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.


  1. I like your fox. Laying large flat pieces on sand is a great idea which I have used myself and found it worked well.

  2. Really love the fox, Linda. Hope you'll post a pic when finished.

  3. I have the same problem with commenting. Hope it gets fixed.
    Foxes are my favorite animals. Nice job.

  4. You should hear the foxes around here Linda. They sound so funny.

    Chrome is the only one I could get to work with my blog and so I used it grudgingly at first, but now I actually like it better for everything. I guess I'll change my comments back to pop-ups, but I like the embedded page so much better. Oh well. I guess they consider us mere visitors in their Blogger World. I keep thinking up WordPress but it would be such a hassle switching.

  5. Thanks for the tip about porcelain sand. I have a problem with warping sometimes during drying time. I read that sandwiching tiles between drywall to dry prevented warping. Have you ever tried this?
    Like the fox.

  6. Over the past 2 days or so, I noticed quite a few of my own readers click on my link to your blog. Hopefully, they liked what they saw and will be back. I admire the fact that you have your own kiln and can fire your pieces whenever you want.

  7. Hi Linda... I'm guilty of lurking!
    I've really been enjoying watching these tiles grow. It's been interesting watching your drawing confidence grow as they've developed ( i can't often comment on the technicalities of pottery, but drawing/painting..well, i have more experience there!)
    I loved the wide eyed woman.. really confident mark making and great shape/composition.

  8. you always have the most interesting and helpful tips! would never have thought of this... thanks!

  9. Hi Anna, thanks, yes the sand has helped me so many times.

    Hi Barbara, thanks, I worked on him some more. It'll be a while before he's done, cause he has to dry and then I need a kiln load to fire.

    Hi Patti, thanks, I read they only live a short time in the wild so sad they are so cute.

    Hi Linda, thanks, I read they make strange noises but I have never heard them. Perhaps I may have to change to Chrome I have to get some photos on an external drive first as my computer is old and doesn't have much virtual memory. I wish I was more computer savy I have to do things step by step. I guess they assume we all have modern computers when not everyone does.

    Hi Melissa, thanks and welcome, I have heard that about drying tiles between two pieces of drywall but have never tried it. Since mine have the slip and stain paintings or have large sprigs that wouldn't work for these, but I do dry them on dryway.

    Hi Gigi, thanks, each time I fire I learn something and it is fun being in control of my own kiln, the stories I could tell you about my classroom experience, it's a miracle I stuck with the clay. How can you tell folks click on my blog, I am so behind the times on these computer things. Ha.

    Hi Scott, thanks so much for commenting, I just unloaded another load and some of those aren't as good as the ones I'm doing now so I am improving the brush strokes. It takes practice and also learning which size brush to use and how much to load onto the brush. I am enjoying this so much I wish I started when I was younger doing more art, oh well, can't go back only forward, so many ideas and so little time, thanks again.

    Hi Amy, thanks, I can't believe last summer I didn't think about putting the fan up high, it really does help. Ha. Now in the winter it will be a different story, I'll let the heat stay inside. I wish I had known some of these tips when I was first starting out so I hope they help others.

  10. The info about people clicking on the link to your blog appears on my statistics page. Blogspot has one, also.

  11. Thanks for the reminder about the porcelain sand. I am about to fire some larger pieces... and I have some of that sand... somewhere. I'll find it and use it! Thanks!


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment