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About Benzine

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    Socratic Potter

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

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  1. Benzine

    Bizen-yaki question... Any Ideas?

    Kevin, I would say the "Wafers", as you call them, are probably some type of wadding. Wadding is something used in wood, soda, salt firings, so that the wares don't stick to the shelves, or each other, if things are being stacked a bit. Commonly wadding is made from Alumina and EPK, much like a kiln wash, only way thicker. There are also recipes for wadding, that contain calcium. The wafers in the video, also look like they have a bit of texture. So they may have some type of grog mixed in, to reduce shrinkage and combat thermal shock.
  2. There is nothing wrong, with trying to emulate another artist's style. As you said, unless you are trying to sell it as a knock off, there is no problem. With all types of Art, there aren't many completely original ideas left anymore. Everything has been done, to some extent. But taking something, and creating your own "Spin" on it, or combining multiple styles or techniques, that is how an Artist sets themselves apart.
  3. Benzine

    Well, There's Your Problem!

    Pres, I'm considering getting my Masters at some point, but I am still paying off my undergraduate loan sooooo... I mean really, who would have known that the Government wanted me to pay all that back?!... The extra pay, from a Masters is nice, but one big reasons for me to do it, is just so I will be safe, in teaching my Graphic Design class. It is a Dual Credit class, so the students get a high school and college credit for it. The community college we are partnered with prefers that all high school instructors, who teach the class, have a Masters. But, I've taught it, since I started at the District, and have had no issues thus far. I have to go to training every Summer, and meet with the Department Head, at the college. That way we know the expectations the school has, for the class. What's funny is, they also have people in the community, from a variety of trades (engineers, mechanics, etc) and teach classes. Those people, generally have their Masters, but no teaching degree. So they have the content experience, but generally no training on the best methods for disseminating that information to students. I know what you mean, regarding the sub par Elementary and Secondary Art programs. I get that with Elementary, it can be difficult to do anything meaningful. My colleague , who used to do Middle School and some Elementary, ended up with all the Elementary students, a couple years ago with restructuring. He has 7-800 students, he sees one to two times a week. It is difficult for him to do any in-depth lessons... And a couple years ago, our Curriculum Director and people from the local AEA didn't understand why he didn't want to do Standards Based Assessment on his classes. "Let me get this straight, I'm supposed to document how well a student is doing on multiple categories, in a lesson, multiple times throughout the process? And I'm supposed to do that with several hundred students?... So yes, I do get the struggle. With High School, yes we have to do more and more things (Professional Development Related Things), that take away from what we'd like to be doing, but I've never found that it has prevented me from doing, what I want to with my students. I have seen programs, where there is little to no structure. My Alma Mater, had a good program, while I was there. The instructor was well liked, and we had students, from every group/ clique take Art classes. My Senior year, was that instructor's last year, due to a terminal illness. His long-term sub took the job, the following year. The program suffered, from that point on. I went back and subbed there, after college. I did cover the Art classes, during that time. The students in some of the upper level classes, didn't have any experience with the fundamentals. Students were pretty much allowed to do whatever they wanted, with no guidance. The instructor also added a "Crafts" class, because that's what she enjoyed doing. It was mostly making things out of yarn/ macrame. The number of students in her classes dropped dramatically. She had some classes with only a couple students in them. So they had her start teaching Junior High too. Then more recently, teach some upper Elementary. A classmate of mine, from high school, has recently taken over the position. After one year, he said his class sizes are going up, and he's trying to get more and more sections added back into his high school schedule. Right now, he still does only mornings at the high school. The rest of the day is Middle School and Elementary. It's just amazing how a teacher's view, attitude, etc can change the dynamic of an entire district.
  4. Benzine

    Well, There's Your Problem!

    I think, they probably thought it was beyond repair and/ or didn't want to have the district pay to have it fix, and admit they messed up and caused the damage in the first place. It's easier to just say, "I don't know, the thing just stopped working..."
  5. Benzine

    Well, There's Your Problem!

    Denice, That seems very similar to the one I got, including the problem with the kiln sitter. I'm not sure what got in there, but whatever it was, did not let it shut off. I still don't know why the timer didn't shut it down though. As far as I can tell, the timer does work. They must have just cranked it to the max time, and walked away... New kiln smell eh? Can't say I'm familiar with that specific scent. Do they make a product that a person could spray on the kiln, that would replicate that? You know, like people do with their cars...
  6. In regards to the nose exploding, as other have suggested, you could just hollow it out from the back, or what I usually do is remove quite a bit from inside the nose, as I am doing the nostrils. In either case, this will allow it to dry quicker, and more evenly, and greatly reduce the odds it will explode, from the moisture.
  7. Benzine

    Well, There's Your Problem!

    Thanks Arnold. I honestly have no reason, to not use it, and nothing to do with it otherwise. And I'm all about saving money!
  8. Benzine

    Well, There's Your Problem!

    Arnold, is the second slab required? Is it recommended that I use it as well? I mean, I have it, not like it's problem if I do. I had just never seen such a thing... This is despite the fact, said "Thing" had been in my basement for seven years... Old Lady, pretty much any kiln is sooooo much nicer to reach into, than my classroom kiln. Don't get me wrong, it is an amazing kiln, and I'm still figuring out how the previous teacher got the money/ approval to buy something that would have cost so much. BUT, that thing is a pain to load. It is a L&L Jupiter, with four rings, plus the stand. I have to stand, on the stand, to load quite a bit of it, and hang over the side, to get things in/ out of the bottom. When I am putting the bottom posts and shelf in, which isn't often, unless I have to vacuum out the bottom after an explosion, the students get a kick out of. To them, it probably looks like I'm about to fall in. Luckily, my rear end has plenty of counter weight...
  9. Benzine

    Well, There's Your Problem!

