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Viking Potter

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    Great Falls, Montana

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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
  11. What Should I Sit My Kiln On?

    You are trying to protect the floor from two different heat sources. First is the heat transfered directly to the floor via the metal legs of the stand. You need to put something under those legs that will keep heat from passing through, but still be strong and stable enough to hold your kiln. I would think the fire bricks would be sufficient for that purpose. You also have to protect against radiant heat that is comming from the kiln in every direction. That heat will warm the entire area around the kiln and the closer things are the hotter they will get. So underneath the kiln you need some sort of material that will keep the area under the kiln from recieving radiant heat and also makes sure that the material does not pass on to the floor the radiant heat that it absorbs from the kiln. appropriate insulation may be enough to accomplish this purpose.
  12. I am building a second wheel and have reached that part of the plan where I need to decide the size and shape of the table or work area under the wheel head. I see some video where there is very little if anything under the wheel head, as well as video where there seems to be almost a 50 gallon barrel underneath. If you were to create a wheel from scratch, what would you like and what would you avoid.
  13. Glazing Flutes

    Do you know how much weight nickel cad wire can hold? The wire would need to hold the flutes vertically or the flutes would bend. The idea has potential. Jed P.S. I will accept suggestions from anyone who has an idea... I don't know the specs on the wire, but presumably thicker wire is available. As for bending, if the flutes are already bisque, not sure how they would bend, but the force/weight would be very similar if not identical to standing them on thier end on a peg etc. My idea would be to run some sort of support across the top of the kiln and suspend the flutes vertically as you say. By hanging them from several cross wires and at different levels you might be able to very efficiently fill the kiln.
  14. Glazing Flutes

    At the risk of enraging someone by offering an idea that I have not personally tried, could you suspend the flutes in the kiln by appropriate wires? We bake ceramic coating and other industrial coating on auto and machine parts this way. The temp in the kiln is higher, but using appropriate material, it looks like you could put the wire down the middle where the glaze will not touch.
  15. What To Make?

    Many years ago I helped with the circus when it came to town. Amoung the more noteable jobs was hauling the elephant waste to a dump site out of town. That is the first thing that still comes to mind whenever someone makes reference to a crapton of stuff.

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