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metal and mud

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  1. Thanks TJ. good suggestions, right up my alley. Ah, Northern New Mexico. I was raised in Los Alamos and Espanola (both north of Santa Fe) and the dirt and air, I think, infused my blood with the love of pottery. If you want the true New Mexico experience, skip the commercial galleries and vendors and locate some of the pueblos, whose residents sell their wares (most of them fired in pits or ovens in their back yard), and visit them. You can see some lovely works and buy them quite cheap. San Ildefonso is a really good one, so is Santa Clara. In Santa Fe, the Palace of the Governors, which is akin to the "town square," on Saturdays features local potters and other Native Americans who sell their works set on blankets under the portals of old, old adobe buildings.
  2. I contribute so rarely I forget how to reply. Sorry. Can you'all figure out where this reply is supposed to go?
  3. I think you just did...Scooby, rank roo The site that has given me the inspiration, is strictly Japanese potters and that is what Im shooting for, look wise. But now clues given at the latest blog post seem to signal china paints, what he call overglaze enamels are being used. Here is a quote then the link I have had some fun, and a little success, playing with oxides. I recently applied a nice cobalt oxide to a piece that had a negative texture (bamboo) on a white clay that had been bisque fired to 04. I VERY carefully dabbed on a clear glaze with a sponge, then brushed over it with another layer of clay. Some areas of the cobalt bled into the clear glaze in little blobs; some areas (where the oxide was thinner) didn't. So it seems to me that on my next trial I should wipe off more of the cobalt so it won't bleed into the clear. But I'm reading here that maybe I can apply the cobalt to the dried piece and bisque fire it and then the cobalt won't bleed into the clear glaze. Would that work? Now that I'm writing this I'm thinking that this would work with cobalt brushed on, but not cobalt wiped off, because that would destroy the texture on the piece that was not hardened by bisque firing. Hmm. . .stream of consciousness learning. . . http://japanesebonsaipots.net/
  4. Yes thats the one-I recommend for classrooms and multi users I have the shackle one and have zero issues with it but some folks(especially in class situations have it slip and it can be a shock) For me we use an extruder 4-5 days a week and the Brent head system is the best-I threw away my Scott Creek head and wielded on the Brent barrel side pins and fitted it with a brent head-now its the best of both worlds. We have worn down two plunger heads over time and replaced them-its almost time for the third-The All Brent extruder has held up a bit better. We only use porcelain now and the rust is a non issue. Extruders are like cars everyone has a favorite-we need them to have quick change heads and hold up well in heavy use-Brent has done that-Scott Creek almost so Northstar-well I will not say anything as it would not be nice-well maybe for super light hobby use every 8th Sunday afternoon. Mark I try again. I posted my query before I left for work this morning and hoped I'd have a reply. Thank you for all your opinions!! I knew they'd vary based on experience and particular needs of the potter who used the extruder. It looks like North Star is the big loser and Brent the seeming favorite. ( I do plan to use it more than every 8th Sunday afternoon.)
  5. Yes thats the one-I recommend for classrooms and multi users I have the shackle one and have zero issues with it but some folks(especially in class situations have it slip and it can be a shock) For me we use an extruder 4-5 days a week and the Brent head system is the best-I threw away my Scott Creek head and wielded on the Brent barrel side pins and fitted it with a brent head-now its the best of both worlds. We have worn down two plunger heads over time and replaced them-its almost time for the third-The All Brent extruder has held up a bit better. We only use porcelain now and the rust is a non issue. Extruders are like cars everyone has a favorite-we need them to have quick change heads and hold up well in heavy use-Brent has done that-Scott Creek almost so Northstar-well I will not say anything as it would not be nice-well maybe for super light hobby use every 8th Sunday afternoon. Mark
  6. I plan to purchase an extruder for my home studio. I am a very dedicated hobby potter. I plan to use it to produce coils, primarily. I use both red and white clays, so ability to clean the extruder is important. It could be mounted on the wall or on a table. I don't need one of the large extruders with the wheel. So, experienced potters, which one would you recommend? Brent or North Star? Or another manufacturer?
