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Posts posted by yappystudent

  1. Thanks to everyone for the responses and links.

    This is sort of what I'd figured but wanted to confirm that I wasn't missing some obvious, simple answer. I think American Shino's are what in my head I've nicknamed "pottery glazes" for lack of a better term. BTW I love the look of the original white Japanese shino and tend to default to speckled (real shino may not be "speckled" but the non-shino off-white I use is) whitish glaze on the few vessels I make just because to my eye it always looks so artistically minimalist and earthy.

  2. Does this simply mean a glaze speckled by the clay body? I've Wikipedia'd "Shino" and the best I can figure out it's an old Japanese technique using a white glaze which speckles over a red clay body, originally on tea bowls as part of rustic pottery aesthetic. Wikipedia branches off into a lot of info about shino that seems to spiral around getting more ever more complicated, at least to my beginner's ears. However I've heard the term "Shino" glaze bandied about seemingly loosely with modern glazes while watching youtube videos. They didn't look much like the ancient Japanese utensil ware referenced. The glaze wasn't always white, and there was no clue as to what they meant. I don't even think it was speckled. The nearest pottery shop has "Shino" glazes for sale not all of which are white. Of course I asked them what shino was and got an eyeroll. I'd like to learn once and for all what it means.

  3. I make jewelry focals and marbles by carving into the piece and inlaying soft clay of a contrasting color. When it's dry I wipe it with a sponge to shape it a little and smooth it generally, then when it's nearly dry again sand it with your basic plastic pot scrubbie. Finally I dust them with a soft brush or just blow the remaining dust off. FYI it makes a ton of dust but works really well.

  4. Don't get discouraged right away.

    There is a steady market for pottery utensils if that's what you're really into. Just make sure you're really into it because it's a serious artisan-craft just like woodworking or metalworking, and should make you happy while doing it, at least some of the time, or you won't have the patience and determination to learn it successfully.

    FYI I'm also basically a newbie and largely self-taught hand builder. I'm not trying to brag but I've found making simple vessels doable right from the start using coils and rolled slabs and slump molds (now I know what all those plastic containers at the Dollar Tree are really for.

    It can be both as simple and as complicated as you want to make it. I try my hand at sculpture, I also make marbles, etc.


    Youtube, Youtube, Youtube. There is nothing like seeing it being done even if the info is spotty at times. It's also encouraging to realize there are other people actually doing this for a living with your own eyes. For what you can't find on Youtube, -browser searches. You'll simply have to make time to do your research. I have a few old books but use them infrequently. Instead I make notes from internet research and reference my note collection a lot.


    Discover your limitations whatever they are and work within them until you can do better over time.


    For example some of mine are space: don't have any; so I bought a substantial workbench and focus my ceramics around it. The bench and supplies are in my face every day and there is no simple way to avoid it.


    Here's a List of the things needed if I was only making plates and vessels:


    Place to work: A sturdy heavy flat surface with a large enough area to roll out clay and keep tools nearby. Mine is usually a mess while I work. It has some storage underneath.

    Place to dry and store your unfired work. I have a large metal rack from home depot.

    Place to keep your clay, glaze, and miscellany. I keep some under my work bench and the rest in two deep-shelved waist-high bookcases.

    Place to fire your work. You'll want to visit the place, ask some questions, and make sure you can work with the people running it. Or- buy your own kiln and learn how to use it.

    Clay: You probably want a mid-range (cone 6) pale clay that has a little grog in it. I use a clay called BC 6 a lot, it's available online. It fires off-white and works easily. Nice backdrop for glazes. Some version of it should be easy to find and not expensive. 

    Place to store both your bisque-fired, glazed, and finished work.

    Rolling pin, the typical heavy hardwood type for making pies.

    A 'classroom' set of wooden clay tools. You can reference this online and see pictures of what they look like easier than I can list them. Wood tools are easier to work with for the most part for most things especially in the beginning.

    A sturdy metal needle tool.

    A wire tool/cutter.

    A piece of cotton duck/canvas -same thing as denim used for heavy duty jeans like Levi's. To roll your clay out on. (Honestly I just use my bench surface but I got lucky, it's nicely thick masonite and works great for clay, and I just keep forgetting to buy the damn canvas :)

    A big cheap sponge for cleaning your work area, smaller sponges for smoothing leather-hard clay and dry clay.

