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Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Rick Dillingham. By golly, that fellow had courage! He upset the traditional concept of pottery, marketed it, and became well known and respected.
Don't believe i'll follow his precedent however. It often takes me days working on one piece to get it "just right". It would break-a my heart to follow his example.
Check out Garth Clark's article on Dillingham at:

And if you haven't already viewed this, or are new to throwing on a wheel, Charles Smith has this terrific video (wheel demonstration):

When first learning to throw, watched this video quite a bit and it really helped. Smith has several other videos (which are listed on this page)on pottery techniques.

Hey! Have a Happy Holloween. For myself, i may sit in Linus' pumpkin patch . . . or put a supper on and tease the trick-n-treaters as they knock on the door.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Kiln Room Post Continued

Couldn't seem to enclude two photos in the same posting. The photo in the post below is the building and here's a photo viewing the interior of the building through the window. If you look intently, the kiln is visible.

Removed the middle kiln ring for awhile until i'm more familiar with the operation. Somehow, when things are smaller, they seem less intimidating!

The altitude here has prevented firing it a'tall (after that first firing) for the needed orifaces (smaller) haven't arrived. Am getting so frustrated with the delay.


Kiln Room

...............................................The Kiln Room ....................

Isn't it beautiful?
With the full panel of glass in the door and the window, there's plenty of light inside.
When my sons found that i intended to use the new gas kiln in the kitchen, they built this for me !!! It was snowing then. Cold. Blustery. Brrrrr .........

The snow melted away and this week's weather would have been perfect for firing several batches of copper red reduction pots.
Have I mentioned that it's hunting season? It appears as if the propane fellow, who absconded with my original 3/8's oriface in his pocket, is off chasing down deer or bear or perhaps even a moose. Since he doesn't answer the phone, it's unclear which he is pursuing.

Ah, for the joys of city living where apples are apples, competition lowers product prices, and business people act like responsible folks.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Couple of Bits N Pieces

Friday, October 26, 2007
Transcribed from Spritely Spoofs

When there's a quick moment of time, i usually zip over to Cynthia Guajardo's pottery blogspot. ( ) Her columns are full of useful information, tips and ideas on newly acquired throwing, glazing, etc. techniques, plus links she's found that are always intriguing to follow.

After a family get-together last night, i followed one such link ( ) to Pete Pinnell's video titled: "Thoughts On Cups".
(Since my computor has taken a streak lately of shutting itself off midway thru even short videos, it was highly probable that i wouln't catch the whole presentation yet was more than pleasantly surprized when i was able to watch it thru to completion.)

Besides giving the aesthetics of cups (composition, dissonance, texture, form, color, pattern, shape, balance, handles and rims), Pete mentions the progression of art from the 20th century's concept of "art for art's sake", to the 1960's era of the post-modern art movement where art talks about life's big issues, but is not an active participant in life.
Fine Art's voyeurism vs it's taboo on creative functionability.
Well worth viewing.
And thank you, Cynthia for putting the link "out there" for the rest of us.


Have i mentioned that i've "mastered" a lovely - lavender with splatters of purple and blue in it - glaze? After a year's effort, it is one of my first successes. "Clay and Glazes For The Potter" by Daniel Rhodes, revised and expanded by Robin Hopper has helped me enormously.
However, there's still much work to be done on applying glazes aesthetically, especially if one is determined to create functional art with an intense desire to stimulate imaginative responses in the viewer/user of say . . . . a cup.
Hence, the face-cups in previous posts.

Many years ago, i observed that American's desire for uniformity robbed them of the the independence to be a wee bit "different". Being average was touted as the modicum of success and all that was not "average" was pushed to the wayside in a discarded heap. A classic example of this is -- the nose.

While cutting and reshaping the nose is great for the economy and plastic surgeons, it is a disaster for the concept of originality. The world would not be quite the same without Jimmy Duranti's humor, and would there, could there, be a Jimmy Duranti produced in today's culture which promotes only sterile perfection?

Art is a means of communication. And shouldn't we somehow put imagination back into that conversation?
Alice In Wonderland type of imagination. Mary Poppins type of imagination. Fun, slightly out-of-step imagination which stimulates the mind (and soul) to create beauty.
Children growing up in this day-and-age of crime and rat-a-tat-tat shows, in a sterile world of perfectly formed McDonald's cups, are in desparate need of mentally stimulating, creatively functional, everyday items to put the "magic" back in their universe.


Speaking of "magic" how many of you have viewed the spinning lady? Right-brained vs left-brained article at,21985,22556281-661,00.html Response to this seems to be all over the internet. Pro's and con's on what viewers believe they have seen. A lot of discussion.And isn't that exactly what the world needs? A lot more discussion on the possibilities of life . . . .

