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QotW: Does the weather interfere with your production/exploration of Ceramics?


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Hi folks, as there is much talk about the heat lately, I began to wonder if the weather interferes with shop time. I am sure over the years you have heard me complain about freezing clay, complain/praise the brick garage/shop that is my studio, and various other thoughts about the weather; I need not cover it further.

QotW: Does the weather interfere with your production/exploration of Ceramics? BE specific, and tell us whether you have air conditioning, heat, or other means of controlling your shop/studio environment.

 

best,

Pres

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In the summer (now) I have a constant battle with humidity. Sometimes I throw pots one day, and they are not ready to trim for two days. Pots that have been drying for a week still feel damp, and it's impossible to tell if they are really damp or not. I use fans to keep the air moving in the studio, and when I run bisque firings, I roll my drying cart over next to the kiln for the warmth and the airflow from the vent.

In the winter I have the opposite problem. Thrown pots can have bone dry rims by the next morning, and pots with attachments need to be slowed down so they don't pull apart. I use sheets of fabric and plastic to control the drying.

There are a few glorious weeks in the spring and fall when I don't need to think about these things. 

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glazing outdoors in the heat is really no fun.   i have a canopy whose fabric is one of those ventilated things that provides some shade but it really hurts my eyes to work under it without a hat.

of course, it is awful in the cold as well.    still have not made that spray booth i promised myself years ago.   all the parts are here, why haven't the elves put them together yet?

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@oldlady Hats. .. .you know my picture. . . years ago I demonstrated at a street festival for the arts-3 day affair. Throwing pottery in the 90F. days without a hat, and no tent overhead. I ended up with large blisters all over my head, even though I used sunscreen in the morning. Never again do I go without a hat.

 

best,

Pres

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It used to interfere a lot more than it does now. For years I had my studio in an unseated garage, which meant it was only functional for about 3-4 months out of the year because winter.

These days I usually move my glazing upstairs from my basement studio to the cement pad outside my kiln shed for the summer. Currently debating the wisdom of that as I work my way through a glaze load that needs to be fired today! I am NOT cut out for 35-40*C. I am consoling myself with the idea of throwing mugs in the cool later this afternoon. 

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it does a bit.  The temp in the basement (where my studio is) is fairly stable.  I don't get a lot of swing in temp down there.  We have no humidity here in any season so that isn't the issue.  In the winter I do have an wall mounted convection heater in the studio that can speed up drying a bit.  I glaze and fire in another building.  The accomodation I have to make for that is warming up the space for glazing in the winter or having fans running in the summer.  The weather doesn't interfere, but I do have to shift how I do things at times.

Roberta

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On 6/29/2021 at 9:13 AM, GEP said:

In the summer (now) I have a constant battle with humidity. Sometimes I throw pots one day, and they are not ready to trim for two days. Pots that have been drying for a week still feel damp, and it's impossible to tell if they are really damp or not. I use fans to keep the air moving in the studio, and when I run bisque firings, I roll my drying cart over next to the kiln for the warmth and the airflow from the vent.

In the winter I have the opposite problem. Thrown pots can have bone dry rims by the next morning, and pots with attachments need to be slowed down so they don't pull apart. I use sheets of fabric and plastic to control the drying.

There are a few glorious weeks in the spring and fall when I don't need to think about these things. 

Something to consider -I have installed two Mr Cool mini splits in our house in last two years (one last week)

Besides being the most effecent heat and cool heat pumps made they also have a dehumidifier function which could dry out your basement. The smallest unit is about $1,200 (they make 5 models of the DIY models)so for about $1400 total (wiring /breaker and pad) it could cool and heat and dehumidify your basement.

Of course I did all my own work and so can anyone if you are handy-check them out on You Tube-Available at all bog box stores etc. I got mine from supplyhouse.com ,no big box around here. Free shipping-they seem to be all fair priced the same everywhere.

Its a cheap option and they use very little electricity-could cure your issue and add cool or heat as well.

By the way these mini splits are all over the world especially in Asia but are just now hitting the US market. I have a solar electric system so power is alraedy paid for and these only use small amouts of electricity .They heat down to near zero degrees and cool when its hotter than a kiln-so climate location really does not matter.

Edited by Mark C.
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In terms of production from  late April early May to October 15th I dry most pots outside same day made. Thrown and put in sun,fog or anything but drizzel or rain. Trim and handle same day. If its really cool and foggy and wet I'll dry them in shop with natural gas heater on. The rest of the time its up  high in shop with heat on- throw trim as soon as they are ready usually same day no matter how hot it gets creature comfort is of no concern-pots are the focus not my comfort.

I like  to dry outside so shop stays cool but if needed it can be warm in a few minutes. Pots dictate whats needed.

We can throw handle and fire mugs same day if weather is warm and sunny. I do it a few times each year -last week was one of those times. You can do things that are outside previous limits if you get it right.Things like cearl bowls all day long throw trim and fire-handle forms take special care to fire same day-in an ele3ctric its easy the gas kiln is harder and I bisque in gas kiln 99% of the time.

Humitity meter in shop tells me what to do with the heater.

Today with two glaze fires going I had to trim and keep the pie plates away from kiln area (to hot to soon) 

 

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16 hours ago, Pres said:

Does the weather interfere with your production/exploration of Ceramics?

Absolutely.  Too cold/damp in winter.  Too hot/bright in summer.  But then my studio is in a greenhouse.  I make do as best I can.  I have insulating mats on the floor.  I wear rubber gloves most of the time while hand-building and always while glazing.  Last summer I put a gazebo up in front of the greenhouse to provide shade and worked outside.

 

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