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Irene the Handbuilder

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About Irene the Handbuilder

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  1. We need you to do a feature in Ceramics Monthly or Pottery Making Illustrated! I have watched and rewatched your Alternative Firings DVD, but now I need some how-to's on your work with soluble salts... I'm imagining a wet application like ferric chloride?
  2. Good points... I never assumed it was a "mold preventer" but use it as a great building surface for slabwork. I think it is a better alternative to wood or drywall re: mold, but hygiene practices are the only thing that will address mold growth I'm afraid.
  3. Interesting question about thinning the underglaze to be used with the ruling pen... Would it be feasible to use a deflocculant to increase fluidity without diluting the underglaze? I am soooo ordering one of these pens tonight! Any feedback on changing underglaze viscosity would be much appreciated.
  4. I've switched to using "Hardibacker" cement board (comes in many different brands - check Home Depot) instead of drywall or wood for table surfaces and wareboards. It's the stuff used in place of drywall behind ceramic tiles in wet areas like bathrooms. Its cheap, doesn't risk chipping plaster into your work like drywall, doesn't warp like wood, and dries your work evenly like plaster. Since it was made to prevent mold in construction, I think it would be worth a try. It is great to wedge on, and for reclaiming wet clay.
  5. I regularly use cornstarch for all types of situations including helping a slab resist sticking to a mould, and found a nifty tool in the cake decorating section at Michaels craft store. It is a little cup with a screw-on lid and a cloth pocket inside You fill the pocket with cornstarch and then put the lid back on and use it as a "pouncer" to dust things with. It's come in handy when using really wet clay and a rolling pin as well. Just know that using cornstarch ups the chances of things getting a bit moldier or stinky if drying slowly - it burns right off though. I'm interested in the option of using Pam spray or an oil product as some of my stamps are quite intricate... I'm often stamping into clay that I will apply terra sigillata to. For those of you using an oil-based resist product, do you have any feedback about if that would resist the terra sig?
  6. I love slab mats but make sure you get one for each colour of clay you use! I've made that mistake more than once... Also, if you don't let them dry out after a few uses, they can get "draggy" on your clay if using a slabroller, and one of mine has permanent wrinkles because I didn't listen to my instinct and pushed it for one more use
  7. You can brush it, and I've done so on heavily textured pieces, but if you want a thin coat, then rub some on with a soft cloth. Rocky suggests mircofibre but I've used old t-shirts. Each coat adds more shine so go easy at first, and adjust as you go. It washes up just great afterward with soap and water and a little goes a long way. I haven't used it over anything I've terra sigged yet, as I used the wax instead but Rocky uses it on his primitive fired pieces. Show us a picture when you are done!
  8. I've started using Annie Sloane finishing wax - a non-toxic product used for finishing chalk paint (tons of youtube info on this). It goes on easily but does require some "elbow grease" in buffing it once cured. It gives a lovely, buttery "hand-rubbed" surface. Another product I LOVE is "Rejuvenate" floor finish. I learned about it from watching Rocky Lewyky's workshop on Cold Finishes on Youtube. Really worth viewing. It is a water-based acrylic style finish but so dilute that it really sinks in rather than giving that "plasticky" look that other floor waxes or acrylic sealants can produce. I have used this on many clay surfaces, including ones with combined bare and glazed surfaces, or over glaze-fired oxide washes. It also came in handy when I was finishing some pots from a naked raku workshop. I had not previously burnished or used terra sig on the pieces so they were very textured and porous and I knew waxing them could be difficult. I applied the Rejuvenate product instead and it was a breeze! And no follow-up polishing required. Good luck!
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