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Everything posted by LawPots

  1. Wire wrapped pots are mentioned in Japanese Woodfired Ceramics in the chapter on pit firing. Copper wire, especially, is mentioned as creating dark lines on the pot.
  2. To Me

    We seem to have never stopped debating what C.F. Binns said at the beginning of the last century: "The trend of the present demand ... is toward a personal and individual expression in the crafts or industrial arts. This is tendency is the natural swing of the pendulum from the machine made product of the manufactory which in its turn was the inevitable result of mechanical invention." How much expression is sufficiently personal in craft, when faced with mechanical sameness of things?
  3. Fermentation Crock?

    The crocks my great-grandparents used were salt glazed (interior was albany slip - an earthenware clay slip that formed a brown glaze at higher temps). They used stones to hold down the cabbage under the water to make sauerkraut. Mold was skimmed of the top, if it formed. As far as I know, they didn't always have lids - they just used cloth to keep dust out. Cocks like this could be thrown or molded. The crocks we still have are thrown white stoneware clay. These didn't have the water seal lip, which I've only seen on crocks in stores recently. I've read that these stonewares often didn't get actually get to cone 10 - most only fired at cone 6-7, only hot enough to vaporize the salt. The largest were cylinders about as tall as a 5-gallon bucket (taller than wide, nearly 1ft in diameter).
  4. Mugs

    I know you make teaware for the Japanese market; so, is there a Japanese buyer for this sort of american woodfired mug?
  5. I am no expert in lead, and I certainly wouldn't put it on any of the functional work that I do. Its just not worth thinking about from a liability standpoint, and the lawyer in me says "Who knows what some kid would do, even with a sculpture?" That said, I have read some older ceramics books that contained extensive discussion on using lead in glaze. At some point I read The Potter's Craft by C.F. Binns, and I recall that he discusses in detail the chemical formulas and differences in red lead and white lead. I believe he had a variety of recipes for lead glazes. You can get electronic copies through google play.
  6. You didn't include any pictures on the inside of your shop. I visited your website and I was particularly impressed with the displays inside. You experience in retail really shows in all aspects of your operation.
  7. Now that I think about it, if I were to devise a test (which is a really fun thought exercise) a Master Potter is someone who should be capable of the following: 1. Identifying and making a clay body suitable for functional ware from natural materials - i.e. can find a useful clay without having to buy it. - They should be able to identify workable plastic clays in the ground. They should know how to test those clays for workability and firing temperature. They should be able to differentiate between an earthenware clay and stoneware clay, and fire clay (for firebricks). They should know what sort of geology to look for in a natural landscape to find a useful clay. 2. Identifying and making a functional glaze from natural materials that makes a pot impervious, and is an extension of a decorative style - i.e. can find, or knows which natural materials for a glaze at the temperature they want to fire at. - Knows how to process and mix those materials into a glaze. - They should know how to test a glaze for function and durability. - They should know how to create color in a glaze or slip 3. Can build a kiln to fire their work, starting from natural materials - knows how to make bricks, lay out a kiln, and build a useful kiln. This may include an electric kiln (see below) 4. Can fire a kiln to temperature, from natural materials (wood, coal, animal or crude oil). 5. Can form pots at least the size of a decent large cook-pot either handbuilding, wheel, or molded. I think the size question here may be optional, but the forming method must demonstrate the capability of forming useful pots with an even thickness. I believe that the pot should be sellable, not dangerous, and suitable for the use for which it is designed. I.e. teapots need to be able to make tea, mugs hold water without leaking, baking dishes bake, and crocks ferment food. I am not going to require a master potter to be a blacksmith or a miner, but the master potter needs to know what is needed in terms of metal, minerals, and shaped wood to make a finished pot. Likewise, the master potter can work with electricity, but the master potter should know how to make an electric kiln, if the potter does not know how to make another type of kiln. So, a master potter needs to be able to teach the next generation of potters what they must know to make pots. A master potter must know: Making clay, making glaze, making pots, making a kiln, firing a kiln. Its cheating to say you have mastery of the craft if you buy your clay from someone else, but can't make it. Or buy you kiln from someone else, but don't know how to make your own. Ideally a master potter should have some ability over all the forming techniques, but I don't think that mastery really requires everyone to throw on a wheel, when I see plenty of handbuilt and coiled pots that are just as good or better than a wheel thrown pot. An MFA is something else. It's not a master potter - its a master's in the fine art of ceramics. To me, this just isn't the same. That's why history isn't on my list. It's why years of teaching or learning really aren't on the list. It would take years to learn these skills as a practical matter, but its not about how long you've done these things - its about whether you learned them in the first place. BTW - does anyone on this list have experience with the German potteries? I read an interview where a German potter said that he could not take apprentices in Germany, because he had never served an apprenticeship and been certified as a journeyman or master. The same rules didn't keep him from selling his pots, though, so not the same as the medieval guilds. This article covers some of the structure of the German apprentice system https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apprenticeship#Germany The Germans seem to think its possible to narrow the skill set down to a prescribed set of skills.
  8. One way to put it, in old guild terms, is that a master potter is one who has mastered the craft (which is a near synonym of "secret") of pottery. The people who master the secrets of pottery are a master potters. Its not about how good the work is, its about whether you can make what you want to make. The masterwork is proof that you know the secrets of pottery, and can put them into action. Masterworks don't have to look good, they just prove that you know what you're doing. Its not really a subjective thing at all. You could test it.
  9. Going Price Of Mugs

