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About Benzine

  • Rank
    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
  1. Raku Questions

    I really only use my pyrometer for the initial stages. I do a small preheat, especially if it is cold outside, and then really crank up the heat. You'll know you if you are increasing the fuel too quickly, if you get a lot of flames, shooting out of the exhaust. Like Marcia said, watch for the bubbling, then shortly after, it will smooth out, and have a sheen. Then, they are ready to go. In regards to tiny things, I've picked up a piece, the size of a pea before, with the tongs. Not something I want to do constantly, but it is possible...
  2. New Teacher ..help!

    I'm sorry to hear, that things aren't going as well, as you had hoped. Perhaps, you can progressively build the program up, and get new materials, equipment, and perhaps a more adequate schedule. If you want to teach the wheel, practice, practice, practice. It's the only way to get better. Watch videos, or preferably, take classes/ workshops. I tell my students, not to stress about the problems they run into on the wheel. For one, I can generally fix them. Second, the reason I can, is because any problem, they've run into, I have run into, many times over. In regards to pit firing, do a bit of research (Look into burnishing and Terra Sig). Make sure you bisque fire the wares first. I realize some cultures did not, and still do not, but it will save you some headaches.
  3. I have students do "figural"/ "representational" sculptures. They can use any of the previously discussed hand-building techniques. Many choose to use coils, as it allows them more control of the form, with a consistent thickness than forming a lump of clay and hollowing it out. I've had students create some amazing work, in this way.
  4. Raku Proposal For School

    I've never tried straw. What about hay?....Or is that for horses?...
  5. Raku Proposal For School

    Marcia, I used some fine sawdust, from some sanding I did at home. No issues at all, and I thought the resulting colors turned out well. I actually had a combustion issue, like you mentioned, with newspaper. I took the lid off, to add some extra paper, we had ready, and WHOOSH. Luckily it didn't doing other thing, other than startle a few people namely me. I will note, that fine sawdust mixed with air, like when throwing it towards a ignition source, will cause rapid combustion of it, and a bit of a fireball. If you use the the fine dust as a bed, you wouldn't have to worry about the flare up. The fine dust can create interesting effects, when a clump of it, makes it onto a ware, without fully combustion. The clump forms a layer of insulating ash around itself, and gives that spot more of a reduction look. I've liked the results with dried leaves, corn stalks, and of course, newspaper. I'm not a big fan of courser sawdust. I haven't had it give me the results I am looking for, and it tends to leave rougher reduction spots, than other materials. I'm sure others have had great success with the coarser stuff, it just doesn't work for me.
  6. IMG_1175.JPG

    Great design, with the multiple handles/ lugs. I like how the glaze flows around them. Looking through your gallery, you have such a great variety of unique forms. Very inspiring!
  7. Marcia, I figured, that it was some type of prop/ support, for decorating. That seems incredibly handy. Is that something you built, or purchased somewhere? Demoing for students, makes all the difference. If you can show them how you get from Point A to Point B, even if they don't use the exact same process, it really helps. I have no idea, what is going on with the "Like" button. Sometimes I can use it for some posters, but not others. Almost always, I can use it for my own posts, but yet, not others. I mean, OBVIOUSLY I like what I'm saying, so noting such with a button seems redundant...
  8. Beautiful work Marcia, but why is that one ware in a torture device? Did it misbehave?
  9. Yeah, when I read the topic title, I was thinking the same thing as Babs. I thought it was a deeper question. Like, "Do you resist conforming to certain ideas, in regards to Ceramics?" As it pertains, to the real question, ever since seeing the process posted here, I regularly use resist, over an underglaze on leatherhard clay, to carve through, then use another color to create an inlay. I've shown several students this, as well, to use on their projects, for precise detailing.
  10. Acrylic Paint Removal

    Yep, just rebisque it.
  11. Raku Proposal For School

    Falling plate glass....Yikes! I've rarely had students drop anything, while unloading. The bigger issue, is the ware (Usually a sculptural piece) breaking due to the process, and piece falling off. Part of the problem is, when they are in the kiln, they have that nice glow to them, indicating they are hot. Once they are out, and start to cool, they don't look nearly as hot, in the day light. So that is another part of why the students are tempted to just grab them. All the more reason to fire at night! Everything just looks more awesome!
  12. Raku Proposal For School

    Tyler G, that is exactly what Neil is saying. The inverted can/ bin is acting as the lid of sorts. The combustible just go on the layer of sand, with some more sprinkled on top of the wares, once they are all on the bed of sand. Just make sure you set the can on the sand first, to mark a border, so you know how far you can go out with the wares you set down. I used to use a wet blanket on top of my combustion chambers, to reduce the smoke. But the small bins I use now, seal so tight, that almost nothing gets out. In regards to protection, welders glove are a must, as is some type of eye protection. Those, who unload the kiln, and add to the combustion bin have both. I tell the students to wear natural fibers, like cotton or wool. We do not use thick jackets, or face masks. Anyone with long hair, is to pull it back, if they are around the kiln or combustion bins. We cover safety procedures extensively, days before, as well as right before unloading. I also remind them, that if anything is dropped, just get back. Maybe it's just me, but when handling ceramic wares, I have the tendency to try and break its fall with my foot, when dropped. I'm not sure if any of the students share this reaction with me, but I remind them anyway, so they don't have to explain a scar later on in life... In the years that I've done Raku, the only issue I ever had was, when the idiot instructor (Your's Truly), saw that we had some extra crumpled paper, we didn't use. So I thought, "Hmmm I'll just throw it in one of the reduction bins..." Shortly after scenes of the movie "Backdraft" popped into my head, right after the lid made a whoosh and puff sound, and lifted off the bottom a bit.
  13. Extruder recommendations

    I've used Scott Creek, Brent and North Star extruders. My first classroom had a blue, steel body round extruder. It worked great. I had a lot of dyes for it, including hollow tube variety. The inside had a bit of rust, but it didn't affect anything. My second classroom had a Brent and North Star. I prefer the the collar design, on the Brent, as it just twists on and off. The Scott Creek has three pins, that hold the collar on. The North Star was my least favorite. The clay capacity was less than the other two, and changing, using the dyes was a pain, as you had to wing nut the collar on and off. I prefer the Scott Creek plunger, as you work it downward, via rungs. The Brent uses a yoke set up, that I just found a bit more annoying to use. The North Star's plunger is more permanently connected to the rest of the machine. So you can't take it off to clean it, like you can with the others. At my current classroom, I finally ordered an aluminum body Scott Creek. It works great, and I am happy with the purchase... As are my students, who no longer have to use the constantly faulty hand extruders. They all work well. Most of it just comes down to personal preference.
  14. I know mine is! I do not like to be defeated, by something I know I can overcome.
  15. Kiln Install on Deck

    I've seen others here post about doing, exactly what Neil suggests. It's not the extreme heat, or cold, that generally hurts electronics. It's trying to use them, when they are already at those temperatures.