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Everything posted by Pres

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. Pres

    Kick wheel troubles

    TougeiBoy, Welcome to the forum.. . those old concrete kick wheels are quite heavy to move, and if setting up for 20 some years, the bearing may need some loving care. I would make certain everything is lubed up well when you have those lads turn it over, and if the bottom bearing needs replacing make certain the shaft is aligned when remounting. Once again welcome to the forum! best, Pres
  4. Pres


    No one here has mentioned the sharpness of the tool. I use dull tools when trimming wetter clay, and sharper tools when trimming leather hard clay. Think of it the same as using a wire end tool to carve into wet clay for sculpture vs a ribbon end tool for finer finishing when the work is drier. best, Pres
  5. LeeU posted in the QotW question bank: Here's one: tell us about your best handmade/homemade tools. A member just posted about having made a black walnut throwing stick. I felt immediate envy! I did make my own chattering tool at a NH Potters' Guild demo, and that was a blast. It is my only self-made tool so far and I treasure it--it works great--I did a good job with it. Would love to see some pics-homemade brushes, wood tools, metal tools, whatever. Hand made, don't really have a single one that is homemade. However, I bought a throwing stick at the NC Ceramics conference a few years ago. Jack Troy was demonstrating a throwing stick that I thought would be nice to have. They were on sale there, so I bought one. It hung around the shop for a few years and then about a year ago when throwing chalice bowls I started using it for shaping, then for mugs, and then for teapots and other forms. . . love it. Most of my tools that one would considered handmade are really recycled! The bamboo kitchen tools that I cut the handles off of to make ribs. The band saw blade that I cut into lengths years ago for the HS for trimming blades for the students. I rounded off the corners, removed burrs and made a series of blades ranging from 3" to 8" long. We used them for scraping/scoring/smoothing when handbuilding. They were great for squaring up corners, or scoring before applying slip or Magic Water. There are the chucks made from plumbing parts to trim chalice stems, or to trim the underside of flat ribs and help with centering a spoon for joining. I also have made my own dies for extruders, and recently repurposed a power caulk gun to use as an extruder. best, Pres
  6. No new one in the question bank, so I will post this question: Of the things that you make, do you use anything pottery wise, and what is your favorite piece to use? I imagine, that many of us make things to use at home or elsewhere. I know that I use pots that I have made, and if they don't work well for me, put them aside for the next version. So in the household, we use large and small bowls, berry bowl/colanders, apple bakers, batter bowls, and mugs. We are more coffee drinkers, but do have and use some teapots, and I have gone through several of these until they are right. My wife likes the large bowls the most, then the next down is the berry bowl, that we use often. Mugs come and go, but of late there have been some that are favorites that someone always reaches into the back for. We have a purchased handbuilt platter from GEP, that we use, but obviously I did not make it. best, Pres
  7. 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
  8. I taught HS for 36 years, most years ceramics, computer animation, drawing and painting. I also learned more from teaching others about media than any college taught me. I still learn in the shop most days, as there are always a new problems to solve. I enjoy solving problems and meeting challenges. I still teach, as the forum is here, I have a blog that has some insights into ceramics, and I still mentor some teachers in our area and assist with an adult class at the HS where I used to work. I'm retired, just not done yet. best, Pres
  9. So the Hulk clarified his question about value by telling us : fwiw, my post to qotw has more t'do with "what is art" (and what is not art) than value of formal education; all good tho', carry on! Th' topics weave together, surely. So I will ask the QotW: How do you value or differentiate What is art and not art? I am assuming we are getting into the Art vs Craft discussion again, but then maybe there is more to it than just that. For me, there is that thing which is lower than craft, and this time of year we see a lot of it. I consider the glued together, tossed together stuff of decorative glitz used for the seasons, especially fall and winter. The combination of machine made, natural, natural covered with glitter, fake natural all pulled together with glue or wire to decorate. Hmmmm! Take a step up and consider the early stages of any craftsman, the learner that one day be considered a true craftsman of wood, metal, clay or whatever. Nice stuff, but still a layer at the bottom of CRAFT. I was there at one time, and all of us have to be. Then we start to evolve, not just making a form, but thinking about why me make the form, how to make it more efficiently, how to make it more useful, how to make it more decoartive or interesting. Through this thoughtful investigation we start to create true Craft objects, often very useful, aesthetically pleasing, and a joy to use. It brings a different dimension to those lives that use them. Then there are those that are still making functional objects, and have evolved in such an aesthetic, that their work is often considered Art. I give you Martha Glover as an example, where her organic wheel thrown porcelain forms with understated color are often described as art. There are others over the centuries that lift the simple functional object to art. Lastly we come to those rogues, those pioneers, or renegades that have lifted the world of functional ceramic into the realm of Art by their audacity and creativity. We would list many of the artist/craftspeople from the 60's and 70's, such as Voulkos, Autio, Callas, Paul Soldner, Takaezu, Mason, Price, and so many others that I dare not try to name them all. Too many. I do not presume to judge, as there are many pieces of work that I would not consider art myself, but they have cleared the way for a form of expression that has mirrored much of what was going on in the art world at the same time. They have also established clay as gallery art, something that before the 20th century was not as often considered in an Art museum. It is nice to be able to see ceramic pieces of all ilk displayed along with paintings, sculptures and other media. Value. . . decide for yourself! best, Pres
  10. Pres


