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How to Make Pottery in Under a Week!

Posted on November 12, 2018

 So you need to make something in a pinch, eh? Be it ornaments, decorative plates, jewelry, flower vases, you name it, it can be done using the magic of Laguna's Paper Clay and the bold colours of Stroke & Coat by Mayco.


Instructions
Paper clay is a super resilient clay body that fires cone 04-10. It can dry quickly and even be fired damp! 

  1. First, make your piece and allow it to dry over 1-2 days. You can speed up the drying process on Day 2 by putting a fan on it or setting it on a warm kiln.
  2. Add Stroke & Coat directly on the greenware. Paper clay is porous, so it may really suck up the glaze! Be sure to give 3 even heavy coats for an even application. It works even better if you're greenware is bone dry.
  3. Fire it as a single cone 5 glaze firing and voila!

    KEEP IN MIND: Your pieces won't be food safe, but it will be full vitrified, glossy and durable as a decorative piece. If that ain't magic, I don't know what is!

 

If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to pop in or give us a call to know more! 

 

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Our Top 5 Pottery Hacks for Glazing!

Posted on August 09, 2018

Our top 5 hacks when it comes to everything glaze related!

  1. Die your wax resist.
    We use Tucker's Wax Resist, which comes as a translucent wax. Add a couple drops of blue food colouring to see exactly where you’ve waxed. Won’t stain your bisqueware!

  1. Fire small or unbalanced pieces on the Bed of Nails.
    This is a regular kiln stilt on steroids! The Bed of Nails is a platform that features dozens of little nails to make loading wobbly or small pieces a DREAM in the kiln. Interlock them to create a wide base for pieces to rest on without a chance of warping, sticking to the shelf or falling over.

  1. Mix buckets of glaze with a (NEW CLEAN) toilet brush.
    It’ll be the best $1.25 you’ll ever spend on a pottery tool! Trust us, try it.

  1. Put fused glaze pieces in the freezer to release them.
    Did your jar’s lid stick to the rim of the pot after firing? Throw it in the freezer for at least 2 hours, then take it out and tap it with a wooden spoon. If it’s only a little bit of glaze that's fusing it together, it should release (Thanks to Leslie for this hack!)
  1. Pour glaze over big pieces using a watering can.
    Our best hack we’ve ever discovered! If your piece is too big to dip in a bucket of glaze, don’t opt for brushing the glaze on. All you need it a pint of glaze, a banding wheel/lazy susan, a stainless steel bowl, a watering can (or juice jug) and 2 wooden stakes.

    Pour your glaze in the watering can, set up the pieces to be glazed as pictured below, then spin the wheel and pour! It gives a perfect, even coverage. You would think it was dipped!

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Try this 5-step formula for perfect glaze results!

Posted on January 04, 2018

This month we're taking a look at what it takes to glaze a real "show-stopping" piece, and we think we have a fool-proof formula! We use this method in our own production, saving both time and money... plus it gives amazing results! 

Getting a complex, "drippy," result can be accomplished at home without a whole lot of brainpower and heartache. Some of the most successful glaze results can happen with only a couple glazes. That's right - only 2 glazes! 

It's as simple as choosing a base glaze and an accent glaze!

Crazed Copper base + Mottled Blue


STEP 1: Choose a "stable" base glaze.
 
By stable, we mean that it doesn't drip or have a tendency to run. They are often just a single colour that is unchanging, meaning it doesn't "break" or do anything fancy. Choosing a "celadon" is a safe bet.

 

Photo 1: Forest by Laguna
Photo 2: Lavender by Amaco
Photo 3: Sedona Sunset by Coyote


STEP 2: Make your base glaze dip-able! 
Yes, that means manually mixing up a bucket of dry glaze! We have a simple method for mixing dry glaze in our last blog post here, for anyone feeling intimidated.
Mixing up 5lbs dry is a good start. Dipping (instead of brushing) your glaze ensures you get an even base coat without running the risk of putting it on too heavy. It's also far more economical to do it this way because dry glaze is cheap - and you will need more glaze to cover a whole piece! Plus, dipping is just faster. 

 

STEP 3: Choose a rebellious, wild, unpredictable pint of glaze!
AKA: the most fun step. Choose your accent glaze! These are the glazes you see that have a lot of stuff going on. They break into different colours, have a tendency to run, are often metallic or are apart of a glaze family that's a little bit unpredictable. They're like the wild child of the family, or your best friend who's a bad influence. These are the glazes that are going to add life to your piece! These are best purchased in pints, as you won't be needed a whole lot of them. 

Photo 1: Gun Metal Green by Coyote
Photo 2: Ancient Jasper by Amaco
Photo 3: Red Gold by Coyote

STEP 4: Apply to the top 1/3 of your peice. 

Add your accent glaze to the top 1/3 of your piece. Works especially great on a bowl or mug because gravity is going to pull drips of glaze down to the bottom.
Using a glaze bulb, you can swirl glaze on the ridge or in the centre of a bowl, platter, etc. This will achieved concentrated, thick drips.

Using a fan brush, you can brush an entire layer of glaze right over the base glaze. As a general rule of thumb, we only add one coat of the accent glaze (so it doesn't run the risk of dripping off the piece and onto the kiln shelf). This will achieve a more uniform, but complex colour.


This was applied with a glaze bulb around the edge of the mug rim.


STEP 5 (Optional): Try a third accent 

Because, why not? Just follow the same step as above - applying a little less glaze for each layer. We LOVE to use any of Coyote's line of Archie Glazes because they're formulated to run, drip and blend with any glaze they come into contact with. It's a great way to bond everything together. 

Photo 1: Baby Blue Satin base + Ice Blue.
Photo 2: Starry Night base + Smokey Merlot + Fire Opal
Photo 3: Forest base + Gun Metal Green


 The beauty of this method is that once you have a base glaze, all you have to worry about is buying pints of glaze here and there to get countless combinations!

 

Need some inspiration? Come by our studio anytime and we can help you pick out some great combos with lots of examples! Amaco also does an EXCELLENT job of cataloguing all thier glaze combinations.

Happy glazing, folks!
- Sarah

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Want consistent glaze results? We'll show you how to check Specific Gravity!

Posted on June 24, 2017

What is Specific Gravity (sg)? 

It is a calculations of how many particles of actual glaze material exist in a standard unit, in this case, in 100ml of water. If we can find out how dense the particle count is, then we'll know how thickly the glaze will apply.

Calculating a "sweet spot" of 145-150sg ensures you've mixed the glaze properly and that you're getting the best possible outcome for your glaze. 

If you're a visual learner, this cool graphic might help put all the pieces into place!

You'll need:

Step 1: We're going to work in the unit "grams." Place your graduated cylinder on the scale and measure it's weight. This graduated cylinder is 14g.

Step 2: With your graduated cylinder still on the scale, pour your glaze into it up to the 100g mark (Remember: 100 ml = 100 g).

Step 3: Read the weight showing on the digital scale, then subtract 14g (the weight of the graduated cylinder).

Step 4: That final number is your glaze's current specific gravity!

 

You want to have a glaze that is within 145-150 sg. 

 

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Mixing dry glaze at home with simple kitchen tools!

Posted on June 24, 2017

Learning how to mix dry glaze allows for endless possibilities! Why is mixing dry glaze the way to go?

  1. You can dip it! This helps get a more even coverage.
  2. It's far more economical.
  3. You feel like a mad scientist!

It's easy once you get the hang of it. We'll show you how to mix dry glaze for a 1lb batch and how to check the surface gravity so that you get consistent results every time.

You'll need:

  • 1lb dry glaze
  • A sealable container, preferably one that can hold 2 pints
  • Water
  • Stir stick
  • Hand-held blender (optional)
  • 60 Mesh Sieve (optional)

Step 1: Add 1lb of dry glaze into a container. Add 2g Brushing Medium if you're planning on applying the glaze with a brush (not needed for Coyote Glazes).

Step 2: Begin by adding 10oz of water and mix vigorously, preferably with a hand blender. You're aiming for the consistency of heavy cream. Add the remaining 2oz of water if needed.

Step 3: Let stand for 24 hours to allow mixture to settle.

Step 4: After letting it sit for 24 hours, mix again and use a sieve to remove any particles. We recommend using the 60 Mesh Mini Sieve.

Step 5: Check your Specific Gravity

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