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This might be a silly question, but I remember reading somewhere that porcelain cannot be stilted because it becomes very soft during firing and will slip onto the metal wires. Is this true?

I have a collection of small porcelain pendants to fire, ranging from 1cm - 2.5cm. I was planning on bisque firing them on a shelf with kiln wash to 1000 celcius. After underglazing, I was going to suspend them on a homemade stand which is basically a slab of clay with nichrome wire sticking out of it. Each pendant has a hole in it so it can be suspended without the underglaze/overglaze touching anything.

This is what I have done successfully in the past with earthenware, but will it work with porcelain? I'm aware that I will need to make a new stand in porcelain which will be okay during high fire.

Many thanks in advance for your advice :)

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Have you looked into bead racks/ trees?  They serve the exact purpose, you are looking for.

Porcelain does get very close to melting, as it reaches maturity, and larger items would likely dent, from a stilts, but I can't imagine a pendant having enough weight to cause any harm.

Still, the bead rack, seems like a better option, especially if you plan to make more down the line.

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4 hours ago, SweetheartSister said:

This might be a silly question, but I remember reading somewhere that porcelain cannot be stilted because it becomes very soft during firing and will slip onto the metal wires. Is this true?

I have a collection of small porcelain pendants to fire, ranging from 1cm - 2.5cm. I was planning on bisque firing them on a shelf with kiln wash to 1000 celcius. After underglazing, I was going to suspend them on a homemade stand which is basically a slab of clay with nichrome wire sticking out of it. Each pendant has a hole in it so it can be suspended without the underglaze/overglaze touching anything.

This is what I have done successfully in the past with earthenware, but will it work with porcelain? I'm aware that I will need to make a new stand in porcelain which will be okay during high fire.

Many thanks in advance for your advice :)

We do this all the time with great success on our cone six porcelain jewelry fired to cone six.. Even so lazy as to suspend the wire between stilts  allowing for a slight eventual drop in the thin wire. A tiny bit of a mixture of alumina and wax on the wires seems to keep the wire from sticking to any remaining glaze in the holes of the pendants.

Edited by Bill Kielb

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17 hours ago, Benzine said:

Have you looked into bead racks/ trees?  They serve the exact purpose, you are looking for.

Porcelain does get very close to melting, as it reaches maturity, and larger items would likely dent, from a stilts, but I can't imagine a pendant having enough weight to cause any harm.

Still, the bead rack, seems like a better option, especially if you plan to make more down the line.

Thank you for your helpful response. :) I do have a homemade bead rack which I've used with success in the past, but with the case of these pendants, the holes do not go the whole way through the sculpture, meaning that they can't be threaded onto a bar. So the only way to suspend them is by slotting them onto an upright piece of wire stuck into a clay slab. It has worked for me many times with earthenware, but this is my first time using porcelain.

I'm hoping that as the pendants are so very tiny, they won't slip down onto the sticks and get stuck. They are very light weight. I guess I won't know until I try.

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Stilts in general are not a good idea for cone 5/6 and up. The little metal points tend to soften and bend. With porcelain, the clay will soften and warp on stilts. Either use a rack as described above, or fire them directly on the shelf with the backside unglazed. Several of my students make porcelain pendants with the back unglazed. Because the porcelain is so well vitrified, it doesn't absorb body oils the way earthenware does.

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On 9/12/2019 at 7:59 PM, neilestrick said:

Stilts in general are not a good idea for cone 5/6 and up. The little metal points tend to soften and bend. With porcelain, the clay will soften and warp on stilts. Either use a rack as described above, or fire them directly on the shelf with the backside unglazed. Several of my students make porcelain pendants with the back unglazed. Because the porcelain is so well vitrified, it doesn't absorb body oils the way earthenware does.

The problem is that I can't really dry foot them. They need to be glazed all over.

They are very small, 1cm -2.5cm each. Surely there must be ways to stilt or suspend porcelain that needs to be glazed all over, such as dolls? These are the pendants (pre-bisque fire) They have holes in the heads where the pendant bails will go - they could slot onto wire uprights on these.

48731266811_664ec6f5d5_b.jpg2019-09-14_12-59-59 by Rachel Brown, on Flickr

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@SweetheartSister, another approach would be to fire them unglazed to your glaze temperature then use a lowfire glaze and stilt them how you already do when making them with earthenware. Since the clay will be vitrified when you glaze it I would use a brushing glaze, it will take longer for the glaze to dry between layers though. 

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On 9/14/2019 at 4:27 PM, Min said:

@SweetheartSister, another approach would be to fire them unglazed to your glaze temperature then use a lowfire glaze and stilt them how you already do when making them with earthenware. Since the clay will be vitrified when you glaze it I would use a brushing glaze, it will take longer for the glaze to dry between layers though. 

Hi Min, thank you for that suggestion because I would have never thought of that. If the method I'm trying today doesn't work out then I will certainly give that a go!

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