beforehand. Maybe I'm naive but to me this doesn't require skill so much as it does a plan. There's this movie I like with Anthony Hopkins and one of the Baldwin guys... They have to do something difficult and the Baldwin guy despairs . the difficult thing wasn't impossible , it had been done before.....Anthony hopkins says to him "what one man can do another can do!"
  15. That's a good idea about the drain. Ill think about that. And yes a bonsai pot must drain. I think the pottery stuff might even be less expensive than the sacks at the hardware store. Ill check. What I've read is that the mold picks up minute details from the positive so I guess I should caulk, sand, maybe paint or seal the entire wooden model ?
  16. I had roughly calculated the amounts of plaster and clay but not to see if it would be too heavy for me to tilt and drain, I was wondering how much I had to buy. It had not occurred to me that it will be awkward to tilt a 150lb slab . Good point. I have some casters , a dolly , wheel barrow - ill work out something The bags of plaster are 25lbs and about 25 bucks a piece at the depot. would I be better off with the stuff at the pottery store ? I guess I could make more pots once I get it to work. Or maybe ill gift the mold to someone at the pottery studio that can use it that way it isn't such a waste
  17. 18 × 15× 5 is large for a bonsai pot, they start to get hard to find at that size. But if porcelain / stoneware mix shrinks about 15 percent thats something like 15.3 × 12.75 × 4.25. I wouldn't want it much smaller than that But youre right the more I think about it I wouldn't want more than 2 of the exact same thing .... The mold is somewhat wasteful
  18. That's almost exactly how I did that math so I'm on the right track. Thank you . like you, I figured out it will take 3 or 4 bags of plaster and was thinking 75 lbs of clay. The reason for the mold would just be I think I could make a nicer finished product that way. Whereas if I built it, it would look more amateurish . thanks again I might scale it down
  19. I decided to do this with half of the stoneware type , half of 213 porcelain and add some kyanite. I read up on mixing and deflocculating the slip. It seems like the difficulty is letting it dry very slowly. I have a garage freezer not in use so ill put it in there.
  20. I've been kicking around of making a bonsai pot for a year or two. I don't have experience but Iv e done some research , found a place to fire it, and a ceramic store in town for supplies. I'm not skilled in pottery but I am pretty good with tools so I decided to make a wooden version the pot, use it to make a plaster of Paris mold, and pour a casting slip I prepare into it. My question is about the clay. The store has armadillo clays 2 or 3 are non absorbent enough at cone 6. And a few other types and brands. They have a cone 5 porcelain (which can be fired to cone 6) , something called buffalo wallow with and without grog. They also have another brand of porcelain VPP (very plastic porcelain). If I am just turning them into slip is one harder to use than the other? Is one more or less prone to breaking in the kiln? If it matters the pot would be big , like 18 inches by 15 by 5. The amount of plaster to make the mold, the amount of clay ill need, cost to fire the pot and glaze will make for an expensive project. Id prefer to pick something that I'm likely to succeed with. I like the idea of smooth vitreous porcelain but if its not going to work I can live with the other
  21. The convention, not really a rule, is that conifers like cedrus go in unglazed pots, but I do intend to glaze mine. But do you always fire twice if you don't glaze it? Yes a bonsai pot definitely needs feet. I think that's both aesthetic and practical. A bonsai needs to drain perfectly. And the bottom being flush with the surface it's resting on could slow that down I guess. For wall thickness I was thinking of half inch thick walls. I'll endeavor to keep it all consistent. Thanks again guys. However it turns out I'll post pictures of my attempts. One last thing, do yall put a mark on your pots that says you did it? Bonsai people call them chops and it's desirable because it indicates you have a handmade pot not a mass produced one.
  22. Wow thank you all again for the advice. Yall are great. I hope it is ok if I follow up. First sounds like the consensus is the wheel will be more challenging than I thought. Is it regarded as more difficult than cutting slabs of clay and fusing them together? I've seen That done in videos looks doable to me. Next about the pottery shops kiln, is the conventional practice just to fire it at one particular cone so they can put a bunch of stuff in there at same time? If so I will definitely wait to buy the clay I don't want to get 50 lbs of porcelain clay that needs to be fired to 10 or 11 if they are going to be reluctant or unwilling to do it. And finally can someone tell me generally about the the thickness of clay - how it affects the difficulty or success in firing jt? I contemplated very thick walls, so it would look kinda heavy and masculine. Is that harder? Easier? More likely to break in kiln? And thanks again glad I found this forum and a helpful bunch of potters.
  23. Thanks for the responses. Once you said about the cost of doing it yourself is probably true. I think I will take the class.
  24. Hello, never done pottery or ceramics before. I have been into bonsai for a couple of years and some of my trees are getting decent and I want a nice pot for one. It is a big tree for bonsai, a true cedar, big trunk and needs a big pot. Purchasing a suitable pot would have to be mail order from one of several little boutique type potters and pretty expensive. Admittedly they are very nice. But I wonder if I could make one, there is a studio down the street (I'm in San Antonio texas) they offer classes on wheel throwing and other topics. Before you say im crazy I don't expect to be as good as sara rayner or some other potter that has been doing it for decades ... but I bought a book the craft of art and clay, and I've researched a little so I'm going to give it a shot. Even if it's not great it will be mine and I can say I grew that tree and I made that pot. But I have a couple (probably dumb) questions. First, even though my climate is subtropical I want it freeze proof. I think that means 100 percent vitreous. Am I correct in thinking that means I have to do stoneware or porcelain fired to cone 10 or higher? Next the pot like I said will be pretty big I am thinking very simple round with straight walls but diameter after firing will be 17 to 19 inches. If I use porcelain or high fire stoneware is it safe to assume it will even fit in the their kiln? Will they let me over fire to say cone 11? Can most kilns get that hot? Their website says you can pay for studio time hourly if you have demonstrated skill. Does that mean they'll want me to take their classes? And finally any other tips or comments? I've looked at some videos online, maybe I am being naive but I think it looks pretty easy to make a round pot on a wheel. Anyway thanks for the time and for any help or advice you can give an aspiring bonsai potter.
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