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Linda Lees

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Posts posted by Linda Lees

  1. Thanks for your response Marcia. I live in a rural area and get my clay through a ceramics club of which I'm a member. The club no longer buys earthenware clay after a couple of accidents where it was fired to stoneware. I was given a small amount of terracotta earthenware that I used for these pots. The one on the right was burnished with a spoon, that's how it has a smoother finish. Three of the pots were burnished using a terra sigillata made from the same earthenware clay. One was burnished with a  spoon and on the last one I applied a terra sig made from a white ball clay. In the first firing, for the pattern, I added iron oxide to the terra sig. When this didn't show up very much I used a slip with iron oxide for the pattern in the second firing.  I had the pots buried in sawdust right from the start of the firing, is this correct? Or should I wait to add the sawdust?  In your firing, did  the sawdust come in contact with the pots? The pots were bisque fired to 06.

    I'm out of earthenware clay, so I've made another couple of stoneware pots from a smooth clay. I've burnished with a spoon and intend also using terra sig made with ball clay. I've gotten some stable manure which contains a lot of sawdust. I was going to try doing the firing without first bisque firing. Hopefully, with a smoother surface, the results might not be as patchy. I'll try firing again on Saturday (Australian time). I'll post the results here.

  2. Hello,

    I recently came across a couple of YouTube clips on a firing method used by Pueblo people of the Southwest USA. There appears to be a couple of bits of information that aren't quite clear. If anyone has attempted this type of firing, I'd love some guidance. I made some small pots using earthenware terracotta clay. Four of the pots had terra sigillata made from the same clay applied to them and one I burnished using the back of a spoon. I then bisque fired the pieces, this is the step that I'm not sure I should have done. Several days after the bisque, I applied patterns onto the pots using iron oxide. On the first three I added the oxide to the terra sig and painted it on. The pieces were then placed in a wheel rim, surrounded with sawdust pellets and a metal barbecue plate placed on top. Around this I placed lots of fire wood. I kept the fire burning hot for about three hours. All of this had been done in my pit, and after the three hours I placed sheets of iron on top of the pit to retain the heat. The results were ok, but not what I was after. The pots were a dark brown, not black, and the shine and matte areas were a bit all over the place. The idea is that the areas that are burnished stay glossy and the areas where the oxide is applied should be matte. I had two pots left so I painted the design on these using iron oxide in slip. These pots were placed in a tin, completely covered in sawdust, the barbecue plate placed on top and fired as above. The results for these was much the same as for the first three pots. 

    What I'd like to know is - Should I be bisque firing first?  What is best for painting on the design?  

    I did try to contact on of the people from the video, he is a university tutor, but I've not yet received a reply. I've attached a couple of photos, the first one had terra sigillata applied, the second was the one I burnished with a spoon.

    Any advice gratefully accepted,

    thanks, Linda

    3c small.jpg831384677_IMG_0707small.jpg.e536b20ac1e71139b687f625dca485b4.jpg


  3. Hi Rebecca,  I’ve been waiting for days where the temperature is under 100 and leaving my firing until overnight. I also use a fan pointed at the controller and have the doors open. 

    Thanks for you response Dick, do you know if there’s anyway around the overheating problem other than what I described above to Rebecca?

  4. Beware of heating it too much. This is the problem I’ve been having with my kiln.  I have a Genesis controller attached to an Olympic kiln. I’m in Australia and we’ve had some extremely hot weather lately causing board overheating errors. This happens when the board reaches 158 degrees F. I’ve had to wait for cooler temperatures and fire overnight with a fan pointed at the controller to try to keep it cool. It’s quite a problem when the program stops midway because it’s too hot.

  5. I have a journal in which I sketch my ideas and keep notes. Once I've made the piece I go back to the journal and record the clay and the glazes used and any other notes that I think I may need, such as suggested ways that I may do things differently next time. I make a lot of slab sculptures and I nearly always will make a cardboard template to work out the pieces that I'll need to cut to complete the work. I assemble the cardboard sculpture using paper tape, photograph it and then pull it apart to use as my template to cut the clay pieces. If they're still holding together I'll file these in a folder with plastic pocket pages.


    My iPad is always switched on and I store a lot of info in there, I screen capture images that inspire and save them to a folder called Ceramic Inspirations along with the artist's name and the site that I got the pic from. I use an app called Over to type the info onto the image. I also have a couple of sketching apps that I'll use if my paper journal is not handy. I photograph my own completed pieces with the iPad and save them to their own Photos folder, these are just for my own reference. I take better photos with my DSLR for sharing on social media etc.

  6. Hi Suvi, I'm new to the forums too. I'm wondering if you've tried just throwing on the wheel head without the  plastic bats? You say it looks to be spinning true until you use the bat. I've never used bats, just thrown directly onto the wheel. I'm sure there will be many here who have used the bats, and they'll have advice for you.

  7. Oldlady, I've just rung the company, the girl on reception said that the kiln I have sounds older than she is, she might be right. She asked me to send photos and my questions and she would pass them on to their technician who has worked for the company for 30 years. She did give me a quote for a new kiln of the same size - $6,875


    Dick, thank you very much for your comprehensive reply.  I just had another look at the thermocouple and it looks a bit past it, the wires are frayed and it is not connected to anything, there's no meter.


    Some of the bricks inside are damaged. I'm thinking that this kiln may be past it, it might cost me too much money to get it up to a decent condition.  It has no shelves, just some posts. 

  8. Hello, I've just been given an old kiln and I'm not sure what it needs or even if it's worth spending money on (of which I don't have much) 


    It is a Tetlow (an Australian brand) Model TP6, 15amp, 3 kw, 50HZ Phase 1. It has a thermocouple, does this go in the hole on the front or top? The box on the outside of the kiln has a dial that goes from 0-100, with the words Simmerstat, Sunvic, made in the UK. I've been told that the elements have been replaced. It's a small kiln, 380mm x 380mm x 470mm.


     I've returned to ceramics after a break of about 20 years. Both in the past and more recently I haven't fired my own work, I've been a member of a club where the group members' works were fired for them, so my knowledge is very limited.


    I'm wondering if I can add a Digital Temperature Controller, I've found one on eBay from a seller in Canada that's not too expensive.  


    Any info anyone can give me will be gratefully received



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