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morah

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Everything posted by morah

  1. Hi everyone! I am a newbie to this site and to ceramics in general. I've been giving ceramics classes to kids this summer and there is a lot of pressure to get the projects done. I have an L&L e23s electric kiln and I've been firing to 06 and 04. What temperature is it safe to open the kiln at for bisque and what temperature for glaze? The projects are relatively small and thick. thanks
  2. Solutions For Flaky Kiln Wash

    Thanks for clarifying. Does it flake less if you bake the newly washed kiln shelves empty or is it fine to put a bisque load on them? I assume a glaze load would be a bad idea on newly washed shelves that haven't been baked.
  3. Solutions For Flaky Kiln Wash

    When you say apply two coats do you fire between each coat, let the first dry before applying the second, or just put on the two coats right away?
  4. John Post website down?

    johnpost.US is back up and running!
  5. Teaching Creativity?

    I checked out the preview- sounds fascinating. Thanks! Morah
  6. Project Ideas For Kids

    Thanks Old Lady. That is a fun technique. I've done it with kids- you just have to be sure that they are old enough to know how to blow out instead of inhaling as they normally would with a straw. A mouth full of glaze and dish soap is not ideal!
  7. Project Ideas For Kids

    It sounds like you are on the right track. One thing you need to explain to kids is that ceramic clay is different then Playdough and has different rules. John Post has great ways of explaining it to kids as well as great project ideas. Unfortunately,his website seems to have disappeared. I emailed him to find out where it went but haven't heard back yet. Another really helpful website is www.artforsmallhands.com- you can search by age or search "clay". Also check the education section here. There have been many discussions about projects for kids there. You may have to look in the archives. By the way, Old Lady, can you please explain your reply- where can I find the posts you are referring to? Morah
  8. Teaching Creativity?

    Actually, creativity is a hot topic in educational circles. If you can access an educational journal called "Educational Leadership" volume 70 issue 5 February 2013, you can read a host of articles about creativity, how to define it, and how US schools are doing in terms of nurturing it. I accessed it through my college's online library. Happy reading!
  9. Teaching Creativity?

    As a teacher of elementary age children for more than 20 years, I can unequivocally state that I have never met a young child who couldn't express creativity in some fashion given the proper environment and tools. Some children express themselves through various art mediums, some through music, or dance, or creative writing or story telling. Others are creative thinkers, players, or problem solvers. If the children are given the proper tools, taught the basic skills required, and given a lot of time and space and encouragement, they will exhibit wonderful creativity. On the other hand, if they are told in a very rigid fashion what they need to do and/ or shown one specific sample of what the end product must look like, or if they feel that they will be judged (graded) in a narrow fashion, or if they are rushed, many children will simply shut down that part of their brain and try to comply to adult expectations. Other then the few children who are so extreme that their creativity can't be quashed, many of these children will turn into the adults we all know who claim that they can't be creative.And that is a real shame.
  10. John Post website down?

    I am having the same problem- I refer to his site all the time for inspiration for teaching kids ceramics. I hope he will be back online soon.
  11. Slabs for Kids

    4 projects in 5 days, Pres?!?!?! You must be some sort of miracle worker. How did you get them dry so quickly? I would love to hear what your other 3 projects were. Morah
  12. Slabs for Kids

