Monday, February 10, 2014

January Hints of the Week

January 5th Hint of the Week
 Here’s a really neat slip trailing tool I saw on Pinterest. It is a Cuisipro Food Decorating Pen and it is fairly large, probably 6” long just on the white tube. These are sold by King Arthur Flour, but I’m sure there may also be other sources.



January 19th Hint of the Week
Some Glazing & Decorating Stuff from

· Before you begin glazing always be sure to wipe your ceramic piece down with a damp sponge. This will make sure that there is no dust on your piece which could cause the glaze to pull away and leave a bare spot. Dampening helps the bisque to accept the glaze.

· If you are painting on glaze, you must paint on three flowing coats of glaze, being careful of brushstrokes which could show up in unleaded glazes or if you use less than 3 coats. Three coats of glaze will give you a solid color. Adding another glaze for the second and/or third coat will give you some interesting effects. Let each coat dry before adding a second.
Best to brush in opposite direction

· To show textured surfaces better, brush glaze on so it gets in all the cracks, then wipe off the top surface.

· To remove oxide mistakes or for making a design, use a pencil eraser. It won't smear like trying to wash the oxide off.

· When applying oxide over dry glaze, the glaze sucks the water out of your brush making it difficult to paint clean lines. To remedy this, lightly mist the glaze first with water and the oxide will flow smoothly.

· When glazing a thin piece, glaze the inside then wait for it to dry thoroughly before glazing the outside. Otherwise the clay will become saturated and your piece will either fall apart because it will have absorbed so much water or the glaze won't absorb and stick to the outside. It is best to at least let it dry overnight before glazing the outside.

January 26th Hint of the Week  

· Mark all of your plastic clay bags with a “Sharpie”, even if they are still in the boxes. Mark the cone number (∆) and/or what clay it is. It is also a good idea to put your name or initials on the bag. We often find clay left out, or get donated clay, or abandoned clay, etc. If we don’t know what it is, we really can’t use it, & if you forget what it is you may not be able to use it either. If you put the wrong clay in the wrong kiln firing the earth will tips off its axis.

· Mark all of your tools with a “Sharpie” or some other way. There is not a day goes by that we don’t find an unmarked rib, wire, pin tool, etc. It’ll save you time & money if you can get your tools back. There is also a lost & found drawer in the green admin area.

· Keep a glaze log. Writing the glazes you use on a little scrap of paper or thinking you’ll remember what glazes you used, doesn’t usually work out well. Most potters keep some kind of a glaze book to record the clay & the glazes they use before they fire. This makes it much easier to go back & figure out what you did. It is also a good place to make comments after firing, even if it’s “I’ll never do that again.”

· When you dump out your slop bucket or wheel tray of clay water pour it through the screen & you’ll catch those tools before they disappear into the “black hole” in our trough. Since we’ve put that screen there the folks that empty out the trough are finding significantly fewer tools. Although lost tools are an incentive for folks to go tool diving while emptying the trough.

· If you put some newspaper on the floor & walls of the spray booth it makes it much easier to clean up afterwards. You also need to take down the papers before they are too loaded with glaze.

· If you put plastic or a plastic bag over your wet pieces, sometimes the plastic sweats & the moisture goes right back on to the piece. Try laying a piece of newspaper or a piece of cloth over the clay then put the plastic on. Paper or cloth will catch the water drops before it gets back on the piece.

· If you use the wall mounted extruder it takes quite a bit of clay to get it going & there is always a bunch of clay left inside when you are done. Put an open plastic bag around the upper part of the clay down to the die & then a large wad of plastic at the top of the clay in the bag. This will keep a lot of clay from sticking to the sides of the extruder & add extra plastic on top to give you more volume to push most of your clay through.

Don’t put your pieces to be bisqued or fired right on the front of a shelf, especially large pieces. Pieces on the front with space behind stand a greater chance of getting damaged as other pieces have to be put behind them or are lifted over them. Pieces on the front don’t necessarily get fired quicker either.

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