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Viking Potter

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About Viking Potter

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    Great Falls, Montana

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  1. Why not underfire clay

    Ok, but why, what happens?
  2. Home made wheel that actually works.

    Yeah, I doubled the size of the pulley after the first couple of days. Since then I have thrown about 20 bowls and various other things on it with good results. I also put the knob back on the speed control so you can get ahold of it with slick fingers.
  3. I come from a family of artists and craftsman, so naturally I was drawn to all forms of art, and was quickly discouraged by teachers who insisted that thing had to be done "inside the lines". In middle school I did a drawing of a swan that earned me an "F" for failing to follow the project instructions. My mother framed it, put it with some of her paintings at a local gallery where it promptly sold for $220. I was done with art education. I also had great interest in science, so naturally I got a degree in.... Law. After 20 years of practice I became a County Judge. My grandmother had a couple of different ceramic shops during her life, the last one was where, as a young teenager I learned about ceramics. After several decades of various extra curricular activities I am just now getting back into clay. I am also trying to expose my family to as much of the art/craft world as I can. Pottery is something that seems to have sparked a common interest in my wife and children. I might never earn a dime, but who knows, maybe a future member of my family will find the joy and the success that others here have shared.
  4. Why not underfire clay

    When my family took a class we were given a block of clay and each of us had some left over that we took home. Since we were used to it, we bought more of the same and have continued to use it as we have progressed. Now, as I learn about clay bodies, I find that this is a mid fire clay that is to be fired to Cone 6. We have been using it as a low fire clay, with bisque to 04, and our low fire glazes at 06. So my question is, why not continue to use this clay (or even others) at low fire temperatures? We are having plenty of success, and satisfaction with our low fire efforts, and frankly, I doubt my old Scutt 231 would ramp up to Cone 6 without a whole bunch of new elements (they are ordered and on their way). I have some High Fire clay that is reputed to be excellent for beginners and students, but I could never get my kiln to High Fire temps. What happens if you don't heat the clay up to the recommended cone temp?
  5. One of the other posts makes reference to the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena Montana. Scattered around the acres of the property are the "failed" efforts of countless crafters. And yet, as you walk around, you stop and look and find something of interest in nearly every item. And there are thousands of them. So I submit to you that, if it catches your attention, even for an instant, it is not a failure. In another context, I am reminded of a backhanded compliment I receive from a very very close friend of mine. He reminds me (often) that even a bad example serves an important purpose.
  6. I think that the talent relates more to the vision or imagination that the person has. The ability to see what does not exist. I know many people who do not have talent, or the ability to imagine something that they cannot already perceive. I can play an instrument, but I do not hear music in my head. My father in law can paint a house but cannot envision a painting, My mother could see and create beautiful things from nearly any kind of material. So, as stated, skill is hard work, but creative talent may require an inner vision, imagination, whatever you want to call it, and there are some people who do not have talent. Do you sometimes just pick up an object or material and think to yourself, this would be really cool if... I know people that cannot do that. They see a door knob and it is always and forever just a way to open the door. When someone tells me I am talented I take it as a compliment of my imagination and vision, and I sometimes feel a little sad when they don't seem to feel that they have the same ability to dream.
  7. This is an hour and a half from me and we visit regularly. I get all my clay from their store. Wonderful place. You are welcome to wander the grounds and in the spring time, there is a special peaceful beauty that cannot be described. And they have a website. http://archiebray.org/ I would recommend it highly as an attraction to visit on your way through or to.
  8. Shopping for My First Kiln

    Without trying to start a war, my family has been in construction for 5 generations, and the wire used inside the walls in structures built since WWII is generally uniform and more than capable of handling almost anything you can throw at it on a 115 volt circuit. absent damage to the wire from improper installation, you are more likely to see issues at the outlet than with the wire.
  9. Seeing is believing

    Dog lover, I think you may be confused about the exploding clay myth. Your other posts would suggest that you are testing to see if wet clay that is reused and has air bubbles trapped in it will explode, separate or otherwise come apart while it sits or while you are using it to make a project. It will not. But, as you have discovered, if you keep it in a sealed container, it will start to smell pretty funky. It is still usable, but there are things you can to do minimize the smell. You would not want to use clay with a bunch of air trapped in the body of the clay, so you would work out the air bubbles by wedging and kneading the clay before you build with it. The reason you want to get rid of the air bubbles is because they can appear in the surface of your project and, as you dry the piece they can appear as holes when the thin skin over the bubble dries faster than the rest of the work. I build birdhouses around a blown up balloon. In other words, I intentionally trap a large air bubble inside my project. As the clay dries, it squeezes down on the balloon, but no explosion. I have had the trapped air deform a thin section of my project and even sometimes separate a weak area of my work, but that is due to the change of pressure on a particular weak spot as the volume inside the drying piece changes. These kinds of cracks happen to every kind of clay work where the difference in shrinkage causes stress in the clay. The other concern with air bubbles exploding clay is the mistaken belief that air, when heated in the firing process in the kiln will build such pressure that it will explode or otherwise break the piece. As discussed in this thread above, that is scientifically unlikely. It is certainly possible that air bubbles would adversely effect the consistent drying of a piece, but it is likely the presence of moisture in or around an air pocket that would cause any damage. Again, if you build a sealed sphere, dried it till there was no moisture in the work and then fired it, you would have a hollow ceramic sphere with no damage, and in fact that is what Yappystudent did in the experiment as stated above.
  10. Clay is centered when it no longer moves your hand while the hand is resting on the rotating clay. But, from a technical stand point clay (or any object) can be considered as centered when at that moment any point on the clay body is equidistant from the center of the rotating mass as the point 180 degrees from that point. note that this does not require that a rotating body be round or circular, just that one point and the point on the other side be the same distance from the middle. so you can center a rectangle, but on a wheel it would be really hard to throw a rectangle.
  11. I can't believe that it has been nearly 2 years since I was last active here. In that time the family took an adult ed pottery class, started appreciating and collecting other peoples work, and just recently we bought the contents of a defunct ceramic shop. And suddenly I found that we could really use a second wheel to supplement the first wheel I converted to treadmill power. And as is too often the case, I wanted it now, wanted it cheap, and could find absolutely nothing used available within a three state radius. So I made my own. I have been using this now for a couple of weeks and it works fine. If I were to do it over (and i already have plans to do another) I would make the table around the splash pan smaller, probably go three legs rather than 4, and I will likely pick the splash pan or build it and then design the table top specifically with the pan in mind. So after the build I did a quick video to show my results.
  12. If one of your students....

    This issue can be compared to a Human Resource item. I would not necessarily address it further at this time, that is, you handled it, you moved on, and hopefully so did the other person. So you note it and proceed. I would not meet her alone on this event. But, next event is an escalation and at that time you would be justified in escalating your response as well. " I would be happy to meet with you later when the other students are not being inconvenienced by your problem. " and then, you could and should explain that your class, your authority, and your dignity will not suffer a bully or rude behavior. The sanction is your perogative.
  13. Reconstituting Bone Dry Clay

    Yep, been there done that. Powdered about 20 LBS this way, ton of work, for the same results everyone else gets by letting it soak. Also wore out the bit. Hammer is good. Drill is bad.
  14. What Should I Sit My Kiln On?

    As long as it works, There are tons of ways to make sure heat does not transfer, Dead air space is one, etc

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