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Topics I've Started
Posted 5 May 2013Dear All,
I have a load of low fire bisque in my kiln right now. In the past, I have been taught that as soon as the firing is done (i.e., reached temperature) you should turn off the fan as it saves the fan belt. In reading on the Internet, it was suggested you leave it on through the entire firing and cooling process. There was also some brief discussion about if you leave the fan on, you can reduce your cooling time by 2 hours??
My question to you is when do you turn your fan off?? Do you worry about taxing or over working your vent?? Mine, by the way, is a two year old Orton.
Posted 12 Apr 2013Dear All,
Until recently I have been using the end of a pencil (the eraser tip) to put a round circle on my pots. That is my mark. Simple and no-one really knows who made it.
Now I want to branch out and either start to sign my pieces or get a chop.
I have made chops but find them finicky to get them just right and to show my initials.
I have one I got while in China but it can be cumbersome and does not always fit on the ring of the foot.
I have seen people smear some slip and write their names through the bottom of the pots base.
I have read that the finishing of the pot (including the signature) should add and not take away from the aesthetic.
How do you sign you work?? Do you date it?? Do you use initials or a design??
I am thinking about branching out and getting a real chop made that is sturdy and done with some sort of metal to really impress the clay??
How do you let people know who made the pot or is it really of any great importance in the end??
I remember when I asked a well known potter why he didn't sign my pot that I purchased from him and he said "look, my hands are all over this pot--that is my signature." It made sense to me and I walked away.
How important is your signature to you as an artist?
Posted 6 Apr 2013Dear All,
I am pretty sure I know the answer to this question but want to check. Can I put a few brush strokes of stone ware slip on say a terra cotta bowl that I will glaze with a low fire clear honey glaze.
My knowledge says, only put the same type of slip on the same kind of body. In otherwords, only put terra cotta slip on a terra cotta body.
But the experimenter in me wants to try.
Given that my clay is red and I was sort of hoping to use a white slip, do I need to invest in some white terra cotta or can I try some stone ware slip that I already have mixed up.
Know that it will be nothing more than a few stokes of white slip but I do not want my kiln ware blowing up during the firing. Could this happen or will it simply not adhere to leather dry clay??
Is this feasible or should I simply put this idea aside until I get the real McCoy (i.e., white terra cotta) to make my own slip?
Thank you in advance,
Posted 3 Apr 2013Dear All,
As I have traveled along a 20 something year career in pottery in classes, retreats, a community studio and now on my own, I find myself that much more particular about my final product.
You see, I just finished trimming a bowl form. In days past, I would have whipped it off put on the foot ring and said good night to the piece. Now, I have this neurotic ritual of tools. The sure form, 2 trimming tools, the metal rib, a stone and now my newest device the red rib for burnishing.
I wouldn't call it compulsive really but when I pick up the bowl and it doesn't feel right in any spot (i.e., extra thickness or a slip in trimming), back it goes on the wheel head and whole process starts again.
It all goes back to when I used to wash my dishes in the sink. When I picked up a bowl and felt a heavy bottom I would be taken aback. I thought, if only I spent a few more moments getting it lighter rather than racing to get it off the wheel.
Yes, it is neurotic but I find with the extra time, I can hold my pieces with more pride. A smooth surface for the work I do and the glazes I use does help.
For me, I have the luxury of this time to put into finding the bowl form in my trimming. I am guessing that once you are highly experienced you do not go through these steps as your first contact with the clay is likely to use the least amount possible to get the same results as I do.
I am guessing what I likely should be doing is more on the front end and less on the back end with trimming (i.e., creating the best vessel first) and taking less time with these final steps.
Is there anyone else out there with this slightly neurotic effort for perfection in the overall weight of the form and shape.
Posted 31 Mar 2013Dear All,
This is my second question of the day. I am in a run of making terra cotta teapots. It is my focused project for the next few months.
I have just finished a couple and want to coat not only the outside but inside with terra sig??
Is this possible if I want to use it as a functional piece?? Will it absorb the water and make the tea taste funny or simply break down more readily?? I have used a terra sig recipe using the clay I use for throwing (drying, decanting and the addition of sodium silicate).
On trips to China, I have seen those lovely pots they make that are sooooo smooth with that special clay.
Thus, in an effort to create or experiment with this technique I have been using my red rubber rib and a stone, burnishing and apply terra sig before I fire. I have done this on non-functional sculptural pieces. It looks amazing. Like chocolate. So smooth.
But now I want to do it with my tea pots. Inside and out.
If I was to hazard a guess, I would say most of you would say, yes do the outside but no, put a liner glaze on the inside if I want it to be truly functional.
My rationale is that it is not the same clay I saw in China. The terra cotta we have is commercially produced and does not likely have the same properties as that I saw when away.
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