• DISCLAIMER: This article is intended as a reference only. The hazards listed are only a small percentage of the hazards presented when working with clay, glazes, and chemicals. It is the responsibility of each/every person working with these materials to know the risks involved. Always refer to the MSDS,  accompanying reference materials, and/or OSHA, for any/all materials you will be handling.

    Working with clay and glazes in your pottery studio carries certain health risks due to hazardous materials in them. Knowing what you are working with, and how it can affect you, is an important component of being a potter.

    It doesn't matter if you are small hobbyists, or large production potter, the risks are the same... just in different doses.

    Today, we will touch on some of the most common hazards, however; you should always research each and every component of your working materials.

  • EMaybe you're just starting out, don't have room for a kiln, or just don't make enough pieces to warrant that large of a purchase, in any case... this article is for you.

    In today's post we're going to touch on a few ways to transport your greenware safely for firing at a "satellite" location. With a few tips from articles I've read over the years, as well as my own experiences, we're hoping to get those pieces from point A to point B in ONE PIECE!

    • Clay Blog Review: May 2017 - Pottery Making Info |

      […] Big Ceramic Store: How To Safely Transport Greenware […]

  • You've just pulled a fresh batch of wares from the kiln and they are amazing, however; without the finishing touches on you pots, they may not live up to your expectations.

    A rough bottom, that scratches your customers table, is not only going to upset the customer and possibly cost you repairs, but it could ruin your reputation in a hurry!

    It only takes a few minutes with a piece of sandpaper, Grit Quick Cleaners, a Kemper SMS Tool, or a sanding disk, to make that pots bottom as soft as a baby's.

    Let me show you a few examples...

  • If you're in the market for a potter's wheels, whether you need a new one, or if you're just getting started, this is the post for you. We will discuss the different styles, manual vs. electric, and the benefits of each.

    Let's get started with the most popular wheel...

    Electric Wheel

    Electric wheels are by far the most popular for several reasons...

    1. Easy to use
    2. Versatile
    3. Forward/reverse functions
    4. Many styles to choose from
    5. Tabletop models available for portability

    So what makes electric wheels so easy to use? Well, you put your clay on the wheel head... turn it on... and press the pedal! It rotates at the same speed for as long as you want, or you can speed it up and slow it down when needed.

    If you're a beginner, the simplicity of this wheel's operation is exactly what you need! No need to worry about keeping your feet moving while you're concentrating on your hand movements.

    If you're working on a "masterpiece" and have to stand up or move around to see it from different angles, or in motion, this is the perfect type of wheel for you.

    There are a wide range of makes/models available on the market today. When you are deciding on a purchase, my suggestion is... "Don't go for the cheapest... go for the best... the one that best suits you!"

    Kick wheels

    Kick wheels are not as popular as electric wheels, however; many professionals prefer them over electric wheels for several reasons...

    1. The ability to rotate freely clockwise/counter-clockwise
    2. Without a motor, they are pretty much maintenance free
    3. They virtually last a lifetime
    4. They are perfect for trimming your pieces
    5. There is a unique feeling that goes with a kick wheel... often referred to as a "zen-like feeling"
    6. Some manufacturers offer kickwheels with motors. You simply engage the motor when you need a break, or for detailed work.

    Note: Kickwheels are very heavy making them difficult to move. They also require a lot of leg action, which could lead to knee problems in the future.

    That being said, if you want to be "one with nature," this type of wheel will help you get there!

    Specialty Wheels

    Portable Wheels are great for those that want to take them along on vacation, or if you live in different homes throughout the year. They also make a great wheel for teachers!

    Rehabilitation Wheels are phenomenal for those that cannot use a regular wheel. They are wheelchair accessible, larger than other wheels, have casters that make them easy to move into position, and lock down feet to keep them stationary for throwing.

    Whatever your wheel needs are, don't hesitate to email our Customer Support Team, or call us toll free at 888-513-5303,for additional information and answers to any questions you may have!

    • Clay Blog Review: April 2017 - Pottery Making Info |

      […] Big Ceramic Store: The Potter’s Wheel – Which One Is Right For You […]

  • A few weeks back we sent an email asking our readers what they'd like to see in our posts. One thing we were asked is how to judge the thickness on pots thrown on the potters wheel.

    Here are two simple tricks that I've used in my quest for "perfection!" Mind you... I'm still on that quest but at least I believe I've mastered the thickness issue.

    Grab your coffee and apron and follow me to the studio!

    • Clay Blog Review: April 2017 - Pottery Making Info |

      […] Big Ceramic Store: Tips For Judging Base Thickness On Thrown Pots […]

    • 12 Tips for Making Pots - Pottery Making Info |

      […] Link […]

  • Although I had a different topic picked out for today's post, however; I've decided to write on disappointing kiln openings, as it's very fresh in my mind since I had that this morning.

    Have you ever been so excited to open the kiln you could hardly wait for it to cool down? I've been there many times, however; I have learned to be a bit more patient over the years.

    This firing was one of those I couldn't wait to see though. I could have opened the kiln late last night but convinced myself to wait until today. I'm so glad I did, or I probably wouldn't have gotten much sleep!

    There isn't much I find more frustrating then opening the kiln to find some not so nice looking products. So what do you do next?

    • Clay Blog Review: March 2017 - Pottery Making Info |

      […] Big Ceramic Store: Disappointment When Opening The Kiln […]

  • It's really starting to feel and look like spring out there! Do you have your spring glazes in stock and ready to go? If not, here are some recommendations from BCS.

    What colors do you think of when you think spring? Me... well, pink, purple, yellow, green, blue... all in pastel are the ones that immediately come to mind. They remind me of Easter, and Easter reminds me that spring is here.

    One of the easiest ways to get your "color on" is to check out the color charts available from the different glaze manufacturers.

    • Clay Blog Review: February 2017 - Pottery Making Info |

      […] Big Ceramic Store: Glaze Color Charts and Their Use […]

  • Do you have any mending agents in your supply closet? If you work with mid to high fire clays, and don't have Marx Aztec High Fire Mender in there, you don't know what you are missing out on!

    Recently we did an elephant sculpture series, and to my dismay, I broke his tail while I was glazing him. Not all was lost though, Marx mending agent saved my tail!

    Today I want to talk about a couple different agents and their use, so grab a notebook and settle in for some good info!

  • If you've followed our elephant sculpture series, you know I left it at a point where you could finish it the way you wanted, however; if you haven't finished it yet, you may want to see how I am finishing mine.

    I will use a combination of mason stains and glazes, to give depth and definition to the details, as well as leaving some areas bare to accent the piece.

    You will need a black mason stain, white glaze (I prefer a satin matte finish), a couple small mixing containers, and brushes.

    Follow me to the studio and let's see how it turns out!

    • 13 Pottery Decorating Techniques and Tips - Pottery Making Info |

      […] Ceramic Store explains how to mix mason stains and glaze to get some great […]

  • If you read our last post, you're probably pretty excited about this one! As I promised, we're starting a series on learning to sculpt. What type of clay and tools you may need, how to support during the process, additive and subtractive methods, and we'll even touch on firing and glazing.

    Since I'm fairly new at sculpting myself, I didn't think it would be fair for me to make one I've done in the past, so I decided an elephant would be a good subject. The body is fairly easy and the rest... well... we'll figure it out as we go!

    Mind you, it's not going to be "life-size", I don't think my studio is big enough for that! You can, however; use the steps in this series and make it the size you want, but if this is your first attempt at sculpting you may want to start on the smaller size.

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