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#3228 Amaco Ancient Jasper Question

Posted by Steve Lampron on 22 October 2010 - 03:17 PM

ANCIENT JASPER: Hello all and stay with me as I am and old guy and not blog capable. I am the VP of Technical Services here at AMACO and the engineer that developed this glaze. I am very sad to hear that some of you are having difficulty with this glaze. It is actually a very easy glaze to work with and will yield excellant results. Let me give you a few tips on this type of glaze in general an then some specifics about ANCIENT JASPER.
Many midrange and high fire glazes used by ceramic artists are what I call FLOAT glazes. These are the pretty glazes that tend to seperate out different colors in areas where the glazes are thicker. ANCIENT JASPER is this type of glaze and what it floating out is iron oxide. Iron is one of the more interesting colorants simply because it can be in so many different oxidation states. This simply means that it can make a ton of different colors. With any float glaze, enough thickness of glaze must be applied in order for the excess iron to float to the surface. If the glaze is thinly applied, the glaze will tend to be drier and a very unpleasant color.
This glaze was not developed where any massive amount of glaze needs to be applied. If it had needed this I would have told everyone on the label. We actually never had any issues getting red at all. I always try new glazes on all of our clay bodies to make sure there isn't some issue I need to know of. We also fire them at cone 5 and cone 6 to check stability. We found no issues with this glaze on either account. By now you probably saying, great but it didn't work for me. I will list some good parameters below for you to follow and I am 100% sure you will find this glaze simple to use and that it will yield great results.
1. Temperature: The red color is actually the first color to float and the use of more heat will tend to make it turn to the purples, yellows, browns and black. This means you will tend to see slightly (and I do mean slightly) more red at cone 5 than cone 6. No soak is needed for this glaze and actually soaking it will cause more red to fade into the other colors.
2. Thickness: The glaze must be applied with enough thickness to float the iron.
3. Kiln cycle: I fire all the glazes we develop in an electric kiln at fast, medium and slow speeds. Red color will be developed at all speeds but the faster the firing ~6 hours (tons of red) the better the results. I always quality check each batch at cone 5 in 8 hours. 10-12 hour cycles will cause more red to fade to the other colors. This is most critical within 200 defrees of peak. If your elements are weak and it takes the kiln a long time to achieve the last 200 degrees, you will find less red.
4. Cool down: No special cool down is needed nor will it help develop any red color. Letting the kiln simply shut off and cool naturally is all that is needed.
4. Clay Body: I have tested this on porcelain, typical stoneware bodies, bodies with grog, bodies without grog, brown colored bodies, etc. I develop red on all of them. I have found that when using our #1 Porcelain slip that the color transition away from the red tones is very pronounced (although it makes a rainbow of the other colors). This is because for a cone 5 porcelain slip alot of soft flux is needed to tighten the body. The flux in the body mixes with the glaze and actually makes the glaze softer (simulating more heat).
5. Texture: This glaze loves texture and will make some incredible colors. The texture makes the glaze get thinner and thicker in areas. The thicker the glaze the easier it is for it to stay red. The thinner the glaze gets the hotter that area of glaze gets and it shifts to the other colors.

These simple tips should help everybody that wants to make ANCIENT JASPER work. I suggest running a few tests of glaze thickness in your next kiln load and follow the firing rules above. Three nice coats on any typical stoneware body, fired to cone 5 or 6 in 6-8 hours with no soak and no special cooling curve will yield pieces just like the ones we showed in the ads. These were just pots we made in the lab. Honestly I have never actually made a pot that didn't make colors just like those pieces.
I will attempt to post a few more photos here today and next week we will post a board I made with all of our clay bodies fired at slow, medium and fast so you can see the slight differences.
Let me know if this helps.
The photo files are too big to upload. I will have someone help me make them smaller for next week.

#56617 The Dangers Of Advice Without Experience

Posted by ChenowethArts on 14 April 2014 - 03:03 PM

There is an African proverb that applies to taking/giving advice: "Never test the depth of a river with both feet."

#46175 12 Inch Club

Posted by neilestrick on 19 November 2013 - 10:03 PM

Membership has it's rewards.....I'm not sure what they are, but I'm sure they'll be awesome.


#18863 Was: Etsy or Ebay? Now: When Should You Start Trying to Sell?

