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About Benzine

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    Socratic Potter

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    The Hawkeye State
  • Interests
    The Arts (Drawing, Painting, Ceramics, Graphic Design), Running, Music (Mostly Rock), Movies, Technology

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  1. Same here Pres. I never did clay work K-12, except for one, quick coil pot my Junior year, which was never fired. My instructor just had some clay left over, from a student led project, and decided to teach us the coil process. One of the main reasons I took Ceramics in College, was because I needed another 3-D type class, for my Art Education degree. And I'm glad that was the case. I had a great teacher, and it is one of my favorite classes to teach, as well as a favorite for the students to take.
  2. Benzine

    how to make underglaze bleed & run

    If I were trying to make an underglaze bleed, I'd thin it with water and/ or apply it to a wet surface so it would be more likely to diffuse.
  3. Benzine

    What are the pitfalls?

    Yep, about half an inch, is what I have students leave, depending on the size. I tell them that some ceramicists leave more, if they are creating a deep foot, some less, if they don't trim a foot. I too enjoy trimming, it is very soothing/ relaxing.
  4. Benzine

    What's Your Work Music?

    Pandora radio, with a variety of stations on shuffle.
  5. Benzine

    What are the pitfalls?

    My suggesting for students, is always leave more on the bottom, than you think you'll need., as you can always make it thinner. Worst case scenario, you'll have to trim a bit more later. Throwing off the hump, might help you leave the bottoms thicker, since you'll be able to see the bottom a bit better, as it will be higher up. However, throwing off the hump also leads to more issues, like not compressing the bottom enough. So you'll trade thin bottoms for S-Cracks. As preeta said, it's all about practice and repetition.
  6. Benzine

    Underglaze versus glaze?

    Underglazes would work well for that, as long as you aren't expecting them to mix during firing. So you want a solid background, with some shapes of other colors on top, is that right? If so, underglazes will work great for that.
  7. Benzine

    Bisque temp for raku

    preeta, I always preface my student discussions about Raku, with how what we are going to do, is not the same, as they traditionally do in Japan. As you noted, I call what we do "American Raku". I usually mention, that as Americans, we try and "improve" things, with the addition of fire and explosions... In regards to using Rakuware, yeah, I would never do so, and tell my students the same, explaining why. I made a decorative Raku tea set, for my older sister years ago, and explained that they were not meant to be functional. Then at a family gathering, she mentions, "I use them for my mac and cheese all the time!" I responded, "Stop that!!!" I find that funny, as I made her a functional casserole years before, and joked about the glazes not being safe, or coming off into the food, and she adamantly grilled me to find out if I was telling the truth. When this topic came up, in the past, John Baymore would talk about how the Japanese would rigorously clean their Raku tea bowls, as part of the ceremony. So any dangerous glaze materials, or bacterial/ mold growth, were likely washed away before use. Personally, I would not be afraid to use a Raku piece, of either American or Traditional firing, but I wouldn't do so every day. And Mark, I can't believe you would just toss all that deliciously sweet tasting white lead!...
  8. Benzine

    Underglaze versus glaze?

    I just tell my students, that underglazes are essentially like a paint, that can withstand thousands of degrees. They mix like paint, apply like paint, can be layered like paint and GENERALLY, what you see is what you get. I do have a couple underglazes that do change color pretty dramatically, like Amaco's Dark Blue. It looks like lavender before it is fired. But I recommend the underglazes if the student wants to do some detailed/ precise decorating. A poster her, Guinea Potter did some AMAZING illustrative decorating, with underglazes. With glazes, I tell the students it's almost the exact opposite. The colors run, bleed, mix with lower layers, and usually dramatically change color. The first project we do is a pinch bowl, where I require them to use both underglaze and glaze, along with a variety of techniques like sgraffito, underglaze with an oxide stain, resists, etc.
  9. Benzine

    No Swiping

    Yep Pres, as the way people keep and spend money change, so do the ways that people try to steal that money. Crypto Currencies were supposed to be safe and secure, but that has proven to be untrue.
  10. Those look terrific Seb! I've experimented with some cotton yarn, dipped in slip, and helped a student create a series with the process. They were VERY porous and fragile, afrer the bisque, but were much better after glazing. I would imagine that the porousity led to the glaze penetrating deeply into the structure. I have also fired a slip soaked paper towel, because... Well, just to see what happened. It survived fairly well, and I glazed it, and gave it to a student, who was intrigued by the process.
  11. Benzine

    Bisque temp for raku

    Denise, I have used stoneware, for Raku as well. The school district, where I learned the process, fired to Cone 5, for most projects, prior to me starting there. So it made sense, to use the same clay for our Raku firings, if the same clay body would work, which it did. So I stuck with that same approach. The stoneware body worked well, the same reason that specific Raku bodies work, they are intentionally underfired. This is what allows them to handle the thermal shock associated with the process. In a matured ceramic body, the particles are locked together, which is great when you are making functional wares, thay don't seep liquids, but bad for something that has to tolerate quick/ dramatic temperature changes during the firing. That locked ceramic structure is not good at quickly transfering energy from one part to the next. So the expanding and contracting that happens, leads to cracks/ dunting. This is why you are not supposed to put a glass or ceramic casserole from the fridge into a hot oven. With an underfired body, the bodies are still "open" and the particles are not fully locked together. There is space between them, which allows the heating and cooling to be relatively gradual, and lessons the odds of dunting. I have honestly never tried to use low fire with Raku, but I have taken low fire pieces, out of the kiln, when they were still somewhat hot(200 degrees F) and had them develop cracks. Being weak due to underfiring, is the nature of Raku. With the exception of the Japanese Tea Ceramony, Rakuware, is not meant to be functional, so it's relative fragility is not that big of a drawback.
  12. Benzine

    Thinning a Commercial Brush Glaze

    Thought I'd post an update. The thinned glaze turned out great. It actually looked better than it normally does, brushed on from the bottle, where it generally seems too thin even with the correct amount of coats applied. I may have to keep a dipping bucket of it around, for when something similar comes up. I am glad it did turn out well, as we used them on teacher/ staff mugs, in honor of Teacher Appreciation Day/ Week. We made about 90 of them (You don't realize how many coworkers you actually have until you do something like this). The Staff was very appreciative.
  13. Benzine

    Bisque temp for raku

    Really? Why is that? I usually go to 04 with mine, and have had no issue. The reason I do so, is because I go to 04 for my main classroom clay, and it doesn't make much sense to do a separate firing for the few Raku projects we do.
  14. Awesome Mark! Where did you find that wheel? I've come across that model online a few times. It looks like Brent's take on the Shimpo RK. Speaking of, I have a RK, in my classroom, that I've been meaning to restore. It works well enough, but the attached splash pan is toast, and the inner workings need a good once (or twice) over. And while I'm at it, maybe a new, dynamic paint job... I guess I could also mention my "Workbench" in my classroom, that has way more projects than necessary going on at one time. In the fall, I have an Amaco wheel I was fixing, student projects, that I was repairing, glazes and slips I was mixing, project demos/ examples, etc. Every year I promise myself I will keep the space cleaner. And every year, it ends up looking the same...
  15. Benzine

    Newbie to Stoneware

    When I've done stoneware, I did "Five and Five". Cone 05 for the bisque, Cone 5 for the glaze. I had no issues with the results, in either case.

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