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  1. I too, have given my work to family and friends as gifts for years. Early on, while still a student, lack of money was a driving reason, and I told everyone, if they could put up with those pieces (heavy, uneven, clunky, odd etc) that I would "remember" them years later..... when I had improved!. Years later, they actually DO look forward to being on the receiving end of a piece of work, and something I think they will like, or suit them. Visiting with family across the water this past summer, I had the opportunity to "see and review" numerous older pieces of work given to a friends' daughter while in her home. She uses them all the time, and I was amazed that the pieces were in constant use, and were the "go to pieces" in her kitchen for serving! I have also made mini vases for both daughters' as their wedding rememberances for their female guest - the second wedding this summer - 11 years after the first daughter's special day, put me in contact with several of the same guests, now receiving their second mini vase - and letting me know how much they liked and still use the first one, and were thrilled to now be the recipient of a second! As long as family and friends are interested in the work, I would rather gift them something I consider special, vs just a commercially made X that might still be around in a year or two, or not.
  2. Pets in the studio

    hi, that certainly would be a lot of dogs to have around, and many years ago we too had numerous older dogs and puppies - but I did insist that they stay out of the studio area. Despite the best housekeeping effort that we can practice, animals still pick up stuff being on the floor, and then of course take it with them - wherever else they go in your house..... not the best scenario day in and day out. With my current two dogs ( a sheltie and a BIG lab ) I initially put up a baby gate, and now eventually they know the area is off limits and they can still be close - by the doorway if they want to - they also know when I don't want them at all - ie glazing or mixing glazes. Over all - and perhaps being very cautious all around - they are probably better off not being there. Dogs are subject to respitory ailments, as well as skin and other sensitivity issues, and like people, these are problems that don't always show up right away. As a final comment under no circumstances would any puppies ever be allowed in anywhere - ok, perhaps in your clay free hands for a snuggle but you could do that elsewhere too. good luck, diana
  3. Pottery Wheel

    after many years teaching and using equipment in my own studio here are my assessments of various wheels I own and still use on occasion a mid 70's shimpo wheel - my mother taught with it in high school when she was a teacher - I will use until I can't replace the ring for the cone - which I believe is no longer in production - but it IS loud - always was.... I taught in a location with numerous 80's shimpo's for many many years - they are still working - some with minor issues - but working and noisy - but have seen alot of students use over 20 + years - all those original splash pans were horrible and had to be replaced with 2 part splashpans that were almost as irritating since they were so incredibily difficult to fit onto the wheel... I seemed to be the only one that did not have a frustrating time putting them on... point being - with a little better thought from the manufacturer - they would have been wonderful - so ease/simplicity/size/shape of splashpans can make a difference. I taught elsewhere and had a mix of wheels - good deals price wise at the time - and the ability of students to try out different wheels - since so many would eventually want to purchase one of their own. There were a couple of newer model Shimpo's - whisper series and one smaller type - again they performed well and were responsive to the operator. Brents - while they are real work horses - the older ones did not have a reversing switch - but always seemed clunky in operation to me - and I don't like the splash pan arrangement. Bailey wheels - have used them and have currently in use a "pro-series" wheel - with adjustable legs and work surface areas attached etc - noisy - with a loud unpleasant hummmm - that I can only take for short period of time - the hummmmm is while the wheel is in operation - the basin type arrangement instead of a splashpan offers plus and minus. The drain hose connection with this set up can be difficult and may not be ideal for a school setting. Foot pedal operation is ok - but not as wonderfully responsive as I would like all the time PACIFICA - of all the above mentioned wheels it is the top of the list - it truly is QUIET - in operation - is very responsive and great foot pedal response - I have gotten used to the splash pan - which the design of is nice - but I would have made it just a bit larger overall - since it can be a tight fit for larger hands to get into it to retreive a tool or when mopping out excess water. I take this wheel if I need to go demo somewhere - and while it is not - throw in the back of the car lightweight - it travels well can always we leveled out easily enough - and I don't have to get used to a foreign piece of equipment. Price wise the majority of these wheels these days all seem to be close - shipping included from many shops and suppliers - I would certainly consider the auxilary components - splashpan, construction of the throwing surface area, motor assembly, foot pedal etc... and seating for you - as well as for your students - so thats my 3 cents worth.
  4. someone else mentioned a video/workshop with Sandy P. she uses a water based marker to mark working lines on her pieces. Many of us, after taking her workshop last pre-NCECA in PHL - went off to Blicks to purchase a water based marker. I found a marker - made in japan , with the name TOMBO ABT acid free, in a couple of different colors. I use it directly on the leatherhard work or drawing out a design on "trash paper" - the thin tracing paper I used in drafting/architecture classes. put the marker side on the clay surface and traced over it with a dull pencil or ballpoint pen - voila! there was my image on the clay surface. I don't know if the stores like michaels and ac moore carry this type of "marker" - it was about $5.00 each - but real art supply places should have it. hope this helps