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Everything posted by Pres

  1. Chad, from Up in Smoke Pottery state a new question for us recently: For those who don't solely support themselves from pottery, what is your full / part time profession? If you reached the point self supporting in pottery, what jobs did you do along the way to fill the gaps? I know that there are those of you who do make a living at pottery, and some of you are doing quite well in my opinion. I am not in that group, and have never been. My Bachelors and Masters degrees are in Art Education. It one of the best decisions of my life, that really came because I was interested in a girl, who ended up in a college that had education degrees. I had originally been interested in Industrial Design, but very few schools near my area back then and few I could afford. So I studied art education, got a job teaching, and was very happy. However, I found in the later years in undergrad school a love for Ceramics, particularly the potters wheel. I also realized early on that to be a good teacher of art, I needed broad studio experiences knowing that a failed demonstration would often mean the loss of class confidence in the teacher. I studied Drawing, Painting, Watercolor, Metalcraft(Jewelry), Printmaking, Sculpture, and some Weaving. When doing grad work I chose to degree at a school that believed as I did: studio over pedagogy. I started teaching the Ceramics courses the second year at the HS, and did for 36 years. My main job was as an Art teacher. and over the years I acquired my own wheel(Amaco motorized kick), an L&L kiln, and a garage to use to make pots. It was not until the 90's that I started to sell pieces eventually doing 7 years at Penn State festival. . . just over the hill. However, as I was working late at night in the Spring, and most Summer long, when an alternative form of supplementary income came up. . . teaching college classes in computer technology for advance degree education students, I jumped at it. I still make pots, sell some to groups, and have taken orders for pottery from companies on the east coast. I hope to continue with pottery until I can no longer. . . one way or the other. Oh, yeah, the girl, we just celebrated our 45 anniversary on a Southern Caribbean cruise. best, Pres
  2. Oh the days of working your way through college, the twists and turns to take. I started out working three jobs: press man and layout/negative cleanup for a Penny Saver, farm hand in the mornings, soda ######## at a local drive in theater at night. Then I was a silo construction "ground pounder" carrying 75# concrete staves and 125# concrete door frames to build farm silos. Worked as a vegetable man for the local Weis Market for one semester where I was chased around once by a Banana Spider! From there I was a fabricator of parts for an aircraft factory even carried a union card for the AFL-CIO. Then until I got married I worked for a bank at nights running liability ledgers and doing trouble shooting for ledger areas or when a branch could not prove out. After getting married I worked at a small local chain convenience store. Until I landed a job teaching at a HS near where my wife got her job as a teacher. Ever since, Summer and part time work involved teaching or Ceramics. I worked Summer camps teaching Ceramics, taught tech classes at night for a VoTech: Photoshop, Corel Draw, Illustrator, Gimp. Taught advanced degree courses for local college in tech use in the classroom. Watercolor classes for a community college. We came to realize after my son was born that I had ADHD, but who knew back then. One of the reasons I think I get along with computers. . . they help organize and focus me. Also one of the reasons I can work surrounded by chaos, desk, shop etc. Yeah, most of us go through a lot of jobs before we "fit in", but that is part of the process. How do you know what you like unless you try it? best, Pres
  3. Ideal studio setup

    Any electric outlets in a studio should be GFCI, or controlled by a GFCI breaker. Best to be safe than possibly . . . fried or frizzed! best, Pres
  4. 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
  5. Ideal studio setup

    A few thoughts about your spaces: Kiln room, ventilated; glazing area, separated, table heights so that glazes on dollies may be stored underneath along with large bulk containers, storage for smaller oxide etc containers above waist height; drying area shelving on outside of kiln wall works, or near windows so that you can get ventilation if needed; Wet area, a plastic sheet enclosed shelving unit works well-easy to make with slotted two by 8's where ware boards can slide right into rack, can be attached to floor and ceiling, or to walls; Handbuilding area: Tables with varied heights for different sizes, adjustable stools, Tool rack storage for ease of inventory, boxes/drawers for stamps etc, Oiled wood tops easy to clean, less dust than canvas/cloth, storage rack for ware boards; Wheel area: storage rack for bats, tool bucket/tool storage area, close proximity to wet racks, Just some thoughts, best, Pres
  6. walker pug mill oil change process

