FAQ

Suggestions placed in the studio box during 2010 are listed below. Clicking once on the suggestion title will transport you to the response, or you can scroll down to read all of the responses.

  1. Dunham’s Blue: Used to be a beautiful glaze no matter which kiln it was fired. Now 95% comes out grey and grainy.
  2. Offer more and better glazes.
  3. Offer crystalline glazes!!!
  4. Allow longer pottery practice times.
  5. Make sure students clean their bats!
  6. Wed class says “yes, please !” to a “new amber test” from Stephen’s class.
  7. Please fire the glaze kilns more often. ( italics ours )
  8. Set up a written and posted firing schedule, and ask Studio Potters to “sign on” for regular firings.
  9. Supply more drilled bats for use with bat pins.
  10. Sell “Mud Tools” non-kinky wires.
  11. When loading Bisque, don’t forget to check top shelf for tall pieces.
  12. Desperately need clips for shimpo splash pans.
  13. Make sure to load sets together and in the same kiln.
  14. Blue Celedon is contaminated, shows weird red and black spots and streaks when fired. Please make new batch.
  15. Please start making “Apple Green Celedon” again. Very nice glaze!
  16. SP’s: Great Job firing this semester.

Suggestions placed in the studio box so far for 2011 :

  1. The gloss white glaze is not working – it is not white, not particularly glossy – could use a whole new batch, please !  Delegate this one to the category of “Not Gloss White” just as we had a “Not Shino”.

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2010 Answers:

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1. Dunham’s Blue: Used to be a beautiful glaze no matter which kiln it was fired. Now 95% comes out grey and grainy.We’ve been concerned about the color deviation in Dunham’s Blue for some time. We’ve run over 30 tests on different clay bodies, with tiles placed both high and low in all three kilns, to study the problem. A mix of good and bad results have come out of all the kilns. Even when the results are good, they are still a darker blue than what we used to get. Some tiles suggest that the degree of reduction is a factor, although it is not clear why the effect has only appeared recently. Good and bad tiles have occurred from the same glaze batch and same application method, thus eliminating recipe errors, mixing, settling, and raw material variances as suspects.At this point, we don’t believe that either the choice of kiln or the glaze batch are the cause. Glaze stiring may be an issue, but the hard mineral lump at the bottom of the bucket doesn’t seem to be the cause either. Glaze thickness/thinness (ie specific gravity) is not the problem.Bottom line: After more than six months,we’re still working on it.

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2. Offer more and better glazes

This suggestion is pretty general so it’s hard to respond. It would be better if the author said something specific about what he/she is looking for in the “new and better” glazes.

We already have over 25 glazes, which can be combined in at least 625 ways. The entire studio space for glazing is filled with buckets, and we’ve migrated into the back room with more buckets. We are “flat out” as far as quantity, and every one of them has a group of supporters – so it’s hard to retire any.As far as type: we need to offer specific glazes for low-fire, Cone 10 stoneware, and porcelain. We also want to keep glazes traditional to the craft, eg: Tenmoku, Celedons, Shinos, Copper Red, Shaner’s Red; and then there are a number of studio favorites people want to use. Periodically, instructors do offer additional glazes for class use, and all instructors teach glazing techniques. Note the following from the Summer course catalog:

Intermediate Pottery PT04SU10Students will be shown how to manipulate high fire glazes to achieve a variety of results, i.e. double glazing, wax resist, and the application of dry wood ash on specific glazes.A new glaze called “Honey Amber” was added over the summer..

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3. Offer Crystalline Glazes !

CAW did offer a crystalline glaze workshop in 2007, but it was cancelled due to lack of interest.

It is substantially different and more difficult than standard glazing. The pieces all need to be whiteware or porcelain; and the glazes are very runny, so each piece has to be designed with a catch basin to collect glaze runoff. The design also needs to allow for foot release from the catch basin and grinding. The firing is also very different, requires more monitoring. We would be using an electric kiln, and there is also a dramatic impact on the life of the heating elements to account for.

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4. Allow longer pottery practice times.

This is under discussion. The Studio Potters don’t set practice time rules, but it may be possible to offer more practice time in the Spring.

