Monday, April 25, 2011

Glazes and the Craigslist mold adventure.

Well, the guessing game is over. My pieces have been fired in the kiln, and I was surprised by some results, and of course mostly disappointed with the rest, which is why I have decided to move onto working with under glazes, and stains for a while. I only have a couple of pieces that I took pictures of the finished product. The rest have been packed up in a box for future refirings, or whenever I get around to them again.

I ran into a bit of a surprise this past week. I was reading up on a tutorial on Ceramic Daily Art’s site about using slip casting molds as push and peel molds with stained clay. I was intrigued, so I went about on Craigslist to see if anyone was getting rid of their surplus of ceramic molds, and boy was it my lucky day. I’m used to seeing ceramic molds on Craigslist, but they usually are around 10-15 molds, and the seller usually wants over $100 for the whole bulk lot, which I usually shake my head and say, “Oh well", and pass on and wait for something better.

I got lucky last week. I found a guy in New Albany whos Dad used to run a ceramic slip manufacturing company and he was posting on Craigslist trying to get rid of the vast amount they had accumulated. In fact, the pictures he posted did no justice. The guy had literally a small hardware store sized barn full of racks and racks and RACKS of ceramic molds and was only asking for a mere $20 per four shelf rack. So, I was running away with these $17-$100 a piece molds for a damage of $40 at the end of the evening. I managed to make out with around 35-40 molds.

(RIGHT PICTURE: Our newly found treasures. )

I felt like I was on American Pickers, rummaging through this old man's collection of molds. He must have had around a couple thousand of molds. I was like a kid in a candy store as my husband pulled me away from the racks and racks of molds. The guy’s son told me about when business was booming, and the processes they went through to make the ceramic slip. They were extremely friendly and helpful, which is something that's hard to come by on Craigslist with the "Buyer beware" mentality.

The trip was successful as I got what I was wanting. I was able to find a teapot mold AND a separate mold for tea pot spouts and tea pot lids. <-- (My absolute worst enemy) Also, I was able to locate a lot of plain molds for plates, vases.. etc.

So there was much shuffling around, cleaning, fighting off black widows and organizing in the basement at the Houston House, and I used some empty shelves in the basement to house my small collection, because I know I’m not going to use all of them, so I figured they’d work out good for maybe a future class, or if someone else enthusiastic such as myself drops by the art league.
(RIGHT PICTURE: A 1960's lamp Crest mold we snagged.)

Speaking of the Houston House, I must be doing something right, because I have been asked by some of the ladies to teach a ceramics class, and don’t let my timid outward appearance and emotions fool you, I am E-X-C-I-T-E-D!

This will also give me an excuse to order some Speed Ball ceramic underglazes for me to test and for the class, as they are easier to paint with and not as much of a hassle as my experience with Stoneware glazes. I've used SpeedBall Stoneware, and underglazes. I wasn't impressed with the Stoneware Glazes they produce as they look very opaque, and look much like you tried to color your piece with a permanant marker. However, I was told the underglazes they produce with a stoneware top glaze usually turn out flawless.

Happy Trails until next time!

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