    Make certain that you are using gear oil-major problem if you don't. As far as the in out plug, they are not very large. I used a squirt bottle to fill. best of luck, as this machine will last forever if taken good care of. I had one at the HS I taught at for many years. If you want to see more discussions on the Walker, and pug mills do a search in the home page search window. best, Pres
  7. Week 41 A kiln design that contains the walls and the arch in one curve is the________________ kiln. Sprung arch Bound arch Catenary arch Barrel arch Domes and Crowns differ from sprung arches in that an arch describes a portion of a cylinder, while a dome or crown describes a portion of a _____________. parabola sphere hyperbola cone One Principle of kiln design the author states is that the chimney is approximately one-fourth to one-fifth of the ____________________ diameter. chamber damper door total inlet A _______________________ kiln is an example of a _________________ type kiln. Down-draft anagama cross-draft updraft This weeks Pottery Quiz of the Week questions come from: The Kiln Book, second edition, Frederick L. Olsen, c. 1983, Chilton Book Company/Radnor, PA Note from Pres: In the 80's as a new art teacher, new to ceramics, I considered building my own kiln. Alas, it did not happen, but I read a lot of books on kiln building, firing, and repairs. Some of which I have used over the years, some not. However, for anyone starting with kiln construction this book is a gem. There may be newer techniques out there today, but he does cover Fiber construction, alternative fuels, and multi chambered kilns.
  8. Why not underfire clay

    Most places that do Ceramics for public firing will fill their kilns with poured pottery. At least in the day when pouring/casting was big. Most of this was done with a ^06 slip that was fine. However, when someone brought something in to fire, they would just throw it in with the other pieces assuming that it was 06. One of the reasons when I taught HS that I did not allow anything in the shop that was not our clay. As we fired to ^6, not ^06, I was not about to risk damage to kiln or shelves just to please someone. This policy usually caused some negative feed back, and name calling of me, but the equipment did not get damaged. best, Pres
  9. Chris posted Campbell posted a question from a recent strand in the forums. . . You know you are not meant to be a potter if ...... As a teacher, I have heard this so many times quested in so many ways. Usually starting with some sort of excuse. Those excuses vary in so many different ways. There would be the students that couldn't stand to get their hands dirty,or the girls who would not risk a broken finger nail,or the student that complained they weren't strong enough to move the clay in one way or another. There were those that making something out of clay. . . such an old process.. . was beneath them, or it wasn't art, and they were artists. There were those that were to smart, wanted a more difficult problem to solve, or those that building something was to big of a problem to solve. In the end, and all too often, once they allowed themselves to experience the clay, they would fall in love with it. Those that were to weak, got stronger. Those that didn't like getting dirty found their hands felt better after a class with wash up and hand cream(I always kept a bottle by the sink most years). Others cut their nails because it messed up their pots to have them. Most were not meant to be potters, but they went on to appreciate pottery when at shows or other events where pottery was present. I would see them at craft fairs, and many times they were carrying a pot in a bag that they wanted me to see. You really aren't meant to be a potter when you allow your expectations to get in the way of good results. If you can't bring yourself to accept a form, glaze, or other attribute of a pot even though it is a good pot, then you should not be a potter. If making something has to be so perfect that it never makes it to the kiln, you should not be a potter. On the other end of the coin, if you cannot throw out a poorly made piece, at any stage of its creation, then you should not be a potter. Those are the aspects that I think makes good potter. The ability to discern quality against expectation, and the determination to make the best you can within your skill levels. best, Pres
  10. PQotW #41 is posted for your perusal. Kiln builders should have an easy time of it!

  11. My situation now is retired. I used to make pots to have some extra cash for vacations, and a little fun. It has come to the point where pottery is my drug, and my fix is self sustaining with a little extra for fun. My wife says I can't live without it, and she kicks me into the shop whenever I get to much like an old goat. Oh well, on and on. best, Pres
  12. Tower computer is up and running with all software installed. Now maybe I can catch up on things, nice to be back to a large screen for using word processor,OCR, and browser all at once.


    1. Mark C.
    2. Pres


      Yeah it is i7 8700K processor 16gig of RAM and a new Mobo to handle it all.



  13. That is why I would build a "sand box" to throw in. It would help control the trimmings and splashings. You could even add some partial wall areas if you want more control, or put it in a corner diagonally facing outward or inward. Myself I would prefer outward as you could see what is going on. Carrying pottery will be a pain if you have to go through the house. best, Pres
  14. You don't indicate anything about the entrance/exit options here. If you have a pull down ladder to enter. . . I would nix it. If it is a narrow stair with a turn, I would nix it. However if your stairs are of at least a normal width or wider I would say you should be good to go. I would consider ware boards to carry pots down to the next level, probably best when leather hard. I would consider a skylight for lighting during the day, and several LED hanging panels to keep from having a lot of shadows. Looks like you have enough sockets, You may want to build yourself a throwing area with some way to catch the trimmings etc and keep from having clay tracked everywhere. How about water? Roof top reservoir may work well, with a spigot and bucket with an outside drain to the garden. I would also consider a ware rack somewhere. As far as the kiln firing downstairs make certain it is well vented either with a hood or power downdraft set up. Finally you come to some sort of tool rack/storage area for your bats, tools and other items you may need for throwing along with an hangers for aprons and towels. These are things I would be thinking about if redoing my area with two levels, and should help you out some. best, Pres
  15. Glazing interior of cruets