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5. Make sure students clean their bats!

Students who don’t properly clean up after themselves are an issue in general. It should be our goal to leave the pottery cleaner than we find it. We’re posting a new sign on the patio door (winter session) to remind students about cleanup, hopefully that will help.

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6. Wed class says “yes, please !” to a “new amber test” from Stephen’s class.

The glaze Honey Amber has been tested and is now available.

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7. Please fire the glaze kilns.

This year’s firing records show that there have been an average of three firings every two weeks, for a total of 18 firings during each 12 week session.

See firing date charts below from the Spring and Fall of 2010.

If you have waited a very long time for a piece, it would be a good idea to write a note on it because we don’t really have a good way of knowing which pieces have missed a firing. Very large ware and very flat ware can be held up because they’re only loaded as space allows. There is also a limit to the amount of flat ware that can be loaded in any one kiln because of the extra mass of the shelving. Unsusal shapes and sizes may also take a little longer. Note the firing rate will also be slower at the beginning of a session as students accumulate ware and glaze it.

Firing Records Spring & Fall 2010

3/3/10 Phoenix………………9/29/10 Alpine

3/14/10 Ethel …………………10/10/10 Alpine

3/23/10 Ethel …………………10/16/10 Ethel

4/1/10 Ethel …………………..11/2/10 Alpine

4/10/10 Phoenix……………….11/2/10 Ethel

4/16/10 Alpine………………….11/7/10 Ethel

4/19/10 Ethel ……………………11/9/10 Phoenix

4/30/10 Alpine………………..11/11/10 Alpine

4/30/10 Ethel …………………11/13/09 Phoenix

5/5/10 Alpine………………..11/14/10 Ethel

5/8/10 Phoenix……………..11/20/10 Ethel

5/18/10 Ethel ………………….11/30/10 Alpine

5/19/10 Alpine…………………12/1/10 Phoenix

5/19/10 Phoenix……………….12/3/10 Alpine

5/27/10 Ethel …………………..12/7/10 Ethel

5/28/10 Alpine………………..12/10/10 Phoenix

6/7/10 Alpine………………..12/15/10 Alpine

6/7/10 Ethel

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8. Set up a written and posted firing schedule, and ask Studio Potters to “sign on” for regular firings.

It’s really impractical to have a written firing schedule very far in advance. We never can be sure when the right group of ware will be ready for loading. It may appear like the racks are full, but we need enough ware of similar sizes to pack each shelf. It’s good to have about 1.5 kilns worth of ware to make sure you have a good choice of ware shapes to pack one kiln densely. Based on the charts above, you shouldn’t have to wait longer than two weeks on average under normal circumstances, unless you have a piece that doesn’t stack well with the general population being fired.
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9. Provide more drilled bats for use with bat pins.

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We’re working on it. You should notice more and more bats drilled as time goes by. Some of the plywood bats are not going to be drilled, though, because they are not in the best shape and might give a sliver during use on the wheel.

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10. Sell “Mud Tools” non-kinky wires.
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Our tool purchaser will get some….not sure how long it will take to get them in.
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11. When loading Bisque, don’t forget to check top shelf for tall pieces.
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Noted .
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12. Desperately need clips for shimpo splash pans.
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Four new sets are on order. Please be careful to keep your clips with your wheel. We find them all over the place, including the center sink and slop buckets.
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13. Make sure to load sets together and in the same kiln.
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Noted. That is our policy. Someone either made a mistake, or didn’t recognize the pieces as one set. Sets may not be all on the same shelf, but would be loaded as close we can.
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14. Blue Celedon is contaminated, shows weird red and black spots and streaks when fired. Please make new batch.
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New batch mixed on December 10th, 2010.
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15. Please start making “Apple Green Celedon” again. Very nice glaze !
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Plan to reinstate for Winter semester 2010.
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2011 Answers:
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1.  The gloss white glaze is not working – it is not white, not particularly glossy – could use a whole new batch, please !
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We removed the former Gloss White from the glaze area. New versions were tested, and a reliable replacement was identified and is now out for general use.
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