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Mullins Pottery

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Posts posted by Mullins Pottery

  1. I have noticed a couple professors that have the nod. In their cases it's definitely a nod slight movement side to side but pretty dramatic movement of the head up and down. Neither of them realized that they did it when I asked about it. I sometimes move my mouth when I'm feeding the babies. It seems to be a similar relationship where an action invokes a subconscious behavior. Most of the nodders I know don't realize that they are doing it. I am as of yet not a nodder. Once I realized that for them it was subconscious I began taking note and recording myself throwing and asking whether or not I did it lol.

  2. I'm not sure how they are made but I've been wearing a Black Diamond Ceramic wedding band for about 4 1/2 years now and it's been a very durable ring. No scratches so far. I've had it hit/smashed it pretty hard as I work with some pretty high end kitchen appliances( AKA heavy appliances). Its light weight and comfortable. Also on the point of breakage I'd much have a ring break off on my finger than have a metal ring get bent into my finger. 

    My guess is it's fired without glaze, colored porcelain and machine ground to proper size and machine polished to a high sheen.

  3. It's a funny questions because I like to listen to a wide variety of music from Stevie Wonder to Ed Sheeran and Johnny Cash. But when I'm in the studio it's either bluegrass via my Sara Jarosz Pandora station or Traditional Hawaiian music via my Keali'i Reichel Pandora station. I don't know why but to me bluegrass and pottery just makes sense.

  4. Nicky it is extremely dangerous to fire a kiln in your living space. I would definitely find another solution for your firing. Clay and glaze maturity are both achieved by many chemical reactions/changes. All these reactions release little bits and pieces into the air that will end up in your living space. 

     I love your enthusiasm for this wonderful field of study I hope you keep with it it’s very rewarding!

  5. Well honestly if it wasn't for Duke Bush leaking the family's secret baked bean recipe we would all be suffering in terms of culinary knowledge!

    In all seriousness though cultures all over the world have different ways of viewing aesthetic not only in their artwork but in their music literature etc.. At the same time most cultures have specific things that they take serious ownership in, some call these parts of their culture holy or sacred and so forth. These things I think should be preserved for the peoples who hold them that way. That being said what happens when someone doesn't know that some melody,  story, symbol, etc. is sacred or what if the culture has a shift in what they view as sacred? I know in my heritage many of the symbols and imagery that was once viewed as sacred by my ancestors has been highly commercialized mostly because of tourism. I didn't grow up thinking that these things were sacred in any way I just knew that they were part of my heritage and were special. I thought that that was cool. Well now I know that my ancestors were pretty serious about those patterns, symbols and so on. I admit that when I see the imagery associated with my heritage I kinda laugh to myself a little and think "they don't know what that means" but I am not upset about it. Many people's heritage is preserved through other cultures that absorb the symbolism and ideas that they admire.  There's a lot of gray area. 

    Great topic Pres

  6. Also make note of the thickness of your glaze. A glaze that's had the lid left off might end up a little thick after mixing. Either add water to keep your glaze to a specific consistency or make a mental note to hold it in for a shorter period of time. If you're a little extra particular about keeping your glaze really consistent you can measure the specific gravity. This number will essentially tell you the ratio of dry material to water. 

    I agree with liambesaw 2 dips is almost always too much. A glaze at a proper thickness that is mixed well before use should be good with one dip and the thickness of glaze can be modified by the amount of time you have it in the solution. 

    Great questions, good luck!

  7. Perfect thanks for the info!


    secondary question for the 300lb that I've already processed and have been aging for several months lol. Any ideas of what i might be able to do to get rid of that after bisque? or do i just need to bite the bullet and start over?

    I don't have a pugger all this clay is being dried in an inverted perforated metal table outside with sheets for a liner. Winter is just getting started here in southern Utah.