Posted by metal and mud on 02 July 2012 - 01:55 PM

I've been thinking about this thread a lot this weekend. I've been having a wonderful time making gift items out of clay--2 and 3 inch lidded boxes on feet, textured and glazed in pretty colors, little Indian rugs hanging from metal racks that my son makes, plates carved with our local Organ Mountains and a moon and glazed to look like moonlight--etc.--different things that just come to me. I had so much fun making them that I couldn't NOT do anything with them. I also know that I need to do a work many times to get better at it; already the lids on my clay boxes fix much better. I am a small business owner and it only seemed natural to sell my items, so last December I got "certified" as a vendor at our Farmer's and Crafts Market. I get such a kick when someone buys one of my--admittedly--imperfect items. They make them happy and me even happier. I use my revenue to buy supplies, thereby supporting my hobby. It's disturbing to me that someone should suggest that we shouldn't put our items in public until many years have passed, implying that the works shouldn't be in public until much better in quality and near-perfect. I view my craft as an incredible relaxation whose result brings happiness to both the maker and the purchaser. After reading some of the posts I started to doubt myself in my decision to put my works in public and my ego on the line, but I had a good firing over the weekend and I know that on July 4th, my next market, some local folks will get a kick out of my little items and I won't stop bringing them to market, for one, nor trying to make them better and better each time. I hope I never achieve perfection because then I might stop.

#54842 Video "a Love Story In Clay"

Posted by Isculpt on 17 March 2014 - 03:28 AM

My husband Bill and I are very private, low-profile people, but when Piedmont Crafts Guild, the oldest crafts guild in NC, asked us to participate in a series of short videos about guild members, we couldn't say 'no' to a guild that has done so much for so many.  Consequently, we spent a day last summer with a mini film crew at our rural South Carolina home near the Catawba Indian Nation, whose thousands of years of pottery tradition my husband carries on.  In contrast, as some of you know from the outpouring of help that I've received from this forum, I am a self-taught sculptor.  What I really like about the video is how it shows that, like everyone who chooses to work in clay, our love for the medium enriches and defines our life.  (What I don't love, having just seen the film, is that it now occurs to me that taking a few minutes to apply cosmetics (on me, not Bill) might have been a good investment of my time before the crew arrived to make a high def video!  :huh:)  Oh well.... 




Added note:


Thanks, all of you for your kind words and warm response to the video.  I have to say that the decision to focus the video on our relationship along with our work was the choice of the makers, and it struck us as slightly ironic.  After the intensity and intimacy of a shared life in craft, we were adjusting to a new reality that took Bill away from home and studio for all but a few hours a day.  After 25 years of working side by side, our new reality is that his days as Chief of the Catawba Indian Nation are filled with administrative duties for a tribe of 3,000, lobbying Congress on Native issues, and handling intense political pressure as he works to regain some of the sovereign rights lost to his tribe. Meanwhile I keep the homefires burning and look forward to the day when his crucial work on behalf of his tribe is done and I regain my studio partner.


The video shows us working on several pieces that are pictured in their completed states below.

B Harris small image.jpg Bill Harris Pottery_054 small image.jpg BLUEBIRDS SWIRLED AROUND HER clay sculpture by Jayne Harris.jpg JAYNE HARRIS SCULPTURE 46 SMALL IMAGE.jpg

#37769 What do you collect and why? | June 19, 2013

Posted by trina on 26 June 2013 - 07:18 AM

oh man and i was so clinging to that one positive rating point.....T

#62617 To Share Or Not To Share

Posted by JBaymore on 17 July 2014 - 12:19 PM

So when does copying happen between professionals?


It doesn't happen.  Because if one is copying in that fashion....... there is only one professional present. B)





#62434 Non-Legal Ways To Address Copying Issue

Posted by drmyrtle on 14 July 2014 - 05:31 PM

I think it might be helpful to realize that this topic is difficult to manage, but not unique. "Takers" are everywhere, whether that's in your family, your work place, your neighborhood, or your studio. This is a pretty well documented phenomena in psychology literature (see a simpler discussion at :http://www.govexec.c...h-people/82192/ and you can follow the topic from there). Basically, most people fall somewhere on this bell curve:

givertakergrabjpg0802.jpg from Mark Goulston MD, 2011


People are not very good always at self-identifying how they act either. (It doesn't help that individuals are generally situation-specific, so there might be times/situations where you find yourself responding in ways not consistent with your "usual" habits.)


