Friday, September 23, 2011

New pots on etsy.

 I've posted a bunch of new pieces on etsy and here's a quick preview.

This is a taller style cap jar with a cut foot.  Crackle slip, ash glaze, woodfired.

Mug, brushed white slip, glaze dots.

Dinner plate, ochre slip with brushed white slip pattern, one of my personal favorites.

The pieces below here are pots that have been tucked away being representative of the best of the best.  I feel it's time to part with some of them and let someone else enjoy them.

Platter with handles, brushed white slip and glaze dots.

 There are 2 cups like this that I posted.  This is a nuka type glaze that I use very rarely.  These were fired on the bagwall which in my guesstimation hits somewhere in the cone 12 range, the photo below is the side facing the firebox.  Hop over to etsy to see the other side of this cup.  I've tried to do more of these in subsequent firings but none of them have turned out like these did.

Teapot with amber glaze and cane handle.

 Large teapot(48 oz!) with tile6 slip and cane handle.


Monday, September 19, 2011

The days work.

Here are some images of some of the progress in the studio today.  I have more than a firings worth of pots ready to go but I'm probably going to hold off firing until October...maybe.  I've had some good things happening in the studio the last few days so I think I'll see how long I can keep it up.  I probably just jinxed it.  Ah well.
I assembled these teapots yesterday, slipped/deco'd today.  The guy on the left will get an ash glaze.

Lidded pieces.  The 3 on the left are something new.  The 2nd one is weak...the other 2 are ok.  The tall footed pieces are something I haven't done in awhile so I thought I'd give it a go. 

Some jugs...the first 2 are 8# the last 2 are 5#.  Trying mostly new things on these guys. From left: tile6 slip with deco, brushed white slip, ochre slip with white slip brushwork, tile6 with sprigs...That last one will probably get glaze over the whole pot.

Big jug.  White slip, sgraffito and brushwork.

This is my new favorite mug.  This came out of the salt kiln back in June and it has grown on me.  It's become my go-to studio mug.  I think this is the first time I've ever called one of pots a favorite over other potters work.  Weird.  Brushed white slip, M. Simon's black and Reeves green.  Check out that pink blush on the left.  Thats an ace in the hole.

These are a couple slab pots I made with my students last week.  One of the assignments was an assembled piece with applied texture before assembly.  I think these are the first assembled pots made wholly from slabs that I've completed since college...I like them, though I don't think I'll be making the switch to slab work.  It's nice to do something completely different every once in awhile.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Anatomy of a treadle wheel.

I've spent a bit of time the last couple of days doing a little work on the treadle wheel. The wheel has performed flawlessly except for 2 minor problems. The corners that sit up against the inside of my legs tend to dig in after awhile, a towel in the lap solves this issue. The second problem is that the wheelhead oscillated just a bit, almost a 1/8". That means 1/8 high on one side, 1/8 low on the other. Over the width of the wheelhead that is almost a 1/4" difference. Hasn't made a difference with the skinnier items but with pieces like dinner plates I've had to compensate and trim the feet flat. Not a huge deal but I figured it was time to fix it.

Here is the treadle with most of its important bits removed. I'm thinking of redoing the seat, going for more of a tractor style the old randall kick wheels. Way more comfy. I gave the wheel a good wipe down, it needed it.

The tray and flywheel awaiting their sponge bath.

So this is where the problem was with the old wheelhead: This wheelhead and the tapered shaft were salvaged from an old kickwheel that was given to me years ago. The head fits onto a shaft with a morse taper, good design but the original shaft wasn't long enough for the treadle so I cut the tapered part off and attempted to weld it to a new shaft. Herein lies the problem: two pieces of shaft welded together are never going to have the precision of a milled one piece shaft. Hence the oscillation. I gave it another go yesterday with a new shaft but even if it's perfectly lined up the welding causes enough tension to move it just a hair. Just a hair on a 1" shaft is about 1/8" over a 12" wheelhead. So I broke down and bought a new wheelhead that would mount to a 1" shaft with set screws, no taper.

