Spirit of Pottery

Earning Money Making Ceramics

Posted by on May 25, 2015 in Spirit of Pottery | Comments Off on Earning Money Making Ceramics

Earning Money Making Ceramics

Some people love doing ceramics, but prefer do only do it as a hobby. Others, however, would give everything to be able to make a living by making pots, figurines, cups, etc. And these people often ask themselves – is a serious career in pottery and ceramics really possible?

The answer is YES!

But before you start quitting your day-jobs, you have to inform yourself and bare some things in mind. There are both upsides and downsides to doing this type of business. One of the downsides is that it takes some time to get off the ground, and you need to invest at least some capital if you’re going to see a return. This means that it is way better to not retire your construction helmet, nurse shoes, or office suit just yet – it is better to have a steady income while your ceramics business develops. This might be strenuous and harsh, but unless you have a nice nest egg, it is by far the best option – you won’t be able to sell your ceramics if you don’t have any money for material.

So, you might be asking yourselves – What are the important factors in developing a successful ceramics business. Here are some things to look out for:

  • Finances – Yes, we’re starting with the least interesting, but sometimes most important one. You have to keep a close eye on your finances if you want to make any money from your venture. This means calculating the cost of the material, utilities, taxes, and then figuring out what your targeted salary is and how many pieces you can make per week. Only when you have all this info can you put the right price on your pieces.
  • Attention to Detail – This tip references both finances, and your work. You have to keep a close eye on what you’re getting and what you’re spending. If you’re not sure how to do this, use a program for bookkeeping. Concerning your work, make sure you interact with your customers and pay attention to their wants and needs. This will make them happy and attract more.
  • Quality – This is the big one! Quality is one of the most important things to keep an eye on. You have to be trained to recognize a quality work when you see one, and you need to make sure you give everything you can into each of your pieces. This way you can introduce your customers to your quality and style, and you will gain loyal patrons.
  • Value – It is important that you know how to set your prices – if you set them too high, no one will buy them, and if they are too low, you won’t profit. You have to find the golden middle. Do this by looking at your finances to avoid undercharging, and looking at other galleries and artists to avoid setting astronomical prices. A good idea is to have pieces in all price ranges (for example, divided by size), so that someone who has some extra cash can buy a $5000 piece, while those who can’t afford to be extravagant have the option of getting a smaller piece for $20.
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A peek into the world of Ceramics

Posted by on Mar 30, 2015 in Spirit of Pottery | Comments Off on A peek into the world of Ceramics

A peek into the world of Ceramics

I had recently been on a vacation with my friends. We had a great time, especially the kayaking we did. One of my friends owns a cabin by a lake. We all went kayaking and even had a race, which was exciting and all of us, had great fun.

The kayak we used was exceptionally designed and of good quality, so we could enjoy the race better.  In the evenings, we would sit by the cabin, set up a campfire and talk about all kinds of things. It was during one of these talks that the topic of ceramics came up.

One of my friends wanted to pick up a ceramic gift for his girlfriend. She loved all things ceramic. He wanted to know how ceramic had developed over the centuries to the present state.

Particularly he wanted to know why when the civilizations of the past were named after the materials, which dominated that period like Stone Age or Bronze Age, there never has been a ceramic age. This is because all these civilizations used ceramic prevalently and it cannot be contained to only one particular period.

In fact, I mentioned that there is evidence of ceramic use as back as 24,000 BCE. And today these ceramics are used in silicon chips, catalytic converters and other important things we use in our daily routine.  Therefore, ceramic age encompasses all of human civilization, which shows the significance it has in the modern era.

Ceramics

The pottery and articles made from firing clay were given the name ceramics earlier. However, at present the term has a wider definition. At present ceramics are non-metallic or inorganic solids that characterize useful properties including strength, hardness, and high melting point and have good thermal and electrical insulation.

Ceramic materials include pottery, brick, glass, cement and porcelain. While these are the popularly known ceramics, the name actually covers wider range of materials that have inorganic solid and are non-metallic.

Various ceramic materials

Diamond and graphite are types of ceramics that have a crystalline arrangement that differ from the basic carbon element they have. You also have complex crystals of oxygen, copper, barium and yttrium, which form advanced ceramics that are used as superconductors or materials with no electrical resistance.