    I'd like to echo Mea in a way. I am a student of hers, but I also fit the demographic that Mea sells to - craft fair enthusiasts with upper middle income. I happen to go to the types of shows she participates in. I went to many of them before she started doing them, like the Smithsonian show. I've paid up to $60 for a mug. I bought a mug from Sang Joon Park for over $40 at ACC Baltimore, broke it a week later, and bought a second mug from him at the Smithsonian show. The reason I'm estimating his price? I can't remember it. I didn't really care how much it was. So, were there cheaper mugs at both shows? Yes. Did it matter? No. I think you do have to find a mug that you can make for a rational price for both you, and your target market. I figure making, glazing and firing a plain mug takes about 12 minutes each mug. Provided that you are a quick thrower, don't trim, and don't do much decoration. A modest decoration, some marketing overhead, and a retail mug at $25 is my guess for a minimum price for a mug if the maker lives in the greater metro area of Washington DC. Likewise, $35? Totally an affordable price for a handmade mug. In 1980, that was about $12.00, and in 1972, that was $6. Which happens to be right in line with a previous post. Check this out: http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm, if you want to want to compare a historic price to a current going price.
  10. I submit the following, as evidence that if we aren't copying, there is at least someone out there who thinks like us. You'll see there is a definite theme here. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/97601516900646693/ https://www.pinterest.com/pin/103934703869890247/ https://www.pinterest.com/pin/412431278351067833/ https://www.pinterest.com/pin/255368241344576035/ https://www.pinterest.com/pin/249738741808377405/ https://www.pinterest.com/pin/264516178083674426/ https://www.pinterest.com/pin/426856870906675250/ This does not mean each is a copy. But, let's just say that I spent a few hours last weekend making mugs with teabag themes, and I am not surprised that a quick search of pinterest turned up a similar theme. Even if my specific inspiration was a print. And my decoration doesn't actually look very much like these examples. Or, the original print for that matter. Brandon Sanderson had a character say something interesting about what talent people value most in one of his books: "Given two works of artistic majesty, otherwise weighted equally, [and created independently] we give greater acclaim to the one who did it first. It doesn't matter that you create. It matters what you create before anyone else." The cynical character goes on to say that novelty is the talent people value the most. Do we copy? Maybe a better question is: does it matter? What value will our pottery have if it is a copy of someone else? You can't copy novelty.
  11. This is a really great analogy, and explains why everyone is right in this post, as a practical matter, because even if you know don't know why you're putting a hole in your pot, it works! Popcorn feels 'dry' when you hold it. But it isn't! Popcorn blows up because the moisture in the popcorn flashes to steam. (See Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popcorn) If it was just air in the popcorn, popcorn wouldn't pop. Its the water in the popcorn that makes it pop. The water is trapped inside because the popcorn kernel has a hard, impervious skin that won't let the inside of the kernel dry completely. If the popcorn's skin is damaged, the kernels won't pop, because the moisture content falls too low. So, when we dry our clay art, we're trying to keep it from acting like popcorn. The moisture in the clay, and the moisture in the air inside hollow clay, needs to escape before we fire it above the boiling point of water. If we don't, the steam will blow up our pots. The clay needs to be "dry" for this to happen. Unlike the shell of a popcorn kernel, unfired clay is generally porous enough that the moisture escapes through the surface. Candling your kiln (at near boiling point of water) can help get the moisture out of the clay and any air inside voids in the clay. Holes help dry hollow parts, because they allow the dry air outside the hollow parts to exchange with the wet air inside the hollow parts. The clay dries more efficiently, and there isn't any moisture trapped (like in popcorn) to blow up your pot. If your clay is very thick and heavy, the moisture doesn't escape well through the surface, and there can still be enough water in it to pop. So, if you poke holes in your popcorn kernels, you'd better pop it fast, because the inside will dry out and then you'll just have dry corn. And that's lame. But if you poke holes in the voids of your pots, the inside will dry, and your pots won't pop. And that's awesome!
  12. Amateur Potter - or maybe a Hobby Potter. I don't like calling what I make Art, so I don't call myself an artist. Functional Potter, maybe? Ceramic Artist makes it sound like I know something about ceramics, or art, and I don't really think I qualify for that. (I am not saying that there isn't art, I am just saying I don't like to call what I make art.)
  13. Community Challenge #1