    Great idea with a lot of possibilities. Just wondering- this is with wet clay, so if you are doing it with kids do you limit the slab/goblet size so the whole thing doesn't collapse on them- I can just see some kids making a really skinny stem and the whole thing being top heavy. Morah
  13. Recently there has been a lot written about leaching and food safety. I was wondering if anyone knows if this also applies to pots made with kid safe/food safe/ non toxic low fire Amaco clay and glazes. When I work with elementary age kids, they often make projects that will be used for food- like honey pots, sushi trays, ice cream bowls etc. As those of you who work with this age group know, kids' projects are far from perfect. They often forget to glaze a spot, a piece breaks off leaving an exposed area, or there is crazing on the surface.They (and their parents) are usually so proud of the result that they will use it for food no matter what deformities it has. What I need to know is if I am poisoning these kids!?! Are there any types of food I should tell them to avoid using in their pots? Are honey or sushi or ice cream particularly problematic? Thanks for your help- it is really reasurring to have a pool of knowledgable people to turn to when I have questions.
  14. check this link http://digitalfire.com/4sight/education/being_realistic_about_toxicity_and_safety_in_ceramics_278.html
  15. Sorry everyone. I just realized that somehow this topic is posted twice in this forum (I must have accidentally pressed enter twice) If a moderator could please combine the two, I think everyone would benefit from reading both of them together. Thanks
  16. Recently there has been a lot written about leaching and food safety. I was wondering if anyone knows if this also applies to pots made with kid safe/food safe/ non toxic low fire Amaco clay and glazes. When I work with elementary age kids, they often make projects that will be used for food- like honey pots, sushi trays, ice cream bowls etc. As those of you who work with this age group know, kids' projects are far from perfect. They often forget to glaze a spot, a piece breaks off leaving an exposed area, or there is crazing on the surface.They (and their parents) are usually so proud of the result that they will use it for food no matter what deformities it has. What I need to know is if I am poisoning these kids!?! Are there any types of food I should tell them to avoid using in their pots? Are honey or sushi or ice cream particularly problematic? Thanks for your help- it is really reasurring to have a pool of knowledgable people to turn to when I have questions.
  17. OK John, I'm reading you loud and clear. I will see if I can get a hold of the data sheets you are recommending, but in the meantime what do you recommend I use with the kids if they are making projects to be used with food?
  18. Thank you for taking the time to put up that answer again Gabi, I didn't see it the first time. I have 2 questions. First of all how high is high enough for something to be food safe? I am required to work with manufactured glazes that are specially formulated for children and they are usually rated for low fire work. My second question is if there is any difference between clear and colored glazes in terms of their protective abilities. My students usually paint on colored glazes (Amaco Teachers Pallete non toxic, food safe etc.) and then cover it with a painted on clear glaze (also child safe, non toxic, etc). If I were to put on white glaze first, would this seal it as well as the clear glaze at the end? Or would it be better for me to just do another coat of clear before firing?
  19. John thanks for the very thorough discussion of the topic. It seems like there are more questions than answers! Let's take the manufacturer at their word for the moment and assume that their products are perfectly non toxic and food safe for elementary age children, I do want to know more about what TJR mentioned. If the kids miss a spot when they are glazing, is this creating a breeding ground for bacteria? Would the pot have to store food long term as in a honey pot as opposed to short term as in a honey dish just used for serving? And if the pot is fully glazed (I can check before firing and do some "touch ups"), but low fired (cone 06/cone 04) is it still a breeding ground for bacteria or does the glaze seal it enough to keep it from absorbing even at low fire temperatures? I really want to do what is best for the kids despite their parents' possible lack of attention to current health issues but it would really be difficult for me to eliminate all projects that would be used for food. If there is any way to do this safely I would like to figure it out. Thanks for your help. Mora
  20. It's still winter hereabouts but nonetheless its that time of year again- time to start planning my summer ceramics program for about 150 elementary age kids. We have about eight 45 minute sessions- 4 for handbuilding and 4 for glazing. Basically I need 4 easy projects (I've got large groups so I can't give much individual attention) and I feel like I've exhausted all the tried and trues already and I have a lot of returning kids. Parents are paying big bucks so I need to produce projects that are either cute or functional (or both). Just to give you a feel, we've already made pinch pot bowls and pinch pot animals. Coil bowls and coil mugs. Slices of "pizza" and name plaques. Spoon rests and flower tiles. Cookie cutter shapes and snail coil bowls. Anybody out there have any new ideas for me? We've all heard of writer's block- I think I have ceramic teacher block! Help!
  21. Slab constructions are pretty easy at that age. I used to do a few projects with slabs that involved the slump mold and a highly decorated slab for a cool corn on the cob platter, or sushi type dish. I also did a project where I had a bunch of template cut from mat board that would all fit together, the kids would choose 2 for the four walls, and then add a bottom. These were often made with smaller edge at one side to make a candle box, cut across a corner for the candle door after assembled on a slab and pierce areas in patterns for light to come through. These kids seem to love doing texture, so the first thing I had them do was a small clay stamp to use on their pots, if you have a good sized group, these can be fired in summer force drying and be used on day 2 or 3. When you say candle box do you mean a box to hold a lit candle (I'm assuming a tea candle type)? I'm using low fire earthenware for the kids- would it be safe to put a lit candle in it (obviously with adult supervision)? The last thing I want is some irate parent calling me to tell me I set their house on fire!!
  22. I've had luck using plain old vinegar. My first teacher taught me how to attach handles on cups with it. I still use this method and have great success with it That sounds more like it. Do you use straight vinegar or mix it with something? Will any type of vinegar do?
  23. Isn't there any way to repair broken pots with ingredients that are readily available in your local drugstore? I have no access to the chemicals you keep mentioning. Thanks
  24. It is hard to believe that someone as computer illiterate as I can even find this forum, but I am still clueless. I think my browser is google chrome, but where does it have rows to look in? I suppose I can look on internet explorer or firefox if necessary.
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