To Teach, To Learn, To Share

POTTERY PRODUCTION PRACTICES: Pottery Myths

I was searching the web today to see if I would derive any benefit from rinsing my bisqued pieces before glazing them (only if they are really dusty after grinding etc., otherwise just blowing any dust off is best).  I found this great article from ceramicindustry.com . 

It has a great list of myths about pottery making that is very interesting.

Enjoy!

Since pottery is an endeavor that involves many steps-any of which can cause total failure-potters often misguidedly cling to a set method or technique that they think will provide a guaranteed result.

Source: POTTERY PRODUCTION PRACTICES: Pottery Myths

Water-Etched Watering Can – Pottery Making Illustrated

Water etching (covering part of the surface with a resist material, then abrading exposed areas using a wet sponge), is a great technique to add depth and visual interest to a surface while keeping a very clean and simple finish. It’s great on its own or in combination with other surface techniques and is a fast way to get relief carvings on an entire piece. Amy Roberson uses water etching to enhance her pieces. To have good results with this technique, you must work with your clay just past the leather-hard state, but definitely not bone dry. Amy’s watering can shows this technique off well because of the dynamic form and surface combination.  For the who article, visit the link below.


Source: Water-Etched Watering Can – Pottery Making Illustrated

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Making Kiln Stilts

anatomy of a flowerI’ve been thinking of some sculptures I want to make in the next few weeks and I find that potters often have to be architects (among other things) as well as being artisans.  For example, when you fire your work, you have to have a part that is unglazed that can rest on the floor of the kiln. Now that sounds sensible and easy enough, but sometimes it’s more complicated than that.  When firing Christmas bells, for example, I created a series of stalagmite shapes and rested each unglazed interior of the bell onto a stalagmite to fire.  They all looked like colourful mushrooms when the kiln was opened.  Now I want to make flowers that have the regular petals but also attach a receptacle to the bottom.  How on earth would you fire that?  The answer is to fire it upside down with a stilt that rests on the inner seed pod of a flower.  I’ve used it before, but will be trying some other ideas and will let you know how they work.

A recent article that I found through Pinterest talks about making your own stilts and it is very informative to those who have never used stilts or never thought to create them on their own.  Thank you Jenny Ward for the great article.

Making Kiln Stilts

I have a decent selection of store bought stilts for the occasional need to glaze a project completely. Most of the stilts are for something at least 3″ across so that the object balances evenly on the stilt, but one of my students wanted to make marbles- smaller than an inch across sized marbles. While I thought her plan of designing and carving these tiny sculptures was a great idea, I also explained that if she wanted to use glaze on the entire surface, I had no way of supporting them in the kiln on my existing stilts. She took a second to think about it and then asked if she could make her own stilts with the nichrome wire that I use in my work often- and she did. We bisque fired her tiny stilts and marbles and when she glazed them, each one was propped on its own individually made stilt and placed in the kiln. They worked brilliantly and since then I’ve started making all of my own stilts.

I roll out a slab of clay on my slab roller and use cookie cutters to cut out as many shapes as I can fit on the slab. Then I use nichrome wire and cut it into short lengths, trying to be as consistent as possible with the size and also trying to cut the wire on a sharp angle so that the pointiest part is what will touch the glaze and I stick them evenly spaced into the clay shapes. I use a medium gauge nichrome wire for this, if it is to thin, they tend to sag in the firing while supporting your piece or wear out quickly, too thick and they leave a heavier mark in the glaze for you to grind out afterwards. If you have left over element pins, these work great too for holding sturdier pieces. Each piece is dried and bisque fired and then you are good to go. My stilts get a lot of kiln time and eventually wear out but then I just crank out a new batch and I’m set to go again.

I love that the ingenuity of my students, not only made me look at my existing supplies in a new way but they also don’t let the studio limitations limit their work. #mystudentsrock  From www.jenniward.com

Canadian Ceramics Directory & Showcase

From their blog just recently, Make and Do is a new ceramic website.

make and do has been in idea kicking around for a long time, and then finally last November Carole Epp and Mariko Paterson decided enough was enough ~ let’s make this happen and let the good times roll.

what are we here for? CERAMICS! what do we want? MORE CANADIAN CERAMICS!

yup that’s right, it’s about time that Canadian clay artists started blasting they’re own horns and showing the world what we’re made of.

it’s come to our attention in the last few years that while Canadian artists have a pretty great view into what’s happening in the craft sector of other countries (particularly the US), we often have a limited view as to what’s going on in our own country and community of practice. plus those outside our borders often miss the amazing art that’s being created here. geographical divide no more! time for us to take a peek into the studios of artists across our great country, work together, and show off what’s happening in the contemporary Canadian clay scene.

so join us on this new adventure, get involved, help us spread the word, and most importantly let’s make and do all things wonderous and ceramic.

Source: welcome to make and do!