  8. Hi all,


    I've posted about this local clay body before and I'm checking with the forum to get ideas on trouble shooting another issue. I'm firing to cone 05/04. The body itself is a beautiful lowfire body but after the bisque it gets a white scum on the surface . I'm not sure what it is that's causing the whiting but  I think that the clay body would be gallery quality were it not for this blemish. I have sanded the surface after firing and the white can be removed. Obviously this is not a solution but it confirms that there is a beautiful clay body just below the surface. Any ideas of how I can resolve this kind of issue in the clay refining stage?

    I have links for some images below



  9. I have never used a griffin grip I trim everything from mugs to 20” vases and bowl to bottles. Usually I just use a little water on the wheel head or nothing at all. I think it’s an essential skill to learn how to trim well without the griffin grip. Tap centering and  balance till get you anywhere you need to go in terms of trimming. I can’t think of anything else you should need aside from a couple good bisque fired chucks for bottles and such. 

    *from mugs to 27" vases, 


  10. I bought a 40+ year old Lockerbie several years back for my first wheel it set me back $150 and a couple of tumblers.  I used it religiously for a few years and it was a great wheel. Now I have a shimpo and like limbsaw said  my kick wheel is a giant paper weight in the corner of my studio. That being said it was a great wheel and still is. It’s nice to have if the power goes out. But I wouldn’t spend that much on that.  Maybe a couple hundred on an older Lockerbie.


  11. My pottery skills were aquired by many many hours of practice in the studio. That along with taking as many clay classes as I could for additional instruction. It wasn’t till after spending a lot of time in the studio that I was able to benefit from watching videos on YouTube and such to see different techniques and forms. But I will say after gaining my own experiences in the studio spending non studio time watching YouTube demos and sketching pots helped and still helps a ton. Pottery can be a never ending journey of learning but it’s a pretty awesome one. Good luck!

  12. If I understand correctly as long as the pieces are bisque fires prior to the glaze firing you should be good to fire as quickly or as slowly as you like. As far as the hold at the end of the firing it depends entirely on the glaze. If you’re not sure on a particular glaze, fire several test tiles or mugs to make sure. As always test test test!

  13. I tend to think of throwing proficiency in terms of forms. If we're talking about a 6" cylinder I know my professor was expecting that 2nd or 3rd week for beginning throwing classes. I felt like after a year in high school I could throw a 6" cylinder if at the drop of a hat. I was listening to Ben Carters podcast during one of his New Zealand segments and on of the artists described mastery on the potters wheel as an ability to throw anything you can think of.  Some of the interviews I've listened to have surprised me looking at the work of some of these artists, very accomplished ceramic artists,  in many cases they shrink away from the term "Master" because they recognize this idea of infinite possibilities not yet tapped into. I've been making pots on the wheel since high school. Though I feel proficient in my throwing abilities each year the passes I look at my work from last year and most of the work I look at think what was I thinking. I agree with the previously posted sentiment. We should always be looking for the needed improvements in our aesthetic, technique and craftsmanship.

  14. On 6/29/2018 at 9:09 PM, Pres said:

    I have been in the center of much of public education for 30 some years, and found some interesting caveats about academic classes in the arts, vs hobby classes in the arts. Many times, the academic classes are taught by good artists, or somewhat renowned artists whether potters, painters, sculptors or what ever. Many times they will have strong loyal group of students that are favored either because they are student assistants, grad students, or viewed as talented. Many times they will be able to demonstrate, lecture, and provide knowledge and structure, but all too often they have other things going on that may take them out of the best practices category. I find that often they present what they know, and if they are the only one in that medium, you have a one sided presentation. When schools are larger, and have larger departments, often you have beginners tied to younger less experienced or even itinerant professors. The professors that are older, more established and more renowned usually end up with grad level classes, and a few lower level classes that regretfully fill up quite quickly. The shame of it is, a good professor can become poor over years as his priorities shift, but he is pretty much established within the institution and the institution has a captive audience that pays up front.