While these two are, the extreme ends of the ceramic material scale there are others, which fall in between including crystalline compounds, metal oxides, carbides, nitrides, silicide, etc. And the advanced ceramics which we use now are formed from a combination of ceramics with other materials called as CMCs (Ceramic Matrix Composites)

Ceramic properties

Ceramics are brittle solids suited to withstand high temperatures. This is only one of the various properties that ceramics are endowed with. The others include electrical resistance, brittleness, durability, strength, thermal resistance and withstand effects of acids, chemicals and oxygen. But all ceramics do not have all of these properties.

For instance, graphite conducts electricity but is  a soft ceramic. Diamond on the other hand is a good heat conductor. Ferrites are a type of ceramic material that conducts electricity. Superconductors do not have any electrical resistance. And the composite ceramic matrix used by embedding strengthened fibres in the ceramic does not have any brittleness.

My friend who had all the while related ceramic to pottery only, was stunned at the various facets of the material. He was happy that he had brought it up. The vacation was truly relaxing and rejuvenating for all of us, especially the fun time we had in the kayaks, check out this site for more info, which also gave us some rigorous cardio activity to indulge in during the vacation.

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Ceramics in Hunting

Posted by on Mar 11, 2015 in Spirit of Pottery | Comments Off on Ceramics in Hunting

Ceramics in Hunting

Normally we talk about ceramics and the discussion revolves around some facet or another of art; people making ceramics, or coloring them, or selling them, or whatever. But ceramics have a wide range of applications, with a number of uses totaling dozens of different applications. For instance, did you ever think you might use ceramics while hunting? If you happen to do your hunting with a bow and arrows rather than a gun, you might be using ceramics right now without even realizing it. If you don’t believe it, just keep reading to find out more about ceramics and where they can be found.

For starters, ceramic arrowheads aren’t exactly new stuff. They can be serrated or otherwise worked like metals to get the kind of penetration you want for whatever game it is you’re hunting. However, unlike other materials, ceramics tend to bust when you expose them to high speeds and sudden impacts, like when firing them from a box into the body of some creature. Normally this is perceived as a negative quality of ceramics, yet when hunting with a bow and looking to do as much damage as possible, this quality becomes highly positive. Just check out http://criticalhunting.com/ for more on this.

That’s because you can seriously injure or even kill an animal using a ceramic arrowhead, when you would only hurt it using metal. Those little fragments that break off from the arrowhead and disperse into the wound will in turn cause wounds of their own, leading to more bleeding. This will either overcome the animal, or make it much easier to track given the volume of blood being lost from a single hit. Naturally, you’ll still want to aim for vital areas and places you would normally shoot to hit in order to maximize this effect. Ceramic arrowheads can be quite nasty, really.

Ceramics and their presence in hunting happen to go beyond the tips of arrows, too. Did you know ceramics often find their way into cameras, where they are either used exclusively to craft lenses, or for other parts inside the camera? If you’re using a TRAIL CAMERA or similar item to measure distances or get pictures of your surroundings while hunting, the odds are good you’re using devices with ceramics built right in. These devices and their ceramic components are highly fragile and caution should be exercised while using them, lest they be dropped or otherwise injured.

When you take the time to look and really research, you see that ceramics are showing up in more and more fields these days than ever before. With new firing techniques, clay compositions, glazes and other features that improve the overall durability and lasting power of ceramics, the odds are good you will be seeing them showing up in more goods in the future. So, the next time you’re making something simple just for the sake of working with your hands and keeping your mind sharp, remember the potential which exists in that lump of material you’re using.

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The Long Journey Of Ceramics

Posted by on Dec 9, 2014 in Spirit of Pottery | Comments Off on The Long Journey Of Ceramics

The Long Journey Of Ceramics

At our guild, the artists are ready to work on any type of project. When they are given the design or drawing, they set to work on it immediately. Often clients stay with the initial stages to help with the design doubts that may arise. Recently we had this order on making ceramic finger pieces that depicted nail art. The client, a nail art professional wanted the work to be displayed in her salon. She had detailed drawings on the type and form of the fingers and nail designs she wanted. While she was with us, she wanted to know more about how ceramics were made.

Ceramic evolution

Technology has made it possible for the ceramic industry to grow in leaps and bounds due to the extensive amount of knowledge that it has enabled to be accessible. With newer materials and methods the handling, making and finishing techniques have been honed and perfected. One instance of the rapid development in ceramics is the use of transistor in electronics.  The size has become so minute, but at the same time holds a vast amount of features that is quite unbelievable.

