Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About scottiebie

  • Rank

Profile Information

  • Gender

Recent Profile Visitors

332 profile views
  1. scottiebie

    Wedging Question

    I posted this question because all this time I've told my beginning wheel students that they can cut blocks of clay right off the new bag and form into clay balls and start centering, never wedging the clay first. After reading liambesaw response, I will have my beginners wedge their clay first. It will make all the difference in the world. Wedging will blend the clay to a uniform consistency and make it easier to center.
  2. Is it a good idea to wedge clay from a new 25# bag of clay in prepping to make balls of clay for throwing?
  3. scottiebie

    Seeking Advice

    Thank you Stephen for your recommendation for the strong arm tool. This is a great option for some of my senior community students. You are right in pointing out there are students that struggle, eventually quit and drop out of the class because they can't get pass manually centering a ball of clay. Some of my past students have told me because of an old injury to either their shoulder, elbow and/or wrist that centering aggravates these body parts, so they try but eventually drop the class. I'll pass on the link to the other ceramic instructors and program supervisor to get their feedback and possibly purchase one or two strong arm tools for our studio. Thanks again.
  4. scottiebie

    Seeking Advice

    Hello Neil Estrick, Thank you for your thoughts and recommendations. My student seems to enjoy his time at the wheel. I think he has short term memory. I'll show him how to form a ball of clay to place on the bat before securing it to the bat. He can't form a decent ball of clay. The clay looks like a fingerprinted textured mound of clay. He can't get to the centering - coning up and down step because he really struggles in remembering how to secure the clay ball on the bat, right after I show him each step on how it is done. On occasion when he is successful securing the ball on the bat, I'll watch him, probably showing him too much to think and do. His hands seem to choke the clay and without any water which leads to a twisted off centered course mound of clay. It's the same result every time when he preps his clay ready for his centering attempts. I find myself reminding him all the time, sometimes physically showing him to correct what he's doing. I think he gets confused and maybe overwhelming because of the multiple tasks in centering, sometimes the steps of opening the ball, setting the bottom diameter, hands positions when pulling the wall and changing wheel speeds while centering and throwing simultaneously. My students have a "wet work" deadline in two weeks which is only two more class sessions. I usually offer hand building as another option for those students that can't center and throw, but he believes he's slowly progressing and doing okay on the wheel. I will try to teach him to make a couple of pinch pots with his finger texture and/or add coils for texture. Maybe he'll be successful and enjoy making a hand built pot.
  5. scottiebie

    Seeking Advice

    To Chilly, Thank you for your suggestions and comments. I mentioned that I teach for a community college and within the privacy rules and guidelines, a student is not required to or does not have to declare their disability to their instructor. So I'm left to guess if he has a disability. He enrolled in the class with no friends accompanying him. The college does have a office that addresses student with disabilities, but the student has to initiate to make contact if one needs certain accommodations. There was a sad moment in the last class meeting. He is meticulous in cleaning the splash pan and wheel which I complimented him on, but had after washing the two part splash pan, he approaches the wheel to attach it back (it's a Brent electric wheel), he stood in front of the wheel trying to put the splash pan back. After trying twice to mount the pan back, I asked him what was he trying to do? He then realizes that the wheel that he was standing in front of had already had a attached splash pan. He was trying to attach the pan on the wrong wheel. I have no plans in dropping him out of the class. I know the female student had good intentions and felt sorry for him. We fire to cone 10 where we primarily apply glaze by dipping and pouring glaze. I will have to pay more one-on-one attention on how he applies glaze without leaving him to do it independently on his own, otherwise, there may be problems with glaze prepping and applying too much glaze on his piece. Do you think it's fair to the rest of the beginning students to provide more time in instructing a student without knowing the student's specific disability?
  6. For the past 30 years, I've been teaching all skill levels of hand building and throwing for a community college art program that offers 0 credit ceramic courses through an Emeritus program that teaches seniors focused on life long learning. The students and I follow the college semester calendar where the class I teach meets once a week for 3 hours, for 16 weeks. I'm teaching a beginning wheel throwing class with a starting enrollment of 30 students. The studio only has 15 wheels, so I split the class time in half with two groups. So actually a student only has about an hour and twenty minutes on the wheel. We just finished the twelve week and because of attrition, I have about 20 students attending. I have a older male student that has been struggling trying to center his clay. We just completed the 12th week. He's been absent 4 of the 12 times. He has difficulty remembering and retaining information when I demonstrate and/or lecture about centering and throwing a simple cylinder. He struggles to form a simple 2# ball of clay, right after I did a demo of how to cut out to form a ball of clay off of the 25# bag of clay. He struggles to grasp the initial step of securing the clay on the bat before centering the clay. Each student was given a handout that describes with notes and pictures hand positions on each step in the process of centering and throwing a basic 4"x4" cylinder. He would sometimes use this handout to help him but would often times get confused on the steps shown and explained on the handout. His initial problem was not using enough water to help his touching, sliding his hands when touching the clay. I always would tell him to use a lot of water during the coning up and down step , even show him how much water to use by me scooping handfuls of water and pour it on his clay. I would show him where his hand positions should be. I would step away to help another student for a few minutes, but would come back to find him creating a mushed up mound of clay. It's been the same result every time he would start on a new ball of clay. Never remembering to add more water to center the clay. I never see him taking any notes or even have a notebook. I found myself spending more time helping this student, while two or three other beginning students wanting and waiting for my help. He has not progressed, still repeating the same results prior to last week. I actually have given up on helping him because he never remembers and retains my information, either by my lecture or individual hands-on demonstration. I even had two students try and help him with his centering and throwing. They've said the same thing, he doesn't remember and keeps repeating the same mistakes. He was absent the week before last and showed up this past week. I left him to work out his centering on his own. Well to my surprise, I saw him place a bone dry, oddly trimmed bowl on our studio drying shelves. I approached him to ask him about the piece. He said it was his first thrown piece. I went over to where he was throwing where a female student sitting next to him who was trimming her own pieces. I notice that the shapes she was trimming looked like a similar style to the piece that the male student placed on the drying shelves. I asked her if he actually made the piece he said is his. Her answer was she felt he needed to glaze a piece. This was her answer, not answering my question. Okay, so this female student has put me in a challenging situation. Will he remember where he placed this piece? The next step relies on him being responsible to move the bone dry piece onto another shelf for bisque firing. Will he remember to do this? This next week, I'm emailing my students to view a required You tube video on beginning glaze application and take notes. Will he remember and retain the video information? I also include a glaze application demo and a handout covering the glaze app steps before any beginners apply glazes to their bisque ware. Will he remember all this? In my 30 years of teaching I've never had a student give another student their own work. How should I address the female student in her giving him a piece of hers to glaze? Frustrated Instructor welcome comments, recommendations and suggestions.
  7. scottiebie