    I will be moving this thread to Studio Operations and Making Work, as it will be more appropriate. best, Pres
  11. When I retired, I had over 350 sick days saved up. We got 10 a year. I could not stand to be out of class as too many things would go wrong. . . .pots drying out, joins not completed well, build up of dirt in the room, lots of make up paper work and other things. It also seemed that coming back you had to work 3 days for one day out putting in more overtime working to correct the problems that a sub not trained in art would create. Best to work through a cold, the flu, or other things. Good thing I never got anything major. Broke my ankle walking into the building on snow covered ice on an inservice day. 6 weeks of non walking cast, 6 weeks of walking cast, and worst of all 6 weeks of therapy. My right foot, so I could not drive had to get a ride to work every day, and proud to say I never missed a day even though my classes were on two different floors. No being out was not an option. best, Pres
  12. Yeah, liambesaw, I have a bit of a problem moving from the Hazelnut brown of SC to the 630 white stoneware. Have come to using a cover board over my wedging table to wedge, have to clean out all buckets and such and have made a second extruder tube for the power caulk gun/extruder. Little things help. best, Pres
  13. Pres

    temp for opening kiln?

    Much as Stephan says will aid you in future glazing. I will say that there have been times when I have had to pour on glaze, especially when the piece is too large to dip, and I did not have a proper sprayer. However, no matter how hard you try you will always get inconsistencies. The best strategy if you have to pour glaze is thin the glaze a bit, and do multiple pours. Do this quickly, and as evenly as possible leaving a bit of time between pours. Sometimes it is helpful to change the type of container you are using to dip your pots into. For plates now that are 10 to 14 inches in diameter, I use a large 6-8 inch bin to dip. I use staple removers to hold the plates, and slide/dip the plates through the glaze getting an even coat with the 1, 2, 3 count. Works well. Anytime you find you have left a pot fall into the glaze, set in the glaze or other mishap, wash the glaze off the pot, let it dry, and re-glaze. All of this glazing thing takes time, patience, and experience. I have spoken to some folks, that believe that those of us that do not painstakingly brush designs and details on a pot have it so easy and that the effort is just that. . . effortless. However, dip/pour/spray glazing is an art in itself and takes time to learn just as firing a kiln gas or electric, as fuming pottery or doing terra sigilita. So don't despair, and good luck with your future endeavors. best, Pres
  14. Sorry to hear of you rejection Denice. There is a lot of bitterness out there over this sort of thing. I once entered three watercolors in a local juried show in the 80's, as I do watercolor. I had all three rejected, some great stuff on my part. Later on I was hanging the student show for the same Arts festival. I had three of the juried show organizers come to see me about hanging my work in the show even after rejection! It seemed the juror rejected anything that had a colored mat on it. My three matted and framed pieces were rejected for colored mats! I told them that I was sorry that they had the problem, but that a rejection was a rejection, and they were invalidating the juror decisions. Others would not be asked to hang, why me. . . just because I was working at hanging the student show! At any rate, lesson learned, and the rep of the juror went down the tube. NO, I did not hang my work. best, Pres
  15. Pres

    temp for opening kiln?

    If you are running a computer, and don't have and image processing program like photoshop to resize images, download the Gimp, an open source free image processor that will allow you to resize images. best, Pres
  16. Pres

    temp for opening kiln?

