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Tumbleweed Pottery

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    Northern Wisconsin

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  1. Very fair points! Spendy up front, but I see the long-term benefit overall. Now, either purchase will have to wait for another very practical reason... the snow. It falls in December, and doesn't melt until March or so up here. It would be a pain in the butt to load it through the walk-in basement before then. I know the new ones come apart pretty easily though, so that will be nice.
  2. You bring up some very valid points! I have a peer who has a Cress B31H she is selling for $500, with shelves. I have no idea of its condition. I will go see it soon and reassess. It's very tempting, saving $3,000 on a "new" kiln, but you're right, I want this one to last me for years. Smart thing to do is invest in the future with a brand new kiln. I'm currently in a "temporary" position at my school (one year contract due to a teacher's longterm illness), and will have to wait to see if the position goes beyond the year, thus affording me the ability to buy a brand new kiln without much thought. It would be very silly to spend $3,500 on a hobby kiln if my full-time pay is going to dry up after June. Then again, if I'm not a full-time teacher anymore, I have no excuse not to focus on becoming a full-time potter. It's a bit of a catch 22. I should know within a few weeks what my fate is to be. Then I can buy the kiln that's appropriate for my circumstances. Thanks all for your input.
  3. It's packed as tightly as it can be, running 12 hours. I've seen others with 12 hour fire times and they say it's pretty usual for them. The lady I bought the kiln from did say the elements weren't very old.
  4. Hi all, I've been using my 50 year old Cress for these past 6 months, and I'm ready to upgrade to a larger size. Not only that, but my kiln takes forever to fire to cone 6 (12 hours usually). It's manual, but I have been following a modest firing schedule (2 hours at 20, 3 hours at 50, 3 hours at 80, and then 100 the rest of the way). No one has ever told me how fast I should turn the kiln up, and I don't have a pyrometer installed, so a lot of the manual firing schedules I find online mean nothing to me. I do use witness cones, and I know I'm reaching true cone 6, but I just don't know how fast I should turn it up. I am looking at the ole girl and just thinking that she'd be better off as a bisque kiln. I don't want to trouble with replacing the elements, Moving on, no matter what, I need more space in my kiln. Now I'm at a crossroads moment where I need to decide what to do about my next kiln. I see the virtue in a kiln sitter now, vs a digital model. Though I can't do a hold, I know I won't ever have to replace a thermocouple. I use cone packs every time, every shelf, so I will be able to monitor my elements' effectiveness. I don't really mind having to stay nearby the kiln to turn it up. I feel better that way. I know the bells and whistles of an app on your phone to monitor firing is nice for some, but is there anything wrong in me choosing to buy a brand new kiln that's not a digital control kiln? It would save me at least $1,000, and while I do view this as an investment, I am not a full-time potter, so I can't justify spending over $3,500 for a new kiln. (and yes, I want it to be brand new for so many reasons-- but mostly it's my poor husband who is the one who'll be installing the thing, repairing it, so I want to get as much mileage out of the thing before it needs repairs. Also if it's brand new, we will have it delivered freight. Otherwise we will have to drive 3-5 hours to pick up any kiln I can find online, which we've done before, and was not an enjoyable experience for him either.) Any insight, thoughts, or experiences are appreciated!
  5. Hi all... I've been making work in my home studio to a large degree of success, but I've hit a snag recently. I sell these mugs that are horror inspired, so the body of the mug is black (minnesota clay BT 12), and has red drips from Amaco (deep firebrick). I practice good bisque and glaze hygiene. Always touch bisque with clean hands. Dust off bisque that has been sitting for a while, with a damp sponge. I glaze the inside of my mugs, and leave those for a day to absorb completely. Then I glaze the outside. Historically, my red drips have worked just fine on my mugs. But recently I've been encountering some crawling where the red goes over the black. The best I can figure is that I have recently been glazing the inside of the mugs one day, the outside another, and then I come back and paint on the red another day. I'm glazing upwards of 8 mugs at a time, so this method made the most sense time-wise. Now, I'm thinking that because the outside glaze was dry when I put on the red, it's causing it to crawl. My mentor thinks this may be the case, since the moisture has already been absorbed by the time the red is added. I may need to be brushing on my red as soon as my black glaze hazes over, so the bisque can absorb both glazes' moisture at the same time, and essentially the black and red become "one" glaze. (Anecdotally, my mentor says that when he's tried to layer glazes over already dried glazes, crawling has been an issue) Because I sell these with some degree of success, I will be glazing one at a time until I'm sure I've got this right. What do you all think is happening?
  6. My husband brought that idea up. How do you get around having finger smudges on your wet glaze? I have tongs, but they don’t seem like they’d fit the bill here.