    I THOUGHT so Arnold, but I am not a kiln expert by any means, nor have I ever repaired a kiln. I have already replaced the bottom slab, with an older model Skutt, that I already had. Oddly, the old Skutt, that was given to me years ago, and I just had it sitting in my basement, had two slabs on the bottom. I never noticed, and have zero idea why. It had two standard 2.5" slabs. One had an attached handle, the other did not. The bottom of the two , had some filler material caked on, covering damage. I'm guessing it is really thick kiln wash, or some type of kiln brick repair material. Any reason a kiln would have two slabs for the base? It was drilled for a vent, but there doesn't seem to be any type of damage, that looks like it would be structurally weak or anything.
  10. Benzine

    old Gare kiln issue

    I wish I could help you, but despite my heavy use of controller controlled kilns, I am not a troubleshooting expert. If Neil, this board's Moderator, doesn't respond, maybe send him a direct message. He is the person. who will have the answers.
  11. Benzine

    Paragon LT-3 Kiln Over Firing

    Does your kiln also have a back up timer? Do you keep a log, so you have a rough idea of firing time? In either case, you could use some self-supporting cones, in front of the peeps, but also put a cone, in the sitter, each firing. Make an adjustment to the sitter, but have a timer (if applicable) and the witness cones as backups. It may take a couple firings, but you should be able to hone in on the correct adjustment.
  12. Benzine

    Well, There's Your Problem!

    Not sure Oldlady, I don't believe I saw that post. My wife asked, "Didn't they know what they were doing?" I told her that honestly, a lot of teachers know how to load the kiln, and turn it on. That is about the extent of it of their knowledge. A lot of my knowledge, is just things I have picked up over the years. This site has been invaluable, because of all the shared knowledge and exchange of ideas. My college experience was limited to one of my Secondary Art Education classes. There was a kiln in that room, and ONE time, the instructor gave a quick overview on how to load and fire. I think the only reason we even did that, was because one of my classmates created a barrel firing lesson, so we all made a project for that, which had to be bisqued. That kiln was a kiln sitter. My next experience was student teaching, where I loaded and fired some elementary projects. That kiln had a controller, as did my first classroom kiln, that I used for six years. I didn't get back to using a sitter until my second teaching job, where the instructor left good instructions and logs. My college only required Art Ed. majors to take X-amount of both 2-D and 3-D classes. So ceramics, and a knowledge of it, wasn't required to get a degree. I imagine that most Art Ed. students DID take at least Ceramics I, but it is possible they took other 3-D classes instead. This is somewhat surprising, as my school is THE Education School, in the State. In any case, hopefully the teacher learned from the (Very costly) mistake. I'm tempted to contact them, just to ask what happened. The person, in the Business Office, who I talked to, thought that the damage on the bottom was the problem, but wasn't sure. Initially I was thinking, there is no way some runny glaze stopped the kiln from working. But, turns out "Runny glaze" wasn't the issue... Best case scenario for them, the District had to spend a couple thousand for a new kiln. Worst case, they don't get a new kiln, and can't teach clay anymore. For me, hopefully a few hundred in parts, and I get a good kiln, for a decent price.
  13. Benzine

    Paragon LT-3 Kiln Over Firing

    Are you using cones or bars? I've only ever used cones, but I've seen poster here say, the bars are more reliable, due to the whole thing being the same thickness.
  14. So, I picked up a new-ish kiln off of an auction site, from a local school district. I knew that the kiln wasn't working, and that it had some damage, based on the photos they shared. But it looked like it was still in good shape, and I didn't spend too much on it, all things considered. The control boxes look practically new, minus a little discoloration on one of the wire wraps, that can be seen in one of the photos in the gallery. Obviously, the BIGGEST issue is, the bottom slab/ bottom brick damage. That was more than I expected. I've never seen anything like this (Heard about, but never seen), but I'm sure Neil has seen things like this from time to time. If you look at the photo of the slab, you can see, and may even be able to guess what happened. You'll notice the melted mass (The shelf posts are stuck in those positions), and even see that some of the bottom wall bricks, along with most of the bottom element came with the bottom, when I took them apart. After I got it into my work shop, I think I figured out what happened. The control is a kiln sitter, with a back up timer. The sitter rod, on the inside has some black "glass" connecting the rod, with the insulating tube, and cone supports. I don't know if that was from a firing before the kiln's "last" firing, or the one, where it stopped working. Regardless, the sitter was not functional, and my guess is the kiln just never shut off. What I thought was a runny glaze on the bottom slab, is actually melted clay. You can actually see pieces that didn't fully melt, still there. I can't say if it was a mid to high fire clay that was just fired too long. Or if it was low fire clay, that was mistakenly fired too hot. Or some combination of any of that. Soooo, I've got some work ahead of me. I need a new slab, which luckily, I have one from another kiln, that I never got around to fixing. Same size and model, just older. Then I need to replace the bottom bricks and element(s). Hopefully, that will get it functional. Time to get to work!

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