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tjbanjo

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Everything posted by tjbanjo

  1. Our school's high school principal asked me how many students I could take in ceramics class at a time. Right now there are 15 showing interest for the fall, which is great, I am thrilled that interest in the ceramics class is growing. However, the size of my room will limit the class size, and how many students I can instruct at one time will also limit the number. I am going to rack my brain trying to figure out a more efficient use of the space so I can take as many students as possible, but as far as how many students in one class, what is the most that all you who have taught high school beginner ceramics feel is manageable for a high school Ceramics I class? I want to be able to keep up with the individual instruction that the students will need. I do currently have eight 4th & 5th graders in an after school clay club and I've done clay projects with full classes in K-8. It seems like those might be different than a high school ceramics class, though, where they're learning and refining different skills. Anyway, what your thoughts on max numbers for a Ceramics 1 class? Thanks. Bob
  2. Thanks for the reply. Due to the size of my room, I'm probably going to go with ten.
  3. I have a 4th & 5th grade after school clay club once each week at school, with eight students. We've had three classes so far and the kids are working on pinch pot critters. I have one student who seems to dry his clay out very quickly, to the point that it gets irreparable. After his first pot fell apart I had him start over during the next class. That pot is also not doing well, but is holding up better than the first one. This kid wears shorts all year round, even when it's only about 25 F outside. He doesn't seem to get cold. Could his body temp be just enough above normal that his hands suck more moisture out of the clay than normal? It's the only thing I can think of, because he's not using a really absorbent surface to work on, just a canvas mat like everyone else. Any thoughts or suggestions? He kind of goes overboard on the water if I don't keep a sharp eye on him. Thanks
  4. tjbanjo

    how hot?

    This is the first I've ever used cones, so I was unaware that there were different colors for different levels. Live and learn. Bob
  5. tjbanjo

    how hot?

    How hot does a ^5.5 Orton pyrometric cone have to get to melt? I fired the kiln, I thought, to 1201 Celsius. This is a problem. Anybody know where to find a kiln tech in China?
  6. tjbanjo

    firebrick crack

    Does this crack in the firebrick in the lid of my kiln need some kind of attention? I've been told both yes and no. It's a Shimpo DUA-15 kiln. Bob
  7. tjbanjo

    how hot?

    Mystery solved! As you can see in the image below, the bag is labeled for cone 5.5 cones, while the actual cones in the bag are 05.5 That's kind of a big difference. I wasn't wearing my reading glasses and just looked at the package when I got the cones out instead of looking at the cones themselves. So, somebody doing the packaging messed up. I wonder how many other bags of these got packaged incorrectly? I suppose I should wear my glasses more. I discovered what happened because I was wearing my glasses today while putting things in the kiln. Ah, the joys of getting older. Now to get some new cones. Unfortunately, I can't just run to the nearest ceramics supply store and pick some up, since there are no supply stores within a day's drive of me. I'll have to order them. Oh, well, at least now I know. Bob
  8. That was my first thought. I'm trying to keep a closer eye on him and keep him moving along and not overworking the clay.
  9. tjbanjo

    firebrick crack

    Thanks for the advice. I'll see if I can find some kiln coating for starters. Bob
  10. tjbanjo

    firebrick crack

    For some reason the system wouldn't allow me to upload more than one photo into a single post, even though they were each under 500kb. So here's another, closer look at the cracks.
  11. No, they aren't finishing in one period, but he had problems the very first period with the clay. We're just using some basic earthenware clay, nothing fancy. As far as storage, I put the projects all together in a sealed plastic storage box with a good number of sponges to keep things from drying out. It seemed to work for that, it's just when he's working on things that they get really cracked. Thanks. Bob
  12. I tried the latex gloves with him today. I think it might have been a bit better, but I need kid-size gloves, since they were hard for him to work in.
  13. Yes, he is working in the same spot, kind of against one wall. I believe he might be under a vent or something, too. I'll have to look at that tomorrow. There is another kid sitting right next to him, though, and his clay seems to be fine. Still, I'll have to pay attention to that. Thanks. Bob
  14. Thanks, those were good tips.
  15. I will try that, or have him work on a different surface. I'm not a fan of canvas, either, but it's quick and fits on the tables easily.
  16. tjbanjo

    Me - Teach a Class??!

    What they all said. I was scheduled to teach high school ceramics before I had learned it myself. Our other art teacher was leaving so I was tagged to be "it" for the next school year. I had about one week of lessons during the summer, then learned from YouTube and a pottery wheel in my classroom nearly every day, and a local art college ceramics student once a week for the first semester of the school year, then started teaching it second semester. Yikes. I discovered I loved ceramics. I also learned very quickly as I was teaching my students, I guess because I had to stay one step ahead of them. But I've always been very upfront with my students about what I do and don't know about ceramics. Sometimes we try to solve problems together. It's fun, and it's been my favorite class since the first semester I taught it. So again, I think there's a lot of good advice that's already been given. Enjoy your class
  17. tjbanjo

    how hot?

    Thanks. I'll assume that's what happened, then. The glazes seemed to turn out fine.
  18. tjbanjo

    how hot?

    I'm fairly certain it was a 5.5, but there is a chance that it could have been an 05. Would that be enough of a difference to melt it?
  19. I'm not sure which section this would be best under, so I'm putting it here first. If anyone thinks it would be better under a different heading, I'll switch it. My family is heading to Saipan for Christmas break next week. Several years ago I began collecting handmade mugs or cups from different places I visit, rather than buying Starbucks city/place mugs like some of my friends and coworkers do (I work in an international school in China, so there's a lot of travel to interesting places going on). I am looking for locally-made pottery to add to my collection of mugs. So far I've only been able to find one shop via Google that sells handmade pottery but their site doesn't say if it's locally made or not. Does anyone know of any actual pottery shops on Saipan? I did so a search here on the forum, but it yielded no results for Saipan. Thanks. Bob
  20. tjbanjo

    potters on Saipan?

    Well, there were no potters that I could find on Saipan. Since the island is entirely coral, there's nothing really to make pottery out of. The closest thing we could find was a small factory that produces ceramic bathroom stuff, tile mainly. I suppose they import all of their porcelain from somewhere else, but we didn't stop and ask. Oh well, it was a great vacation anyway.
  21. tjbanjo

    potters on Saipan?

    Thanks, it's good to have realistic expectations. Still hoping a little, though. I'll post if I find any locally made ceramics there.
  22. tjbanjo

    Balloons As Sphere Molds

    The slip molds I get. I guess because you said to, "fill with plaster to the desired size and tie a knot," I thought you were saying to fill the balloon with plaster and tie it off.
  23. tjbanjo

    Balloons As Sphere Molds

    I guess I missed something there - to what were you referring when you said to "Just fill with plaster to the desired size and tie a knot"? The KY suggestion was obviously meant in jest. Here's a picture from Pinterest showing the use of balloons as a form. http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/8e/11/34/8e1134d5dc1f45ba95f9b49c409a0da9.jpg
  24. tjbanjo

    Balloons As Sphere Molds

    So, you're saying here to fill the balloon with plaster? Once it dried, it would make a balloon-shaped hump mold, which would be cool. Also, if you're using a condom to create a mold, you shouldn't use WD40 or oil as a release agent. You should use KY Jelly. Sorry, somebody had to say it.
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