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Hi everyone! New potter here - nothing like taking up a new hobby at 45. Wish I had done this 20 years ago. I have a wheel at home, and the center where I take classes will fire pieces I throw at home as long as I am enrolled in a class, buy clay from them and use their glazes. The people are awesome and my pieces are always fired perfectly. It's a GREAT situation - my only complaint is that since I work full-time and the school is about a 25 minute drive from my house, dropping off and picking up is a hassle, not to mention class time eats up a large part of my day off. There is never enough time, is there? I have started selling my work on Etsy, and it's moving pretty well. Long term, this could be an additional source of income, or just a hobby. Either way, I love it and plan to do it for a long time. So, the point of my post: I am tinkering with the idea of buying an electric kiln at the beginning of the year - probably a small-ish one, < 3 cubic feet. I live in a house, but do not have a garage, basement, covered/screened porch or room in the house where I can realistically put a kiln. I am thinking about building a weatherproof steel "shed" to put on my patio, maybe 4' x 4' x 4' - enough to give the kiln 12 inches on all sides and room to raise the lid, without being too obtrusive even though the patio is fairly large. The box would have doors for access and the lid of the storage shed/box will lift up too. I have the electrical worked out and have room for a 240v line. I know condensation and corrosion of non-stainless parts is an issue, but other than that what else do I need to consider? If the box has rain-proof vents, could I run the kiln with the doors closed in case of a surprise rain shower, which pop up all summer long in Atlanta? Or do the doors always need to be open? The yard is fenced, so I'm not worried about random children wandering up and touching it. I have seen people say 'electric' and 'outdoors' don't mix, but we have an electric smoker on the patio that just has a plastic cover on it and it works fine after 3 years. A kiln is a lot more expensive and complicated though, so I want to really do my homework here. Just looking for some feedback, suggestions, experiences with outdoor electric kilns, or even why this is a terrible idea and I should just forget about it. But mostly, I'd like advice on how to make this work, if possible. Thanks!
Hi Everyone, My wonderful mum has requested a garden feature - she has an amazing garden which she has created over more than 35 years. She took a photograph of a set of zodiac tiles that she saw in Italy and has sent me the photo as inspiration on the concept of creating a zodiac stepping stone tile feature - to be installed on the ground (as opposed to tiling on a wall). I have found a nice taupe coloured (her favourite colour) heavily grogged stoneware clay (the ceramic supplies guy recommended it for outdoor and durability, minimising wet-weather slips etc). I have drawn most of the designs and figured out a design of 12 large tiles. Now - my issues for which I lack experience, and would love your advice: Tile size I would like the tiles to be stepping stone size to make them a real eye-catching feature. I measured the biggest foot I could find (yes I actually asked someone if I could measure their big feet!) - a size 12 foot and it is 270mm (10.6"). I figured to ensure the foot is placed firmly in the middle of the step, with plenty of room for not hitting the edge the tiles (which would continuously place pressure on the edges) then they would need to be 400mm x 400mm (15.5") wide and 30mm (1.1") thickness. I know at this size I'll need to dry long and well and scoop out some of the clay on the back (but not too much so that it weakens the tile and it cracks under people's weight). Any tips or gotchas for sizing and creating tiles this size? Installation I have read up about installation types including installing directly on a bed of compacted sand/concrete (e.g. create a solid base of concrete and lay the tiles on top with outdoor tile fixture). However I also thought I could lay these paving stones and fix the tiles to these using outdoor tile fixture - this way the tiles have a solid (movable) base and I can potentially make them only 10-20mm thick as the paving stone becomes the major support. However I read on a paving site that having the tiles attached to pavers creates increased opportunity for water to get in between and, when cold enough for ice, the tile pops off the paver due to the expansion. This concerned me because my parent's house does get icy frosts intermittently in winter (but not snow). Does anyone have advice for the best installation method? Thanks & cheers, B.