Anyhoo, I take the situation outlined at face value: you have a studio work space with two different kinds of collaborators. Mudslinger is either a giver or reciprocater, while the interior designer/potter is a taker/grabber. Some of the features of a taker are exactly that they look to others to serve their personal goals, while guarding their time and expertise themselves. It's all about them, and not about you. Although I understand that all situations have many perspectives, I think it's valuable for you to think this through from your perspective, MS.


Some key things to consider:

1. Givers get ahead most of the time: although there is a risk of becoming demoralized and running out of energy, givers powerfully move the world forward because they are the best kind of collaborators. Setting boundaries (as you have), and deciding carefully if there is any kind of win/win exchange (as others have suggested) are strong positions for you personally.

2. If you are feeling drained dry by the negative pressure and energy of being around a taker (and no surprise, either), that's when you need to make a decision about your studio space. Part of this psychological profile is that takers make other people feel drained, angry, depressed and violated. Same with shoplifters, liars, and that a**hole who keeps on stealing your studio tools. Protect your stuff, don't feel bad about holding on to precious recipes that you've worked hard at, and give when giving doesn't kick you in the teeth. You are in the studio to work, not to deal with someone else's blob of personal gunk. Music, smells, walls, and locks are your friend: use them when you need to. If you truly can't escape, then you need another space.

3. Although some are joking about revenge, your karma thanks you for resisting. Don't become more of the person you don't want to be. Shake yourself like a dog leaving cold water, and do what you need to do. Protect yourself, give what is consistent with you as a person, find a peaceful place, and get to work. Life is too short for this s*it.


There isn't a business situation that I have ever been exposed to that hasn't had to deal with this. In the community studio I work in, one taker can really profoundly change the environment. (I've only lost $250... in tools so far because I didn't take this issue seriously. Yikes.) I use it as an excuse to buy more stuff when I can, and hope, respectfully, that it all catches up to them, somehow. If I spend any more time thinking about it, then I'm just doing what they want me to do: think about them.

#62321 Image Envy ...

Posted by S. Dean on 13 July 2014 - 04:48 AM



I wonder how much of "image envy" comes from the different interaction we have with other people's work than we have with our own.  


First - I have realized that it is very hard for me to be satisfied with my own work. Burdened with expectations of what it should be, I focus on the flaws and failures of my work to meet my ideal. While being our own harshest critic pushes us to be better, it sure doesn't give us a neutral starting point for interacting with our own creations.   Conversely, when I look at other people's work, I'm free of expectations and able to engage with the piece for what it is.  Ever notice that something that would drive you crazy in your own work just isn't a big deal in someone else's work?


Further more, familiarity breeds contempt.   How many times do we look at our own work and say "I wish I made that!"  We discount our own uniqueness/specialness because it isn't unique or special to us.  After all, we work the way we do because that's how we do it.  However, our work may be special to others in the same way that we find other's work special to us.  As you said, there are pots you make and pots you buy.  Let's hope that ours are special enough that someone wants to own them.


Lastly, by the nature of what we do as makers, we are going to look at and analyze other's work. Rather than image envy, I would hope that we can change the mindset to image appreciation.  A friend of mind once commented that instead of being envious, he was happy for other people that made more money then he.  That was eye opening to me, and since then I've strived for an approach where I try not to begrudge anyone else's success (certain outrageous CEO compensation plans excluded ;) ).  Instead of wishing that those images were ours, let's be glad for the maker and that we get to enjoy their creations. 



#62108 Does Your Dominant Hand Dictate Form Or Are You Ambidextrous.

Posted by oldlady on 09 July 2014 - 12:53 PM

you have used the propaganda yourself, pug, your special minority group does not need special "rights", you need special "LEFTS". -_-

#61665 Hakeme Slip Recipe

Posted by JBaymore on 02 July 2014 - 11:05 AM



The "recipe" for Hakeme slips I have from being in Japan and Korea (south) are basically anything from 100% of a specific kaolin-type clay....... to about 80% of a specific kaolin-type clay and 20% of a feldspathic type rock.  Not much more than that.


One aspect of the success of this is the really coarse nature of the clay bodys UNDER the slip.... very unlike our dense fine particled highly plastic western clay bodies.


