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Found 32 results

  1. Hello! I am fairly new to throwing and have just bought my own wheel, a Rhode HMT 500. First few weeks of throwing everything was greet, but now whenever I throw directly on the wheel head I am getting this black substance that feels gritty. It’s actually really abrasive and hurts my hands after a while. I thought it may be residue from some more heavily grogged clay I was throwing, but I have cleaned and cleaned the wheel head. On a totally clean wheel, if I wet my finger and let it run over the wheel head I can see and feel this black gritty substance build up. Does anyone know what it might be or how I can get rid of it?
  2. Hi! I have been making pots for about 7 years and in the past 4 have struggled with small s-cracks appearing on the bottom of about 75% of my pots. The s-cracks are usually around a half inch long, thin, and only on the underside of the pot - never go all the way through and therefore the pots are all fully functional, just annoyingly cracked. In the photo attached, you'll see 3 cracked pots, and 2 planters that did not crack. My theory is that something is amiss in the center of my pots that causes stress & cracking during drying - because typically, when I make planters that have the centers removed, cracks do not appear. The cracks don't show up to my knowledge til after the bisque fire (though because my studio fires my pottery, there are usually a few days that I'm not seeing the piece before it's loaded in the kiln.) I have tried just about every remedy I can get my hands on and still can't manage to kick these cracks to the curb. My current regimen is: 1. Wedge each piece of clay (ram's head) 40x each. 2. Align clay on wheel so the spiral-y part is horizontal per this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7oIZiXmXFU 3. Tap clay to center and use a finger to create a seal between clay and bat. 4. Add water, press down on the clay and get into flat hockey puck-ish shape. 5. Cone up and down three times. I make sure my cone is very cylindrical, with the bottom being almost as narrow as the top, which I read was important for preventing cracking. I make the top of the cone teeny-tiny and focus on getting air bubbles out of that portion. 6. During coning down process, I bring the piece back into a hockey puck shape and run my finger across the top towards the center, occasionally finding air bubbles there. 7. Bring out the walls and compress bottom religiously with my thumb, a kidney rib and my sponge. About 10 times, compressing from the outside of the base to the center. Occasionally, I'll feel little air bubbles during this step and will continue compressing until I've popped them. 8. Continue to compress and flatten bottom as I shape the piece. I don't let water sit in the piece. 9. Let the piece dry slowly and evenly on absorbent surface like canvas or foam (covered after a few hours). Dry with bottoms up once sturdy enough to stand. Something I've noticed: Often when I use the wire to take pieces off the bat, there is a small air pocket right in the center of the clay that appears both on the remaining clay on the bat (picture attached), and on the piece itself. The indentation in the bottom center of the piece is never more than 1/16-1/8 of an inch deep I'd say. It's something I trim off later in the process, but seems to correlate with the pots that end up cracking. A hypothesis: Could I be creating these air pockets during the coning up process? I.e. as I press the clay in & up the bottom air pocket forms? Maybe making my cone so cylindrical is part of the problem? Another potential hypothesis: My wedging is bad and introduces too many air bubbles. Would I be better off using clay straight from the bag? (Or, sigh, trying to get better at wedging?) Last note: I prefer a flat bottom to a footed bottom. It's possible I get less cracks when I trim feet, but I haven't really investigated. Any advice you have on ending this years-long struggle would be so, so appreciated! S-Crack Photo Bat with Air Bubble
  3. I'm Czech and I'm translating a school syllabus for pottery classes. I need some help. Is there a word in English for: This shape which you get after centering and opening clay ( in Czech: "the basic shape"): additives which make a clay body lighter because they burn out (e.g. peat, starch, sawdust,..) in Czech they are called "lighteners" paints which are used on glaze fired pots and then fired again at 1,200 - 1,300 °C, very resistant on glaze paints. (in Czech something like "melt-in paints") Finally, is there an expression like "outer hand" and "inner hand" (hand positions for throwing) THANKS!
  4. Oh well, once again, we seem to be lacking suggestions for the QotW. I will humbly submit another of my own, with the catchy tongue in cheek phrase. . . Does size matter? Now that we have your attention, I will clarify. Recently I saw one of the most derided (by potters) movie representations . . . from Ghost , In the scene Demi Moore is throwing a large vase. . . sensuously. Whoa, but wait. . . is that piece being thrown off the hump? Why would they do that? Size! So that got me to thinking, about my own use of the hump, and throwing and how I use throwing off the hump. Most times I would never throw a vase of size off the hump unless there were something special about the trimming, or the some other structural thing involving the form. Most of my throwing off the hump would be smaller items like cups, mugs, chalice stems, lids, and other things that I can reasonably repeat the shape and size by using my hands and relative ball sizes to repeat the same form over an over. That got me to thinking about size in slabs also. . . especially when using a slab roller. I usually would roll out the largest slab I could, and cut pieces from that slab to build with. Often using a template, but many times using multiple smaller pieces to assemble without a template, only a sketch or mental idea of what I wanted to do, like a castle on a rugged mountaintop all out of slabs. The size of the slab did matter, as I often used edges, and other areas when needed, then used large pieces for base and interior supports. So in you work, Does size matter? Why, How, When! best, Pres
  5. Following some posts in QOTW how do you open up the clay after centering?
  6. Hi, I have this problem of cracking or clay splitting when throwing in the wheel, pls find the attached picture and also, after firing at cone 08, the clay has a lot of surface cracks and sometimes structural cracks pls find the attached pic, pls advise why this is happening and how to avoid this in future. Thanks.
  7. I’m going to teach myself spiral wedging sometime, which prompted a question about wedging in general. I throw clockwise on the wheel, I usually just do a quick rams head wedging to prep my clay. I have not really paid attention to the direction of the wedge once I work it into a ball and put it on the wheel. But is it better to wedge in the same direction as your wheel or the opposite? My gut tells me it should be in the same direction but I don’t know why. Any input? Thanks!!
  8. Guest

