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Everything posted by Pres

  1. Min posted the following in the question pool not long ago: It’s always interesting to see what people are working on, a one off pot, a series, pulling handles, working out a new design, glazing, glaze testing.… just a snippet from your day of something in progress. My question would be what’s on your workbench? (pictures would be a welcome bonus!) Hmmmm! I will disappoint Min in my answer, as right now there is very little on my workbench except for the vice and tools that hang on the back wall of it the workbench. Then there are some of the most recent tools I had been using. However, for me this is a poor time of year since I need to get into the shop, but it is still pretty frozen. Now the workbench is important, as I often will use it to hold one end of some wire, to help bend tools with a ball peen hammer, or to hold some small tool for sawing or work with a dremel where holding it by hand would be dangerous. I have enough trouble with my hands without messing them up more. As far as making, an object on a bench, very little of that gets done lately as most of my making and assembling is done on the wheel form throwing pieces, to trimming them, and then assembly. The only things that are on a work area are slabs for wheel thrown bottoms and tops after a 4-6 sided object is assembled. These usually take about a week of assembly, as sometimes the proportions sketched or modeled out do not look right when put together . So another piece is thrown to match up. Examples of these can be found on my blog site. best, Pres
  2. Pres

    brushing and dipping

    As Neil has said, wet commercial glazes are made for brushing unless you are buying from a glaze formulator you have contracted for a glaze formula you have. Amaco being a commercial manufacturer tries to make all of their glazes in a series compatible with one another. I have had problems dipping Amaco straight from the container so would water them to a chocolate milk consistency. Then I would apply any brushed areas overtop with the straight from the jar glazes. best, Pres
  3. Hi folks, I have been working as a temp at times with the Qotw, filling in every once in a while for Evelyne. I really don't know how much to thank her for all of the hard work she has put in since she took over for Marcia Selsor. However, she has my most sincere thanks and appreciation for all of her efforts. I hope that I can do half as well. Many times when I was doing the temp thing, I would feel like I was digging into a deep well of darkness trying to come up with an idea, but there was no light! So I am asking for help. I would like folks to participate in helping me see a little more light by submitting a question that you think would be a good one for Question of the week.We all have personal interests, and I realize as an educator with limited studio experience that I have different interests that others, and this probably influences the questions I ask. I usually look for questions that will stimulate some sort of conversation. I really like to know more about participants and find that the Qotw is a way to draw folks out. A large pool of questions from participants should help to overcome my personal inadequacies. This is not the only reason for these weekly queries, but it is something I have looked at. No question is too big or too small, if we have a pool to draw from, it will make things easier for me. I would reserve two rights, one that I will choose which question to post each week, and two that I am able to edit the question if need be without changing the intent. So please reply to this post to submit your own questions, and hopefully the first of these will appear next week. best, Pres
  4. Hi folks, ONCE AGAIN, you have a question from me, as no one has posted a new question in the question pool in such a long long time. As winter is coming on full bore at this time with storms in the east and central, I thought I would ask: Do you let your clay freeze in the winter months? I have no choice, as my situation leaves very little space to store clay in warmer areas. I have tried to store it in the basement, but moving a ton of clay down, and then back up when needed. . . .just didn't work. I leave mine outside in the winter, to be taken in to the shop as needed the night before to thaw out or even into the kitchen when really cold. I have a kayak rack outside covered with a heavy tarp that the clay stores under on a 10' pallet I built for it. As I am almost out of clay, my next order will be in the Spring. 1000 # of White, 1000# of hazelnut. I figure to finish up the few boxes I have on chalices and patens, Christmas gifts, and other pieces. best, Pres
  5. Yeah, needs rewedged, or pugged, but is not ruined. Reworking starts by slashing off sides and reversing them inward 2" on the 6 sides. Then re bag until next day or so. best, Pres
  6. Pres