Snowy Day In Idaho

Saturday, October 20, 2007
Transferred from Spritely Spoofs

It's one of those sleepy, snowy days where all the world is closed in with pristine beauty. A day when one could easily curl up with a good book and idle the hours by, safe in the cocoon of one's inner self.

It's also a great day to mess with clay.

Most of this past week, a lot of time was wasted in frustration waiting upon the arrival of the propane company fellow. His statement: "I'll be there first thing tomorrow morning.", was not necessarily true.

The new gas kiln is going to be the death of me yet. (That's a joke folks, i intend to live forever!)

The first time i fired it (with Cone 8-10 copper-red glazes in place on 3 cups) the gas beasti reached 1900 degrees F and stalled out. Realized the incoming gas pipe was too small. The kiln required 3/4 inch; i had 1/4 inch.Frantic call to my propane fellow.

He brought the larger pipe and a different regulator (one which had an output of 11" water column); hooked it up; and the kiln still wouldn't fire correctly.The altitude here is rather high. The kiln needed a smaller oriface. These orifaces are now in the mail and should arrive the beginning of the week.

More waiting . . . .

However, not all of the week was lost. When my son visited, he made the most awesome suggestion. I am so tickled, i could jump up and down and do a Grandma Clampett in the air.

To preface the importance of his observations and advise, i should mention here that i have more than a dozen "face" cups sitting, fully bisqued, and waiting for a glaze firing. However, glazes are not my area of expertise and i have ruined more than a few pieces in my attempts to mix silica, alumina and fluxes in some semblance of a working glaze. That situation is nearly solved.

Think the answer to "clay fit" has a lot to do with the coefficient of expansion. The glaze recipes which have a COE somewhere's in the 5's seem to fit the clay i use. At least, at this point in time, i am willing to believe that.

Still . . . if . . . one can master glaze color, other than the usual greens [chrome] and blues [cobalt] - ( and i'm getting pretty cocky here as i've recently accomplished both yellow and lavender) -- how exactly would one color the face? Blend it in with the whole as a unified color? Somehow, a green face seems much too altroidian. Or glaze the rest of the cup, then give it a third firing with majolica-type glaze colors? And what, exactly, would be the technique to accomplish this?

My son's suggestion was so obvious that i wondered why, in eleven months, i hadn't thought of it myself. Since my clay bisques to a buff-color (which is nearly the face color of an invalid ) why not put a wax resist over the face, glaze the rest and really go for an "artistic expression of pure humanity"?

Darn if he's not clever!

Walked me right out of the doldrums of frustration about the gas kiln's operational delay. And since the electric kiln fires the lavender just fine, can hardly wait to try out this new experiment.

Ah sure now and it's time to get to work. The clay's waiting, the wheel's spinning, the electric kiln's bisquing and the little dog is looking at me expectantly.

Happy mudding, folks.


Interesting Info

Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Transferred from Spritely Spoofs

Found this info at:

Quick tip for cracked greenware from the Summer 2006 Newsletter:
Magic Water: to a 1 gallon jug of water add 3 TBS Sodium Silicate and 5 grams soda ash. Use the water to create a strong joint with broken pieces, handles, etc. -Submitted by Richard Barker

Glass Fused to Pottery:
Glass should be fired in two stages.
First a fuse fire to blend the colors together into a flat piece. For a fuse fire (remember this works for Bullseye. Other brands may be different.) Adding clay means at least one more step to bisquefire the clay.
Fuse Fire the Glass Room temp to 1100 at 400 degrees an hour
1100-1300 at 250 degrees an hour
1300-1480 as fast as possible then hold 10 minutes
1480 to 950 as fast as possible (Flash vent is best)
950 -750 at 150 degrees per hour.
Let kiln cool naturally to room temp before opening (Okay 200 degrees if you are impatient like me.)
Prepare the clay piece. I have been doing a bisque fire to 06 then saggar fire to color the piece. The saggar fire colors are not harmed by the slump fire for the glass.
Slump Fire the Glass
Place the fused glass on the pottery inside the kiln. Use a release agent if you want to remove the glass after firing then attach with glue, or other methods. However, it does not stick well even without any release agent.
Room temp to 1100 degrees at 400 degrees per hour
1100-1300 as fast as possible hold for 5-20 minutes until the glass slumps (keep an eye on it through the peep)
1300-950 flash vent to stop the slump
950-750 at 150 degrees per hour
750 down, allow kiln to cool naturally.
Give it a try. -Dawn

Haven't tried these techniques myself yet, but the information is posted by pottery teachers so thought it would be reliable.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Transferred from Spritely Spoofs

One never realizes how much one's been fighting until there's no resistance.

