Posts made in May, 2012

Time Allocation

Posted by on May 29, 2012 in About Me | 0 comments

When I started making pottery, I was a student at a community studio.  All of the time that I dedicated to my hobby was spent engaging with clay.  I worked on the wheel or glazed pots because the support work (firing, cleaning, glaze maintenance, etc.) was done by a studio assistant. As my passion grew, I set up my home studio; and, as a consequence of making a lot of pots, I also began selling pottery.  How I spent my time began to change, too.  This isn’t unique to me.  It seems full-time potters spend more time doing things other than making pots; and, I suspect that this is the case for other full-time artists. Although I am not a full-time potter (I moonlight at an environmental consulting firm), I spend 20-30 hours a week working on my ‘hobby’.  And, since I am neurotically quantitative, I wondered how my time breaks down over a...

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Commercial Glazes – Pints

Posted by on May 25, 2012 in Glazes, How-to | 0 comments

For the most part, I use commercial glazes purchased in a dry state which I hydrate and sieve.  However, I also buy glazes in liquid form (usually in pints). There are a lot of great commercial glazes and almost all of them are available as liquid in pints.  Pints are cost efficient because they allow you to test a glaze prior to purchasing a larger amount.  They are also excellent for supplementing a color palette (like at a community studio).  I buy pints of glazes for colors that I don’t use frequently or for colors that are too expensive to use in large amounts.  Pints are also space efficient since because you can store several glazes in a small space; and, they are portable which is critical if you do most of your glazing remotely (like in a community studio). If you buy a pint, it is most likely that you will brush the glaze onto the pot.  Although the glazes are liquid, they may need some attention prior to using.  The ‘right’ glaze consistency is smooth and flow-able and results in the coverage that you want.  Unfortunately, for those of us who like to quantify things, this is a judgement call.  Don’t be afraid to adjust the glazes to suit your application style. Some glazes settle quickly or may have settled since they were shipped.  Other glazes may be too think for brushing or ‘lumpy’.  Glazes in these conditions need additional water and/or sieving. The first thing to do is shake and stir the glaze.  If this doesn’t result is improved viscosity, add  a little water and stir and shake the glaze pint again.  The glaze is at the appropriate viscosity when it is flow-able enough for you to work with in a way that is comfortable to you and coats the pot adequately. If the glaze still doesn’t look smooth, then sieving can help improve performance.  Sieves come in various sizes – typically 60, 80, 100, and 120 mesh.  The larger the number, the smaller the holes (sort of like thread count for bed sheets).  If you have a very lumpy glaze, you may need to sieve progressively.  Sieve with the lowest mesh first (60) then sieve the glaze again with a higher mesh (80).  I sieve most pints one time with an 80 mesh and that seems to be sufficient.  Pottery Supply House sells sieves that are fitted for wide-mouth pints at a very reasonable price. Stir and shake the pint, then pour the glaze through a sieve.  You will need to stir the glaze to move it through the sieve.  If the glaze is too thick, add a little water.  If you add too much water and the glaze becomes too thin, let the glaze settle for a few hours or days, then decant some of the water off the glaze.  Stir and shake the pint and sieve again if necessary. If the glaze dries out, it can be rehydrated.  In fact, if a glaze is partially dried out, it is best to allow it to dry out completely.  Just leave off the cap until all the water evaporates.  Then, add water to the dry glaze, allow to hydrate then sieve it. Pints of glazes are an economical solution to expanding your color palette and with a little adjustment, you can make using them more...

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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Shows | 0 comments

We just finished our second craft show of the year.  Artsplosure is held in downtown Raleigh and is hosted by the Raleigh Arts Festival.  The festival includes musical performances, interactive art exhibits, and a juried craft show (which means your work has to be accepted) that hosts about 150 artists.  This was the first year that we participated in the festival and according to the news, it was the largest attendance in the show’s history. The show was a lot of fun for us for so many reasons.  The weather was great and our booth was on a shady street.  The festival was well organized with lots of vendor amenities like designated parking for artists, a hospitality suite with food and a bathroom, and helpful volunteers.  The crowd was fun and dogs were welcome which made everyone more interactive.  It was one of the best shows we’ve...

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Posted by on May 18, 2012 in How-to | 4 comments

If you make pots, then you have clay to recycle.  It is just the nature of the beast.   I get asked a lot of questions about how I handle recycling.  There are a lot of methods – but the best one is the one that you will follow through with.  For me, I do a combination of things. In my multi-tiered system, there are 3 stages of clay that can be recycled: wet, dry, and slurry. Wet clay:  My first approach is to reduce the amount of clay that I must recycle.  This means that all wet clay accumulated during throwing is dealt with right away.  Wet clay includes any clay that comes from throwing the pot, collapsing a pot, cutting a rim, etc.  I put it in a bag or in a margarine tub.  (I prefer the margarine tub because the bags get messy.)  At the beginning of the next throwing session, this clay is wedged and used.  Whether you have your own studio or work in a community studio, anyone can recycle her throwing clay in this way.  You will be amazed how much clay you can reclaim. Dry Clay:  In my system, dry clay is any clay that is too hard to be re-wedged immediately.  This includes trimmings, hard clay, scrapings, extra mug handles, extra teapot spouts, extra lids, pots damaged prior to firing, etc.  There are 2 methods for dealing with dry clay. 1.  If the clay is ‘marginally’ dry, I cut it into small pieces, spray with water, store in a bag, and re-spray periodically until the clay is moist enough to re-wedge.  Marginally dry clay includes trimmings from a soft-leather hard pot, recently pulled handles, or bagged clay that is too stiff.  This is another way to reclaim clay that anyone can do. 2.  I collect dry clay in a shallow bin and in a kitty litter container.  Any pieces of clay that are larger than a few inches are broken into small pieces.  Clay in the shallow bin is allowed to dry until it is bone-dry then it is added to the kitty litter bin.  (I don’t worry about drying all the clay completely because it wedges well enough for me.  But if you want a very smooth clay, then dry all of the clay until it is bone-dry before re-hydrating because only clay that is completely dried out will dissolve in water.)  When the kitty litter bin is full, I add enough water to cover the clay and allow it to hydrate for several days.  I stir it occasionally and add additional water as it hydrates. After the clay is hydrated, I decant the excess water and lay they clay on hardibacker board.  Hardibacker board is what is used to install tiles.  You can purchase a piece at any home improvement store for under $20.  It stashes easily (standing on its side); therefore it is a better choice than plaster for my small studio.  It is also easy to cut so you can trim one piece into several manageable sizes. After the clay is laid on the hardibacker board, it is allowed to dry for a while.  It is flipped multiple times until it is dry enough to wedge and store.  During the drying process, I flip the clay onto a fresh hardibacker board which helps expedite the drying.  Do not allow the surface of the clay to become over-dry because it results in lumpy clay.  You can dry the clay to the stiffness of your preference. This method is the most time and space consuming.  If you have limited space,...

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Multi-purpose Pot

Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Chip and dip, Crackle | 2 comments

Chips and Salsa Veggies and Dip Cookies and...

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