    If you are a teacher, not connected to an institution, things are different. You earn by your worth in the view of others. If your demonstrations are poorly thought out, your lessons full of inaccuracies, or feel awkward, then you lose students before you have even gotten started. So you have to make things work, build a reputation, and become better providing information in clear simple terms, with helpful handouts and a little humor and heart besides. You have to make it fun, in order to keep the money coming in.  At the same time as a student, if you are diligent, you may outgrow your teacher in a season or two.

    In the case of a public school teacher, things are also different, especially in high school. The students in the last 3-4 years have become very savvy of what makes a good teacher. They know when they are winging it, or when they are solidly planted in their subject. Holding the attention of a group of 25 HS students requires savvy on the part of the teacher, knowing the students, knowing what they can do, and knowing what they can get away with. Sometimes it brings one to strange approaches in the classroom like pinch pots in the dark, or even doing a throwing demonstration blindfolded from beginning to end just to get the point across that the sense of touch means so much more than an of the other senses when dealing with clay. . . . .actually had an Assistant Principal walk in during in the middle of the throwing demonstration. . . quietly.  When the demo was over and I removed the blindfold . . . I figured my goose was cooked. She told me it was the greatest classroom demonstration she had ever seen and that I had them eating out of my palm. . . I was astounded. She told me I could only do it with a groups that I had determined it would work. I assured her it was a hand picked group for that demo, but that I would be doing it one more time the next day with another class.


    In the long run, if you want structure, credit for time, solid knowledge, lessons that include more of skills. . aesthetics. . . history. . .and knowledge go institution. If you are interested in a fun time, knowledge base, and social interaction go with a stand alone teacher, or even a class taught by a good local public school teacher. There are those that supplement their incomes or their school budgets by teaching weekends or after school.

    All of this is a matter of personal opinion. I have seen the good and the bad, the excellent and the wanna be.



    Thanks so much for this insight. My journey in ceramic art is taking me toward teaching. I've heard a ton about the pros and cons of teaching at different levels and this so far has been the most clear and instructional. 


  15. I'll have to agree on the side of hand made wares being more functional/durable in many cases than commercially made wares. Though hand made pottery can fall on the lower scale of functionality (most of us can remember when we just began making) it has much greater potential to be both more functional and durable. Commercially made wares don't have the artistic eye of a functional maker watching over each piece. Each piece has a quality that a factory can't produce and that quality is individuality. That's why your serious mug, bowl, tumbler, etc. buyer takes the time to handle several pieces before making a decision. We have the power to produce a little piece of John or Jane Doe without even knowing it. Though commercial is more capable of duplicating a form and finish thousands of times over handmade is a superior product creating a genuine human interaction with the vessel.

  16. Thanks for the info. In terms of my goals with this process I know that there are other ways to accomplish a similar aesthetic with other glazes but I'm working with shino because  I enjoy the carbon trap process/color pallet . Also I've been tinkering with Gustin shino and Malcolm Davis shino to produce high fire overglaze decorations. At first separately but more recently I've been using them on the same pot. Shino's don't shift in the firing so they have been good candidates for brushwork and such. So basically getting that charcoal backdrop is just one part of the equation.  I very much enjoy the oranges & reds that are so common with malcolm davis i'm just trying to get a better handle on the carbon trapping part.

    I fired a Geil downdraft over the weekend with some mixed results. I had most of my carbon trap pieces come out red-orange/orange with some carbon trapping .  Most of my bowls got that black carbon trapping that i'm looking for on the underside. One bottle that was glazed thicker than the rest ended up forest/snot green from too much carbon I assume I've never had this but I've seen it in the work of others. I'm wondering if I just glaze my pieces like normal and just reduce harder. With your combined experience does that sound like it might produce the desired results?

    Firing schedule:

    candled to 1250

    opened up gas took it up to 1535 then began reduction

    reduced to for 45 min, temp at end of reduction 1640

    kept neutral atmosphere (slightly reduced) till end of firing (2310)


    This is a link for a video of the pots from the firing. Sorry I haven't had time to photograph yet.


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