    AS others have said, glaze the interiors of anything functional. Also be careful of clays. Some clay bodies have a range that may be from cone 4-10. Don't think that because it has that range that it is vitrified at ^6. Not anywhere near. I learned the lesson the hard way. All too often the long range clay body will end up soaking up moisture causing problems with inside and outside glaze as in shivering, crazing and even mold. Best to opt for a tight range clay body and stick to it. best, Pres
  16. The technique of pounding/slapping the clay to center is an old technique used in Asia. It usually is done in concert with the fist pounding of the clay while slow wheel rotation. Yes this is fully centered, and if done properly there are very few lumps. The technique is usually followed up with a very stable pull that really does not move a lot of clay, but smooths the walls of the knuckle bumps on the inside or outside or even the finger marks o the outside. It is an ambitious technique to learn, but I have used it often when throwing 20# jars or vases. It looks like it takes a lot of energy, but really does not take as much as you might think. best, Pres
  17. Fuddling Cups

    I'm not trying to be argumentative, Sputty, it is just that I have used one from the last century(so consider it modern) by a potter that had 3 cups, all three were joined. However there were only holes leading into one. In other words, the left cup had a hole into the lower cup, and the right cup had a hole into the lower cup. However, there were no holes between the right cup and the left cup. Another way of confusing the issue when we were discussing this he told me was to change the size of the hole when working so that the liquid out of one cup would not drain as quickly as the other. Lastly, I have read that in a Fuddling Mug that had more than 3 chambers that they could be designed with two sides to drink from, or that the the furthest chamber would have only one hole draining it into a chamber next. The larger the Fuddling Mug became the harder it was to drink out of it without . . . dribbling. best, Pres
  18. Fuddling Cups

    Actually, from what I understand about fuddling mugs, you almost always have to drink from one particular mug otherwise spilling. It is all derived from either a serial or parallel connection of the pieces in the set.
  19. CPB, There are kilns large enough out there to fire this, but I don't think you want to buy one. about 4-6K. My solution to your problem would be to locate a local college/university that has a ceramics program. Most of the larger schools would have gas fired kilns. Contact with the Art or Ceramics department would possibly get you in the door, but you would have to convince the professor in charge of the ceramics program to allow it to be fired in a load. You should have available with you when you meet with anyone: good pictures, clay type with manufacturer, and the drying time of the piece so far. It could probably be bisqued with a standard load, but I doubt that they would be firing a cone 6 glaze load in the larger kilns, but then I may be wrong as cone 6 is very popular for ceramics right now . best, Pres
  20. In the world of glazes, there are a lot of variables that cause a glaze to fail, or at least not to meet your expectations. One of these that comes to mind is the pink range. These pink glazes often depend on a delicate balance between tin oxide and chromium oxide. All too often I have seen the glaze turn out white instead of pink. is the white a bad glaze. . . no, just not what is expected. If the pot does not require the pink, then should you reject the pot, because the glaze is not quite right? I don't think so, as long as the glaze is sufficient in other aspects such as surface, durability and enhancement of form. Other glazes I have seen that have problems are those that are applied over too high a bisque, as in the one jar/vase I posted the other day. The pot had been fired to cone 6 accidentally. I had not expectations with the glazing of it, just needed to fill a spot in the kiln. As it turned out, I often return to look as it sits in the hallway. It is nice. I hope this clarifies my statement.
  21. I throw all sorts of rectangular pieces on the wheel, or at least they end up rectangular before removal from the wheel. best, Pres
  22. I think you need to check your coils with a multimeter. Check your Cress manual for voltages, and then test. Neil can tell you more, but from what I see in your images looks like one of the top coils is kaput. This should be a pretty easy fix if you are handy, even if not, an electrician could do the job quickly once you have the coils. best, Pres
  23. Chris, Oh what seemingly simple rumors we pass on, so now pots that blow in the kiln are in that special place where nothing survives and yours get there if the teacher does not like you! Yeah, been there heard that. best, Pres
  24. Thank you Joseph, seems like if there is a corner, she uses it for decoration. I have gotten used to it and find the pieces fit in well. However, the lids ... .she has them hidden away somewhere. I will have to photograph the pieces with the lids sometime. best, Pres

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