    JBaymore BottleForm

    From the album: Images For Misc. Posts

    Image of a bottle form made from the altered clay shown in another image.
  9. Guest

    JBaymore VaseForm

    From the album: Images For Misc. Posts

    A vase form made from the clay in a prior posting here.
  10. Guest

    JBaymore PotsDryingInSun

    From the album: Images For Misc. Posts

    Pots drying in the sun, getting ready for an anagama firing.
  11. I have been studying plasticity in stoneware bodies, as most know. I am finding some results that are making me question the accepted belief that plasticity equates to ease of throwing. Plasticity in general comes from the electrostatic charges on the clay particles; which changes as the body ages. I am looking for articles that specifically review the relation of sub micron ball clays, to the ease of throwing. I am trying to determine/figure out how mass plays a role in throwing. Ron Roy and I had this discussion at NCECA; what is the cut-off point for large and intermediate mesh sizes, before those additions create a denser mass: which makes the clay harder to push around on a wheel. It is very common for stoneware bodies to have 80% total clay content, there are some even higher than that. So I still find myself questioning if mass is playing the larger role in determining if a clay is easier to push around? Not sure if I am articulating my thoughts correctly, but hopefully I have made the question clear enough. As a comparison: everyone knows how easily porcelain moves around when thrown. The most common analogy is that it throws like cream cheese. That is because porcelain in general has 25% silica, and 25% feldspar; which has much less mass than fire clay. One of the major differences is mass: stoneware has more clay content; and much larger particle sizes. I have tested this theory by adding V-gum and macaloid to high percentage formulas of fire clay/intermediate clay. These additions are not the norm; solely done to test if plasticity is the determining factor in ease of throwing. Nerd
  12. So, it took a little while but I finally did it. I know there was a lot of confusion when I explained it, but I hope these pictures clear a few things up. All I need to do now is trim it, any tips on how to do so would be greatly appreciated. Also, how do I smooth out the underside of the middle bowl.
  13. So I've been thinking about different wheel designs, and I thought of something similar to a chip and dip bowl. I was thinking about opening the clay, leaving nothing at the bottom, and then separating the two walls. Then you would pull the walls of the center wall, making it a little thick. Then you would connect the rim, essentially making a dome. Lastly you would push down on the top of the dome, making something like a candlestick, or a small bowl. So far I have gotten this far, but I struggle with widening the rim, and making it deeper. Does anyone have suggestions?
  14. I have a question about clays. I've found that the Standard Ceramic Clays I am buying are very inconsistent in hardness. Is this true of all clays? Just when I think I've found a clay that I can throw easily, the next box has a totally different feel. It's not a problem for handbuilding, but really limits my throwing size. I work with cone 6, and there's only one ceramic supply place nearish-by, (hour and a quarter away on a good day), and it only carries Standard clay. I really liked the Little Loafers I bought online and would be happy to do that again, if it will feel the same each time. What's your experience on this issue? Are all clays inconsistent from batch to batch or is there a difference between manufacturers? Thanks!
  15. Dear friends I thank Pres from all my heart for taking over the QOTW for me for the time I was abroad. I had a good time in Spain, but 3 days into my Symposium in Barcelona my mother-in-law died in Switzerland, and the good times were saddened a bit. I am back now and my question for you is: are you looking into a mirror while throwing? For checking on the shape of the object you're doing? Mirror or no mirror is a very personal thing I've learned. I myself am throwing without mirror, but my neck sometimes is hurting from bending my body to the right.... What about you all? Love from Switzerland Evelyne
  16. Hi, I've been using Amaco 38 for about two years but...I'm just thinking there has to be a softer solution. Yes, I wedge. The bag has not been sitting for long at all. So, I'm looking to others for some guidance. I can center and pull fine but, I have to use more force than others in videos that I watch. I cone up and down normally to center and then use another strategy to make sure it's truly center. However, coning seems to take so much work and I see others doing it and its like they are playing with play dough. I want to do this for a long time because I love it...but, something has to give. Thanks, Leslie
  17. Hello, I'm Sarah and this is my first post. I hope I am posting correctly. I graduated from university in the UK two years ago from a mixed media degree where I specialised in Ceramics. Since graduation I have worked with a local potter as an apprentice and volunteered to wood fire with some potters. I have also been having one to one throwing tuition for over a year and getting to the stage of starting my own business and I have just purchased my first gas kiln. My website and blog are www.sarahgeeceramics.co.uk I am particularly looking for an apprenticeship or support somewhere to work in a ceramic community or directly with a potter that wood fires. I am very interested in learning these processes and would love the opportunity to develop. Does anyone know of any potters in Europe or places in Europe that wood fire and or gas fire ? And use throwing as their main production of ceramics? I would like to stay somewhere for a month or two ideally. Thanks so much for any help you can offer. Sarah
