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About Pres

  • Rank
    Retired Art Teacher
  • Birthday 08/20/1949

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Central, PA
  • Interests
    Camping, kayaking, family, travel, Art in general. I have a small studio in my garage. Two electric kilns, two wheels, wedging table etc. I am primarily interested in cone 6 Ox. but like to see what is going on at all ranges. Read about ceramics voraciously and love the feel of the clay and throwing. Have to admit that my greatest joy is in the making, not the glazing. That said I do mix my own glazes, some of my own formulas, some borrowed. Retired from teaching art, in 2009 after 36 years, taught ceramics 34 of those years.

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  1. Pres

    Engobe Questions

    Years ago as and experienced, but naive potter, I used a 6-10 body from Standard Ceramics. This was a nice off white clay that took glazes well, and with spraying stains and glazes over a bristol glaze that matured at ^6 which I fired to a hard cone 6 seemed to work well. A few years went by, and I found that most of the pots I used personally started to weep, craze, and after some time glaze would lift from the piece, spalling. Surfaces had become dull also. In the end, I had been involved in other things and when got back to ceramics, I rethought the entire clay firing range, glaze fit problem. Since then post made 15 years ago are still as they came out of the kiln after heavy use, microwave, oven and dishwasher use. They do not weep, even when not glaze on the bottom of bowls and other items. This slip discussion has been subverted as some do, I would appreciate a return to the subject with emphasis on the engobe situation. It seems that the engobes have been covered well, and presently there is little to add. Most that I see seems to be in the realm of personal agendas. I will be splitting off some of these strands into a separate area on clay body firing ranges. Those of us interested in functional ware may have a completely different viewpoint than those of you into sculpture, but we all need to understand preference and difference. best, Pres
  2. So the pool does not have any recent contributions so I will ask:Do you use cloth towels, paper towels or other when in the shop to dry your hands, and clean things off? I have a tendency of using cloth towels in the shop, mostly the size of hand towels. I use an apron with clips on the front to hang the towel to. I used to use towels over my legs when throwing, but then when I got the new apron. . . this works much better. Cleaning hands etc, I usually clean off in throwing bucket first and then in a clean bucket of water to finish and then dry off with a towel. Dirty towels go into a 5gal. bucket of water to soak, then another to rinse a few days later. Then laundry. How do you handle cleaning hands, especially when pulling and making handles and applying them. I am always wiping my hands when working that way. best, Pres
  3. Pres

    Why make functional ware?

    I made a bunch of mugs for a local Mom & Pop, all different sizes, and all with pulled handles and cone 6 clay and glazes. That was two years ago, and they still have them, one broke, freak accident I believe, but they have gone through about 3 times as many commercial mugs in the time they have had mine. Now there are folks that will not use my mugs for some reason, and there are those that will only use my mugs.. . .go figure! best, Pres
  4. Mark, That is what I call production. Heck I don't even have the space in my back yard for that much! Keep potting on! best, Pres
  5. Pres


    Wheel sitting for 19 years, I would say the banging is a flat spot in the belt. May smooth out, or just replace it. Everything else sounds fine, at the price. best, Pres
  6. Working in the brick garage in Summer is an advantage as it stays cooler. This is yesterdays completion, as more were thrown. still need to rub off nubbies. best, Pres
  7. As there were no new questions in the pool, and as I have been going through a bit of change of late. . . I will ask: When/How do you decide to take the next big jump, and change things around about your work? I have gone through about 5 variations in my work that I would call major. First when I started out, I was doing cone 10 redux, and using college glazes . When I started teaching, we were using ^06 glazes, and white clay from Amaco. A year later I took over the class and moved to ^6 with commercial glazes. A little after this, I started working at home as I had finished my 36 credits for permanent certification in PA. I bought a kiln (L&L) a used Amaco motorized kick and started firing ^6 with my own white glaze that was a dipped Bristol, with atomized textures from stains over top, brush strokes, and sgraffito. This lasted for a few years until I realized a couple of things, first in my area, I did not have enough pots doing part time to do good shows, and bad shows were not worth the time. At the same time I got a Summer two week job as an Interim Professor at a local college, said job paid me more than I could make at Penn State after 5 months of hard work after school and weekends. Lately however, my main concern was integrity vs sales. Finding that in most cases one begets the other. If you make good pots, and no one else has the same, you can sell well. However, as I am now 68 nearly 69 I really don't want to do the show route anymore, and neither does my wife. . . .big no there! Now my changes have been about form and style, actual texture has become major, and durability of glazes certainly has improved. I have gotten rid of the atomizer mostly in favor of a spray gun, I dip another white much more durable than the Bristol, and work with glazes I have mixed from research formulas or Insight, over the white sprayed on as in In-glaze. Change has come slowly at times, and in other cases very quickly. My new direction may last a few years, but then part of the fun is getting there. . . . wherever that may be. best, Pres
  8. I have moved/merged the posts dealing with Lusters to Working with Lusters. I will leave it in the Studio Operations and Making Work area. best, Pres
  9. I do rub my hands over the not quite bone dry ware to remove small nubs and such over a bucket. This takes care of high points that arise in my decorating process from before shaping. best, Pres
  10. Nancylee, we have discussed this in some other threads. I have had trouble having fingerprints made. Such a pain. Imagine the difficulty of id ing a body if little else is found. Now that we have dna testing not so much a problem. best, Pres
  11. Sima, looks like you have a collection of luster glazed pottery. Most of these are functional items, but I would not use any of them for serving food etc. Maybe just an old potters prejudice. The process involves firing ware at a regular temperature where clay and glaze is matured. After that glaze firing, an overglaze of luster that is toxic, and often contains metallic oxides or salts is painted on over top of the original glaze in part or all. Then a third firing(assuming bisque, glaze, luster firings) is done at a low temperature, near 1500F, with a vented kiln. The fumes from the firing are quite toxic, and the ware afterwards needs gentle polishing to remove a slight residue. Did this process in 90's with some pieces, successful, but not interested in the lack of durability and the toxic nature. The lusters will rub off over time, and if you consider the materials they are made of you would be ingesting these if the pottery were meant for serving or food. best, Pres best, Pres
  12. Callie, it was easy, I had my wife take the picture of my hands! Of course she had to ask the weird questions! best, Pres
  13. Pres

    Glaze Bilsters...

    I believe Mea has really hit the nail on the head, too thick a glaze process, and possibly an incorrect firing schedule for you body/glaze. I would recommend a series of test tiles placed at different areas in the kiln with a series of cone packs to measure temp/results. When doing the test tiles make certain to mix your glaze to a chocolate milk consistency or just slightly thicker, then double or even triple dip your test tiles in stages so that you have areas with 1, 2, and three dipped coats. Firing a load in this manner should not take long to set up, but will tell you a lot about your kiln, your glazes and your process. best, Pres
  14. YOu may even find that it is just rusted in place with no wing/thumb/regular nut in place. I never use the nuts on mine preferring to be able to remove the bat pins to work on the wheel alone for throwing mugs, off the hump, and vases, pitchers and such. best, Pres
  15. Just remember that any angle will point to a position on the width of an object, and on the height of it. So a stick in a lug of clay will point to the edge of the first object, and every one afterward will be the same height and width. best, Pres

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