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Everything posted by Benzine

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?!...
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Advancer Kiln Shelves

    Joseph, from my understanding, glaze does not stick to them. The bead of glaze just pops right off.
  9. 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.
  10. 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...
  11. Pres, are you able to get in the studio this early? I know heating your studio is always an issue, in the Winter months.
  12. 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
  13. That is awesome! I love watching production potters. Yeah, that town gets a bit smokey, doesn't it?
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Pres, that's taking it to near Tolkein levels right there!
  17. I have never burned a wood table, with a hot ware. But I've been in a few classrooms, that had marks on them, from someone who did... Even if I was in a rush, I wouldn't set them on my current classroom tables. Even the ones that are made to look like wood, are not wood. It's that plastic veneer stuff. No way, I'd be sanding those burn marks away... There have been times, where I've had to rush unloading, just to reload again, like at the end of the school year. I will get some pings, if I do it too quickly. So what I've started doing is to open the lid for a few seconds, and then close it again. So it removes some of the heat, but not drastic enough to hurt the wares. I do that every so often, and it does seem to help drop the temperature safely, but quicker, than just letting it set. In regards to unloading causing crazing, I have Rakuware that doesn't craze (I'm sure it does when magnified more than normal vision), when going from 1800 F to 20-30 F, so I can't imagine that anything less than that will affect the glaze.
  18. Pres, I can't say I've had my own wares collapse inward, and crack, because I always vent them, but I've seen several student projects that have done so. Also Pres, after seeing your horned jar again, I got a strong Minoan vibe from it.
  19. For personal use, I think it would be pretty nice. They hold A LOT of slop and trimmings. For classroom use, the one I have is kind of a pain, especially because the plugs do not seal well any more. But as I said, if you are the only one using it, I think it would work well. I have a two part pan, at home, and it gets clean "occasionally" aka "When it's full". With a larger pan like the one piece, I would probably only have to clean it every couple months!... I had a student forget to clean the one in my classroom. He was then gone for the remainder of the week, on a vacation. The students, who used the wheel the rest of the week, were instructed not to clean it, and he had to do so, when he returned. So that one piece pan held several student's worth of water, slip and trimmings. And these are beginning students, so there is a lot of all three of those things...
  20. The top could be sagging due to the clay being too soft, which could be fixed, after cutting the top off. However, it could also be due to the air inside the sealed boxed contracting, which pulls the sides inwards. So when making a sealed box, even one that will eventually be separated, it is a good idea, to create a vent hole, to allow air in and out. Just a small needle tool sized opening will suffice. I've done this, when making single thrown, lidded forms on the wheel. The bottom and top are made at the same time, with a groove made part way through, where the two parts will eventually come apart, once they are dry enough to do so. In that groove, I poke the needle through. Otherwise, the lid portion is bound to collapse, and even crack.
  21. Leaving glazed pieces unfired

    I've seen others here state they use a starch spray (Like what you would use on clothes) to protect unfired, glazed wares.
  22. Tell you what, we'll make a deal between the two countries. The U.S. will give the Canadians our goods, for the same price, and you just slip us some of that sweet, sweet cheap prescription medications...
  23. Great tip Mea, I'll be ordering one! Well, you see, the pen has to be issued a passport to get across the border, so it costs extra...
  24. My advice to students, when using wax, "If you intend to use a glaze somewhere, don't get wax in that spot!" We use the liquid wax resist, and I've tried a variety method for removing it (Scraping, sanding, burning with a flame). None were completely successful. Sanding and scraping only get the surface bits, but the wax that got into the porous inner layers still remains. Trying to burn it off is probably worse, since it leaves a bigger mess behind with carbon and such, and still doesn't solve the problem. Latex and paper resists are definitely better, in this regard. If you make a mistake, you can always remove the resist and redo it.
  25. 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...

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