    Well, since I'm a student of Mea's - I'll do what she did, and post something I made last year (I am making more . . .)
  14. To me there's some marketing going on here. A studio potter is a Leach or Robineau style potter. The potter makes the pots, decorates the pots, glazes the pots, fires the pots, and markets/sells the pots. There is a requirement, in my mind, that studio potters are also producing high-quality work suitable for a gallery or commission. Studio pottery is a label for marketing ceramics to distinguish it from ceramics made in a factory, and distinguish it from the now practically extinct country pottery. So, studio pottery is pottery marketed as art (including everyday art) by the person who made the pottery alone or with assistance from apprentices. Why am I focused on market? Compare Chris' definition to the 19th cent. southern potter making crocks and jugs, or someone like Isaac Button. Those people marketed their ware to country people for everyday use, but they also did all the work themselves in shops and buildings that they owned. That's not studio pottery, even though its made under similar conditions as studio pottery.
  15. Before I took my first pottery class 5 years ago, I saw this at Freer gallery: http://www.asia.si.edu/collections/zoomObject.cfm?ObjectId=54870 I am always thinking about that cup and the brushed crackle slip.
  16. It seems the thrust of the comment is that you can't trust the critques of people in the same business. This is not quite correct. You can trust the critiques of others in the same business to be based on their point of view. This doesn't make the critique inherently untrustworthy. It does however, mean that when such criticism is recieved, a listener must attempt to understand that point of view and decide if the viewpoint (or critique) reflects the listener's values. If it does, the listener must judge the critque and decide how to change; if it doesn't, the listener can continue on without sparing a thought for it.
  17. Protecting trade name and design ideas

    I forgot to mention that there is also trade secret law which can provide some limited protection from corporate espionage - like stealing glaze recipes and formulas for clay bodies. Heh, but that's for people that have those kinds of secrets to keep, and I am not one of them.
  18. Protecting trade name and design ideas

