Friday, September 14, 2012

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Adult Pottery Classes: Fall 2012 and Winter 2013

P.E.I Potters Studio at Victoria Park (small white house next to tennis courts)

Adult Classes

Classes are taught by professional Island potters and are designed to be fun as well as educational. Perfect for beginners as well as those with some experience. Classes are small in size (maximum of 8), relaxed and informal in style. Instruction covers the basics of clay preparation, wheel-throwing techniques, and glazing and decoration. Hand-building techniques can also be explored depending on interest. A great way to relieve stress and enhance creativity while learning a new skill! Participants will get a thorough introduction to the art of
pottery making and have fun while creating their own pieces from start to finish.

Fall session: Registration will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the studio
  • Mondays  6:30 to 9:30 PM   September 24 to November 26  $200 plus clay ($25) 
  • Tuesdays  6:30 to 9:30 PM   September 25 to November 27  $200 plus clay ($25) 
  • Thursdays  6:30 to 9:30 PM   September 27 to November 29  $200 plus clay ($25)

Winter session: Registration will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the studio
  • Mondays      6:30 to 9:30 PM      January 14 to March 18 $200 plus clay ($25)
  • Tuesdays      6:30 to 9:30 PM      January 15 to March 19 $200 plus clay ($25)*
  • Thursdays      6:30 to 9:30 PM      January 17 to March 21  $200 plus clay ($25)
*If enough participants are interested, an intermediate/advanced class will be offered that will focus more on throwing complex forms and in glazing and decorating.

For more information call Barb at 368-3268.

Children's Pottery Classes: Fall 2012 and Winter 2013

POTTERY IN THE PARK (Fall 2012 and Winter 2013)

PEI Potters Studio
Victoria Park (small white house next to tennis courts)

Childrens Class (Ages 9-14)

A class for children aged 9-14 will be held on Saturdays. While creative exploration with clay is stressed, beginners will learn the basics of clay preparation, a variety of hand-building techniques, glazing and decorating and an introduction to wheel throwing. Students with previous experience may focus more on wheel throwing. The class is taught by an experienced potter and is designed to be fun as well as educational. The class is small in size (maximum of 8) and relaxed and informal in style. Participants will get a thorough introduction to the art of pottery making and have fun while creating their own pieces from start to finish.

Fall Session: Registration will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012
from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the studio

Saturdays:  1:30 to 3:30 PM *      Sept. 29 to Dec. 1    $175
(includes clay)        age 9-14

Winter Session: Registration will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013
from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the studio

Saturdays: 1:30 to 3:30 PM  *    Jan. 19 to March 23  $175 (includes
clay)          age 9-14

* Note: if enough students register an additional class will be held
on Saturday mornings.

For more information call Barb at 368-3268.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Maintaining Kiln Shelves (or the perils of glaze drips)

Potters love to play with glazes.  A studio potter puts a lot of work into perfecting a range of glaze recipes and to get a kiln firing routine to get consistent and predictable results.  At our studio we have a constant flux of new members, all looking to try out new glazes, find new glaze recipes and try different glaze combinations or mixing oxide stains with glazes.  This is a lot of fun.  It's also can lead to damaging our kiln shelves (and your piece of pottery) by having glazes run off your piece and bond with the shelf. 

Glazes can run down the sides and pool on the kiln shelves for different reasons.  A very common reason is simply that the glaze is applied too thickly for that particular pot.  The higher and more vertical the sides of the pot, the more likely a glaze is to run down the sides to the shelf. If two different glazes overlap, chances go up.  If the two glazes don't have a similar base recipe changes go up.  If the glaze is mixing with an oxide stain painted on the sides, chances go up. If the kiln fires to a temperature above what the glaze is meant to be fired at (e.g. cone 7 or 8 when our glaze recipes are for cone 6), chances go up.

When this happens, someone has to chip off the bits of glaze and pottery off the shelf.  As most tasks in our pottery studio are done on a volunteer basis, that means that we don't get to buy a new shelf, we fix it.  In the years I've been a member, I've lost count of the number of times I've had to do this.  Below is my little photo-record of what happens. It's not the only method, but it's the method we use in our studio.

Step one: make sure you're wearing protective glasses. As you chip away, razor-sharp bits can fly in unexpected directions. Prescription eyeglasses don't do a good enough job. Buy and wear eye protection.

