Friday, November 7, 2008

No need for 3 phase power.

Yesterday, I stopped by the nearby distributor of Skutt kilns, Minnesota Clay, and spoke with one of the helpful staff there who also run around and repair kilns for people. He said that it would be pretty inexpensive to replace the 208V components with 240V components and run the kiln on single phase power. This is fortunate, but I had already found a place that describes how to build your own rotary phase converter. I was in the process of trying to find sources for all the components I would need. It will be cheaper to convert it to run on single phase power. The picture to the left is what my kiln would look like brand new.

I also picked up 150lbs of clay. 50lbs of White Eathenware, 50lbs of Rainy Lake, and 50lbs of miscellaneous pug mill left overs for practice and experimentation. When I got it home the boys wanted to make some little animals with clay, so I broke out some of the cheap pug mill left overs. Christian and I made a nice little dog, and Rane made some space marines and a tank.



The experimental clay is very hard to work with, but as I explained to the boys as I was trying to throw this last night, "Sometimes the clay tells you that it doesn't want to be a pretty pot." And, "In art, there are sometimes mistakes, but more often happy accidents." I liked how this pot wanted to be more organic, and it reminded me of something I would see in the woods so I left it this way.

I have some "pretty" ones too, which I will post once they are baked.

4 comments:

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

sometimes if you have difficult clay, as I tell my students, wedge it 300-400 times....

Crafter of Khnum said...

Yes! And I was thinking just a little water in the wedging too. It was really very very stiff and would hardly not move at all.

Kelly said...

I know nothing about pottery, but I loved your explanation about clay not wanting to be a pretty pot! This piece is still pretty ineresting!

Crafter of Khnum said...

Welcome Kelly! Part of the problem is that the clay I'm trying to throw is a mystery, so it might be a mix of clay meant for slabbing or other purposes. It is also earthenware clay, so it tends to want to be a more massive form. I have been working on about 2 lb. pieces, so it might be even harder to throw a small delicate pot with clay which likes to be thicker. And, as a novice, I probably made the wall too thin on the bottom too quickly and that destabilized the wall of the pot. I'm also still trying to get the feel for the amount of moisture needed at various stages and I might have let a part of the pot get too wet, or let my hands get too dry which can lead to odd deformations. People tend to be left or right brain dominant, but I seem to be both. Because of my older son Rane, I'm discovering much about my own mental processing capabilities and challenges. Suffice it to say that I'm dually fascinated by the creative expression and the technical (physics, chemistry, etc.) of working in various artistic disciplines.