Ken Horstman Studios

Ceramic Supplies

People often ask where did you get that tool? where did buy your wheel?  My answer is The Ceramic Shop.  theceramicshop.com  I use them for everything except clay which I purchase locally as it’s cost prohibitive to have them  ship to me. 

Their customer service is top notch.   I contacted them about the purchase of kiln shelves and they are one of the few companies that don’t need to send your kiln shelves by freight and that saved money and the  aggravation of not having a loading dock.  I bought my Skutt wheel from them after speaking with them that’s it’s a wheel that would be perfect for me.  Having some free time during the pandemic I decided to rewire my kiln.  I couldn’t find the thermocouple I needed.  So i sent Bryson an email,  I didn’t hear right back which is understandable there’s a pandemic after all.  He followed up after a couple of days saying the thermocouple I needed was now on their web site, he apologized for the delay as he was home for the birth of his child.  Can you top that.  I’d be remiss not to mention Heidi as she helped me recently.  

Please give them a try,  I’m  not being paid for this blog spot.  Just a thankful customer for good customer service and a good full service website.


Reconstituting Clay

A lot of potters have questions about reconstituting clay that may have gotten a little stiff to throw or to work.

( this isn’t to be confused with recycling clay scraps  which I will cover in a future blog)  If you use bagged clay that you have purchased from your favorite pottery supply store.  If the clay is just a little stiff you can drop it several times and the clay should come back to a workable consistency. Many manufacturers add  gel material much like the gel in a disposable diaper or the the water crystals that retain water for plants. When these gels break they release the water and the clay becomes more workable. I learned this technique from a You Tube Video by  Bill Van Gilder in the You Tube video “How to Fix Stiff Clay”. 

Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2H7mv4meVjo.  Bill is a potter from Gapland Maryland He makes some excellent pot and has created some cool tools.  Also see more of his videos at the Bill van Gilder You Tube Channel or his web site VanGilderPottery.com

Another technique is one I learned from the potter the late Elmer Taylor.  Leave your clay in the bag it came in add a cup of water to the bag and then reseal.  Put the bag of in a 5 gallon bucket like the kind you can get from the home improvement store. Fill the bucket with water and the pressure will make the clay absorb the water and the clay will become soft in a few days or up to a week.  (I have to repeat the process for some real stiff clay.)  Make sure there is no hole in your clay bag or too much water will get in and you’ll have a mess.  

I generally do both techniques,  it really ensures positive results.

See you in the next blog. 


Update

I wanted to update everyone when I mentioned last week that I use a KNK cutter to create my templates and patterns.  I also want to add a resource if you are interested in learning more about cutters and the 

Sure Cuts A lot software.  iloveknk.com is a great resource, it’s run by Sandy MacCauley who is very helpful and has comparisons of cutters and many links to resources for cutters and tutorials.  It’s a great site and Sandy will always get back to you. So check it out.  See you the next blog. 

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