Step two: use your hammer and chisel and, as gently as possible to reduce the speed of any pieces that come off, chip away to remove the broken glaze and pottery from the kiln shelf. 

If your shelf has a thin layer of kiln wash (more on that below), the pieces should come off relatively easily because the dripped glaze bonds to that instead of the shelf itself.  If the shelf is bare, you can gouge chunks of the shelf while chipping away. 

Step three: Sand off any remaining rough patches.  This could be done many ways, or even skipped in some cases, but it helps to level out the shelf and can take off layers of kiln wash if needed.  We try not to have thick layers of kiln wash  as it can flake off during a kiln firing, swirl around in the air currents inside and stick into the glaze of your very favourite piece of pottery (it's like magic that way, knowing exactly which piece is the most precious).

I like to use a hard block sander because it minimizes the amount of fine kin wash that can be sprayed into the air.  It tends to settle on the shelf and then we sweep it off.

Step four: Apply kiln wash by painting it to the shelf.

As we have an electric kiln and stoneware kiln shelves, we use a mixture of 50% silica and 50% kaolin-EPK. There are different recipes.  Mix up the two dry ingredients.  I like to put them in a closed, tightly lidded container and then go outside and shake them thoroughly. Let the container contents settle so that when you open it, you don't inhale the fine powder mix (trust me -- as potters we can't avoid all silica dust, but you can minimize your exposure). I've read to add enough water to get it to "pancake mix" thickness, but we get it a bit thinner than that. 


Step 5: Make sure the kiln shelf is completely dry before you use it in your kiln.  If you start the kiln firing while it's wet, it's more likely to flake off and wreck the glaze of the pieces in the kiln.  A great time to reapply the kiln wash is while the shelf is still warm from the previous firing as it dries faster. 

And that's it!

Now a big question -- if you're a member of our pottery co-op, would you be willing to help us out and take on fixing the kiln shelves and/or reapplying kiln wash every once in a while?  It seems I'm the only person doing it right now and I could use some help.  Contact me if you want a hands-on tutorial.

Tips for preventing glaze drips:
  1. If using a combination of two glazes where you have an overlap region, pick glazes that have the same base recipe. Studios can have a list a glazes with the same base to help you out.
  2. If you're taking a chance with glazes, make sure they have a minimal overlap area and have it far away from the bottom of the piece.
  3. Some potters put grooves or lines near the bottom of your pottery piece.  If there are drips, they can get caught there.

Pottery Fundraising Sale -- Aug 18, 2012

The annual fundraising sale for the PEI Potters Studio will be held on Saturday, August 18 from 9 am to noon(ish) at the Confederation Court Mall in Charlottetown (back in our old location downstairs!). Work by
studio members and students, as well as professional Island potters, will be available at great prices! The PEI Potters Studio is a non-profit cooperative dedicated to the promotion of the art of pottery making in PEI.

Funds raised from the sale will help the studio provide opportunities for children and adults to learn about and enjoy working with clay. For more information call Judy at 892-9064.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spring Registration 2012

Registration for pottery classes will be held at the PEI Potters Studio in Victoria Park on Tuesday, April 10 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Classes are available for adults on Mondays,Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 to 9:30 pm. The Monday and Thursday night classes are geared for beginners and, depending on interest, the Tuesday night class will be geared to those with previous experience. A class for children ages 9 to 14 will be held on Saturdays from 1:30 to 3:30 pm. All classes begin the week of April 16 and run for 10 weeks. For more
information, please call Barb at 368-3268.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Upcoming Classes (Jan 2012)

Pottery in the Park

Registration for pottery classes will be held at the PEI Potters Studio in Victoria Park on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.
  •  Classes are available for adult beginners on Mondays (beginning Jan 16) or Thursdays (beginning Jan 19) from 6:30 to 9:30 pm. Adult classes are $200 plus $25 for a 20 lb block of clay.
  • Classes for children are available on Saturdays (beginning Jan 14) from 10:30 to 12:30 (ages 9 to 11) or 1:30 to 3:30 (ages 12 to 14). Children's classes are $175 including clay.
  • All classes run for a 10 week period.
  For more information, please call Barb at 368-3268.