    Plastic buckets, I have some of those and also some plastic wastebaskets. Also I have a few plastic basins that I put in the sink to wash my hands in. DO NOT let clay go down your drains.

    Dust mask for sanding dry clay or if your work area is dusty.


    There is surely more but it's hard to figure out what you need until you start working, there are a few 'standard' tools I bought that I hardly ever use, others I had to make myself that I use constantly.


    Best of luck to you!

  5. Chris probably made all of the major points, but just another voice in the din.....


    I have used paperclay for bust sculpture.  My first bust took me months to complete and simply would not have been possible with regular clay - clay here can dry up very quickly.  Paperclay re-wets easily with no side effects.  I fired that bust in Saggar with no problems.


    The mold it often grows is easily controlled with a bit of Hydrogen Peroxide in your water spray bottle, or some rubbing alcohol.


    It is very easy to re-use if you don't like your piece - turn it into a slurry and dry it to your preferred level of moisture.  You can do this over and over and....


    I'm not sure why anyone would want to throw with it, but I have a couple of friends who throw with nothing else, quite successfully.


    It tends to be a bit pricier than other clays, but there are plenty of recipes for making it yourself with toilet paper.


    The advantage to firing it is that it is waterproof, otherwise, you can just leave it if you want.


    The only thing I *don't* like about it is making coils - it does not stretch well, due to the fibers.


    There is an artist in Australia who uses nothing else for his sculptures (article: https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/10830032/visual-masters-graham-hay) He and others describe being set free of some of the limitations of clay with this substance, opening doors to their creativity.


    Fun stuff, really!

    Thank you for the link, I love his stuff and would like to do similar type sculpture, although not quite as delicate as his, still, it does open up possibilities I wasn't sure how I'd overcome.

  6. Look up similar stuff on Etsy.com. Set the search for US (? -or whatever relevant country) -only, Handmade, to weed out the factory stuff.

    You can also search your area to see what nearby potters are selling their mugs for online.

    Then I'd do a search online for the most successful well-known potters in your area, and go in person look at what their mugs in the local stores.

    Honestly compare your work to theirs and voila.

    This is why I don't make mugs. Yet. Should probably practice though.

  7. I made a handful of hummingbird feeders with the kind of tube it sounds like you're talking about, in this case they had black rubber bungs/corks and glass tubes, think they were intended to be paired with glass test tubes for mouse watering bottles. These I inserted into the business end of semi-fancy colored bottles. Hung upside-down with the cork aimed at the ground, the tube curving up a bit. The bottles didn't have any air holes or check valves, cleaned them with a bottle brush and hot water. I don't see why you couldn't clean a ceramic globe the same way as long as you used hot water and vinegar often, and rinsed it well. The bottles worked fine as I recall without dripping in coastal winds. I had a hard time matching the rubber corks to the size of the bottle ends, some just didn't fit, and I gave up the project because it was too hard to pair them properly with the variable but interesting imported bottles I wanted to use. FYI buying some cheap plastic bee-guards might be good advice. They don't look great but hornets seemed to drink as much sugar water as the hummingbirds did, maybe include with the packaging if you're going to sell them? Just a thought.

    I sold a couple, gave a few away, and -true story: my next door neighbor at my former house stole the nicest one I kept for myself off the front porch. Theft is the sincerest form of flattery?

  8. Generally I only design and make things I'd want to own myself. My decorating taste is pretty specific and when I waver from it, projects tend to be tedious and finish up ugly.


    For the winter holidays I designed some simple rustic leaf ornaments. I make a few at the end of each work session using scraps from hand building and glaze them with just about any rustic pottery glaze.

  9. FYI I pay $5 a month for something called Acorn.TV which only plays British TV shows, no, unfortunately this show isn't on it, but if enough ppl requested more stuff like this it might be. They run great stuff as soon as it's a couple to several years old, so it might get on eventually anyway.

    Mostly but not entirely off-subject but the stuff on they do show currently is pretty great (Finally got to watch all the I, Claudius episodes in order and uncut). I admit to getting ideas for decorating my stuff and even some body designs from backgrounds of the Agatha Christie series and others they run. I think you can get a month for free, check it out IMO.


    I tend to think of it as returning to a state of equilibrium, where the particles are happy, kind of like a slinky returning to its closed position.


    OK I understood that one sentence and I know what platelets are. :ph34r:


    Is there a way for me to control warping due to memory in say, large hand-built bowls or platters? Like in the original post I can sense them trying to achieve some semblance of a former shape even when I roll out a slab, but was not aware this continued into drying and firing.


