Over the past few years, The Ceramic Shop has taken on the task of developing innovative new products for the pottery world under our in-house brand name ‘Mr. Mark’. Because our company got its start due to this sort of innovation with Mark’s development of the ever-popular Hydro-Bat, we’ve always considered product development to be a part of The Ceramic Shop’s DNA. In 2012, we introduced Mr. Mark’s Wax On and Wax Off; 2013 saw the introduction of our popular Ware Repair. We may have just topped ourselves with our most recent product, though – we’re very excited to tell you all about our brand-new Crack Pots! The following post will give you a little bit of background of the product, as well as detailed instructions on how to use it and what kind of results you can expect.
Crack Pot is a crack filler that you can actually fire and glaze. We came up with the idea after receiving call upon call inquiring if our Ware Repair (which we tout as a greenware or bisque glue) could be used to fill cracks. While Ware Repair is an awesome product, it can’t really be used for that – but we were confident that we could formulate something that could meet the needs of our customers. We got to work testing, and firing, and glazing, and re-firing – our head tech, Rachel, worked VERY hard to get this product just right! In the end, we found that the best way to make a reliable product was to offer several different versions, so Crack Pot is available in different firing ranges, AND different colors!
We currently make Crack Pot in four different firing colors – white, red, brown, and buff – and in two different firing ranges – low- and high-fire. This means if you work with low-fire white clay in your classroom, you may want to try our lowfire white Crack Pot; if you work with a cone 6 red clay, such as Standard 308 Brooklyn Red, you’ll want to use our high-fire red Crack Pot.
Part 1: Application
Crack Pot works on wares that are green OR bisque; however, the product works best on pots that have already been bisque fired -- one of the applications we thought potters might find useful is an S-crack filler. To prepare to fill a crack in one of your pots, we suggest assembling the following materials:
-- Crack Pot crack filler
-- Pot to be repaired
-- Small bowl of water
-- Small sponge
-- Small sculpting tool (we like this one!)
Open your jar of Crack Pot, and using your sculpting tool, scoop some out. You will see that it has a putty-like consistency; simply work it into your pot's cracked area. Once you have filled the crack sufficiently, use your small sponge and bowl of water to smooth the application. We suggest smoothing with a damp, not soaking wet, sponge. This is also a good time to clean off your sculpting tool.
Part 2: Drying/Firing:
After you complete applying Crack Pot to your soon-to-be-saved pot, let it dry completely before moving on to the next step. Crack Pot is a versatile product; if you apply it to bisqueware, you may opt to simply glaze right over it once it is dry. However, we do recommend re-bisquing your pot, simply because your glazed results will be more consistent if you are able to do that.
Above, our buff Crack Pot was added to a bisqued tile (center), re-bisqued, and glazed
with The Ceramic Shop's Golden Tan and fired to Cone 6.
The reason for this is basic clay science -- by firing Crack Pot before glazing it, you will make the material have the same level of absorbency as the rest of your bisqued clay, and therefore glaze will behave in a more consistent way across both your crack-filled section, and the rest of your piece. However, we understand that not everyone has the time and space to re-bisque their work, so we do want to let you know that yes, glaze can work on unfired Crack Pot. However, please note that your results may not be quite as seamless as the example above:
Above, our brown Crack Pot crack filler (center), filling a crack in a bisqued tile, and glazed without an intermediate bisque firing. Non-bisqued Crack Pot does absorb glaze, just not with the same consistency as bisqued Crack Pot.
If you are able to bisque firing your Crack Pot after applying, there is an additional advantage: You can sand your piece's surface before glazing, which can really refine the formerly-broken area.
Part 3: You're done!
That's right -- using Crack Pot is VERY easy. Just a couple of steps, really! If you have further questions about this product, or anythign else in the Mr. mark line, don't hesitate to get in touch. We're happy to help. Just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or give our shop a call at 215-427-9665.