My Kingdom For A Hose…

No, I didn’t forget the “r” and when it comes right down to it I fear my kingdom may not be what King Richard’s was. Anyway this terra sig thing, as I mentioned in the previous post I was unsure about the whole layers thing and Tracey came to my rescue saying that I would know when the terra sig was gone and the thicker stuff was all that was left. So in inimitable fashion I decided this whole experiment definitely thinking that the weak link would certainly not be the siphon. I figured I’d go ahead and siphon the terra sig today and Friday realized that I don’t have an old hose or length of tubing or anything to use as a siphon (which I personally find pathetic) and on Sunday I couldn’t go to my local hardware store, Oscar’s, because no doubt they were celebrating the changing of the year numbers and I also had to go over by H0me Dep0t so I figured that I’d go over there and go to the aisle with the spools of different size and kind of tubing and cut me a nice 5 foot length. Wrong. h0me dep0t doesn’t have bulk tubing (why would anyone want that?), they did however have just the kind and size I needed only it was 10 feet long and they want 21 dollars for it. Now in my mind I just couldn’t pay 21 dollars for something that would work no better than a length of an old garden hose. I made the mistake of asking an employee about it thinking it was in some magical “siphoning supplies” section that I was not privy to and he said they had siphons in the garden section. As if to prove that our consumer culture is facing the end of civilization as we know it, one was battery operated… I actually said to the guy that I didn’t mind getting a mouth full of clay just like the many times when I was younger and got a mouthful of gasoline or whatever it was (no, I never stole gasoline). He just looked at me like I was an old guy and showed me to the 3 dollar ones with a hand “pump” built in. I looked at it in despair but figured if I could get it to work I’d get over it. Monday morning and the hand pump thing doesn’t keep flowing once the liquid reaches the apex of the tube. I was so pissed that I cut the tube off of it and of course it was too short. Here’s the piece of shite…

I had even propped the container up at a slant to afford me a bit more length…

So I just pitched the “siphon-of-the-21st-century” and went down to Oscar’s and of course, they had rolls of all different size and kind of tubing exactly as I had pictured it in my head. I came back and got to it. I started siphoning right away and with only one mouthful of clay. As the bucket filled up, I noticed no difference in consistency and was starting to think that I was missing something but eventually and just as Tracey said, it became very obvious. Here’s what the sludge in the bottom of the container looks like…

I have to say that I was surprised how much the OM4 yielded and was happy about that because it will allow me to try more colors. Here’s how much I got…

Here’s the tube that was so elusive…

I really have no idea what I’m doing but I think if this stuff does what I think it will do, I will be very happy. I found myself more excited than I’ve been since I found out I could cut shellac with pure grain alcohol. I put a couple of different colors on this unfired greeware tumbler and buffed it up a little with a chamois. At this point I have no idea how intense the colors are or, more importantly, how shiny the terra sig will be without glaze. If it looked like it does unfired, I think that would be great. Here’s the test…

In other news, I finally got the hundreds of photos off of my old camera that I let Sofia use to take pictures. It was funny going through what she thought was worthy of photographing. Here’s a few that she took…

Last but not least, Paul Soldner passed away and that’s sad news for the clay world and community. I met him at NCECA once not too long ago but only briefly. As a young ceramics college student in the late 70’s/early 80’s, I won’t pretend that his infamous posters of himself in a hottub full of nude girls (young college clay students in my imagination) or other posters of the like had any undue influence on me being a ceramics major or romanticizing ceramics as a career.


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13 Responses to “My Kingdom For A Hose…”

  1. Tracey Says:

    Two words: Turkey baster…
    I got tired of sucking in a mouthful of clay, the turkey baster is a little slower, but I hate the syphoning process. I use one cup of sig, 1 tsp of colorant. Also a plastic shopping bag like a grocery bag is much better for shine than a chamois. Don’t put the sig on too thick you will have problems with it flaking off, three coats is fine, dry between coats for just a minute and buff at the end, no need to buff between coats. Redart make s a nice red, but I also like RIO in the white terra sig.
    Can’t wait to see what you are up to! Try that borax wash over the white sig, it’s crazy! 4 parts water 1 part borax. looks terrible over the darker colors though.