    Is there a simple way to counteract this? Do some clays warp more than others?

  11. ... the wisdom of putting ceramics on high shelves where customers can reach for them, which they will of course, do.


    None of this is under your control of course. If I had a gallery that only charged a 25% commission I'd want to keep a good relationship with them too.


    I'd probably accept the fickle nature of the universe and try to keep the gallery happy by taking their suggestions, within reason. Art is breakable, **** happens.

  12. I did not know this. Thanks for the info, something to consider.


    If I'd attempted the sculpture shown in my avatar with paperclay it sounds like it might have survived.

    Until now I thought paperclay was something sold at Michael's in little plastic packs for crafters to air-dry.


    Question: If you were to make sculpture that ended up in a show, would you mention the use of paperclay or just call it ceramic?

  13. That's good to know, both the books and the not a bomb thing. In my defense the teacher threw a hissy at that student and refused to fire her work. Seriously she didn't look at anyone's first assignments until they were dry and ready to be loaded. Yes it was a terrible class because of her. 


    My books:

    Ceramics, a potter's handbook, by Glenn C. Nelson, 1966 printing ((I really love this book even though it's falling apart))

    A Potter's Book, Bernard Leach 5th printing 1976. ((pretty archaic stuff))

  14. Star Trek.

    All the series but specifically the original Capn' Kirks which I've been reviewing on Netflix recently. Next Generation, Deep Space 9 and Voyager also. Yes, I'm a nerd.


    Suddenly I'm noticing not only some great period mid-century ceramics in the way of figures and vessels scattered through many star trek rooms, courtyards, etc; but also the best and most varied collections of Brutalist (Brutalism? idk...) sculpture, esp wall pieces but a lot of free-standing sculpture also. Some episodes have a ton more than others, some not at all. I think I saw various Lisa Larson figures or things like them. Anyway I'll let you guys figure it out the actual artists, but I enjoy my hobby of Spot the Art while enjoying Sci fi.


    The classic sci fi movie "Forbidden Planet" has a handful of beautiful sculpture by Sascha Brastoff, presumably metal and maybe a little concrete? They inspired some attempts at a ceramic fish wall sculpture series I'm trying to do; my skills aren't quite up to it yet but If I can ever figure out how to attach a photo...I can show a work in progress.

    Anyway, several delicious  pieces of mid-century art inside a beautiful modern house, worth watching just for the art but a good movie too.

  15. The last ceramics class I took was at a community college, it was accredited. It was a total beginner's course for students who were not required to -have previously- touched clay, most hadn't like me. The youngish teacher put a paper syllabus in front of each student and disappeared into her studio for most of the course to work on her own stuff because she was getting ready for an art show. When I made a small sculpture without knowing I needed to hollow it out, I got a lot of eye rolling from her teacher's aides as you might imagine. I did enjoy that other class, it's just the teacher and her aides that were worthless. The old guys potting against the wall were actually helpful and nice. One girl (not me) mixed dry top ramen into her sculpture piece for texture not knowing it would create a bomb. What I'm saying I seem to end up having to learn everything the hard way even when I try to do it properly. Since then I've learned everything I know about ceramics (except to love it, and I do) from two ancient books and youtube videos. It's not my fault I can't find someone who wants to share their knowledge, it's not been for lack of trying. I have a small studio in my house where I do hand building and I'm learning by making a ton of small stuff and keeping copious notes.

    That said, I'm taking a "community education" type class from a different college this spring and I can't wait.

  16. Got piles of ugly failed Cassius test tiles but each one is a successful learning experience.

    Also testing a clay called Oregon Brown. It takes two firings to achieve the darkest color: near-black. Easier to work with than Cassius but just as fussy to glaze.

    Why I'm still at it:

    The same pieces in off-white, buff, -dependable, etc; clays, just don't have the drama of the dark pieces. Yes bloating, occasional cracking, 'eating' glazes, but the pieces that do turn out are just gorgeous. Unglazed Cassius pieces look unusual and finished. I enjoy the bizarre things it does, like resulting in colorful mossy or wrinkled glazed surfaces. With sculpture or modern jewelry pieces you can get some really cool effects. Using brightly colored underglaze over white slip-painted areas creates dramatic jewel tones that stand out beautifully against  black left showing. To my eyes it's a lot like painting on a black velvet canvas. 

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