  18. Most of us who've been doing this for a while will develop personal approaches to getting certain forms made on the wheel. Much of my work is very conventional... I'm strictly a functional potter. I greatly admire the work of many sculptors but have little personal interest in objects whose only purpose is contemplation. Still, it's nice to develop a form that's different, because one of the elements that cannot be divorced from the concept of fine art is originality. Some days I think we give too much weight to originality, and on others I feel unhappy that my mugs and bowls and crocks are so much like those made by a million other potters. However... many years ago, as a young potter, I realized that there was a market for fancy clay pipes. I made a lot of them, and sold a lot too. I'd guess that Atlanta in particular is still infested with a lot of pipes I made 40 years ago. I was frequently asked if I made water pipes. In those days, some potters would make vase forms, and then add a rubber stopper and a glass bowl, which struck me as an unpleasant makeshift. So I developed a way to make one-piece water pipes that required no extra gear to work. So what kind of unusual techniques have you developed? What makes them different from the usual ways of making? How did you come to discover your personal approaches. EDIT: My apologies to anyone who tried to follow the link that was in this post. I decided to take down the instructions, because I'm writing a little book on my pipe making techniques.
  19. Hi Guys, I'm new to the forum and considering buying my first potters wheel this year. I already own a kiln (a Comet ECO P59240-E from Pottery Craft) and have been hand building for a little while. I'm just coming to the end of a 10 week throwing course and feel that a wheel is the right step for my little online shop. I went to view a 2nd hand wheel this week but quickly realised it was big and noisy, because of this I'm leaning towards a Shimpo Whisper but I've also read great things about Brent wheels. I'm used to throwing on wheels with bigger splash pans - because of the smaller size does it normaly get quite messy? Can anyone reccomend models of Brents to look at? Are they noisy machines? As these wheels don't tend to come up 2nd hand I'm thinking of buying new - my shop has around £1200 to spend but could spend more if the right wheel came along - is this a healthy budget? I found when I was buying my kiln there were lots of little bits that I didn't think about buying which all added up! Should I be expecting this with the wheel also? Thanks in advance and any info/tips/recommendations (for any wheels!) would be useful! Emma
  20. I have been trying to find a stool for throwing that will tilt and be adjustable height. . . I saw the nilserik at Ikea yesterday and for $50 bucks seems like it would be a good less expensive alternative to the fancier stools available - but it kinda rocks and swivels I was wondering if anyone has used it? http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30309724/
  21. Hello everyone! I'm getting better and better at throwing clay, and I have a question about what clay bodies everyone uses to throw. I have been using Standard 213 cone 6 porcelain, and I can't help but notice that the clay is stiff, and doesn't stretch very well. Looking at some videos online, I have seen how elastic some of the clay seems. The video in the link below is what inspired me to start throwing in the first place. Look at how great the plasticity of that clay is! I have attached a picture of the box I threw last night. I rolled a slab for the top and rolled a texture mat into it. It is the first one I have attempted. Trimmed and chattered this morning. I'm getting really excited about my gradually improving abilities, and I want to expand my scope of projects. The box in the picture was made with the 213 from standard clay. Do any of you have any suggestions for a more plastic high-fire clay body? I realize that shrinkage and warpage is an issue with a more plastic clay, but I would really like to know your thoughts on the clay bodies you like. Thanks very much! You all have been very helpful!
  22. We have seen a lot of discussion over the years about throwing larger, developing more texture, breaking out of slumps, becoming more creative. I was wondering how you prepare for doing something new, or returning to something you have not done for a while. I have been reading a fantasy novel lately where the character is constantly trying to improve his strengths by doing a little more "exercise" each day. I find that when I am trying to throw larger, especially of late , I try working with larger and larger amounts of clay over a series of weeks til I get to the point that I am throwing at a limit, then I push for a little bit more. The same goes with shaping(inflating) the form. Larger forms have a tendency to be standard columns with some shaping for the belly, shoulder and neck, but I try to inflate the forms more past what I am used to by careful working of the form to get a much larger diameter even though that causes a loss of height and sometimes collapses completely. There are other examples of how to "stretch your muscles" what do you do?
  23. cmdutcher