    Studio Photography

    Yeah LeeU, my FZ-1000 has bluetooth that I connect to my tablet on an app; allows me to zoom in or out, set up the aperture, and take the shot from the tablet. Nice way of beating shake. best, Pres
  7. Yeah, those of you in warmer climes will not have a problem. However, there are those of us that live where below 0 is quite possible, and where several days of that occurs also. It is normal here to have several weeks of sub freezing weather, last year my clay did not thaw completely until May. As far as the freezing, once thawed, I slice/slam for a dozen times, then wedge sections of 10-15# at a time usually all morning for the next few days. Keep the shop heat on while doing so as it will not get below freezing that way. best, Pres
  8. Bailey makes their own wheels, and sells them from their store, the reason you don't see Bailey's everywhere. I have used them, bought them, and found them to be great wheels. . . not as great as maybe a Brent CXC, or a Stuart top end, but still good work horses. I purchased 4 over a few years for a school studio in the 90's, and they are still cranking in that studio even now. . .I am the only one retired. More info might help. . . a search on the main menu of the forum will bring up many wheel related posts. Of which one is the following: best, Pres
  9. Pres

    Ceramic coat hook

    I have towel hooks in my bathroom, they are a metal long knob about 4" away from the wall with a narrow neck, with an angular end that is about an inch larger in diameter than the neck. This is attached to the wall with a heavy bolt that the knob glues onto as the knob has a hollow shaft. Actually this works with a set screw in the metal, but for ceramic I would epoxy onto the shaft. Nothing would break off from the hook. You could design a starfish shaped knob handbuilt on a thick extruded hollow shaft. best, Pres
  10. Yeah, I can remember going to Randolph Conference a few years back and had to deal with 1" of ice in March. Not fun driving. best, Pres
  11. Brrrrrr! After spending two weeks in Hawaii, I have returned to the east coast. I missed the big snow storm that dumped 12" around here, but still have the leftovers hanging on! It is cold here, and the shop has ice in places. . . not fun. Today I have a new shop heater coming, and will be installing it on the 240 line for that purpose. I am not happy that it uses a blower, but have to do it. I have looked at radiant panels, but find that I have so little wall space that they are not going to be a solution. I may get a few for some areas, like around the wedging table and a back wall that has enough space for a small one. I had looked at lots of solutions:, pellet stoves, wood stoves, propane stoves and others, but in the long run came back to an electric with temp control. So all of this has me wondering . . . Do you close down for Winter, or how do you heat your studio? best, Pres
  12. I was involved with a guild, chapter of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen, back in the 80's. I was one of the founding members, and we had a variety of craftsmen involved at the time. It was non profit, and had maybe 20 members upon startup. We had shows/sales that were juried, and juried and non juried memberships. I served as president for a few years, and was able to get some shows going in conjunction with other organizations and still hold on to juried status for entry. In the long run though many of the better craftsmen started doing larger shows with greater distance to travel, and became busier. Membership became more varied until it was almost a "sewing circle". They voted out juried status, and I don't even know if it still exists. Strong inciteful leadership is needed in these endeavors as others have said. Tough to bring back a failing guild. best, Pres
  13. Pres

    Studio Photography

    Yes there are tricks to get around the misunderstanding of depth of field, and most are just interested in the correct exposure. That is why when programmed cameras cam out they had shutter speed and aperture priority modes for those of us that want to control one aspect or the other and still get perfect exposure. Using aperture priority without understanding how the aperture effects depth of field does not solve the problem as the camera does not know when you need more of less depth of field or as it wants to have perfect exposure and unless you set your aperture higher you will not get the shot you need of pottery. Here though is the conundrum that many cannot rap their head around. . . . greater depth of field=higher f stops or aperture=greater need for better lighting. Why light boxes were invented. best, Pres
  14. Wish I had known Liam, as I was there three weeks ago. Could have had a chat over a brew. best, Pres
  15. A strand about the state of Art Education in Aesthetics led to naming important ceramic artists that are historically significant or influenced the ceramic art or technology. To begin with . . . Marcia listed: Yanagi, author of the "Unknown Craftsman", Bernard Leach, Hamada, and the young Rudy Autio and Peter Voulkos Others were Beatrice Wood and Otto Heino, Lucy Rie, Charles Fergus Binns, Edward Orton Jr,George E. Ohr , Don Reitz, Johann Friedrich Böttger. One of my favorites as far as influencing the use of the extruder, slips and multilayered slip and glaze was John Glick. Add to the list, name a few. best, Pres
  16. Interesting article popped up in my news browsing today. I thought it might be of interest here. https://www.dezeen.com/2018/11/23/agne-kucerenkaite-ignorance-bliss-ceramic-glazes-metal-waste/ I of course wonder about the use of such materials in the studio, as it does say many heavy metals are in the sludge. However, thought it might be interesting for discussion.
  17. Pres