But the real key is the BRUSH used.


Put many of those slips on with a fine nice quality bruish... and they flake right off the body as it drys.  The key is that the coarse rough brush causes impressions into the underlying clay body... that makes the two different wet to dry shrinkage materials stay together.


My best Hakeme brush I made while working in Japan with the bristles from an old used natural fiber broom, some string to bind them, and a piece of rope to bind over the string to make more of a gripping handle.


The clay underneath the slip has to be wet enough that the stiff bristles dig into it a little.  Then it has to be applied in a fast direct move.  No "redos".





#61641 Hakame

Posted by bciskepottery on 01 July 2014 - 06:47 PM

With glaze, you'll want one that is "stiff" or "fat" . . . one that stays in place and doesn't move when melting. The second bowl seems more shallow than the first picture; gravity will come into play. It also looks like your glaze melts and flows easily at temperature. Perhaps for the hakeme decoration you'll want a more matte or semi matte glaze that does not melt completely and stays in place. Another key is how the two glazes interact; the first picture seems to show the two glazes melting together nicely, probably because they are similar in composition; two glazes with the same base recipe are not likely to work well. You don't have that happening in the second picture.

As for getting the flow, you'll need to practice on paper. Loading a hakeme brush made of broom bristles is far different than loading a brush of animal hair. Also experiment with different viscosities of glaze . . . thick glaze vs. thinned glaze. Once you find you can get the effect you want on paper, move on to your pottery.

#60968 What Is The Most Dangerous Thing In Your Studio?

Posted by bciskepottery on 16 June 2014 - 08:07 PM

What I think I know vs. What I don't know.

#59378 Super Amateur Needs Help With Porosity

Posted by Tyler Miller on 28 May 2014 - 08:48 AM

Okay, geremyh, this is what you're going to do.  You're going to make 50 or so prototypes to test your product.  10 to be bisqued to a low cone.  Say, cone 010.  Then 10 bisqued to cone 06-04.  Then 10 bisqued to cone 02.  You're then going to make 10 with paper pulp in the clay, 10 with perlite.


For each 10 prototypes, you're going to test 3 in loam soil, 3 in sand, and 3 in heavy clay.  Hook each prototype up to a plastic hose or pipe similar to your design and hook up that hose/pipe to container with measurement marks on it.  Test the flow that way, with an average of the three of each type being your significant number.  The final one of each will be for destruction testing for durability.


After this, repeat the experiment with your decorative glaze added.  Maybe only the worthwhile ones to save money/time.  The cone 010 will likely have to be excluded--you're going to have a tough time finding a cone 010 glaze.


I think as a courtesy to us, as we have freely offered up information to you, you should publish the results of your experiment here.  No design details, just the results of your experiment which betrays nothing proprietary.


Then, I think you should apologize for misrepresenting yourself.  In your initial post, you said you were a "super amateur" looking for help with "gifts."  On your last posts, this is a business venture.  If you're a business owner/CEO, dishonestly asking for free R&D isn't cool.  If the reverse is true, and you're just an amateur, lying about your professional status to save face isn't cool either.  I apologize for being a little stern, we're an honest group filled with goodwill here, dishonesty would kill the convivial spirit.  I like the people here a lot.

#59324 Super Amateur Needs Help With Porosity

Posted by Benzine on 27 May 2014 - 03:54 PM

The Moderators and Administrators here, do a good job, of moving the topic along, in case it goes on a tangent. This is a community, and posters are treated as peers. There isn't a super strict adherence to a topic, to the point, that something slightly off the subject line, will get a person warned, or post deleted. The only time posts become an issue, is when someone insists on personal attacks/ general disrespect.

The question posed, was nowhere near, being as off topic, as some discussions have gotten. I feel it was a valid question, in line with the topic, "Why glaze something that will rarely be seen?" Beyond that, why "waste" glaze on a portion of the object that will be burried below the ground? I do agree, some glazing would help the overall aesthetic, but why not just glaze the portion that will be above the surface? Also, a glaze would effect the porosity, as it does seal the clay, even if just a bit.

Just some thougts.

#58561 Why Is Our Work Better Than Imported Work?