  7. I have a commission for 12 slab built platters. I am using a new GR pottery form I have, and the two I have as greenware right now look awesome. They are roughly 8x13 rectangles. They do have feet, but not all the way around the plate. Just enough to keep them off the ground, and one to support the middle. I plan to wax these feet and glaze the rest of the piece one color. My client (my cousin, hence why I’m probably doing more for her than I would another client I don’t know from Adam) wants 3 different glazes (4 of each). One of them we have in my communal studio, and two others we don’t. I planned to buy 25# dry mix of one of the glazes (because it’s cheap, and I like it enough to use in my personal studio), but only 5# of the other because I just don’t like the color and don’t plan to use it afterwards except for commission pieces (watch this be my most popular color!). I plan to dip 8 of them in the 5 gallon pails, half and half if there’s not enough glaze to cover all 13” of the plate. But on the other color, how should I go about glazing with only 5# dry mix? I have considered pouring onto the piece, catching the excess in a pan. And then there’s brushing on the glazes with some CMC gum mixed in, but I’m way out of my element there. Any brush on glazes I’ve bought have been pre-mixed with gum (ie Amaco pints). Plus, I would then render that small pail of glaze forever a brush-on glaze. How would you all handle this larger, more awkward piece for those remaining 4 pieces?
  8. Things are moving along in setting up my home (basement) studio. One thing my husband and I are very aware of is the need to vent our kiln. He has a vent he will be engineering to fit our kiln, but he's not convinced he will even need to drill holes in the top of the kiln. He thinks that the kiln is so old that it might not even be "air tight" like some. It's a 1969 Cress B-23-H. Are there kilns out there you can vent directly and still not need to drill holes in the top brick for? I'm not convinced. I think we will have to drill holes. Thanks!
  9. Hi all. I just acquired my c. 1969 Cress B-23-H. Elements look great, brick looks great. Seller fired it this week to cone 05 and cone 6, and it worked beautifully. She started to fire it up for me, and the elements heated nice and even. She showed me how to use the kiln sitter, so that's how I know it was intact when I bought it... but transport was not kind to it. Every other part of the kiln made it just fine, but the jostling/vibrating of a 3-hour car ride caused part of the tube assembly to chip off (yes, the kiln was empty when we transported), and subsequently a bracket fell out. It cannot be put back into its original position, because that part of the tube is just chipped away. See below: It seems to me that as long as I can replace the tube assembly, all should be good. It is a model mfr-j. What do I need to look for in order to replace this? Which part should I order? My husband is an engineer/electrician, so replacing complicated parts is like second nature to him. As long as I order the right part, he should be able to replace it. Is getting a new tube assembly going to require us to get a whole new kiln sitter? Am I going to have to cannibalize an old kiln to find one this old? Any help is appreciated. How disappointing to open up the kiln, and see this... ETA: I think I need to acquire this tube assembly, but need to remove the current one to measure the correct length. Would you all concur?
  10. Sounds like the best way to figure things out is to buy a 25lb bag, and fire a few test tiles with my intended glaze? Then if that works well, move to a small vessel?
  11. I'm looking for some clay bodies that are DARK. I have an idea in mind, and I'd like to have a clay as dark as something like cassius basaltic clay. But I've seen that it's SO finicky, and a lot of people have their glazes crater on that clay. I would like to achieve this kind of contrast between my clay and glaze: Sorry for the blur. Does anyone know of a reliable, tested clay body that is dark chocolate or near black, and fires to cone 6? *I know these clays can sometimes contain high levels of manganese. Does this render the piece non-food safe?
  12. The woman I’m buying from is firing it today to test. I will ask her if she is glaze firing. I only fire to cone 6 anyway. But that does concern me about the new elements. I plan to fire using Amaco Potter’s Choice and celadons, which I know are 5/6. She is liquidating her studio and selling me all her commercial glazes (pints), kiln furniture, kiln, like-new Shimpo RK whisper, tools, ware boards and bats for $1,400. She has a modest little studio, but the deal seems considerable. My husband is an electrician/technician for the FAA and works on landing equipment. He could replace the elements pretty easily. How much am I looking at for all new elements in the kiln?
  13. Hi all, I am buying my first kiln, a Cress B-23-H with a kiln sitter, this weekend. Won't have the wiring done for a while yet, but I'm curious if you can fire one of those old bad boys to cone 019-018? I am interested in some metallic overglazes, and I've never used them before. Any insight is helpful!
  14. Interesting to see you tried the recipe route but it became its own monster... What's the company in the northwest you use? 75-80 for 4gal of glaze is phenomenal (I'm looking at local companies like Minnesota Clay and their cheapest glazes run at 125 for 25# of dry mix).
  15. As I am starting up my pottery business, I’m starting to consider what my venues for sales/exposure are. I know the traditional route of craft shows is probably not for me. In my area, you get a lot of lookie-loos, but all my potter friends say they go in the hole at those shows and fairs. I have my wares in a local boutique, and while their commission is modest (20%), they charge “rent” every month ($75). It’s not a long term plan, unless I am turning out mad sales. And at this rate, with a full time job, I can’t turn out that much work. I know some in my vacation town do an open studio style of sale, but my home studio will be in my actual home, not an outbuilding. So, not for me. Are many of you doing mostly online sales? Instagram linking to your Etsy? What’s been most lucrative for you?
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