Sunday, January 17, 2010

Finally Getting Up and Running...

This is my first post in quite a while. I just wanted you all to know that I haven't dropped off the face of the earth. I've been building up the studio equipment in the past few months. Trying to get back into what I call a "normal" production studio.

Up until November I was using my trusty concrete slab (you can get them at Lowe's or Home Depot for about $20-$22) for wedging all of my clay as I do not have a pugmill. I had about a ton of clay given to me that was a bit harder than what i would normally throw with. So, I decided I should build a proper wedging table to help turn it back into throwing shape. I built the whole thing from 2X4's and made the pattern so that it would fit around my concrete slab. This surface comes ready made, it's absorbent like plaster slab, holds up better and it's really easy to replace if you need to. My desision was also influenced by the fact that my nearest plaster vendor is an hour south in Milwaukee (If there's someone closer feel free to leave me a comment). The whole thing cost about $16 US to build, if you don't count the paving slab, and it went together without incident. If any of you like what you see, let me know and I'll post the blueprints.

Anyway I digress...This table includes a wedging wire pictured below. If you've never used one you should think about trying it out. The wire basically takes the place of the paddles in a pugmill,  you slice the clay over the wire (fig 2.) turn the cut ends away from you and slam the pieces together again on the wedging table. Repeat this process at nauseum until you decide that your time would be better spent building yourself a pugmill (fig 3), then you're ready to compact the whole mass, give it a quick conk shell wedge (fig 4) and shape it for use (fig 5-fig 7). This batch was formed into a block for my extruder, for mugs I would just roll it into a log-like shape. 

Stay tuned for more updates...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Posted My Photos

I've finally gotten around to posting my woodfire photos on  I'm worried about my pricing and that customers may not be educated enough to understand the amount of work that goes into a firing fueled by wood or how little pottery you get from your kiln when you are just firing by yourself.

Wish me luck everyone.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Update on kiln unloading

Well, from what I can see right now I wasn't able to get complete reduction in the bottom of the kiln on my copper purple. The body reduction seems to be right on and the glazes all appear to have behaved well, with the exception of a few green pieces that I tried. Next time around I'll have to make some better doors to close off the firebox and make the damper a little tougher.

Still, for the first wood firing in four years and on a new kiln I'm pretty pleased. The kiln ran even from top to bottom and I've remembered a little more from my old wood training. I'm sure I'll get the reduction on the bottom decks next time.

You can find my photos here.

Wood firing is complete

After staying up for more than 48 hrs straight the wood firing is finally completed. We sealed the kiln at 3AM this morning and now the wait begins. Everyone keep their fingers crossed for us.

After the kiln is opened I'll post all of the photos of the event.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wood Kiln Day 4

Wow, I've managed to get a lot done with the help of my wife, but there's still a bunch to do before tomorrow. I need to add water to all of my dry batched glazes, make wadding, mix up kiln wash and wash the shelving.

I'm still a little nervous about trying a trick I learned a while ago involving silver paint (not luster) on the rims and seats of lids as a resist. Supposedly the pigment is Al2/Al2O3 and when fired the paint burns away leaving only Al2O3. Can anyone confirm this?

Anyway... I'm off to get my list done for tonight!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wood Kiln Day 2

I just formulated five new glazes tonight. Hopefully they all play nice with the wood ash and WVO this weekend.

I'm still looking for a source of 5 gallon buckets for WVO and glaze. Any suggestions, just drop me a line.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Looking forward to my first wood firing

I'm super excited... My wife and I have an amazing opportunity to live in a house for at least a year with its own pottery studio and wood kiln. The kiln is a little smaller than I've fired before, but that should be a good thing as there's only one person loading it.

Hopefully I'll be posting some photos of the loading and prep work this week.

Right now I need to find a supply of 5 gallon buckets for glaze and I'd rather not spend $5 a piece for them. Any suggestions, please feel free to leave them.