    There's at least three things that a potter could look into (by hiring a lawyer or reading the Copyright office or the Patent and Trademark office websites) to protect their business: Copyright. There is copyright upon creation, so creative people have copyright without doing anything in particular except creating their own work. But to sue in federal court, the work must be registered. $65 per registration for the visual arts (U.S. copyright office), and pretty much irrefutable proof that the work was created before the registration date. This mostly protects against 1 to 1 copying of the original work, so, it's not very strong, and particluary not strong if there isn't much creative expression in the work. Trademark. To protect the good will developing around a brand, however, register with the Trademark office. These go through some scrutiny, but trademarks last forever so long as they are used. Trademark law protects the name or mark (or a confusingly similar name or mark) from being used by competitors. Like, for example, 'fruit bat pottery' and 'vampire bat pottery.' Design Patents. Finally, for decorative design that is both original, and valuable enough to go through the trouble, there is the design patent with the Patent Office. Patents have a well deserved reputation for being difficult to get. However, there should be functional pots that would qualify for this, so don't dismiss this as impossible. The Captain Picard tea set comes to my mind as the kind of thing a design patent will protect. And a design patent holds out the possibility that it would prevent a greater variety of copying of the ideas in work than copyright protection. I am not giving legal advice people - don't ask me for any. go get your own attorney.
  19. Left at the Altar

    You might want to consult a lawyer. Oral contracts are great for litigators. Much better than written contracts, because there's so much more to argue about. Of course, this isn't so great for you when you see the bill. This is not legal advice for your problem, but potters in the United States should seriously consider reading, and at least attempting to understand, Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code. It's enacted by most U.S. states to be a uniform law of sales (each state has a version in its statute books). Article 2 of the U.C.C. has a provision that says: "a contract for the sale of goods for the price of $500 or more is not enforceable by way of action or defense unless there is some writing sufficient to indicate that a contract for sale has been made between the parties and signed by the party against whom enforcement is sought or by his authorized agent or broker." - http://www.law.corne...cc/2/2-201.html Because of this provision, I daresay that anyone taking orders from more than $500 of pottery should consider a signed written sales contract or signed work order to be a prerequisite to the sale. Otherwise there is a real danger that your oral contract isn't worth the paper its written on.
  20. Can you read this picture?