Posted by JBaymore on 15 May 2014 - 11:49 AM

On the other hand, I'm afraid I see a lot of potters who are struggling to sell. Tact prevents me from asking "do you think it might be the mustard yellow and green glaze combo?"................


Thanks for addressing the 900 pound gorilla in the room. I applaud you going out on this limb with your comments. 'Political correctness' often prevents useful and honest dialog and critique, particularily in places like online forums. Too bad really. It limits the effectiveness of that kind of venue. And it doesn't help improve " the field".


Good pots is good pots. I also often come back to the old Alfred comment: "A pot without a soul is just clay around a hole".


'Our work' is only better than 'imports'.... when it actually is better. Far too often... it is not. Skilled handcraft is functionally and aesthetically better than unskilled or poorly skilled handcraft. Unskilled or poorly skilled handcraft is not necessarily functionally or aesthetically better than mass produced work (heresy! :P ).


Here's the really hard and politically incorrect statement coming: Too many people want to start being a "professional" in the ceramics field way before they are really ready to do so.


Since there are no standards that prevent this from happening, and "free enterprise" tends to rule (at least in America)....it is very easy to do this. In "years gone by" I think folks tended to self-censor such inclinations much more than they do these days. More folks would not even consider 'hanging out the shingle' until they had spent a lot of time learning the craft to a pretty high level of technical and aesthetic skills. These days.... two community ed classes, and the financial ability to buy a wheel and a kiln... and bingo.... instant professional potter.


This practice is hurting the whole field.


Personally I always return from Japan, Korea, and China feeling incredibly humble and a 'babe in the woods' when it comes to my own knowledge and skills in working with clay. You can only understand the broad level of ceramic skill that resides in those cultures with such huge histories in the field...... by having the chance to see them first-hand. And I've been doing this full time for 40+ years, and have been teaching it for almost as long.


There are some darned nice "imports" being made and imported. Alluding a bit to that CapitalOne credit card TV commercial...... "What's in your kiln?"







#58301 Carving Stamps - Any Tips?

Posted by ChenowethArts on 10 May 2014 - 07:28 PM

Most of the small clay stamps that I make are not terribly detailed so I stick with a simple tool set, primarily a sharp x-acto knife, a needle tool, and a few sharpened chopsticks.  To get finer lines, I do the carving when the clay is leather hard and leave some thickness on the linework.  When the project is nearly dry, I then take the x-acto and carefully shave the lines, little-by-little to the desired line thickness/thinness. BTW, I used to thin the stamp handles down to about a quarter inch...this makes them a little brittle when it comes time to put pressure on the stamps when putting them into practice.


#58033 Expectation And Appearance

Posted by Idaho Potter on 06 May 2014 - 08:29 PM

This has been a most entertaining thread!  Years ago I traded fad and fashion for comfort.  Sweats + T-shirt and Birks in summer, spring and fall.  Winters I add a sweatshirt on top and socks on bottom.  Everything covered as best I can with an apron.  Dress up is for weddings and funerals--I don't like going to either one.  When mingling with folks at the grocery store, I trade sweats for jeans and wash up.


Reading about the critics reminded me of a potter friend of mine who had Dragon Lady fingernails and her hands always looked like she'd just had a manicure.  At a show, I heard a "customer" dispute the fact that she had produced all the pottery exhibited in her booth had been done by her--because of the length of her nails.  She responded with, "It is because of my martial arts training.  I can throw pots, or disembowel an opponent just as easily."


I wanted to applaud.



#57723 Trimming Issues

Posted by Pres on 01 May 2014 - 10:28 PM


I made a chuck for my griffin grip out of plumbing parts, PVC pipe, flange, rubber seal and foam seat ring. It works really well for my chalice stems, and would do the same for bottles. And not griffins are not evil, and every tool has a place, as the griffin does for me.


Hey Pres, could I bug you for a photo of that PVC chuck for griffin grip?


I have included a couple of pics of the chuck on the wheel. I did not have any stems to trim of late so you can't see that yet. However, for those of you that use the GG I think it explains itself. I find that it works better for me using the base pads to hold it in place rather than longer stems and pillows. The parts are simple, flange, Pipe head donut, and a soft rubber seal. The pipe I saw using a cutoff to keep it square resting on the GG top with the flange around it. There is not glue, so you could take it apart and put different lengths of pipe in. This is all 3" pipe. I hope you can understand how it is used, and it probably would work for bottles, candle holders, and other long stemmed objects. As I throw off the hump and don't always get an even cut, this allows me to even up the base with a hack saw blade held perpendicular to the base of the stem pressing evenly across, in a matter of seconds it will even out the base.

