Tag Archives | greenware


I knew there was one potential flaw to moving the airbrush station to the garage. The garage had the space, but it wasn’t heated. I’d been really optimistic that my high-powered space heater would keep the area useable in the winter. What I hadn’t counted on was the unseasonably cold weather we’ve been having. Even with the heater running, the workspace out there has barely gotten above 40 degrees most days this week.

I decided this was nature’s way of telling me that it was time to clean greenware. It’s not the most glamorous part of ceramic production, but at least it can be done in my warm studio!

It’s probably just as well, since the spray booth has been taken over by the guys and their Pinewood Derby project. It’s probably not obvious from the picture, but this year’s car is going to be shaped like a giant red Lego block. Thankfully Alan wrapped the booth with newspaper, or I’d be doing the rest of my painting (when it finally gets warm enough again) in a glossy red booth.

We really needed the spray booth a few years ago, when my older son was working on both his Science Fair project and his Pinewood Derby car. His experiment involved finding out if crickets, which are apparently omnivores like people, lived longer on a balanced diet of healthy food or soda and pizza. (For my friends who are parents, you don’t really want to know the answer…) Since I am notoriously bug phobic, I insisted that the crickets live in the garage. Brandon and his father built an elaborate plexiglass enclosure for the two groups, and set it up in the corner of the garage. Unfortunately, it was the same garage where we’d later spray paint the Derby car. I can report that while crickets actually do quite well on pizza, they aren’t at all compatible with spray paint fumes. Every last one of them was belly-up within the hour! It wasn’t a sight to give anyone a lot of confidence about breathing the smelly stuff.

It did make me happy, though, to see that there was almost no smell this time around. I wasn’t willing to bring in any test crickets to be sure, but it did seem that the only odor was coming from the paint on the car itself. Surely that must mean the booth is working for me, too.

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A simple solution

One of the first slipcast copies still attached to the plaster mold.

After playing around with all the variables trying to get level tiles, I found what turned out to be a pretty simple solution for this particular piece. The slipcast tiles weren’t really warping too badly, so all they needed was a bit of extra weigh to hold the thinner corners down.

It turned out the these small magnets were perfect for holding down the corners. They weren’t heavy enough to damage the leatherhard clay, but they were enough to keep the tile from warping.

I moved the tiles to my workbench to make them more visible. Normally they dry on a sheet of drywall, but the gray color made them hard to see in photos. I was tempted to use a cookie sheet so the magnets really held, but it turned out that the weight alone was enough.

I knew when I had to buy a package of 50 magnets just to get the two my son needed for a project that I’d find some use for the rest. I just never imagined they might be useful in the studio!

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