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As some of you may know, I am a beginner on the wheel. I started learning in October of last year when my dad set up his new wheel in my garage since he doesn't have a spot for it yet. (Ohhh the sacrifices I make for him ) In the past year I have gotten to the point where I can pretty much make what I want, though I still can't handle anything over five pounds. I don't feel I'm qualified to teach anybody else, but my dad is really struggling. He wants to retire from his masonry business and use pottery to supplement his pension, so there is a lot of mental pressure on himself to make a success of this as soon as possible. I know from my own experience that this kind of thinking makes the learning go much slower, and I've told him so many times, trying to encourage him to be easier on himself and give it time and patience. Today he came over to throw and I noticed this weird thing. I'm right handed. I throw with the wheel spinning counter-clockwise. When I'm lifting the clay I have my left hand on the inside of the pot and my right hand on the outside at around 3 or 4 o'clock. My dad is also right-handed and uses the same setting on the wheel. But he does everything inside the pot with his RIGHT hand, and the outside with his left. His hands are at 8-9 o'clock on the wheel. He has lots of problems with gouging the pot, thin spots, collapses, etc. etc. etc. and I think that might be why. I told him and he laughed and said that he's always thrown this way ... I never noticed before because he really doesn't like help so I leave him alone when he comes over to throw. He threw one pot "my" way and it actually turned out pretty well but he said it was strange and went back to "his" way with the next pot. My question is, which way is correct? If "my" way is correct, then is it easier to re-learn this way, or should he try throwing on the wheel with the wheel going clockwise instead, as if he's left-handed, and otherwise keep doing everything the same? Any advice or suggestions? (By the way, I think he would benefit from a wheel throwing class but I know he won't do it. He's really discouraged right now.) Is it possible that his struggle with throwing can be as simple as having his hands in the wrong position?
I use a lot of slip trailing on my work. I had originally been using casting slip for my slip trailing because it was easier and at the time I had no place to mix slip, but now that I've made my own I'm never going back. A few months back I made up a big half gallon jar of B-Mix slip that I use both for slip trailing and for painting inside cups and bowls of dark clay so I can do a bright color inside. I like it really thick, like sour cream, just thinned out enough that it will come out of the slip trailer, but when it's thick like that, it holds its shape really nicely and gives a beautifully defined line, which I love. It was mostly just B-Mix and water, but I used a little vinegar so it wouldn't get stinky and it had maybe 8 oz of white stoneware casting slip too, just because I thought it would help my slip set up nicely. It worked out really well on every single clay I'm using right now. Over the next few months I used all but the last 1 1/2" of slip in the bottom of the jar, then I went a few weeks without using any. On Saturday I went to slip trail some things and it had turned liquid, like heavy cream, and it looked, felt, and behaved like pure casting slip and was very runny. It did not hold its shape when used at all. I didn't add anything since the last time I'd used it. I wouldn't have been surprised if it was thicker or dried out but this was just weird. The only thing I can think of is that perhaps the vinegar had something to do with it? Or is it possible that the casting slip had settled to the bottom of the jar somehow and that was mostly what was left?
Hey Everyone, I just started a little studio in my garage and figured I would reach out to the community for some advice. I plan on barrel firing my pieces to cut down on my costs but I've never done it before and have some questions. I bought a 31 gallon galvanized steel trash can and am wondering If I have to burn the zinc off before using it for a firing? I read online that this is the case but I was thinking that maybe the fumes from the zinc burning off would impart some color on the pots. Also I'm wondering what types of clay people are using for barrel firings? The guy at the pottery store told me low fire white clay but the internet seems to think I should be using groggy stoneware. Hopefully someone knows about this stuff but please feel free to post any other advice you have on this type of firing, I'll be grateful for any help I can get. Thanks
As some of you may know from my other thread.. i'm working on building my own propane kiln and a woodfire kiln so i can have access to multiple firing methods at my home. I also wanted to be able to cast my own metal molds so i could press clay easily, so i built a crucible with an empty propane tank (it never had anything flammable in it), a couple bags of quicrete, a 2 and one half foot steal pipe and a bellows (hair dryer works good to). it works GREAT(i'll give greater details if anybody is interested)! But that's not why i'm writing this thread. While watching videos on YouTube.. I came across a guy that built a small woodfire kiln with 8 concrete blocks (the thin type), 1 steel screen (for the second level shelf), 4 bricks, 1 small steel plate/sheet and a butt load of wood chips/shavings. all he did was build a 4 block square, filled it with pottery, stuffed it with wood chips, laid down the screen, placed 4 more blocks, filled & stuffed (as before), placed the 4 small bricks kiddie-cornered on the edges, lit the chips on fire, placed the sheet on top and walked away. the video didn't show him pulling the pieces out so i didn't get to see how well it worked. Have any of you ever tried this method? If not.. What backyard kiln methods HAVE you tried (if any)? Once again.. Any and all feedback would be most welcome Thank you in advance.