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About Sputty

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  1. None whatsoever. They are both carbonates of calcium (assuming your calcite was a pure form). I look forward to being wrong!
  2. What are cone temperatures

    I'm sure you're right. The behaviour of heat-work can be modelled like anything else, and that knowledge used to control systems, rather like a 'virtual' cone set. But I have a feeling nagging away at me that distance is being placed between the potter and her work, another layer of abstraction which removes some of the immediacy and intuition of the craft. The first electric kiln I fired was controlled by simmerstats across three zones. Pretty much 'low', 'medium' and 'high'. You had little choice but to use cones, and spend time and thought in observation. You got to see glazes melt and heal over, you got to hold a rod through the spy-hole and see its reflection in the molten glaze. You had a connection, and you learned a huge amount by doing this. I simply don't believe that a singing, dancing digital controller can replace that. There's a pottery not so very far away from me, the Poterie du Don. It's very well known, and rightly so, for its salt-glazed ware. Lovely stuff. But I remember some years ago reading about their new kiln - a computerised gas kiln, controllable to the nth degree - including the introduction of the salt! I was both in awe of the technology, and a little saddened by the 'progress'. My experience of salt firing is throwing packets of salt through the ports, drawing rings, observing and judging. I'm not convinced that pressing buttons in the right order can replace that intimacy, or the elation that comes when it all works as it should. Just some musings, not to be taken too seriously. People have different needs, and different interests.
  3. What are cone temperatures

    Hi Denise. You might like to start with this little booklet produced by Orton, one of the manufacturers of pyrometric cones: Cones and Firing (PDF) The booklet will help you understand the purpose and mechanics of using cones (there's also a handy temp chart at the end of the booklet). The 'advanced accurate digital control ' a kiln may possess is a bit one-dimensional; yes, it will tell you the absolute temperature a kiln has reached, but it won't tell you the amount of heat-work that the ware has undergone. In maturing glazes and clay bodies, that's what counts. It's a function of temperature over time, and that's what cones give an indication of. It's also worth recounting that the only time I've known someone get into a really perilous position with their kiln (as in, life-threatening) was when they blindly accepted the display of their digital thermocouple, which unbeknownst to them had failed. On a gas kiln, which was on the point of collapse having over-fired by a considerable amount, and was quite literally melting. Truly terrifying, and easily avoidable by having some cones as a back-up at least.
  4. OK - so sort of like a heat-sink in reverse? I've never seen anything like it. Very interesting. I wonder if the French would be interested - the apéro (apéritif) is a way of life here, and whisky is - strangely - very popular. I might be able to convert my neighbours to a super-cooling vessel...
  5. Why? I don't understand. What's going on with that?
  6. Excellent! I do like a graphic picture of innards. Interestingly, Ratcliffe are cited as prior art in this US patent for the type of cone-wheel drive your machine has: Variable speed drive for a potter's wheel That drive belt looks new? I'm still going for Ratcliffe. Give Gladstone a call, and see what they say. In terms of the foot pedal, I'd personally just lash something up that works, and get on with it. But that's just me!
  7. Plaster clay

    You might find this interesting: Plaster clay
  8. Looks like an old Ratcliffe to me. Rather like this one: Ratcliffe R37 240v Electric Potters Wheel with seat Ratcliffe did about a million different models over the years, but they went out of business years ago. Some of the spares and so on from Ratcliffe were taken by Gladstone Engineering, who still trade - if you ever need any spares (bearings, belts, etc.) then it might be an idea to contact them in the first instance. They may also have info with respect to your particular model. Have you a photo of the innards?
  9. What's your Mug?

    Well, I don't know if it counts as a mug (no handle), but this is my 'go-to' every morning. And throughout the day. And the evening. Simple, nice to hold, nice to drink from. Green tea first thing (single estate, Sri Lanka), green tea with mint later on, and camomile tea later still. In fact, lots and lots of tea, and precious little else. I like tea. And it's rather nice from this mug/cup.
  10. Random stuff

    Here lies the random stuff of Sputty
  11. Ian Currie Test Tiles Forums?

    Interesting. But 'Attack of the Pirates' was better.
  12. Ian Currie Test Tiles Forums?

    I just logged on to say the self-same thing. A great glaze.
  13. I don't listen to music at all when I'm potting, but I just discovered that Bryan Ferry (Roxy Music) taught pottery for a short while before doing his thing with music... (At Holland Park Comprehensive School, in London, no less, which will mean something to politically aware folk of a certain age in the UK - a school known as the 'socialist Eton'.)
  14. Browsing this thread, my attention drifted off to the French concept of terroir. I know the word has crossed the Atlantic, and if you have any interest in wine, then you'll know of it. Terroir is often reduced to a physical description of a locality - the acidity of a soil, the micro-climate, the topology of a vineyard, and the impact they have on the taste and characteristics of a wine. It is why one area produces one type of wine, and another produces something different. However, in France, terroir has an altogether more nuanced definition. As the New York Times puts it: It seems to me that the marketing thrust of the 'locally made' product is an attempt to capitalise on this almost mystical sense of adding value because of the very ecology of an item. Something is gained purely because the object was fashioned in this locality, and by purchasing a pot 'made locally', you are partaking in the terroir that contributed to the making of that pot, specifically the cultural 'goods' which are part and parcel of that philosophy. Although The concept of terroir: The elusive cultural elements as defined by the Central Otago Wine Region (PDF) is specifically focussed on wine, it contains much which illuminates the point I'm trying to make about the seductive nature of 'locally made': The concept is so embedded here where I live (in France) that one almost needs to tease it out again to make sense of what is going on. It goes without saying that being 'local' adds premium to your product, whatever it is - not just a monetary premium, but an existential one. France being France, that is most often food related, but everything from knives to leather to pots have their place in the landscape of theoretical terroir. Think too of the woollen products from the Shetland Isles, Orkney, and Fairisle. They are of their landscape, their culture, their history and their mythology - and that (quite rightly) sells. Ultimately, I think, the attempt is to re-focus on quality as an essential part of daily life, and a parallel attempt to describe the locus of that quality, and how one might capture it, or live it. It's a reformulation of the Arts and Crafts Movement, of William Morris and John Ruskin, and ultimately Yanagi in Japan. So, terroir as a philosophy for making?