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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. Since there are no new questions in the pool, Pres will have to supply a new one again! I am on travel around Hawaii, and got to thinking about an old conversation I had with a Native American artist, while in Alaska. The conversation began with a discussion of painted symbols and imagery for totems and other objects by the North Western tribes. I was talking about teaching a lesson on aborigine art, and researching the imagery language before the lesson. This older artist was adamant that what I was doing was totally wrong, as I could never nor could my students ever understand the way on of another culture felt about how they created specific imagery. We went on for a long time, leaving me much to think about. In the end, I gave up on those units and pursued other venues, often using examples of imagery language from around the world to try to get the students to create their own imagery language. I had decided that even though a lesson in the arts of other cultures, doing such as a teaching tool was in a sense cultural theft, or plagiarism of sorts. Have you thought of this, do you knowingly mimic/borrow/steal imagery from other cultures? At the other side of this, I use a lot of stamped, incised, added on imagery in my pots, and my glazes also have been at times called Asian, sometimes even tribal, but not by intent, and the imagery itself is much more personal. So my question is:How do you feel about culture theft? best, Pres
  2. Pres

    Leaving Teaching

    all of this seems to be opinions that you don't want to hear, but I will repeat what the others have said. Hold a job and work your way to being able to sustain a career in Ceramics. Teaching provides a lot, benefits, steady income, regular hours, and vacation time to pursue other venues like ceramics. lots to think about. best, Pres
  3. In Honolulu this week. We get on cruise ship on Saturday. 

    1. Show previous comments  2 more
    2. Min


      Have a wonderful trip!

    3. Mark C.

      Mark C.

      One other off then radar thing is the early morning fish wholesale market-its opens at dark 30 and is worth going to to see them auction off all the days giant tuna and all restaurant fish for all of the islands-I did it 20 years ago and it was a highlite.Check it out

    4. Pres


      Bishop Museum today was great. New building, and some additions I had hot seen. In ten years this town has really built up. We are at the Ohana about one block from the International Market place. Nice room. I could only do a few days at Aulani, price and boredom.

  4. liambesaw, as you noticed, that was the point. There is always something new and /or challenging with the wheel. I am sure as a production potter, I could handle one form for ever, but why. I would get bored doing the same form day in and out. best, Pres
  5. Hi folks, This is a question that though not asked in the question of the week poll, has been tossed around. As no one has posted a new question for the QotW pool, I will submit this one however it is not as easy as it seems: How long did learning to throw take? You see I started throwing during the Summer of 1971 when I took an elective class in college while pursuing my BS in Art Education. We were required to take so many elective art courses besides the fine art classes. The Summer class ran for 9 weeks, I kept nothing the first 6, and the last week of construction, kept everything, nine or ten pieces. I had learned to center, pull a nine inch cylinder, pull handles and little else. I was not a beginner any longer, but a novice. I took another class the next year, as I had been bitten. Fast forward to a new teaching job in a HS, where the teacher hired the year before taught ceramics, and I helped out after school, and did some throwing on a two speed Amaco. Still a novice, but able to help kids. As I needed 30 credits of post grad work for my permanent certification, I headed to Penn State, again in the Summers. I took classes in the Art department, not Education dept. I took several ceramics classes, along with drawing, painting and others. I improved my skills at throwing, handbuilding, and firing gas and electric. I also did some raku. I was now sufficiently able to throw so that I could teach and demonstrate without failure. . .a big thing in a classroom of 25-30 kids! This was truly the beginning of my throwing as now students would challenge me, I would challenge myself. I would often follow the concepts of my teachers, cutting pot in half to show the process inside and out. I would let students try to stump me by picking a form for me to throw, and often I had never thrown one, but seeing a picture or hearing and explanation, I could complete the form. Today, I still consider myself a learning thrower, as I have not thrown every form, do not always succeed, and still feel I have room for improvement. It is a work in progress. So all in all it has taken me over 45 years to learn to throw. best, Pres
  6. These time, foot rings have to be so well done as with the use of dish washers in most households means that the foot rings can be water gatherers that cause all sorts of drips when unloading. So the foot ring has to be designed with and inside bevel to release water when the dish is positioned in the dishwasher. The use of wiggle wires on bottoms of late is interesting, but leaves little in the area for a signature or stamp. To remedy this on something like a mug where the wiggle wire looks neat, I find that trimming a smooth area in the middle of the bottom allows a great signature area. At the same time as I grind all of my bottoms now for glass like smoothness, the wiggle wire lines get softened. best, Pres
  7. Denice, I always believed that teachers set good examples. Not that they should grand stand, but that they should do projects when there is dead time in class that they start as a demonstration, and continue to completion on their own time also. This lets students see you as a participant, and artist, and someone with knowledge. Seeing finished work often is not really enough as seeing the process is another lesson in ceramics. best, Pres
  8. Recent post in the QotW question pool by liambesaw: I am a firm believer that no matter how you were taught or got instruction that you develop a personal throwing style, which includes doing things that you know you aren't supposed to do. Myself, I throw counter clockwise but use my right hand inside the form and lift with my left hand on the outside. I've tried throwing clockwise and I've also tried switching my hands but something about throwing backwards feels natural to me. So what is your bad habit that is now just your style? A long time ago, I found that parts of my body would not do what I wanted them to. When it came to throwing, I used any finger or other area that that fit to open up(discussed before). Centering I would use the entire length of my rt arm in position with the rt elbow on the wheel head, and the fist hooked over the top of the cone. Left hand in traditional position. When pulling, I use the index, second and thumb braced together to give me a contact point about the size of a pencil eraser-less drag for me. Left hand in straight down with bent second braced by third. I shape using my ribs going up and down the form, sometimes with ribs inside, sometimes outside, sometimes both. In the long run, I find that it really doesn't matter, so long as you can manipulate your pressure points in the right places inside and outside the form. Centering is a matter of rhythm and power. Most people if they have the timing right could center by slapping the clay into place, they just quit a little early and take the easy way out with water and pressure. However you do it, makes for interesting demonstration and conversation. If you turn clockwise, counter clockwise, no problem unless stuck in a situation where you need to use something opposite your usual. . . train to do both. Yet if you are teaching, that is another thing. I make certain to be able to throw with first knuckle of index finger, pull upside down with the thumb and hands in reversed position, or with the thumb knuckle. All of this to show the student that there are several useful ways to pull, and many variations, but the prime elements of pressure inside higher than outside, gradual lessening of pressure as higher thinner walls, muscling the clay out of the base to keep from too much trimming, and pulling with walls leaning inward until shaped are essential basics that all potters need to follow successfully. All of this of course in my humble opinion. best, Pres
  9. Pres