    Table Top Wheels

    I teach basic wheel throwing to adults at a senior community program. We only have 15 wheels because of lack of space in the studio. We do have lots of sturdy wooden worktables because this space is also used as a multi-purpose studio. I was thinking of having the management purchase some table top wheels . These wheels would be set up on the worktables and offered as an option for those adults that can't sit for long periods of time, have a bad back and /or maybe obese to where sitting at the wheel presents some physical challenges. I figure most beginners start off using a pound or two for centering and throwing small cylinders to start, then progress to making tumblers. tea bowls, cups and rice bowls. Or use the table top wheels for trimming. Having this option could increase the enrollment and relieve some of the challenges and stress a beginner might encounter sitting at the wheel. Comments and/or recommendations are welcome,
  8. scottiebie

    Looking For Suggestions

    On the first day of instruction, I hand out a course syllabus. In the syllabus I have a statement that addresses students with disabilities. I verbally review my syllabus and point out this statement out, stating that if a student with disability may contact the college's disabled student services office which offers help and provides accommodations. I include the contact phone number. At the college where I instruct, a student with a disability can choose not to disclose their disability to their instructor. This is to protect a student's right to privacy. I found out after the fact after spending about a third of the semester, that this student was a member of the college service. So if I am not a professional therapist, I can not diagnose and guess what a student has deficiencies in, if the student chooses not to share disability with me.
  9. scottiebie

    Looking For Suggestions

    Thank you for your response. This person was a older adult student enrolled in a public community college intro to ceramics course where a student would learn both basic hand building and wheel throwing. A student enrolled at the college can choose to not disclose a disability as part of their personal right to privacy. The student did okay with hand building skills but when it came to learning how to throw, the student would constantly ask for help right after I would present a throwing demo. I remember repeating various steps 3 to 4 times, showing body, hands and finger positions, feeling guilty about spending more time with this student while taking time away to help my other 20 students. I knew something was different with this student, but without knowing the student's background, I had to figure out how to approach the challenge. The student eventually disclosed the disability, but it was disclosed after several weeks into the semester. I tried to spend time before and after class time to help. Again, I am not a professional therapist, I tried my best to be patient, but apparently the student did not think I was patient enough. This student wrote a complaint against me to the art chairperson and dean. This was my first experience with a student like this.
  10. I have 20+ years of community college teaching experience. zero experience as a professional therapist. Does anyone have suggestions/recommendations to teach beginning wheel throwing to a person who lacks cognitive skills.
  11. I've been teaching beginning throwing for many years and recently had the challenge of trying to teach some obese students. There is the physical challenge of consistently sit close enough to the wheel and position their arms and hands to center clay and throw. Because of this challenge, they get frustrated and I get frustrated and they drop the class. Does anyone have any suggestions in teaching an obese person? Maybe teach them on a stand up potter's wheel?

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.