    close up

    From the album: Neriage

    Stained stoneware with Mason stain 6339 (royal blue) and threw it with regular gray stoneware. We'll see how it fires!
  24. Has anyone tried coloring gray stoneware with mason stains? I've used mason stains in cone 10 porcelain and it's been great, but I'm wondering if cone 10 stoneware is colorable too? I can of course test this out, but if someone else has done it that's of course a lot less time consuming! Of course the coloring won't be as bright as porcelain no matter what, but I'm more worried about the shrinkage rate changing possibly if I decided to use a colored stoneware with my regular stoneware.
  25. I just returned from the North Carolina Potters Conference. Our presenters were three established potters from Japan ... just amazing to watch as they worked. There were many lessons learned but one excited all the throwers so I thought I would share. From Fuku Fukumoto ... Google her images and enjoy the Artwork. She centers and cones her porcelain, then cuts it off the wheel, turns it upside down and centers and cones again. (many thought this reversed the twist that the first centering and coning process put into the clay) She just said it further compacts the porcelain making it easier to throw. The other presenters agreed that they knew many porcelain throwers who did this but did not do it themselves. I am not a big time thrower so I do not have an opinion ... also, their porcelain is made from stone and is so grog free it is like butter ... 180 mesh as opposed to our 60 or so. NOTE : see my later post ... on realizing their clay was stone based, so this could be why it works for them. I have to admit if I was a thrower I would definitely try it just to see what happens, but it also could be a useless extra step for clay.
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