    Studio Photography

    I have been using a number of cameras over the years to photograph pots. Most of these are range finders with telephoto lenses, original purpose was as travel cameras and they were compact with small sensors. I have moved lately to a Panasonic FZ-1000 that has a one inch sensor. It does take better shots with better detail than the older cameras. Equipment is great at any level, and the tech has rapidly improved, but you still have to understand the difference of taking a good picture and taking a good picture of a pot. Depth of field is so important to three dimensional objects and is dependent on your f-stops. If you have an aperture priority mode it may be used well to take shots. Better yet understand how to set shutter speed and aperture in manual mode to meet your needs. best, Pres
  18. 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
  19. The Hulk recently ascertained in the QotW pool. . . We read John Barth's short story "Lost in the Funhouse" in undergrad English (literature concentration); when/if one has seen and understood how the funhouse works, one can't very well go back to and have the first time through experience again. The concept might go somewhar near "knowledge is suffering" - suffer to get it, suffer because of it, and then suffer some more. Is it worth it? Uuuhm, o'course't!! Whal, writing as art or not art might be easier to agree on that ceramic work ...or is it? Any road, formal education/training (that isn't crap) is worth it, imo, howeber, you gonna suffer, an' one can't go back neither. I'm assuming, rightly or wrongly that he is considering the value of formal education in the process of dealing with Ceramic? So I will ask, in paraphrase: Did you have formal education dealing with your introduction and growth in Ceramics? If so how do you value this formal education? If not, do you miss the opportunity to get formal education? Whooooo. . .As a teacher, it is logical that I support the value of Education. I do, with some reservations. . I don't know as I really have had need of Calculus, Advanced inorganic Chemistry, or Quantitative Analysis, but when it comes to Art, I found that the things I missed most from my High School years was mostly about Art, and the Arts. My introduction to Ceramics came in my third year of college, and I was blown away! Literally, to know that there was this wheel and the feel of the clay and OMG I just had to learn all about it, and it has been a journey, through undergrad and grad school. However, if to go back and do it all over again, I would have been more organized about it. I took classes Ceramics, did not enter a Ceramics program. Big difference. However, I am a good self learner, and over the years have read well, learned and taught. . . all of this leading to my understanding of Ceramics I have today. Not perfect, but works for me, so in the long run, no regrets. Suffering, no, something that brings me so much joy could never make me suffer. . .as when kicked by a bad load, or flopping pot, I get up and start over again. best, Pres
  20. 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
  21. Hi folks, I just got wifi at HNL International airport. When I dropped this on to you I had hoped to generate some thought provoking discussion. I believe in that respect, mission accomplished. I do agree, that I was harsh with the use of Cultural Theft, but at the time, I could not think of a better term at the time. Maybe Cultural misappropriation would fit the discussion better, but as discussion has shown with some supporting proofs there is an amount of proof here for theft. At the same time, while on the islands, I have seen how the Hawaiians are trying to return to their roots with more use of their language, arts and culture trying to move away from Americanization. Hope we have produced some thoughtful discourse. Returning home to PA on Monday. Aloha, Pres
  22. 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
  23. 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.

  24. 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
  25. 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

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