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Everything posted by Benzine

  1. This is my every day. It's taking a toll on my back. In some circumstances, I'll have the student give up their seat, especially if the fix requires precision.
  2. Dry wood ash on glazes

    11 herbs and spices?
  3. And my students laugh, when I point out the instructions on the glaze bottles, about no eating, drinking or smoking, while glazing... They ask, "Who would do that?"
  4. Some I break, some are still sitting around for me to rediscover, and once again mock me with failure... Usually, if I am not happy with something it doesn't make it to firing. Those that do, the defect is usually with the glaze, and I keep them, because I like the form. Others, I have in my classroom to discuss the issues. For example, I have a small vase with a really nice glaze combination, that cracked because that combination cause some severe dunting. It illustrates nicely how a clay body and the applied glaze interact with each other.
  5. I have seen plenty of students dry out their clay from overworking. Especially those, who have never worked with clay, who enjoy "playing" with it, As the clay is exposed to air, it loses moisture, especially as it is needed and more and more of it is exposed to the air. Couple that with the hands pulling some of the moisture out, and it doesn't take long to dry out. How warm the clay is really doesn't contribute much to how quickly it dries, unless a person is generating a couple hundred degrees of heat. An absorbent material however, like canvas plaster, cement and dry air, will pull water out of the clay rather fast.
  6. Blistering / What Causes it?

    Any time I've run into similar issues, it was because of underfiring/ cooling relatively quickly.
  7. I don't even let my students glaze all the way down to the base of the foot, and we use low fire glaze, which barely move at all.
  8. Basically, they are the equivalent of the spike strips the Police use to end high speed chases...
  9. Undercut, like a sharp inward angle/ bevel. This can be done when finishing throwing, (I usually opt for a wood knife for this), or when trimming a foot. In either case, this angled/ beveled portion is partially hidden by the shadow of the rest of the form. In some case, I underglaze my feet black, which hides the bare clay, and adds to floating appearance that the trimmed foot helps create.
  10. Clay right out of the bag, should normally be workable, unless it has been sitting around for a few years. As I always tell students, the clay dries out your hands, and your hands dry out the clay. It's the "Circle of Life"... I warn my high school students against overworking the clay, which can cause similar cracks. The middle school students, are REALLY bad at doing this. They just want to mess with the clay, without having a set goal. So as they are "Thinking" about what they are going to do, they just smoosh the clay, press on the cement boards, tear it apart, etc. By the time they starts building, the clay just wants to crack, and fall apart. If coils are what you want to work with, perhaps make the clay a bit softer, by adding some additional water. Poke some holes in the clay block, and add some water to the bag. Let it sit a couple days, and it should work a bit better. Unless of course, there is just something with the clay formula, that just makes it less plastic, as others have suggested. Best of luck in your journey into the world of clay.
  11. If one of your students....

    You mean the rest of the world (and life in general) will not go the exact way that a single individual has planned?!...
  12. If one of your students....

    As others have stated, you responded appropriately. In one of my recertification courses, the focus was classroom management. One of the things they talked about, was not to berate, or try to embarrass a student, in front of the class. All that does, is give them an audience, and likely make you look like the "bad guy". You did the right thing, by addressing the problem, and giving a different take on why the glazes didn't turn out right. Another thing the course talked about was, when you have a student who is complaining and trying to rile everyone up, give them a chance to share their views, but at another time. And I've used that technique before, when a student was giving me attitude about something. I said, "If you would like to continue to discuss this, we can do it after class/ school." Once again, it takes away their audience, paints you in a positive light, and puts the work on them, for continuing the discussion. If it really something important to them, they will find the time. If not, they will probably just drop it. And lying about the glazes? I have never been accused of that one! I've had glazes turn out poorly, usually a matter of mixing the bottles up, or poor application. I always offer to refire, if they would like.
  13. My classroom Shimpo has drains. They do leak, despite the new plugs bought for them. I think I just need a new pan, probably one sans drain plugs.
  14. The main reason, to not use water, is that it really won't work. It will get the stuff, that is flaking anyway, but so would a stiff brush. The bits that are still well bonded, will need a more aggressive approach. This means, using on of the grinding stones, that you can find on any ceramic supply website, or even in some hardware stores, where they are sold with concrete working tools. I do rinse my shelves off, but that is only done, after scrapping them down, with the stone, to remove the remaining, residual powder, before reapplying the new wash.
  15. Shopping for My First Kiln

    Indeed. There are multiple "Surplus" websites, where schools and such sell items they are getting rid of/ replacing. Sometimes, bigger programs will have multiple kilns, wheels etc. they are selling. A couple years ago, a school district a couple hours from me, was selling a very nice computer controlled Skutt. I bid on it a couple times, and it ended up selling for a little over $400. Pretty good deal for a relatively new kiln, that had nothing wrong with it. Older kilns, with cone sitters are even easier to find, and waaaay cheaper. Some people just want to get them out of their house. My current kiln was free, from one of the teachers I student taught with. She actually contacted me, into my first year teaching, asking if I would be interested in it. It just needed some new elements and brick repair, but over all, it was in good shape. I realize you are eager to get a kiln, due to your studio(former studio?) situation, but take your time on choosing a kiln. Think about what you want to be doing here in the next decade, and get a kiln that will still be able to accomplish that.
  16. Advancer Kiln Shelves

    Joseph, from my understanding, glaze does not stick to them. The bead of glaze just pops right off.
  17. I have run into similar issues, in the past. I never fully investigated the issue, as my knowledge and experience were far less than they are now. If I had to guess, my problem was an issue with glaze thickness, and the kiln firing unevenly. It was a computer controlled kiln, but the firing was "iffy". With my current kiln, I have no issues with the same clay body and glazes/ glaze combinations.
  18. Maeva, I have the exact same issue, with the Shimpo cone drive wheel, in my classroom. I somewhat fixed the issue, by tightening the nuts and bolts, on the tilting platform, that holds the motor and cone. I would suggest trying that. Alternately, you can just keep your foot on the pedal, so that it maintains its speed...
  19. Pres, are you able to get in the studio this early? I know heating your studio is always an issue, in the Winter months.
  20. Soda-Ash Wash Food Safe?

    Can it be any soda, or does it have to be name brand? Do different flavors, lead to different results? Should we perform the "Pepsi Challenge" with pottery? /end sarcasm
  21. That is awesome! I love watching production potters. Yeah, that town gets a bit smokey, doesn't it?
  22. It's unfortunate that you are put in this position, for numerous reasons. One, it is unfortunate, that those running the place are taking advantage of those, who are trying to help out. Second, it is unfortunate that the owner seems to be lacking both a knowledge and a passion for the Art. Then to compound all that, there is the disregard for proper procedures and safety, when it comes to the studio. I would get your own kiln, used or new. Then I would send/ leave a letter for the owners of the studio, regarding the issues (namely the venting and other safety concerns). In said letter, I would emphasize the need to take care of those issues, before it becomes a legal matter for them.
  23. I have found this as well, though most of the students still use standard slip. I'll have them use Magic Water on spots, that I feel will be more likely to crack however. In regards to repairing bone dry wares, I've tried many things over the years. The "spooze" recipe does work well, but I find the join to be relatively weak. Lately I've been experimenting with dampening the two pieces with Magic Water, then using a super saturated slip to join them. With a slight bit of twisting pressure, the saturated slip sets and holds fast, which is great. Then I usually brush on a bit of Magic Water. It creates a really strong join, once fired.
  24. Pres, that's taking it to near Tolkein levels right there!

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