  7. Jayne, Neither Jim nor I came anywhere near saying something like that (above) to you. I'm sorry if you felt that way, but that was perfectly sound and useful advice given the nature of what you described. And it was not stated in a particulary negative way either. Sometimes really good advice is not what you want to hear. Being "under the gun" and doing something that you've never done before on the basis of some untested recommendations from books or forums or friends is akin to going to Vegas and "letting it ride on red 22". The prudent thing to do research / listen to the advice.... and then TEST before commiting to something that matters. The phrase "under the gun" you used says it mattered. But some pople DO go to Vegas and play roulette.....so to each his or her own. All any of us here can do from afar is try to help. It is up to the individual to accept or reject the ideas presented. I too often see students getting ready for their senior thesis shows suddenly decide to try something new on some pieces slated for the show with no time left to re-make the work if the firing does not work out well. Sometimes that Vegas roulette wheel favors them,...... most times not. Drives me nuts when I see them do this. But they usually learn from the mistake . The reason that the "It depends" answer to everything about ceramics is always correct, is that there are a HUGE number of variables that we are manipulating/controlling throughout the process. Many of those variables affect the results. Many of those variables are critical to the results. Miss one detail in giving the "advice"..... and the results will not be what one expects. So taking in advice and then testing is THE way to get the ends you want. In a field like medicine, it would be very difficult for a skilled physician to diagnose and accurately treat a patient utilizing this medium as a means to gather information. Lacking test data....... it is far more likely that he/she would not hit the bullseye a lot of the time. Taking an air transport type aircraft (737) that had an incapacitated pilot, and talking down to a landing even an experienced private license pilot by a pilot on the ground is not an easy taske and would bne very likely not to end well. It is no differnt for ceramics. Yes.... there was a four letter word involved........ TEST. On to the new questions................ Typically the kiln sitter is not the way to control the shutting off of the kiln at the end of the firing... although it seems to have become that to many people. It is really best as a "fail safe" device to shut off the kiln if neither the computerized controller (if there is one) nor the potter has shut off the kiln when it was suppoese to be shut off (via watching witness cones). The cone that is placed in the sitter prongs is then selected as a slightly HIGHER cone than the one to which the firing is intended to go. It prevents the kiln from "running away" too badly on the firing. It is another piece of the redundency that the kiln sitter with a firing duration timer provides. So you should be able to soak at the end of the firing easily, because the kiln is not being shut off by the sitter. And remember that cones do not measure temperature..... they measure heat work. What we care about is the effects on the ceramic chemistry provided by the application of heat energy. We can (within reason) get the same effects on the chemsirty by firing over a longer time to a lower temperature that we do firing over a shorter time to a higher temperature. That is indicated on the cone charts when you notice that the cone end point termpetures listed there are in columns organized by "rate of climb". So a "soak" at a particular temperature will result in cones further melting. (It affects the ceramic chemistry the same way.... which is what cones are for.) So if you wait until cone 08 is tip to base ("down"), and then soak at whatever temperature is indicated on the pyrometer, you can expect that cone 07 will also be heading down soon. A soak should be happening before the end point cone is reached......... and should be bringing the firing TO the desired end point cone. As to WHY someone might (effectively) decide TO soak............. Remember, if you do a soak and you don't NEED to do that... you are simply wasting time and energy (hence, money). Soaking can allow the temperature in the kiln to even out. Thermal lag in the various areas of density of the kiln's load will sometimes (often) result in varied heat penetration into the load. This allows the firing to become more even. Soaking can give more time for certain chemical reactions to take place if they were not given appropriate time before that. As to what is often known as "candling".................. This is often a practice that is using