Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Don't Be Shy
There are lots of visitors (lurkers) out there I just know it. Don't be shy, please join in, make a comment, ask a question, give a suggestion. I'd love to hear from you. Blogger won't allow me to comment on certan moderated blogs with embedded comments, stating cookie value is null for form restoration. Blogger wants us to enable third party cookies which I am unwilling to do; or change browsers which I am unwilling to do. So if I haven't commented, I really have but my comments are not going through for this reason. This is a huge issues with lots of other folks and other blogs too. I've posted to the help forum with all the others but no fix yet.
I decided to take a break from human portraits and try my hand at an animal or two. I discovered animals may be more difficult to paint (with clay slip and stains) than people. After two hours working on this red fox I put him in the cabinet to rest. No, I put him in the cabinet so I could rest. Ha. I have more work to do on the fine hairs, the eyes, well all over.
The kiln just finished firing; I modified the once fired schedule to reduce the temperature slightly. In Florida lots of garages have full length screen doors in addition to the roll up door. Luckily ours has one which helps dissipate the heat but keeps the bugs from flying in. This summer I had an idea to reduce the heat even further in the garage when I'm firng. Hot air rises, so I've heard. So I put a fan on a top shelf near the ceiling to help blow all the hot air out of the garage. I don't have to climb on a ladder to turn the fan off, I have a toggle switch down lower to turn it off.
To help prevent cracking and warping of large flat pieces in the kiln I use porcelain sand. I sprinkle a little on the kiln shelf and smooth it into one layer and then lay my tiles on top of that. The sand acts like tiny ball bearings allowing the clay to move without creating stress on the shrinking piece during firing.
I learned this trick in my high fire days years ago. The school I attended had really rough shelves and my big platters, casseroles, and wall sculptures were warping or cracking till I started using this sand. I've used this sand up to Cone 11 without a problem. Right now I'm firing to either Cone 4, 5 or 6. I'm back to painting on the fox. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.