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I'd like to learn from others experiences on clays, glazes and firing too. I am experimenting with a few Cone 5/6 clays: Cassius, SRFG and Nara 5. I have my test tiles made up for all three clays. Now I need to order a pyrometer since my kiln only has a sitter and no dial showing the temp. I want a back up system so I don't overfire. What kind of kiln do you have or did you already say?

I got my first set of these clays at Duncan's, but recently a friend went to Laguna and Aardvark in LA and got me some more of those same three clays and other cone 10 clays.

In my school ceramics class, I am using Cone 10 clays Black Mountain, Russian River, Rod's Mix and will be trying Windsor Porcelain. I also used Half & Half. I use reduction glazes in a gas kiln.

At home I will be using Cone 5/6 electric kiln and glazes. I'll have to keep them all straight, all the slips etc. It might be kind of confusing. I start back to ceramic's class end of August.

Uh uh, I tried a new technique (well new to me) of using porcelain slip over my Cassius - hope they don't bloat. I heard from other potters on internet that Cassius is prone to bloating over Cone 4. Check out my blog bluestarrgallery.blogpsot/ to see the striped and pokka dot vases I did and I also did a slip transfer on a large bowl. They are now drying. I'll probably add some porcelain slip to one or two of my test tiles to see how they do before I fire my pieces. I am hoping to get some dialog from potters on my blog too - do you have a blog - or do any others in this group have blogs?
I've got a Cress with infinite switches and cone sitter, to cone 6; a Duncan Teacher with automatic firing schedules, to cone 8; and a small Paragon porcelain kiln I plan to use as a test kiln. I'm not sure if I'll get a pyrometer or cone watch through the peephole...cones are more accurate, in terms of heat work.

Using Cassius. I'll get the porcelain name later and post it. I also do some lowfire work. I'm just around the corner from Duncan and another place, but Duncan doesn't offer much for midrange and the other place is fading fast--older proprietor and I noticed they're not restocking--going to close maybe? I get my main supplies from Claypeople up in Richmond. Going up soon to restock. Leslie's is also in the area.

I used Cone 10's at the university--amador, Rod's mix, half and half (which I loved). Did some very nice oil spot work with celadon and iron red. They didn't secure our work, however, and a lot of mine walked off. Flattering, in some sense, but not very helpful for development. I'm at home now working mostly with midrange, sometimes lowfire.

Bloating is caused by carbon moving from within the clay to the outside, where it burns off. If the clay vitrifies before it can escape, it is trapped in an interior layer and expands, causing those bubbles/bloats. Slow firing at the early stage, so that all of the carbon's out before vitrification, is the answer. Low setting, lid propped so heat doesn't build up too quickly.

I'm blogging here about various art-related things but have not blogged about my ceramic work. I know I should start...should HAVE started, really, but.... :) Maybe this will prod me? We'll see.
Hi Victoria,

Tell me about your oil spot glaze. I am intrigued. I have only read about them. Do you have any photos?

At our college class, we all unload the kiln together and then we let our instructor see our work and then we take it home - I suppose stuff would walk off if we didn't take it home right away. Which means you better be at the class when they unload the kiln or let one of your classmates know to take your stuff home with them. It is disappointing to have stuff missing when you have done all that work.

I had trouble with half and half tending to crack and warp, but I hand build and am still perfecting some of my techniques. I also found out I was drying some of my platters and casseroles on cake trivets (and later found out the trivets were warped. I have heard about drying stuff on sheet rock and I have gotten some of that. The half and half does produce a beautiful glaze. The black clay also produces some nice glazes - it is interesting to see the same glaze on different clays and how it is completely different even in the same glaze firing.

my home is quickly filling up with a ton of clay stuff - I really need a dedicated studio to put everything in - one of these days. We hope to sell and downsize so I can have a studio, but the housing market isn't that great right now.

I find the blogging a great way to document what I am working on and to connect with other ceramic artists. I also hope my future ceramics customers will read my ceramics blog with interest about my work.
Ok, my brain is rusty but if I remember correctly (and I think I do) using a coat of celadon beneath iron red produces a very nice oil spotting through red. The reverse, celadon over iron red, produces a lovely black. Give me till the weekend to do the pictures and I'll post them here!

And yes, about unloading at class time --they did not do that. Whoever was on hand, opened and unloaded onto open shelves. For those of us who were working, not always possible to be there, as much as we might want to be. It might be almost a week before the class returned! It would have been very simple work to cage (and lock) a portion of the shelves--I never understood.