Attached Thumbnails

  • ChaliceChucksoftSealout.jpg
  • chaliceStemChuckAssembled.jpg

#56606 The Dangers Of Advice Without Experience

Posted by Tyler Miller on 14 April 2014 - 11:03 AM

This is a bit of an angry rant.  I apologize for that.  If you don't want to read on, here's the gist--if you haven't done it or haven't seen it done first hand, don't be giving advice!  Something I've come to hate are armchair craftsmen and google/wiki scholars.


I'll confess I've been guilty of it.  It was even encouraged at a hardware store I worked at.  I didn't know anything about woodworking at 17, but people asked me for advice like I should know.  We were supposed to know.  My bad advice was responsible for more than a few returns.  Thankfully no injuries.


But I think I know better now at 30.


For the purposes of this post, I'm only going to use metalworking examples.


I want to bring up some advice a former member gave here once.  Now, I like this member, he's a good guy.  If he's reading this, I hope he doesn't mind that i'm using him as an example.  I think he would approve.


Someone once asked if titanium would survive a cone 6 kiln firing.  It won't.  It will probably burn.  This member didn't believe that since he observed that it didn't melt until much hotter, but I've seen it happen.  Google "LA Titanium fire" if you've got a strong constitution.  Titanium burns before it melts.


I was 16 or 17 and was very generously given a titanium bar by someone who wanted to encourage my metalwork.  I tried to forge it.  Didn't really move well and cooled off almost immediately (no thermal mass).  So I cranked up the blower and tried to get it to bright yellow heat.  I pulled out a sparkler that wouldn't stop burning!  I tried to put it out in water and that made it WORSE!  I panicked, plunged the rod into my mother's garden, and ran into the house to hide.  If a metalworker asks, I'll say I've never worked with titanium because I'm too embarrassed by that incident.


I know a few smiths who started up not too too long ago--about the same time I got back into the craft.  They had the same typical learning curve of any ambitious young metalworkers.  Learning that cutting corners doesn't make a good knife.  Learning that you've got to use a centre punch if you want your drill bit to sit still.  Learning about basic hammer control and technique.  There's only a handful of ways to swing a hammer so that you don't ruin your arm swinging it for 8-12 hours a day, 5-7 days a week.


But at some point they started bypassing that.  One started teaching classes.  This put a knot in my gut.  He knew the stuff in theory, but he didn't have the shop experience or self-evaluative tools to back it up.  Shop practice is a big deal, for metalwork and ceramics.  Things like not grinding aluminum and iron in the same go ('cause that's a recipe for thermite!).  Proper ventilation (no grinders in the basement!).  Proper casting safety (molten metal doesn't behave like water!).  Proper chemical and scrap storage (that's how the LA titanium fire got started).  This stuff doesn't come from books, it comes from knowing your materials and work environment.


Here's an example from a different person.  A beginner wanted to learn to forge brass.  That's fine, people do that.  However, forgeable brass is hard to find, and brass has a bad tendency to off-gas zinc vapour.  No good.  I know people who have died from zinc poisoning.  I advised that cold forging bronze would be better--heat the bronze to red heat, cool, and hammer till it gets stiff, then reheat, cool, etc.  I didn't say "cold forging" though, I just thought it was clear from the context.  Someone said "wait, you can't hot forge bronze, he should hot forge brass, it's easy, forges like butter.  Just heat to 600C, to avoid zinc fumes, and hammer away."  


This would have been good advice except for one thing--no beginner in the history of ever has a way to determine 600C.  It's the same colour as room temp brass.  And there are no fixed temp electric kilns or pyrometers available at the local hardware store.  Tin bronze, on the other hand, doesn't have the off-gassing problems of zinc in brass, since tin doesn't boil until much much hotter.  It's a very easy thing for a beginner to heat bronze to red heat, quench, and forge.


So there's my rant.  I hope you see the point of it.  Books and Google will only get you so far, and then they get you into trouble--or other people into trouble, if you're only using Google and books to give advice.  Don't get other people into trouble, please?