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Marcia Selsor

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About Marcia Selsor

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    Professor Emerita, MSU-Billings, Advanced Member

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  • Location
    Red Lodge, Montana
  • Interests
    Besides chemistry, history, techniques, clay bodies, kilns and firings, ceramics collections and museums, I am interested in Civic engagement, gardening , bird watching, Montana outdoors, historical places, education.

    my website includes many "how-to" pages for making quick terra terra sig, to building raku kilns. http://www.marciaselsorstudio.com

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  1. Marcia Selsor

    What’s on your workbench?

    Been firing some more tests soluble salts and consecutive followups on good leads from tests. Pots on the left were fired at various temperatures in saggars and foil saggars. pots on the right were retired at 1700F. Additional coats on salts were added.
  2. Doug Baldwin , long time educator at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, passed away in Red 2018 also. Below is the piece from MICA newsletter as it appeared on the NCECA blog. Doug was born in Missoula, Montana and retired to Missoula. He continued working at the Clay Studio in Missoula. Marcia http://blog.nceca.net/remembering-doug-baldwin-1939-2018
  3. Tis article was in the Billings gazette promoting a few local potters. There are many more in the immediate area. https://billingsgazette.com/entertainment/community/a-livelihood-in-clay-local-potters-carve-out-space-to/article_54a9e213-721a-53dc-bcf4-b418cab194e2.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share BTW my husband is home for the holidays teleworking. He retires in 279 days.The article makes it sound like I left him in Texas. What comes across in the articles are common ideas of the versatility and satisfaction we find in the clay and our sense of community, curiosity, and joy. Happy Holidays everyone. Marcia
  4. I had taken art classes beginning at age 11 in 1960. During the 6 years of Saturday classes downtown , I was exposed to great museums including the Pennsylvania University Museum with a great archeology college and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Rodin Museum, Natural History Museum, etc. Once in Art school at the Philadelphia University of the Arts ( formerly Phila. College of Art, formerly before that The Phila. Museum College of Art) I majored in Industrial Design after the Freshman Foundation core. My elective in Ceramics changed that. I too, like Pres, found the touch of clay and was hooked. My teacher, Bill Daley, was great in getting us involved in firing, clay mixing , hand building. We attended a workshop with Paul Soldner at a local Art Center, built a kiln in the snow and fired. Afterwards we built a raku kiln on the "campus" in downtown Phila. Paula Winokur was brought in to teach us how to throw. The rest is history. I feel blessed to have had such a great exposure to the Arts and specifically in Clay.
  5. Juan Quesada is from Casa Grandes area in Mexico.
  6. It took 3 months to get centering right. I was a 90lb weakling ( really 87 pound). I thought my forearms developed Popeye muscles after 3 months. As for learning to throw, I think I am really getting pretty good now, and that has taken 50+ years but I don't usually end up fighting that lump. I have a plan and execute it. Without struggling.
  7. I have to agree with Mark, Pres, Lee, and Neil regarding formal education. I was sent to Sat. Art classes at age 11 . I had been drawing all the time from a very early age. I later went to Art School for a BFA where I discovered clay. I was able to minor in Art History and write papers on ceramic topics in my Art History classes. I love learning about ceramics from all over the world. Taught college level ceramics for 25 years. I provided special topic courses in the summers and winter interim classes. We did kiln building, Tile workshops,Primitive pottery including searching for and processing clay.I taught glaze calculation, throwing, hand building, kiln building, mold making, glazing and firing during the regular course work of the ceramics program. I retired because the physical work of loading and unloading kilns was hurting my body. When tuition kept rising and students had to work more to pay the tuition, they had fewer hours to hang out in the studio and help me. During my final year my pain was interrupting my sleep 23 times/minute according to a sleep test with probes everywhere. I stuck it through til I hit 25 years and retired. Now I have been working my studio for the last 18 years learning more and more. Ceramics is a never ending quest for understanding the material, firing processes, chemicals and glazes. Never ending. I love it. It is my passion. I don't think people need a formal education but it does provide more access to learning things like glaze chemistry, especially if you are fortunate to have good teachers who can direct your passion. Some people can learn well on their own and some benefit from good direction of teachers. I am very excited about what I am discovering in clay after 50+ years of working with it. It has been a wonderful life for me. This morning I had a studio visit from the current teacher where I worked and 5 of her students. It was fun to show them what I am doing and discuss it. Since they had been doing studio and gallery visits all morning, I prepared some food and refreshments for them. They were continuing across Montana, picking up work for a Montana Clay Invitational. What a great opportunity for these students to visit studios and the Red Lodge Clay Center, The Archie Bray Foundation , and the Missoula Clay Studio. We have rich resources in Montana as well as good programs in the Colleges and Universities. Montana Clay is a statewide organization of ceramic artists and potters. It promotes clay people across the state. I am happy to be back in Montana after working in Texas for a decade. Marcia
  8. There was a great little display decades ago in the Smithsonian Museum of Industry of 6 plates of a similar size and similar (very similar ) motif manufactured in 6 different countries in Europe and Asia. I have no idea where the motif originated. I wish that museum would reopen. I have been trying to revisit that display for a long time. The Ultimate Culture Wars might be the pottery Wars between Korean and Japan. Marcia
  9. Marcia Selsor

    Repairing Gas Kiln Arch Bricks

    I used them on the kilns i built at the university over 25 years. I liked them and adjusted the arch bricks when needed by tightening the threads on the rods with the springs. just one of those things you either use or don't. I like catenary arches but sprung arched are my favorite to build. Best wishes to you, Mark. Marcia
  10. Marcia Selsor

    Saggar and Raku Kiln Questions

    My new kiln shed houses four raku kilns and three electric kilns. I would not sagger fire in an electric kiln. I use some very caustic chemicals in saggars.This photos shows my tophat full of saggars. It is propane fired.
  11. Marcia Selsor

    Repairing Gas Kiln Arch Bricks

    this is not a Roman arch , but a sprung arch. Roman arches are semi circular running into the wall without a scew brick. A. P. Green handbook for designing arches helps you configure the rise per foot and the radius and what bricks are needed to construct the arch as well as which stew brick is needed. great little reference book. Car valve springs from junk yards do contract and expand. Used them for decades.Springs from a hardware store are not as resilient. That may be what mark is referring to. Marcia.
  12. Marcia Selsor

    Glazing a mortar and pestle

    if the whole thing is unglazed maybe use a little alumina in wax so the porcelain doesn't stick to the shelf. OR you could make a drip plate and put grog in it to support the pestle. Marcia
  13. Marcia Selsor


  14. Marcia Selsor

    Repairing Gas Kiln Arch Bricks

    I have used small bits of fiber soaked in ITC and stuffed into the cracks. Possibly a kiln patch material would also work. Question: is the kiln frame rigid? I always built arches using a threaded rod , large washers and car valve springs to allow the arch to breath (expansion and contraction) . Just curious if that could be the source of the problem. -no flexibility. Marcia
  15. Marcia Selsor

    kilnshedrakukilns copy.jpg

    an open barn door. I don't watch tv even in the house let alone while firing.

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