    I used to unload the kiln in a hurry years ago, with the pinging and popping sounds. It seemed at the time that everything was fine, yet I found that pieces we used at home seemed to be crazed quite a bit, and the glaze would actually get rough. Nowadays I take the time to allow the kiln to cool til the lid is cool, and then crack the kiln to check inside, if the air coming out is hot, I just leave a crack until it is cool. Pots seem to have more complete glaze surfaces, and crazing is not occurring any more. Maybe it is overkill, but better safe than not so happy. best, Pres
  17. Uhh, no not flashing as I have been putting base glaze on with dip, then sprayed accents using different spray angles of cream rust and variegated blue with an overspray of rutile green. Rae, I had just made the handle for an article, and decided not to waste, and as I needed cone packs. .. . it seemed natural. Second firing was perfect. I got lucky on the first. best, Pres
  18. Just for giggles , and the benefit of sometimes being lucky. Cone pack from last firing where I misjudged the rate after installing a new element. best, Pres
  19. Pres

    Sculpture stuck to base

    Understand the safety goggle problem, finally found some that fit. best, Pres
  20. AWWW Tom. . . Thank you, but then again, there are a lot of folks out there that got passed the past and met the challenges. best, Pres
  21. Oh my, yappy, I would hardly call my attaining a degree something elitist. I was an USAF brat during the 50's and 60's. We lived in many different places, with many different school districts, with good and bad teachers. I had some health problems early on, and was never very large in size, and one to get bullied. Most times it was flight or fight. I chose flight as I was faster, and they were much bigger. I was smart, but stupid in school. I knew the answers, and was eager to answer, at the same time that would bring yourself to center at times and leave you open to more of the pre mentioned problem. Even though smart, I did not do a whole lot of homework, had average grades, and was one of the ones at the back or middle of the class. Even in art I did not excel, as I never really took the time to finish much, getting bored with the process. This brings me to college years, where the only school I could get into was a community college. . .I wanted to major in Industrial Design, but ended up in a Math/Science track, as there was very little I could afford in the way of an Industrial Design school on the east coast. 2 years later found me with 19 credits of heavy courses, a night job at a supermarket, and tons of homework that buried me. I flunked out. Wrote the Dean a letter that Summer, groveling to get back in as I could not transfer anywhere with my GPA where it was. One year later, I transferred to a state college, with a 1.999 average. They took me on probation on account of three things. . . My board scores back in my senior year of HS were 1200's so I was not stupid, my accum for the last year at community college was 4.9, and when the head of the art department asked what happened and added. . . .did you get a girlfriend? Then asked is she here, I had to answer yes she started the semester before me. So yeah really prestigious beginning, not to mention that before starting the last year at community college I was in a major car accident that put me in the hospital for 2 weeks, and left me basically 4F physically wearing a back brace and chest constrictor for a few years. No college for me was tough, until I got my head wrapped around it, and got to a place where I found I could succeed. Grades the last few years were well over 3.5, and in grad classes the same. Took me till late 80's to get a MS in Art Ed, but all worth it. Never majored in Ceramics, or any other form of art, but have more studio time than many in a wide variety of media. Much of which I taught in HS humbly, Pres
  22. Pres

    Sculpture stuck to base

    However you go about this, make certain to wear safety apparel, as glaze and clay shards can be very sharp. At the same time, the materials can damage you eyes, and you are grinding silica. So wear a full dust mask, and safety goggles. I wore safety glasses a few years ago, and had a small piece of glaze that my optometrist had to flick out of my eye. Alternative was to go to surgeon and have it removed. best, Pres
  23. Hi all, Hard work, working hard, interesting as it brings back to light something I was told years ago by my Dad: I don't care what you decide to be in life, just so long as you decide to be the best at it you can be, even if it is a fine fine ditch digger. That also follows with something else I was told by an older colleague when teaching. . . If you just find something you love doing in life. . .you will never have to work a day of your life. Made sense to me. As to education I always believed that part of the process of education was to help one find their gift/gifts. In all of my schooling there were always those better than I at something, and I better at things they were not, but even though I loved to draw, and paint and do other art areas, it really didn't strike me as when I first sat on the wheel. Would I have found that outside of school? Maybe, but then again probably not. Do I have other gifts? Who knows, as I have not done so much that is out there to do, but I did find one thing, and doing it brings so much happiness to my life, hard to imagine life without it. best, Pres
  24. Most college undergrad have kiln loading done by assistants. However, in Art Ed. courses of Ceramics they often include demos and actual loading and firing of kilns for the obvious reason that the student then will be the teacher in charge of loading and firing later. I got much of my understanding of firing from undergrad early. In grad work I fired gas only a few times, but then I had a lot of electric experience. Some things like packing the kiln, kiln wash and stilts were the same, but the gas kiln is much more hands on. I do not fire an electric with any controller or setter. Fired up and down by eye and color temp with cone pack for accurate ^6 most of the time. Last firing did not go as planned! OOPs! best, Pres
  25. When I taught adult classes, 9-12, we would have about and hour of class time then studio for 2. Class time was active demonstrations on my part from how to assemble clean 90 degree slab corners to using a slab roller or an extruder. Vocabulary always included, along with the correct name for tools, processes, and materials. Loading the kiln was a demonstration and at time a group project along with critiques at unload. best, Pres

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