the kiln not to "fire" the work, but as a drying unit. (Industry often uses unit that are called "driers".) The purpose is simply to make sure that the last of the water of formation has been driven off before you go above 212 F and any water present turns to steam. A tiny bit of water turns instantly to a large volume of steam... and we all know what that does if it happens within the walls of a clay object. Another reason for possibly "candling" comes from fuel fired kilns of an older generation. The draft on a fuel fired kiln is determined to a very large extent on the temperature of the effluent exiting the exit flues at the top (for updraft) or the top of the chimney (for crossdraft of downdraft). Draft circulation on fuel kilns also has the impact of circulating the hot gase evenly throughout the kiln, thereby assuring even firing. So candling was used to help get the gases exiting the kiln hot enough to establish a draft patern that was appropriate to getting that particular kiln to fire well (as in "evenly"). On wood fueled kilns it was important to get the draft to flow well to get any primary air supply so that larger amounts of wod could be burned to advance the temperature. So this aspect has no real application to an electric fired kiln. And it has little application to a forced air gas or oil kiln where the draft is established by mechanical means (the blower(s). If I say "don't candle".......and your ware is wet.... you are not going to be happy. If I say don't soak, and your ware is a high carbon content clay and your electric kiln has poor ventilation system... you are not going to be happy. If I say "always candle" and your kiln does not need that..... you are wasting time and money. And so on. When I do consulting work for kiln or ceramic technical clients, I ask more questions of them than they ask of me. It is exactly like being a doctor and trying to accurately diagnose something realatively complex. The doctor is going to recommend some testing before reaching the final diagnosis and treatment. Hope that stuff helps. best, ..............john This discussion is very relevant for me, in fact I was planning on posting a query today about soaking. I have an "Old Lady" Paragon electric kiln, one I call Old Lady because an old lady had it sitting in her garage for years and years and it's really old. I bought it nearly two years ago and, knowing nothing about what I was doing, commenced to learn to make pottery and use the kiln. For about a year she worked just fine, then the element connectors needed to be replaced, which I did, and the bricks needed to be patched, which I did. I got a pyrometer to monitor temperature inside the kiln--a real steep learning curve! I was happy with my works. Then my ^6 glazes stopped looking pretty and I noticed the temperature inside the kiln dropped 400 degrees in the first hour after the kiln sitter tripped. Those in the forum recommended performing a soak by re-setting the kiln sitter; I found how to do this exactly in a book on electric kiln firing whose name escapes me now. It didn't give exact details, so for my last glaze load I stayed by the kiln, waited until the sitter tripped and immediately turned the kiln back on, set the temperature to medium and set the timer for 4 hours. The glazes in this load, with this test, were gorgeous. The temperature dropped 200 degrees in 4 hours, so it was essentially successful. (I think.) My question is: Does this soak--if it is that--make sense? Is it better to leave the temp at high and shut it off at a certain period of time or could this result in overfiring? It seems like the latter is true. I know someone will say--if it worked, it worked, and continue doing it that way, but I would like some opinions from you experienced potters out there. Is 4 hours too long? I have a nice big load nearly ready to fire this Saturday.
  8. I am not going to Paris. I just ran across this thread and am really struck at how nice my fellow potters are. You all really helped pricklypotter. You are awesome!!
  9. metal and mud

    gone 008.jpg

    Dinah--I am entranced by your Funaria Containers! Could you tell me a little about their size, what clay you use, the intended purpose (are they urns for ashes?)? I love making little stoneware boxes. My faves are 2 and 3 inches square, with textures and glazed at ^6 in bright colors. Looking at what you do with your boxes expands my mind. . .
  10. Nice bowls, lovely leaves! Can you tell us how you did that?
  11. Hi! I didn't notice that anyone had commented on my little obsessions. I will upload some close-ups. Thanks for your comment.
  12. Yes!! He is the potter featured in the article in New Mexico magazine that I read. His work got me fired up (sorry for the pun) to give this clay and technique a try.
