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Pres

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Posts posted by Pres

  1. Hi folks, no new questions in the QotW pool so once again I will pose one for the group.

    Over the years I have been interested in the whole throwing process. In the beginning it was just to be able to accomplish a presentable form, whether a bowl, plate or cylinder. Then it was about making that form aesthetically pleasing, then about making that form truly functional in my eye. Along this journey a few things tripped me up. One of these was throwing off the hump and having to mitigate S shaped cracks. The solution for me was a pancake opening up, then drawing the sides up from the flat to the vertical and finish the throwing and shaping. I have used this technique ever since with great success. Another problem I encountered was opening up large 20#+ pieces clay after centering. I had several large pieces that again got cracks in the base, or the opening up was not completely centered before throwing. Solution came from a book somewhere about opening up with a rhythmic pounding fist. The fist is held sideways and pounded onto the centered hump in a light regular motion while the clay is turning slowly. This technique compresses the bottom of the pot, and with practice will give an inside surface of regular small bumps that can be easily smoothed out with the first couple of pulls.  While I was at PSU in the 70's there was a guy there that was using strapped tools on his hand with braces up his arm to throw large pieces as it gave him extra reach and braced strength.  I also adopted a couple of bat boards and a hinge system to make a slab roller for a student with wheel chair handicap. . worked well.

    These are considered to alternative techniques, and are not mainstream, but relevant. Out of curiosity:

    QotW: Have you ever used alternative techniques in your throwing or handbuilding?

     

    best,

    Pres

  2. Thank you Min for correcting me. In the day, it was something we did not often check as the information was not readily available as it is today. That said, I would not endorse the grinding of the underglazes, unless one can confirm that there is no cadmium or other harmful materials bound in the substrate.  Thanks again for pointing these facts out @Min

    best,

    Pres

  3. Used the speedball's years ago. Some of them did seem quite gritty, so I tried a mortar/pestle solution. I ground them while wet, and the sieved them. Much smoother. 

    Another thing you have to be careful with after mixing them is not to allow them to freeze, that causes some changes in consistency and adds to the grittiness.

     

    best,

    Pres

  4. I forgot to re-mention one of my other ways of learning: Teaching others! Over the years my own skills have been honed so much by the observation and correction of bad habits with others. It has made me aware of my bad habits and correct them, and able to analyze what I am doing wrong when having a bad day.

     

    best.

    Pres

  5. Hi folks, sorry about the problems with the ICAN website roll out, and I have been thinking a lot about the loss of things like the CLAYflicks, and what it means to people.

    Over the years, my best source of information involving almost anything was a good book. I recently finished rewiring a circuit in an old house, and used a book to help me solve some stupid problems that took more smarts than I. An old magazine that I had saved had the answers to adding a ground, making certain all circuits in the line worked, even if one burned out, and surface mount wiring solutions. When it comes to ceramics, I have a very extensive library that soon will all be unpacked into a new library. However, lately more and more of what I have been doing when working on pottery or other things has come from a video or two before hand. Helped my son put new brakes on his car with the help of a video, leaned about some more decorating techniques in pottery on CLAYflicks, and used a video to help put in a floating floor in our house. I still peruse my books nearly everyday finding pictures that I have missed, and tips that I have forgotten, and don't get me started on the books of recipes for glazes!

    All of this makes me wonder if the shift for all learning has moved to video and Youtube or is there still a place for good how to books and magazines?

    Therefore, QotW: Do you find that your learning about ceramics has moved toward more video use like Youtube or CLAYflicks or do you still find a good book viable as a means of learning?

     

    best,

    Pres

  6. I have been making coffee lately while my wife is dealing with a broken arm. We usually make coffee in the morning for a 12 cup pot using bags of coffee we like. The other day I was making coffee from a bag that was mostly used up, and finding it hard to scoop. Near the coffee maker next to the range was a spoon rest that my wife keeps the spoon for scooping coffee. I thought why not, and poured the coffee into the spoon rest. . . scooping the coffee out. When done, I found that the lip on the spoon rest was perfect for pouring the coffee back into the bag. If I were to be selling spoon rests now days, I would also list them as coffee making aids, or some other fancy term!

    Have you ever repurposed a form for something completely different that would make better sales?

     

    best,

    Pres

  7. Stack and slam is my normal method, but I don't use a mounted wire. If I ever set up a mounted wire, I will use a wiggle wire in the set up. The small grooves in the clay hold the water and prevent the slam splash when softening some overly stiff clay. It also works well to prevent sliding of softer wet clay on drier clay when mixing two different batches.

     

    best,

    Pres

  8. Hi folks, once again no questions in the pool.

    All of you know that I have been firing a manual only kiln for over 35 years. Firing by cones and temperature color has been a learning curve, but the new kiln has made me jump into a whole new world of programmable firing. I have been using the fast bisque, and the fast glaze for my firings, but now that I have calibrated the cone offset to -40F. I yearn for a bit more depth in my color as I had achieved with the manual firings. The reading is interesting, and I am considering my own schedule. This brings me to wonder if others just use the available programs for firing or do they write their own.