    New Wheel: Bailey or Skutt?

    The wheel pictured is does not have the removable splash pan, but the ST-XL has a removable splash pan. We had the Pro 50R, and in the end it became mostly a trimming wheel. Nice to clean up with trimming scraps, but even with the gate on the side just was not easily cleaned. In a classroom situation, I expected clean wheels for the next person. best, Pres
  10. Pres

    New Wheel: Bailey or Skutt?

    I have used most of the Bailey's, and found the pro line and higher hp removable splash pans fine. There is significant torque, and they throw decently. I have also used a few Skutts at workshops years ago and found them to be sufficient also. The Baileys I had a school had the flakeboard shelf, but that was the only part flakeboard. Easy to replace whenever it wears, but the Bailey's we had are still using the same shelf! In the long run, try to test these out in a showroom, or at a conference to help with your decision. Price for me was a determining factor years ago, so I can understand. When I bought my own wheel though, I bought what I had used in college, and liked the foot print and the torque for larger pieces. . . a Brent CXC. best, Pres
  11. Pres

    How did you learn to fire your own kiln?

    I started using handle extrusions to make cone packs, think I will design a cone pack die, and make a bunch at once. best, Pres
  12. Pres

    How did you learn to fire your own kiln?

    Yeah, most people know about the mechanical water(water for manipulation), some know about atmospheric water(environmental moisture), but many forget the chemical water(inherent in the clay formula) that has to evaporate out during the firing process. Biggest mistake of naive potters learning to fire. best, Pres
  13. Pres

    Giffin grip

    I have been using a Griffin Grip for over 25 years now, and even though I can center anything in almost any way imaginable from inside and outside thrown chucks to tap centering, the GG is my tool of choice these days. I have found ways to use it for centering chalice stems, jar lids and other things that makes production work quicker and less painful. I also use it to assemble pots like chalices and stem spoons on honey jars, as I can center as I join. I really think you are best off if not producing a lot of pieces to learn to tap, and use chucks so that when you get a GG you will understand the way use it creatively. best, Pres
  14. I learned years ago with the Rt thumb, then progressed to the RT index and second. Now, I open small amounts with second, larger with second and ring. I open large pieces 20#+ by pounding with the fist, or coring with the RT fist with thumb and first knuckle leading. When throwing large than 10# bowls I open with my Rt elbow, works really well for nice rounded bottom and leading the clay to an upside down cone while opening. I guess I open up with what ever feels right, and left the RT thumb behind when it left me behind! best, Pres
  15. Pres

    Refrigerator for damp box.

    I used one for years as a damp box, kept it outside the studio. I finally rusted to the point it was nearly off the hinges. Since then I have resorted to plastic bins, will probably pour some plaster in the bottoms of some of them. I have limited space for anything as big as a fridge inside the shop now. best, Pres

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