  13. I am intested in this question as well. I plan to make a coil bowl out of a red clay--an earthenware clay-- with mica in it in the Native American tradition. An article I read said to burnish, then fire to ^ 08, then place in a wood fire for the smoke effect. Has anyone had fun with this?
  14. I am a handbuilder, too. One day I hope to make a piece as gorgeous as this!!
  15. Their recommendation is to turn the kiln switches to medium for about 4 hours after you reach peak temperature. (page 144). Thank you so much!! That is very easy to do and it makes perfect sense. I need to get that book. I envisioned having to place a lead blanket on top of and around the kiln. . .
  16. I posted a question about this that got inserted in the wrong place because of my lack of expertise. My old electric kiln--not digitally controlled for a slow cool-down--shuts off just fine, but the temperature drops very quickly. Can I do anything to stop this, other than replacing it with a digitally controlled kiln?
  17. I have a question/comment about controlled cooling as well. I use an old Paragon electric kiln with a sitter that is not electronic, so when the sitter flips, the temperature starts to drop. I can't control it. During a glaze firing over the weekend, which went well, I noticed that the temperatures dropped about 400 degrees in the first 90 minutes or so after Cone 6 was reached. Aside from getting digitally controlled kiln, which is out of the picture for now, is there anything I can do? Hi Chris: Great topic. Can you please clarify that you fire all of your pieces in formsto keep them from slumping? That is what I thought I read in your last post.This would seem to double the amount of ware that you have to heat in everyfiring. Is this the only way to keep your elegant forms from slumping? Also why don’t the forms slump? Also, can you expand on what you mean on controlled cooling? We fire to Cone 10in a gas kiln and let it cool naturally without any noticeable incidents ofwarping or cracking. I would be very interested though in knowing more aboutyour process and how you arrived at it. Thanks,,,,
  18. I like to use stamps on some of my works. I've found some nice rubber stamps (easy to control depth and to clean) at my local Hobby Lobby store and purchased others from Continental Clay. The latter offers letters and numbers that interlock, which can be helpful.
  19. metal and mud

    Little Clay Boxes

    July 2012 Farmer's and Craft's Market
  20. Incredible!! I can't believe this is clay.
  21. At our Farmer's and Craft's Market dogs are allowed, and even encouraged. This makes it fun to do people-and-dog watching, but it can be nerve-wracking as well. Several times a very large dog has gotten near my table, close enough to knock it over should he suddenly be interested by a person or other dog. The owners have been oblivious to the danger to my wares. I step forward and place my body between the dog and my table. Sheesh.
  22. Thanks, Teardrop. The market on the 4th was relaxing and happy; it gets a little crazy on Saturdays (already looking forward to tomorrow, though!!). Yes, three jurors approved of my work. I sold three of my little clay boxes that I produced in my latest firing. I am in a box phase (I've been told). It will be fun to so where my next "phases" take me.
  23. As John B. would say, BINGO! You probably thought what you now know was junk was fit for the Louvre back then. Also, very revealingly, is that you say the "price was right". So, basically, you were selling junk cheap. That must have made potters there who had worked for years perfecting their art and trying to get a decent price for their pots feel real good. But, of course, had this forum existed back then and you, as a beginner, had posted your ugly pots here and asked about marketing them you would have gotten the same fawning praise that the kid with the ugly tree vase got here and Teardrop and Trina would have thought the sky was falling if anyone offered even the mildest of criticism. "Ugly Tree Vase"? you thought it was ugly? thank you! I sold that for $85. That means I'll be selling my better pottery for even more! Jim Crap. Ugly vase. Junk. Noobs. These are words hardly befitting this forum. I am a newb-ie who adores clay and knows she has a lot to learn in the clay world. I sell my items at our Farmer's and Craft's Market because I love making them and want other people to enjoy them and get a tremendous kick out of having customers grab them up in happiness. I would hate to have someone I don't know pronounce my work as no good--so please don't visit my booth. I have a long way to go before I can pronounce myself a clay artist (not a craftswoman), but I will get there eventually, and have lots of fun in the process.
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