Yesterday I tested out the oil burner I constructed. It seemed to work very well. I tested it with diesel, knowing that oil would be difficult to light without preheating. It does need a couple of tweaks but overall I'm fairly satisfied. The manufacturer of the nozzle stated that a fan was needed so I followed their CFM requirements but I didn't notice any difference with the fan on/off or at different speeds. So I'm not sure about that one. This friday I'm going to hook it up to our gas kiln and give it a test and see what kind of temp it can produce on its own and how much fuel it consumes, that will give me a reasonably accurate estimate of BTU's. If it is adequate then I can move forward with tearing down my kiln and building the new kiln.
I've just finished uploading a whole bunch of deer tail brushes to my etsy page. There are a variety of sizes available and they all ship for free in the US. Generally speaking the fuller the brush the floppier it will be and will
tend to leave more gestural marks. Straighter tips will tend to be
less floppy and yield better control but will not give as loose of a
mark. If you have questions about the brushes or need advice on what may be best for your application you can convo me on etsy and I'd be happy to help you figure it out.
Here is a picture of the brushes I use. I've been using these for about 4 years, the two on the left make all the stem/leaf type patterns as well as some line work. The middle brush is much smaller and stiffer and it's used for small lines and banding, the fourth brush is used for large leaf type marks as well as for laying in glaze. The last one is used for applying glaze dots. One might think that I saved the cream of the crop for myself but these were all brushes that had some sort of flaw, seconds if you will. The first two have brush tips that were too small for the openings, even though the epoxy holds them in place just fine, they look a little silly. But they do the job just fine.
Happy new year to all my blog readers! I haven't been working in the studio for quite some time now, since mid-October! I had a few shows for the holiday season as well as two weeks out of town visiting family for the thanksgiving and Christmas, so I haven't been slacking the whole time. I don't have any pending shows or orders looming so it seemed a good time to take a break and figure out my kiln/firing situation. I have a waste oil burner all set up and ready to go, I'm going to test it out this week to make sure it works as intended and IF it does work I will test it out on one of the kilns up at the school and see what kind of power it has. If all that works out I will be dismantling my wood kiln in short order and I will be building a smaller 30-40 cu. ft. salt kiln. This means that I will be able to continue the body of work that I've been producing, which to be honest would be a huge load off my shoulders. When I decided to stop wood firing my first plan was to switch to reduction firing which meant having to find a way to translate my work to a new type of firing or develop a new body altogether. Not to mention clay body, glazes, etc. If I can't get these waste oil burners to work then that might still be the way I go but we'll keep our fingers crossed.
Since I have had plenty of free time it has given me the opportunity to get back into making brushes. I had a pretty good run of making brushes back in 2009 but with graduate school and wholesaling I didn't have the time to keep up with it. I started making them because I needed some brushes that would make the specific types of marks that I like to make. There are a few brush makers out there that make really nice brushes but they tend to be very expensive due to the embellishment. I used to have a couple really nice brushes from a guy named Keith Lebenzon that were awesome...until my dog got ahold of them. I think I paid in the $50 range each for them back in 2002. So I just wanted to make some no frills simple brushes that make nice marks and hold a lot of liquid for painting on clay...that won't break the bank if the dog gets ahold of them. The brushes I use to decorate my work are from the first batch of brushes I made back in '09, they've held up great and they've certainly taken a lot of abuse. I rarely follow my own recommendations for caring for the brushes, I don't even know how many times I've left them sitting with slip or pigment on them for days. I know for certain I have one sitting in the studio right now that has been caked in Reeves Green since October, I'll give it a rinse and it will be good as new (though I don't recommend this).
I'll be putting the brushes up for sale on etsy starting next week. They're priced in the $18-25 range with free shipping.
I'm thinking of putting together a website for the brushes, so if you are a satisfied user of my brushes and would like to contribute a photo of your work and/or a glowing recommendation of my product I'd love to include it. You can email me brandon(at)supportyourlocalpotter.com
If you are a clay supplier or a retailer that might be interested in selling my brushes I'd be happy to talk with you about that opportunity.