Tuesday, March 8, 2016

More February Hints of the Week


FEBRUARY 7th HINT OF THE WEEK:
More about Wax Resist (See Big Ceramic Store)

· Some people think that waxing the bottom edges of a pot helps keep the glaze from running off the pot. However, the wax burns off way before the glaze melts, so this doesn't help. The only purpose of the wax is to make it easier for you to wipe the glaze off. It does help to have an undercut or small break in the surface toward the bottom of the piece. This break will help stop glaze at that point. (But don't depend on it too much. Runny or too thick glaze will still run right over it or your resist.)
· Dip your brushes in soapy water or fabric softener before using wax resist, & the brush will be easier to clean. Good idea to wash them afterwards too.
· Some people swear by dipping their brushes in Murphy's Oil Soap prior to use.
· Once you use a brush for wax resist, don't use it for anything else. You might want to paint the ends of all your wax resist brushes a certain color.
· People having trouble applying wax resist often are using it too thick. Try taking some into a separate container & thinning it with water. It dries faster & may work better.
· Waxing lids, add alumina to the wax resist, keeps the lid from sticking, & may keep the glaze out if it is not too thick or runny.
· One way to cover the bottom of a pot quickly & evenly with resist, is to use those cheap sponges on a stick often used for painting. You can get them at the Dollar Store.

FEBRUARY 14th HINT OF THE WEEK:
When to use Magic Water? (From Lakeside Pottery)
Magic water is used when the bond between two pieces of clay is a suspect for cracking during drying or bisque firing. Cracks can occur in the following conditions:
When one piece of clay dries faster than the other which typically occurs when it has a smaller mass or thinner than the other piece (e.g., a mug handle).
When one clay piece is applied to another piece that is already a dryer leather-hard (e.g., when waiting for a thrown pot to harden before applying hand-built piece).

These two conditions are more susceptible to cracking because when one piece is dryer that the other, it is therefore shrunk more than the other and will not continue to shrink uniformly after they are attached to each other, thus - creating stress.

Why does Magic Water work?
Sodium in the soda ash and the sodium silicate is a very powerful flux. The silica in the sodium silicate adds some glass-former. The water is to dissolve the soda ash (which is soluble) and therefore travels a little way into the wet clay. The sodium silicate is sticky and dries really hard and faster than the clay does. The end result is that the Magic Water makes a sticky layer of almost-glaze that soaks into the surrounding clay and dries hard. Thus, cracks are prevented in the drying and the bond is stronger after firing.

How to make Magic Water - Recipe?
1 gallon of water
3 table spoons of liquid sodium silicate
1 1/2 teaspoons of soda ash

We will make up a gallon or two of magic water for you to use. You may also bring a small container and take some for use at your studio or tub. We’ll put it on the shelf in the high fire, ∆10, glaze room.


FEBRUARY 21st HINT OF THE WEEK:
Try Decals.
Ceramic Decals offer unlimited decorative potential for your ceramic and pottery pieces. Using Fired-on Decal Paper, you can use any image, photo, or text to add decoration to your pieces. Simply print the desired image or text onto the special decal paper, and apply it to your glazed and fired surface. These decals are fired lower temperatures from bisque temperatures up to cone 1. Some clays and glazes work better than others. You have to experiment a little. The sky is the limit to the images that you can add to your pottery or even layer multiple for novel and complex decorative effects! Susan Mattson, Barb DeBree, Anita Shontz, Steve Plettenberg and others have been doing a lot with decals the past few years. Susan Mattson can also print decals from her printer. See one of these folks to get started in this technique. We will try to have a decal night in the next few months so you can tap into the experience of our “Decalists.” What about some decals on empty bowls?

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