Advancements in Ceramics

Ceramics have undergone tremendous amount of changes with the way metal alloys have been developed. New materials that can operate under very high temperature and speed and have longer life and low maintenance are now possible, Metals have tensile strength, ductility, abundance and low production cost, while ceramics are brittle. With the technological advances, it is now possible to produce a blend of the two with the best characteristics of both in the blend. The resultant form is the tougher ceramic systems that are in use now like nitride ceramics.

Ceramic characteristics

The ceramics we use today are of intensive value in all engineering application and are considered as nontraditional. The traditional ceramics include brick, porcelain, earthenware etc. The advanced ceramics have metallic characteristics, making them perform high and be cost effective.  The technical ceramics include alumina, zirconia that are oxides and non-oxides like nitrides, borides, carbides and silicide and composites that are blends of oxides and non-oxide metals.

These have chemical inertness, high strength and great dimensional stability. The ceramic and composite blend is tough and has variable electrical, thermal conductivity and a complex manufacturing method, which makes it very expensive. The oxide forms are inert and used in electrical insulation and the alumina variety costs less while the zirconia is expensive. The low oxide ceramics are hard, inert, have high thermal conductivity and electrical conductivity, and are expensive.

We use metal clay for our models, which has ceramics blended with metal to enable better reproduction of the shape and design we want. The material has longer shelf life and very little wastage making it cost effective too. The finger models were made according to the client’s specifications and she was very happy and excited about having them on display at her salon and expected to get more customers just because of them. She mentioned that hers was a well-paid job that gave her much satisfaction.

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Skyrock Your Pottery Hobby with these Advices

Posted by on Nov 21, 2014 in Knowledge, Spirit of Pottery | Comments Off on Skyrock Your Pottery Hobby with these Advices

Skyrock Your Pottery Hobby with these Advices

Nowadays people don’t have the time or the inclination to think of a hobby. They’re so busy with their work and personal life that time just flies away for them. I was mentioning this to my friend who was in a similar state. His work was full of stress and mostly he carried work home and was also occupied with work even on weekends. I warned him that this type of workaholic behavior would soon lead to a big burnout. I suggested he take up ceramic handcrafting as a hobby. Since I’m a pro at all things ceramic, I could give him the needed guidance and I also know that it is extremely soothing and refreshing having experienced the benefits myself.

I told him that in time he would find nothing interesting to him or about him, if he continued with this state of relentless pursuit. When we take up a hobby, you develop a multifaceted personality that people will find interesting and you yourself will find it extremely satisfying. And when you start something new, you never know what it’ll bring you. It may be new friends, a career or a new relationship.

Ceramics basics

Ceramics is basically creating artwork of non-metallic nature. You get to manipulate heat and its effect on clay with some tools and create excellent pieces of art and also objects that are of use in our day to day life. The most common byproducts when you take up ceramic as your hobby are glassware and pottery. The interest in ceramics may be of artistic nature or a practical one, but the main thing to focus here is the creation of beautiful ceramic pieces.

Equip with knowledge

To build your interest in pottery, you need to educate yourself on the background of ceramic. When you know details on how it started out initially and what types of materials and methods were used, you will feel more motivated into doing a good job on your own. Pottery is a very ancient art form dating back to Greece. As for the technical aspects, you can attend the local conferences on ceramics like those conducted by the American Ceramic Society. The society is of immense help to hobbyists who have an affinity for one of the oldest crafts to exist on earth.

Know the process

The ceramic pottery process is an easy to grasp one, once you get to know the steps involved. You can get familiar with the process with the help of the various pottery stores present in your locality. There are several stores specializing in ceramics alone present scattered throughout the United States. You can customize earthen ware and pottery with the assistance given by these stores. The stores give full access, so customers can educate and know more about ceramics and how to make them.

Take up a registered course

Most universities and colleges have special courses on ceramics. For those who have a professional degree already, such courses help in getting acquainted with the art form and make it a more interesting and productive hobby. I like pottery as it is very diverse and let’s your creative juice flow uninhibitedly – for example African pottery is beautiful in its form.

