Paintings of the Traditional Porcelain Process

“Export” Art During the 18th Century, Guangdong province was the hub for trade with the West. The dialogue between Western merchants and artists with both painters and porcelain producers resulted in a unique blend of Chinese and Western styles. This blend was reflected in the painting styles for both Export Paintings as well as Export… Continue reading Paintings of the Traditional Porcelain Process

USG Plaster Slide Rule

Plaster Calculator Update:  1) Specify units in inches or centimeters, 2) Added @nbivins formula (via @jeffcampana‘s). More ideas for improvements?  Let me know in the comments! https://plaster.glazy.org/ (link in bio) Pictured here:  The original “gypsum cement & plaster VOLUME and MIX calculator” from USG with awesome 80’s graphic design. (Courtesy @earlyamericanrobotpottery)

Plaster Calculator

Calculate the amount of water and plaster you will need for various solid forms. https://plaster.glazy.org/ Bookmark this link on your phone’s browser for easy access! The code is open source and available on Github: https://github.com/derekphilipau/vue-plaster-calculator Inspired by Keith Simpson’s (@earlyamericanrobotpottery) plaster handout and the USG plaster calculator. The calculations are from USG (https://www.usg.com/), Keith Simpson… Continue reading Plaster Calculator

Stacked Firing Logs

Updated Printable Firing Charts with Fahrenheit & Celsius conversion and markers for common Orton Cones & Quartz Inversion:https://wiki.glazy.org/t/kiln-charts/

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Colour Wheels, Charts, and Tables Through History

†From the fascinating article by The Public Domain Review: “Colour Wheels, Charts, and Tables Through History” https://publicdomainreview.org/collections/colour-wheels-charts-and-tables-through-history/

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Mixing plaster in a plastic bag

Let sit for a minute or two, then stir for about 5 minutes, being careful not to entrail air into the mixture.

I’m not a plaster master, so I don’t know if this is a good or even original idea.  By mixing plaster in a plastic bag, it seems easier to remove bubbles from the mixture, while pouring is much more controlled.  It’s the same idea as using a garden watering can for pouring glaze:  You pour… Continue reading Mixing plaster in a plastic bag

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Working with a mirror

A potter friend once made fun of me for using a mirror. But no matter how much I improve, I don’t think I’ll ever stop using a mirror when I throw and trim.

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Blades

I use X-acto blades all the time, some modified for specific tasks like carving porcelain or scraping glaze off of feet. I’m not sure if it’s all part of a vast X-acto conspiracy, but it seems that a lot of people don’t know that these blades can be easily & quickly sharpened?  While there are a… Continue reading Blades

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Low-fire Electric Kiln

I’ve finally gotten a new low-fire electric kiln. This kiln is designed to fire up to 1000°C, so it’s useful only for on-glaze enamels and bisque. Total cost was 2900RMB, which is about $420USD.

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Slow drying

I have a couple “wet boxes”.  These are plastic bins with lids into which a layer of plaster has been poured.  The plaster is kept wet in order to maintain humidty, slowing (if not stopping) the drying process. However, I haven’t used the wet boxes in a long time.  I’ve found it much easier and… Continue reading Slow drying

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Kiln & Firing

This page is in progress and will cover my kiln and firing.  For now it is just a place to store my notes.

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Razor trimming

I’m not sure if double-edged safety razor are still available in the West, but here in Jingdezhen they are an essential trimming tool.  These razors are thin, sharp, and most importantly flexible.  Great for wheel-trimming details on small forms, or for scraping hand-built objects.  The most used brand is Flying Eagle.  I get the more expensive stainless… Continue reading Razor trimming

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Scanning Test Tiles

Having purchased a scanner for digitizing my family’s old photos, I had the brilliant idea to also scan glaze test tiles.  I thought I was a genius until Matthew Katz mentioned that he had been scanning tiles for the past ten years. Matthew noted that CCD scanners have a greater depth of field, which is great for three-dimensional… Continue reading Scanning Test Tiles

Smartphone Microscopy

Iron Red (Kaki) Glaze

Last year I purchased a USB microscope (see article).  It’s pretty fun, but ultimately I was really disappointed by the quality of the images.  The 5MP sensor seems pretty cheap and images have a lot of artifacts.  Furthermore I was never satisfied with the color. The best choice would probably be a “real” microscope with… Continue reading Smartphone Microscopy

Spraying Glaze

The spray canister is attached via rubber hose. A shut-off valve to controls air flow.

Spraying glaze is a fairly complicated process.  There are craftspeople in Jingdezhen whose only job is going from workshop to workshop spraying glaze.  There are so many factors involved with spraying (the type of work, thickness of work, type of glaze, glaze consistency, air pressure, spray head type, even weather) that it requires years of experience to… Continue reading Spraying Glaze

Mixing test glazes

Carefully measure out each ingredient into the bowl, placing into separate piles so that any extra material can be easily removed.

It’s important to wear a NIOSH certified mask whenever using dry glaze materials. I guess mixing up glazes isn’t that big of a deal, but I’m sharing my technique just in case there are some absolute beginners out there. I find it easier to use a digital scale, see my article here. Glazes “don’t travel well”, in… Continue reading Mixing test glazes