Big Ceramic Store Blog

Monthly Archives: January 2016

  • Do you use slip for trailing or painting on your pots? Have you ever wanted to add some raised texture or heavy lines? One of the best ways I've found to do it is to use slip. Whether you trail it on, paint it on, or add it to the surface of the entire piece for dimension, slip is an amazing asset to your supply collection!

    Commercial slips like Laguna Glacier White, can be purchased pre-mixed and ready to go. Adding stains, or oxides, you can make pretty much any color under the sun. Test firing will need to be done, to ensure it will adhere to your clay body, and for an accurate sample of the fired color.

    I prefer to make my own for a few reasons,

    • It will mesh with my piece since it's the same clay body
    • I like to "mix it up a bit" with colors, so using my clay scraps is cheaper, and uses them up

    Are you ready to make a few of your own slips? Grab your coffee and follow me out to the studio!

    • teresa | #

      I am using Georgies timberline grogged clay for handbuilding a large piece, the grog is showing so I bought the same clay without grog and thought id make a slip from it to cover my pot, i want to know if I can whiten it more by adding some Kaolin or tin oxide and is so how much would I use?
      Thanks for your help
      teresa

  • After doing the hummingbird tile last month, I thought it would be neat to make a template, and create a set that matches the tile. You know, canisters, platters, pitchers etc... things for in the kitchen.

    The first thought that came to mind, was to use the plastic template I made, and trace it onto slabs. The work involved, in carving each piece though, seemed like a huge undertaking. How could I duplicate the pattern without spending hour after hour carving?

    Then I remembered, I purchased a sheet of linoleum and carving tools a few months back. What if I were to draw an image on that sheet, carve it out, and use it to impress the pattern on my clay? Hmmm... now there's an idea I could sink my teeth into!

    I was so excited! Follow me out to the studio and see what happened!

  • Only nine days left for employers, lenders, investors, and so on... to get reports compiled and mailed out for income tax preparation. Will you be getting a refund? Do you have plans for that refund? Do you have a wish list for the studio?

    My wish list is HUGE, but I really hope to purchase a new kiln. Not that mine isn't functional, it is, but I would like more cubic feet and electronic controls. Isn't that every potter's dream? A kiln that you can set to do what you want it to do, and not worry about it?

    I know it's my dream! I dread the thought of having to flip a switch every hour, close peep holes, watch that darn little cone bend and hope I didn't miss the perfect time to fire down! Is there a kiln purchase on your wish list too?

    Well, today I'm going to talk about my kiln research, what I "want" in a new kiln, and what I need to do if I want to make that wish come true. Grab a paper and pencil, and let's start your "Perfect Kiln For Me" list.

  • When I was at the craft store recently, I saw some really cute hearts on a stick. With Valentine's Day just around the corner, we're all looking for good projects for the kids, and I think this is perfect! Oh, and St. Patrick's Day is creeping up on us as well... anyone up for Shamrocks or a Pot-O-Gold on a stick?

    You only need a few supplies, they're really easy, and super cute. Let your imagination run wild and get creative, or keep it simple! Use texture, letter stamps or paints, do a basic heart or kick it up a notch by overlaying multiple hearts, make a cupid or roses... Any way you choose to make them, they are sure to be a crowd pleaser!

    When they are done, you can stick them in a vase, pencil cup or planter. The kids can take them to school for their teachers, hand them out to friends, or give them to parents and siblings.

    Grab your coffee and let's head to the studio for some fun! Ps... don't forget to invite the kids!

  • As a beginning potter, I was unsure of the tools I would need to get started. I looked at all the manufacturers, and their different "beginner" sets, but I was still confused. In the end, I did purchase a Kemper 9 Piece Pottery Tool Set to get started, and it was a great fit.

    That being said, I'm always on the lookout for new tools, and have collected a vast array of them over the years. In today's post, we'll go over some of the throwing tools I consider essential, and next week, we'll cover handbuilding and sculpting tools.

    Grab your coffee and follow me to the studio.

  • I wanted a unique Valentines Day card for my husband this year, but just couldn't find anything I like. After searching a few stores, I decided to make him a card. What the heck, I'm artistic and creative, how hard could it be to come up with something awesome?

    Well, after a few attempts at unique, I realized the cards were pretty much a handmade version of the cards in our local stores. That's just not good enough this year, it has to be perfect.

    Then, a light went off in my head! I'm going to make a jigsaw puzzle with a special message! Grab your coffee and follow me to the studio. Let's see what we can come up with...

  • Do you ever find yourself with a bunch of clay scraps just sitting in a bucket, box or bag? What do you do with them? Do you throw them away, reclaim it, just keep piling it up? Well, let's talk about some things you can do with it.
    There are a gazillion ways to soften clay, but today, we're going to focus on  few techniques I use when the clay still has moisture in it. For example, cut offs from slab work, or trimmings from the wheel, etc...
    Grab your coffee, and an apron, and head to the studio. This job may get messy...

  • For those of you who were anxiously awaiting part three of the series, I apologize, for not getting it to you last week as planned. Unfortunately, a series of events, led to the post being delayed. With that being said, let's get this party started!


    At this point, you have your tiles cut, designed, air dried, and ready for some finishing touches. Have you given any thought to how you want to finish your project? Do you want it to be shiny, bold, muted, organic...

    My plan is to utilize underglaze, and Duncan's Clear Matte Sealer, to give my piece the "white washed" and vintage look. With a little luck, it will turn out exactly as planned.     Pst.... you realize I'm only kidding right... pottery RARELY turns out exactly as planned.

    With a plan in mind, grab your cup of coffee, and let's head out to the studio!

  • Your friends at Big Ceramic Store want to wish you a Very Happy New Year!

    Today is the first day of that new year, take time to enjoy and appreciate the little things!

    Live life to the fullest ~ Love unconditionally ~ Look for good in all things ~ Hug your family and friends often ~ Smile at a stranger ~ Let your heart see the beauty all around you ~

    Don't just reach for the stars... MAKE THIS THE YEAR YOU REACH FOR YOUR DREAMS!

     

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