My clay order from Kickwheel Pottery near Atlanta arrived yesterday. Couldn't mess with it then for the propane tank fellow was spoze to arrive shortly to deliver a large tank for the gas kiln. It was a toss-up which interested me more -- the tank or the new clay.


Today, starting with a chunk of it on the wheel. OOOOO-EEEEE !!!! I am so pleased with this clay. It's #271 and throws like a dream.When i began working with clay, a year ago (almost), had no clue how different clays responded. And being a loyal customer to companies providing good and fast service, saw no reason to switch from my current pottery supplier. Except, after i'd eliminated all other possible errors, it dawned on me that perhaps the clay was the culprit -- sometimes it worked well and pieces came out and sometimes -- it didn't.

Haven't bisque nor glost fired this clay yet, so don't know how it will hold up under fire -- but if its throwing compatibility is any indication of its firing capacity -- it should do very well.

Now, of course, there's one wee problem. The supplier, Kickwheel Pottery, is clear across the country and shipping charges nearly did me in on just 50 pounds! Above is another bisqued piece which i haven't had the courage to glost fire (my success rate in glazing is pretty much 30-1) and one successful cup isn't a very good average!

Just Such A Day As This

Sunday, September 30, 2007
Transcribed from Spritely Spoofs

. .................................................Wedded Bliss.....................................

Onwards and upwards, as Donovan always says. And isn't that the truth of it.
The kilns and the potters wheel arrived.
Learned how to program the digital controller. Mostly.
Haven't worked with the gas kiln yet. Am anxious to try it out.
In fact, haven't done much a'tall this past week, except to throw two purely-poor pieces.
Even after all these years, the pain of my husband's death plummets me into the void of depression. I thought this year, to tippy-toe past it. But no. One day last week, the sunlight filtered across my worktable in oh .... just such a way .... and my spirit flew into utter and abject desire for annihilation. But it's ok. Today is Sept. 30th and we have survived the day.
My sons, my wonderful sons, helped me tremendously. They built a kiln room and there reposits the gas beasti waiting for me to take my courage in hand and glost fire the ever accumulating pieces waiting for reduction firing.
The piece above is a case in point. I think had Pat lived, we would resemble this couple. Bonded in the cup of life, sipping the joys of unity.

Small Breather

Friday, September 07, 2007
Transfered from Spritely Spoofs

---------------------Teapot Riding The Wind---------------

Have been nose-to-heelbone concentrated on creating pottery for the last nine months. Thought this would be an easy endeavor. Possibly a rather inexpensive one. A body can go outside and dig up clay pretty darn cheap, don'cha know.
At first, i stuck by my pistols. Had a small kiln from previous glass-working endeavors. (Very small, as i was soon to discover.) Found a child's wheel at the local thrift. $4 bucks. Invested fourteen dollars in clay. o.k. -- that's not exactly digging it up free. Still, fourteen bucks doesn't need corporate funding, and i figured time is money. Sides, would i recognize clay (in/on) the ground if my boots were stuck in it?
So! We're set. Ready to throw a few cups (anything bigger than that won't fit in the kiln), fire thems puppies, and hike down to the local art gallery to sell these confabulous new creations . . . .

First obstacle . . . centering clay on the wheel.
Hours spent online researching just how that's done. Took a spendy little seminar to learn how this is accomplished.
Second obstacle . . . what in the dickens is a glaze? I mean, one mixes all these chemicals together and purportedly creats a glaze which fires at a certain temperature. Doesn't the Universe know -- the only subject i ever failed was chemistry? What a learning curve. Cones, melting points, chems which lower the melting point of other chems. Whew. It's exhausting just thinking about all that stuff. Not to mention, that i was hip-deep in floating dust particles from mixing all those chemicals when i discovered some of them are fatal to one's continued life expectancy!
Now stuff like silica is cheap. Roughly, $1.95/ pound. But, dozens of chemicals (to make the glaze work), gets a little spendy.
Third obstacle . . . firing these perfect art pieces. Ought-a be a book title. "Into the kiln fire and coming out shards."
Oi Vay.
My inexpensive new career pursuit has turned into a spendy proposition. Shush! Don't share this with anyone but i just ordered a new kiln and a big fella's pottery wheel. Am really excited about this. Can hardly wait for them to arrive FedEx.
Well folks. That's why you haven't heard from me in a day or two. They say slinging mud is fun but don't ever let anyone convince you it's cheap!