Why did I like the tapered shaft so much? It's keyed into this collar for easy removal. No set screws, just lift. Brilliant. I'll try to incorporate this into the new one but I don't think it will work white as magnificently.

Here is the old shaft and the new. The old one was pretty junky looking, the plates were cut from scrap and pretty sloppy. I'm a decent welder and cutter, but the schools cutting torch is subpar. Somehow in the fabrication of the original the shafts ended up not being parallel to eachother, not a huge deal but it does cause irregular wear to the swivel joint that connects the shaft to the kick bar. I bought all new steel for the new one, I wanted one that had a little bit nicer look to it. I may give it a paint job as well. Very few people ever see the wheel up close and could probably care less but...craftsmanship and pride in your work are two things that I believe very strongly in. It doesn't matter if anyone else sees it, I see it. Here's a blast from the past with my views on this matter.

The bottom bearing, mortised into the bottom rail. That's right, mortised. Attention to detail, the flywheel rides about 1/2" above the bottom rail. It looks slick.

After cleaning out the tray I noticed these two little problem areas where the varnish is failing.  I'll give it a good cleaning, sanding and re-varnish.  I've got a few days until the new wheelhead comes in anyways. I used a marine varnish initially, I think I'll use it again and maybe apply more coats this time around.  Overall though I'm pleased with how it has held up.


Monday, September 5, 2011


Here are a few photos of how I process my "free" local materials. Free money-wise, expensive in labor. I'm currently processing a bunch of red clay, but the same process goes for the ash. Fortunately the granite I obtain is already a fine powder and needs no further processing. I use a wet-sieving process that doubles as washing for the wood ash. For the clay it keeps the dust down and keeps me from losing fine particles as dust. It takes 2 barrels/buckets of equal size and various sized sieves.
I start by filling a barrel 1/3-1/2 full of material. For red clay I just cover material with water, for ash I fill the whole barrel. I let the clay sit overnight and then mix it into a slurry with a drill-mixer. For the ash I stir it up and sieve out the charcoal lumps and let it sit overnight. The next day the ash will have settled and I'll pour off the excess water. From here on the process is the same.

The first sieve is an old kitchen sieve...probably like 8-10 mesh, on top of a clean, empty barrel. Fill the sieve about halfway and shake as much through as possible.

I use a hose nozzle set on shower to force the rest through the sieve. This is why you only fill the bucket halfway...the rest will fill with water that will be poured off after it settles. This is beneficial for the ash washing, just waste water for the red clay.

The remnants. Wash, rinse, repeat. Rinse out the barrel when finished and sieve back into that one the next day. The ash needs 5-6 hours minimum to settle, the red clay settles much faster. I prefer to just do it once a day though, easier for me. I start with a kitchen sieve, then 30 mesh, 50, 60, 80. After I'm done sieving I'll let it settle, pour off the excess water and pour it into sheets in my drying racks.

The ash barrel. The paddle is for mixing...and irreverent students. You don't wanna touch this stuff, I wear rubber kitchen gloves.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

True grit.

I just finished my evening class and thought I'd shoot off a quick post.
I mixed up a small batch of my clay with 10% 30 mesh sand in it, I wanted to see what it was like. I love the texture that's left after trimming and the slips do some awesome stuff over it but it's a hard sell...hard on the hands too.

True Grit.

Some deco'd bowls. 25#ers.

Some pitchers with a copper green that I haven't used in years.

Every room and studio in our art bldg has a regulator and hookup for our larger compressor that hasn't worked in years. I removed mine because it was in the way of my shelves and wouldn't you know it the sculpture professor tried to fix it. Damn, look at all that rusty water that was in the system. I should've taken a shot of the floor too. An excuse to clean I suppose...and cap the pipe.

That's all for now.