  2. ang Says:

    yeh!!!! what tracey said :)) ha the old wandering through the hardware store…i just did that!!!! paint in hand watch out 😛 you just don’t do anything small do ya jim, look at the size of that tub..

  3. Rob Lorenz Says:

    Looks like you should have a pretty good time with that terra sig. I have been meaning to try some out myself, but have never gotten around to it. Maybe this summer when I am no longer working at that damn school.

    Sofia looks to be quite the photographer. Sunglasses with the light bulb over her (his?) head…I laugh every time I look at it.

  4. Spinning Earth Says:

    medical tubing! (air tubing probably best diameter)

  5. Darlene Rowney Says:

    Wow. At my HD they have all the tubing you could want, in the plumbing section, even a tubing cutter so’s you dont mash it. I wonder what happened to your HD?
    Well, I have been a faithful lurking reader of your blog for a couple of years now, but since I see that you are yet ANOTHER potter who thinks that they are going to become rich by running Google ads on their blog, I am afraid I must remove your blog from my “must read” list. When I want to read about ceramics and such, I like to do so without being urged to buy a waterbed pump, a device which I will never need or purchase, and if I had such a need, I would try to buy it from an independant, not from some click-through dolt on the web. If I see an interesting Google ad (which is harder to find than bulk tubing), I never “click-through” anyway, I always copy or type in the URL, so that nobody gets any money from that ad.
    Adios, and good luck with ceramics and life!

  6. Victoria Says:

    Wow Darlene, no need to be so rude. I am also a lurker-reader and have nothing but gratitude for someone who takes time to share their techniques and talent. Jim , you are a talented writer and potter and love the way you interact with Sophia. Kudos, kudos

  7. Judy Shreve Says:

    Jim — I found my tubing supplies at the beer making supply store! Ha! Will you be firing your terra sig pieces to ^6? You might loose some of the sheen – if that’s what you’re going for. Also besides the borax wash try soda ash 1 – 6 water and lithium carb 1 – 4. Some groovy finishes.

  8. Tracey Says:

    One other thing you might like, a friend of mine fires his TS to ^7, he sprays on a frit, I think 3110, with one of those mouth blowing thingys. his surfaces look amazing! Am I missing something? I didn’t see any ads???….

  9. Connie Says:

    Can’t wait to see your results of the terra sig.
    And What ADs? I’m confused.

    The passing of Paul Soldner is very sad. I was a student and taught kids classes at Anderson Ranch for 10 plus years, so I had the opporutnity to meet Paul several times. One of my favorite stories: My husband Todd (who is not a clay person) and I were invited to Paul’s house for one of his infamous parties. Todd said he looked acrossed the room a man in a skirt gave him the head nod. He wanted to know who was this strange man. So I explained that the man in the skirt (really a sari) was Paul Soldner and his contributions to the ceramic world. And his sari was for quick access to the hot tub, where throngs of young ceramic women were waiting for him. (and they really were) After that experience my husband was in awe of Paul Soldner. Every now and then I get to host a party to visiting ceramic artists who come to WY. And Todd likes to tell his Paul Soldner story, but he refers to him as Paul Sumner.

  10. Eugene Hon Says:

    Very sad news indeed, the passing of Paul Soldner. It’s the end of an era for ceramics in many ways, the closing of ceramic departments and the passing of Studio Potter Gurus like him. Always use to laugh at his advertisements in ceramics magazines, was it Ceramics Monthly. A potter’s lifestyle – he made so famous. A very flamboyant character- it would seem. By the way Jim, you get as impatient as I do, when pursuing a new direction, technique and or desiring a new gadget. A now or never attitude. I love burnished terra-sigillata especially the work of british potter Duncan Ross

  11. Zygote Says:

    We’re operating in the PU… parallel universes. I’ve got my tub slaking as we speak and I’m taking notes… maybe I should start my hose hunt now.

  12. Teresa Gagne Says:

    that looks like a lot of terra sig…one of my favourite surfaces. have fun with it. om4 sig is great in salt and soda firings.

  13. Ben Says:

    I love that close up of Sofia. Children take amazing pictures. On the Terra Sig front I have found ball milling the clay, h20, sodium silicate mixture increases the yield exponentially. I usually make one batch per year. I have a bunch of notes on Sig. I can email them if you want them.

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