    QotW: When using your programmable kiln, do you use preset schedules or set your own custom schedules? 

     

    best,

    Pres

  9. @Beebop

    All of the advice you have received is spot on. I will add my two cents, as I have been in your place in the past with a large bowl. I have often found, that with the help of another individual hold a ware board that the bowl can be slid onto the board. You do this by cutting with a cutting wire as normal off of the bat. Then you use a sponge to add excess water to the back side of the bowl. Then using your cutting wire start to gently pull the wire through the water and under the bowl. at some point the bowl will begin to slide, and with water on your ware board being held next to the wheel head the bowl will slide onto the ware board. If you want to assure roundness use a piece of paper on top as has been suggested during the slide. If you can not get the pot to slide try a second pull of water, and with fingers spread gently push the pot onto the board.

    Whatever you do, if you continue to work larger where you cannot comfortably move the pot, bats are your best friend. I have done some bowls as large as 25# and 40" in diameter, no way to move them without a bat. Once you get there, figure out how to trim that bowl!

    best,

    Pres

  10. Hi folks, I recently noticed a strand in one of the other areas, and thought it to be a good fit for here as it seems to be mentioned in several strands. 

    As I have said before, I did some long awaited shopping in the Standard Ceramics store in Pittsburgh. My wife and I took the two hour drive down to pick up some kiln shelves for the new kiln, and to get glaze chemicals. I also picked up some tools as I am a tool junkie!  I was able to fill my list easily with the chemicals, and pick up tools. The one item on the list that surprised me was the large 1/2 shelves for the kiln; they had none. Back orders were listed, and there were no ETA for stock supply.

    QotW: What effects have the Covid, and the Supply chain failures had on your production and delivery of your pottery? Have you had to make any substitutions in materials, or failed to be able to get essential tools, equipment or materials?

     

    best,

    Pres

  11. I like the hazelnut it throws well, and works well for slab construction. I find that it stains most everything in the way of clothing so I wear my apron whenever working with it. The glazes that I used on the SC112, the SC 630 and other clays also work well. The COE seems to be close enough to the 630 that I don' t have to do anything special with glaze thickness or firing. I am on my 3rd 1000# order of it. 

     

    best,

    Pres 

  12. @GEP I was at Pittsburgh Standard Ceramic in August. They had the clay that I use, but some of the other clays were listed on shortage. At the same time I picked up chemicals for glazes, and noticed no shortage on those. When it came to buying kiln shelves though,  they said that they were on back order and that it had been several months. Smaller shelves were available, but the 26" half shelves were not. Seems like everyone is having shortages on items.

     

    best,

    Pres

  13. I did several projects in my Ceramics 1 classes that were used to introduce basic skills. One of my favorite starting projects was a simple votive lantern. Made of slabs, it introduced slab construction on a small scale that also introduced beveled edges, scoring and slip or "magic water joining". The project also required 4 basic forms of surface decoration: Impressing, incising, added on clay, and piercing. The bottom was a square about 3", the sides were about 4-5" tall, tapered inward. The opening at the top allows heat to escape, and the side piercing allowed the corner cut was demonstrated using a hacksaw blade that made a simple cut symmetric on both sides without a lot of effort.

    best,

    Pres

     

    candlebox2.JPG

  14. I have used Standard Ceramics #112 for years for functional ware in the past. However, I decided to make some mortar and pestles as Christmas gifts one year. I decided not to make them with the 112 because they would be grinding, and possibly releasing the manganese into the herbs being ground. I switched to a sister body for this process as it was the same body without the manganese.  Something to think about.

     

     

    best,

    Pres

  15. Hi folks, time for another topic, and don't forget you may post new ideas for QotW in the pool here:

    Of late I have considered some changes in the decorative process, I have often been interested in surface decoration and texture. I have probably done the gambit of Impressing, incising, piercing, added on clay or sprigging. In my earlier years I did mostly glaze dipping over bare surfaces, then spraying glazes through lace, and silk flower/leaves, along with calligraphic brushwork to bring out or add details. The last 20 years have been more about texture in the piece; first was faceting, then incising the unshaped cylinder. Then I started stamping, and forcing more into the clay to the point I often had to repair the piece when leather hard. Glazing was completed by spraying from different angles to highlight the surfaces. Lately I have considered returning to the smooth surfaces for large areas, with other areas of texture applied before the shaping. I would then decorate the smooth areas as mentioned before with stencils and inglaze work.

    QotW: What is your predominant method of decorating the greenware, and how do you deal with this decoration in your glazing?

     

    best,

    Pres

     

  16. @MartinD35, I am using the SC 630 also, and have not noticed any white areas. Mine is a batch from before covid, so if yours is recent that may be the difference.  If you wedged it well, and it still shows up, the only thing I can suggest is to fire it with glaze in your normal manner and see what shows up. If you want to not take the chance, you could do test tiles. However, now that you have made pieces, would you try to recycle them if the test tiles do not turn out well? Up to you, but were me I would keep one piece aside for the bisque, then glaze fire the rest. If they turn out poorly you have examples to show Standard, or you supplier.

    All IMHO.

     

    best,

    Pres

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