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Everything posted by Benzine

  1. There is usually mold on the fresh bags of clay, when I open them up. It grosses my students out, but I simply explain to them, that their hands are probably dirtier, than the clay... The mold on the clay is either white or black. Usually, if it shows up on the wares/ projects, it's only if they sit awhile. The ware boards are worse, since they don't always have a chance to dry out, as they are constantly being used. On those, it's usually a blackish mold. No matter the case, I never worry about it. On the projects, the kiln will take care of the mold, and on the boards, a little soap and water is adequate. The biggest issue is the bacteria that likes to eat the binder in the underglazes. As the saying goes, the smell of those could knock a buzzard off a manure wagon...
  2. After reading the topic post, your work is the first thing I thought to link to Pres. I remember seeing several "squared" jars on your blog.
  3. I've been throwing for fifteen years or so, and I will still leave a bit too much at the base occasionally (Especially with newer forms). Some of it is just getting a feel for what a thick base feels like, and what a thinner base feels like. I also drag my thumb along the base, to create a groove, before beginning some of my pulls. It gives your fingers a path to follow, and has helped me pull more clay, than just a normal pull.
  4. I find, that my students are confused by the concept of Balance. They usually simplify it as "Symmetrical= The same on both sides" and "Asymmetrical= Different on each side". It doesn't seem to occur to them that just because Asymmetrical isn't the same on both sides means it lacks "Balance".
  5. Ian Currie Test Tiles Forums?

    I find it interesting that reduction causes iron to flux. Why is this?
  6. I really do like the effects that a spray applied layer creates, over top of a glaze. My Dad made a couple really nice pieces, in College, using this method. One is a "Bird Bath" form, with a nice gradient created by the spray. Unfortunately some of his dang kids cracked the ware, when they were younger...
  7. Yeah, I can't comment on that, as I've never tried to sharpen them. The clay body I use, goes pretty easy on the "blade", so sharpness hasn't proven to be an issue yet. I've been watching a lot of "Forged in Fire" lately, so when I do go to sharpen, I'll go all out and heat the blade, then quench it... I'm joking... Or am I...
  8. My Mudtools "Do All Trim Tool". After using loops to trim for years, just love the versatility of the Do All. It's comfortable to use, and it's all I use to trim now... Unless I'm in my classroom, and have to use the loops, because that's all we have there...
  9. repairing grenware?

    So I took one of my demo wheel projects, one that I cut in half with the wire, to show consistent thickness, and used a combination of Magic Water and my saturated slip, to put the two halves back together. The seam is still visible, but that is mostly due to me not worrying about aesthetics as much as performance. After firing, no cracks were visible in the mend, and it held up to the stress of me trying to pull the two halves apart. Is it as strong as the rest of the piece? That I can't say, but it is a pretty good mend! A real test will be with my Art Club's Raku projects. I made a super saturated Raku slip and used the same process to fix some of the breaks on their projects. They came through the Bisque just fine, but we will see how they do with the thermal shock of the actual Raku firing.
  10. I have a friend, who used to live in Northern Maine. We would always joke that his phone and internet signals, were bounced off of moose antlers. So if the signal was poor, one of the moose was out of place...
  11. Ian Currie Test Tiles Forums?

    Awesome color. It reminds me of the results/ effects I get with some of my Raku glazes, which is one reason I like it. Is that for functional wares? If it doesn't have an official name, you need to give it one. Based on my experience with the commercial glazes, the names don't always have to make sense. There was color I ordered called "Tabacco Brown", but it was an off white, with small flecks of brown. So it looked more like tabacco spit brown...
  12. Rubber/Silicone Ribs

    Like Neil, I still use a wood rib, to compress the bottoms of my forms. I also use a green "Mud Tools" rib, as well as a metal rib for forming. I have honestly never tried using a rib during my pulls. I may need to give it a go sometime.
  13. Ian Currie Test Tiles Forums?

    That tile in the first photo is awesome! What "color" is that?
  14. In order to wrap around, you will have to have wedges cut out, from the top and bottom, to allow for those sections to come together without bunching. Think of the "exploded" version of the Globe: In regards to carving, I was going to recommend an X-ACTO, as I've had success with them. But if that doesn't working, what about a small paring knife? They make specially designed clay cutting/ carving tools for such detailed work, but no sense in buying something if you don't plan on using it regularly.
  15. repairing grenware?

    I'm actually trying new mending methods, as it not only comes up with my High School students, but the Middle School teacher, usually borrows some of my mending slips. So I'm trying to build a better mousetrap, so to speak. The Spooze has been my go to for years. It does a great job. It holds well, sets fast, and can be used right before firing. I just find that the join isn't quite as strong as the surrounding areas. Using Magic Water in conjunction with the Spooze seems to help a bit. But lately I've been using a "Super Saturated" Slip. Just a deflocculated slip, with more clay powder added in. I like it, because, when applied to bone dry clay, it grabs and holds almost instantly. I also use this in conjunction with Magic Water. I am still determining, if the join is any stronger than other methods I've used. Of any of the methods, for fixing wares, I've found the best method, is what I usually tell students, when they bring the damaged project up to me: Me: "What happened?" Student: "I broke my project." Me: "Yeah, I wouldn't have done that, if I were you..."
  16. repairing grenware?

    Got it! Thanks for the clarification. Does Darvan do that?
  17. repairing grenware?

    Is the Sodium Silicate also in there as a "glass former"?
  18. 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...
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Raku Proposal For School

    I've never tried straw. What about hay?....Or is that for horses?...
  22. 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.
  23. 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!
  24. 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...
  25. Beautiful work Marcia, but why is that one ware in a torture device? Did it misbehave?