Preliminaries to have

To start with the hobby, you need shoes and old clothing and an oven or a kiln used in ceramic making. Select the paints, glazes and other tools you need for ceramic making. You can get everything you need at hobby shops, art stores and in the book stores attached to university. You need to have a kiln necessarily to start o the ceramic work. So ensure that you have proper access to the appropriate kiln. You can ask around on how to get a kiln. Once you have the kiln, you can start on collecting the supplies needed. For knowing about the cost of ceramics equipment, you need to assess the price for which you can get help from ceramic teachers.

Start with the sketches

Before going to the actual process, you should sketch the designs or accents you need to add to the ceramic piece. When you work on clay for instance, it can dry out easily. This will make it difficult to mold them into the shape and design you want to create. If you are not sure about the design you want to create and spend time on revising the design while working, the clay can dry out and cause problems. So start the design only after you have a final sketch ready.

Using clay for pottery

Clay can be either in refined form or powdered variety depending on the type of clay you purchase. A refined form of clay is preferred as it will not have any lumps that prevent you from working with it properly. You can also sieve the chunks, before start working with the clay.

In case of pottery, you need a wheel which is either operated electrically or manually. Throwing is the term used to form shapes in the clay, while it is placed on a wheel. Throwing needs skill and lots of practice. Initially you’ll find that it is difficult to grasp. But it’ll be great fun watch the clay take different and bizarre shapes in your inexperienced hands.

Before you remove the clay from the wheel, you can add on as many designs and patterns as you want using special design files. These are similar to nail files and are in a slender knife form, which makes it easy to make the patterns. The clay once formed to the desired shape should be dried and then fired in the kiln.

Starting out on a new hobby, especially when you’re too busy to afford it, can be frustrating and daunting too. But once you begin it, you find that it is certainly exciting. With pottery you get the same feeling. While the initial phases are easy to practice, you need patience, especially when you are doing the decorating and glazing. Once you get involved in the hobby, you’ll start taking more interest and find that you had added another exciting dimension to your life.

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The Making of a Dog Sculpture

Posted by on Jul 24, 2014 in Spirit of Pottery | Comments Off on The Making of a Dog Sculpture

The Making of a Dog Sculpture

The idea of sculpting Jimbo just sprang in my mind one fine day, when I was playing with him in the garden. Jimbo and I have this rapport that makes us a great pair. Though he’s not that athletic as he once was, he still moves about with an enthusiasm in his own doggy way.

When the idea strengthened and egged me on, I decided to act on it. I had to rethink my decision, when I got a good look at Jimbo. He looked terrible. I don’t know how I’ve let him deteriorate so! It was then I thought that there are things that needed more attention than my passion for sculpting.

I called my friend, Paul, who is a mobile pet groomer. He has a solid income in his job, which surprised me a bit. I once looked in on what he did. It was certainly a good amount of buck for an easy looking job, if you ask me. Maybe I should ask him how to start a dog groomer career, if I’ll fail at what I do. Why I could’ve easily done all that he did, only I didn’t have the time for it, as I can see the state that Jimbo is in because of it. So I thought what he earned was after all worth it. Jimbo was given a thorough makeover and I couldn’t believe that he had so much potential. Now my sculpting idea sprouted again with vigor and I set on the task.

To make a clay dog, it helps if you know about the animal shape. The main work involves forming the basic shapes of the individual parts and assembling them. Once the basic form is arrived at, you can make your own additions to it to get a genuine look. Here’s how you do it.

•             There are colored clays available from which you can choose a suitable one for the dog you are making.

•             Roll the clay into sphere shapes for the head, body, legs, tail and ear and for the paws too.

•             For the body, make a pear shape that has bigger bottom and narrow top.

•             For front legs, roll the clay spheres lengthwise and stick to the front of the body.

•             For hind legs, the molding should be done first for the thighs as tear drop shapes and then the lower part and sticking them together first and then to the body. For the paws, use tiny clay spheres to make oval shapes.

•             A cone shape is needed for the head with one end being pointed in shape. Take a small clay bit, roll and flatten the bit, and stick to the pointed end to get the nose.

•             Above the nose make sockets for eyes. In the sockets stick the googly eyes.

•             Teardrop shaped spheres should be made for the ears.

•             Now fit the head shape to the narrow body part and pinch the clay in the fused area to merge it smoothly.

•             Take red colored clay and make a flat oval shape for the tongue and stick the tongue under the nose.

•             For the tail use another small clay sphere and attach it to the bottom of the body.

•             For spots use black clay or white and stick them on the hind part, the ears or wherever you want.

After letting it to dry for a day, your dog is all set to go.

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