    There's this moment looking at the painting when it seems like the artist sat the family down with the stuff on table, which none of them have actually used before, and said - here, pick up the teacups and pretend to drink so I can get a picture of you. It's like a wacky candid shot. See, the father didn't even have any tea poured in his cup because he prefers beer (or rum!); the mother is holding the too hot cup up by the foot and the edge, because she wants to hold it, but not drink it; and the child is like - what's this taste like? There's four cups; three people, three spoons, but only two saucers - and one of the saucers is already holding a cup. Then there is this question - Who poured the tea? I can only conclude its not a servant: the utensils are on the table and the sugar bowl is open. A servant wouldn't have brought, or left, and empty cup on the table, right? Who would leave the cover off a sugar dish? That stuff is as expensive as the tea - maybe moreso. And, really, I don't care how ornamental the dog, you want to have a dog near your fine china? Look there - your can see the shadow under the edge of that plate right next the to dog - the edge of the plate is over the edge of the table. Doggie might have gone in a lap, but we want to show off our fine clothes, and don't want them to get messed up by actually holding the dog. So dog was seen on the ground, but painted into the chair/stool?, because everyone is sitting, but we don't want to have to paint thier feet - the canvas would be too big. About the sitting - wife has a chair with a back; father has a chair with a back, but daughter? No back. Was it because the color doesn't go with the dress? Were these three even sitting at the table together? Mother has lots of fine details in her dress and facial expression, like she sat several times, but father and daugher look like they came over to the studio once for a quick sketch and that was it. It's a funny picture indeed.
  21. Im still a begginner by most professional standards, but I find my pots rarely have accidentally heavy bottoms; if I am careful, I trimmed the wieght. If I'm not (because I'm lazy) I leave the wieght alone. Two things have helped me reduce trimming - careful measurement of the bottom when I throw using a needle tool, before I pull the walls, and making sure that I remove buttresses (by indenting on base of the outside) when I start pulling up the walls. Both of my teachers in throwing have emphasized this second step, and when it is not done, I find it very difficult to pull the clay up into the body. If I throw a heavy bottom, then I trim. I like footed pots, so, I actually prefer trimmed bowls aesthetically, which (when i am throwing without a specific project in mind) I throw on the hump most of the time anyway. What other tricks are there to eliminate trimming?
  22. I would tend to decline to opine on this question - I do not specialize in this area of law. I believe that the federal labor laws say that to be salaried, generally speaking, an employee's responsibilities have to include a significant supervisory role over other employees and be pretty managerial in scope. Could be wrong... but that is my understanding. Depending on the role... it MIGHT fall under the "creative" exemption. But a lot would depend on the exact primary role of the job. So a person who simply mixes clay or fires kilns or other such tasks would likely not qualify to be salaried. Lawpots...... you reading this? Yes / no? Example: [url=http://www.ehso.com/cssdol/dolsalariedexempt.php]http://www.ehso. best, .......................john
  23. My guess is Celedon glaze, Korean-made, light-colored stoneware, and, while I almost can't believe I'm going to write this, it looks like a ceremonial hat
  24. My self-imposed barriers to responding to this topic have failed me. John Barrymore is correct, John Britt's challenge to Penland isn't so much a "legal" one; it is more of an ethical one. But, while I know and respect Mea, I also disagree with her about Penland's ethical obligations. I particularly disagree with Penland's response. First, let us not mistake Penland's failures as technical violations; with a technical violation no one is hurt. In this instance, employees were paid less than the law required. The principles that require employers to keep records, and establish state and federal employment oversight over employee pay, is that employees typically do not have the bargaining power, the sophisticated understanding of law, or the money to challenge the unlawful wage decisions of their employer. I think this is where I disagree with Mea - just because an employee can stick up for themselves, not all employees will. That's why we've got these laws in the first place. If you already have an independent source of income, are willing to risk unemployment, or have the resources to fight it, fine. But many ordinary employees don't. Moreover, I don't think it is unusual or unexpected that employees would not realize that their sophisticated (I think Penland qualifies) employer was violating overtime laws. But that, even, is not John's real complaint at this point. After threatened with exposure for an illegal practice, Penland agreed to pay its former employees compensation for its failures to follow the overtime laws. It did not. Penland was in the best position to inform former employees that it had made the overtime error, and Penland was in a better position than the employees to correct it. In some states, a statute of limitations would not have run until the employees had a reasonable opportunity to discover the error - but, I don't think that is necessarily an issue here. Fact is, Penland avoided a lawsuit by agreeing with the whistleblower to correct its violation, and then proceeded to follow only the bare letter of the employment law by not informing the former employees of the error, and only paying those that came forward with a complaint. It also only did so for the prior two years (something that I find suspicious if the law provides a five-year statute of limitations, but maybe the statute is only two years). Regardless, that was a pretty bum thing to do, even if your lawyer said it was ok, because no matter how I read this, I can't believe the promise was that Penland would do the minimum required by law to correct its mistake. And now, some years later, Penland has given a terrible response to John B's complaint. Penland's response is: we made a mistake; we corrected it for some emplyees; we didn't correct it for others (the empoyees we didn't contact); we knew we hadn't corrected it for everyone; but, we weren't obligated to by law; so, quit your whining. That's a nasty bit of work because John B. exchanged his opportunity to seek legal redress for a promise from Penland that the overtime payments would be made right. Now, he has found out that it wasn't made right. I can't opine on whether Penland acted within the law, or what John B. could do about it if Penland did not. But, as an ethical matter, the answer is not hard. Penalnd's actions are unethical. And, for breaking Penland's promise to him, John B. has a legitimate gripe. Of course, a statute of limitations ends old legal disputes. That's valuable. Time limitations permit the courts and the government to focus only on what happened recently. Limitations recognize that records get old, memories fail, and its just too hard to decide who owes what for that stuff that happened more than five (or seven, or ten) years ago. But that's for the conviniece of the courts in resolving disputes. As a lawyer, I think statutes of limitations are important and useful. I think we are better off with them than without. Maybe statutes of limitations even prevent abusive legal actions. But, that doesn't mean something wrong didn't happen, or that we should forget that it did, just because it happened more than five years ago. A statute of limitations doesn't say that you can't make up for past mistakes if you want to. Penland just doesn't apparently want to try.