Home filling up with clay stuff?? Me? Shhhh..... :)

ok, iron red/celadon work, as promised. Pics are not the greatest (too tired to set up tripod or change light). These are from my first semester. One a plate with Japanese maple leaves pattern (I used the leaves themselves and glue or wax as resist).
Bowl's interior glaze was a bit thin compared to outside, but not bad for a first-timer. (All pics are thumbnails; click on them to see fuller-size images).
Wow victoria, those are beautiful. First semester - double wow. I love the maple leaves. Did you glaze them with a different color first and then put on the resist? I actually like the way they are displayed and photographed in a home setting, especially with the green wall background as a contrast. Did you make the vase displayed too? That's so organic, just love it.

I really have to get my kiln going. Stuff is piling up in my cabinet I need to fire and I have a bunch more ideas of stuff to make, particularly since I just went to a art festival this weekend. I have to order a pyrometer and just do it. I wish I knew someone living close by me who is experienced with firing electric kilns who would be willing to come over and fire the first time with me. Kind of scared to try - but I have test tiles to use so I won't be loosing any pieces I have made, if something goes wrong.
Thanks for the compliments Linda, these are favorite pieces of mine, too. I took the maple leaves off after the first dip (in celadon) so that only iron red would coat their forms. The resist came off imperfectly and that resulted in the unglazed clay showing through. I was disappointed as I did the work, but pleased when I saw the result...I began to learn to appreciate "imperfection." I made the vase, too. I had so much fun making whatever I pleased!

Electric kiln first time jitters...totally get it. And, you're right...just DO it. You'll laugh afterward.

I'm off up to the East Bay in two weeks and will hit Clay People's in Richmond. If there's anything you can't live without, drop me a line.

Also, if you have a moment, tell me about Nara 5? Properties, what's it good for, how does it perform, why do you use it...the usual :)
Hello. It sounds like you haven't visited Clay Mix yet. We are located on 1003 N Abby Street. We have some cone 5/6 clay from IMCO. I started this business so that you don't need to drive to LA or Bay Area to get supplies. Please stop by and check it out!

What else are you carrying? I'm looking for Cassius Clay, and ^5 Laguna Porcelain. What Glaze lines do you carry? Any chance you've got a listing and prices online? :)
Hi Victoria,

We carry a full-line - clay, raw materials, tools and equipment. We do not carry Laguna clay, which you can probably purchase from other ceramic stores in Fresno. We don't have on-line catalog yet, but it is on the way. You can contact us directly for prices. Our website is and phone number is 485.0065. Thanks!
Hi Victoria, I use Nara 5 as it was the recommended clay at Cone 6 for pendants and beads by Aardvark (and my bead workshop instructor). I am now using it for larger pieces and I really like it, little grog, plastic, not much cracking if it is covered and dried slowly. I shall see how it performs after firing and glazing. Thanks for the offer on supplies, I just got a bunch of stuff from Laguna and Aardvark from a friend who drove down there. I'll let you know when she goes again if you want some stuff from either of them.

I'm using the SRFG because it is a red colored clay and I like using different clay bodies. I have found that different clay bodies cause the various glazes to change colors and sometimes one is better than the other. For instance celadon fits porcelain like a glove. For other glazes the darker clays make them change colors. So far this is only with Cone 10 reduction. But I suspect it may be the same with Cone 6 and oxidation too. One of my theories is that the chemicals in the glaze react with the ingredients in the different clays to change the color of the glaze - this is only off the top of my head - I'd like to read something on it to see if my theory is correct or not. Since I am pretty much autodidactic in my ceramics study - I have lots of questions and theories but need to verify, research, and network with other clay people to see if I can validate my thoughts.

Guess what - I got a slab roller - made by a friend. I can't wait to use it. I start class at the college next week - Monday night, so I'll be working in Cone 10 again too. You can see my slab roller on my blog at

Thanks for the info on the VIBE. Are you going to share a booth with someone or go it alone? My husband is working till 4:30 and he usually goes with me to help set up. Wonder if folks can get booths next to one another? If so, perhaps we could help each other set up - I just can't get my canvas up by myself. I wish I lived closer to Fresno - I might change my mind if there is still space available in a day or two. We shall see. Oh, you can see my booth set up from the last festival on my blog too. Have you done a festival before? Do you have any photos of your booth or ideas on that topic? Perhaps I should start another topic for that.
I was wondering if there was anyone in the Visalia area who offers kiln time and for how much... I am in desperate need of a kiln, I am looking for cone 10. But funds are low to by one.


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