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roselle

Could Someone Help A Mama?

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I have an adorable 14 year old son, who is also autistic. He wants to learn to do pottery. I am willing to buy him a nice pottery wheel, one that will serve him for many years...Well as long as I can afford it.  I was wondering what you guys would recommend. My son has said he wants a "Speedball Boss Elite SQ."  It has a 1 hp motor.   I do not want to have to buy another one......My kids seem to love working with their hands. They are  raising their own Babydoll sheep and my daughter is spinning. One son is turning bowls and welding. I think pottery would be great for this younger child.

 

Also...I know we will need a kiln...And that can get quite expensive. I have thought perhaps we could build one. I also do not want my son to outgrow this important piece of equipment.  My son seems very interested in doing dinnerware etc. The other kids I am sure will also be interested in doing pottery.  Any suggestions on this would be very welcome. If I was to buy a kiln, what would you recommend?

 

Thank you!

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There is a yahoo site called potter barter where you might find good used equipment ... Also check Craig's list as many people buy the equipment then lose interest. Many here have scored great equipment at low prices that way.

 

I don't specifically know that wheel, but there are many good solid reliable brands to choose from ... if you should find a used one for sale just ask about it here again.

 

Also, check the frequently asked questions part of the equipment area and follow the Ceramic Arts Daily link on the top bar of this page ... there is always a ton of info there.

 

Good luck!

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Thank you!  I didn't know if people had a preference between wheels. I want one to grow  with my son and also think some of the rest of us may enjoy pottery as well.

Well, you will find a ton of opinions on any piece of equipment ... I always opted for the equipment I saw in schools and craft centers. They take a lot of abuse and are usually easy to fix. You want a good sturdy wheel that can throw a good weight of clay without slowing down or stalling. Your teenage boy will no doubt want to test how much clay he can throw!

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Thank you!  I didn't know if people had a preference between wheels. I want one to grow  with my son and also think some of the rest of us may enjoy pottery as well.

Well, you will find a ton of opinions on any piece of equipment ... I always opted for the equipment I saw in schools and craft centers. They take a lot of abuse and are usually easy to fix. You want a good sturdy wheel that can throw a good weight of clay without slowing down or stalling. Your teenage boy will no doubt want to test how much clay he can throw!

 

I am sure he will!  Honestly I haven't seen ANY wheels, so starting from scratch, except for the toy wheel I bought. We live in a rural area, not much to choose from.

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What area do you live in? We might be able to suggest some more specific help.

 

If there are clay stores in your area, you might check with them as potters will often post "for sale" items on store bulletin boards. There might also be a pottery group in your area that could provide suggestions. They may also have places for firing pots before you locate a kiln . . . and might be able to offer lessons on kiln use, etc.

 

And, while wheel work is great, don't discount hand-building (coiling, slab work, etc). Low overhead (rolling pin, some wood guides to help even slab thickness, and plenty of great forms. Nice way to start dinner plates of the non-round variety.

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What area do you live in? We might be able to suggest some more specific help.

 

If there are clay stores in your area, you might check with them as potters will often post "for sale" items on store bulletin boards. There might also be a pottery group in your area that could provide suggestions. They may also have places for firing pots before you locate a kiln . . . and might be able to offer lessons on kiln use, etc.

 

And, while wheel work is great, don't discount hand-building (coiling, slab work, etc). Low overhead (rolling pin, some wood guides to help even slab thickness, and plenty of great forms. Nice way to start dinner plates of the non-round variety.

HAHAHAHAH!  We can't even buy a pair of shoes in our little town. I am in south central KY...Allen County. I just ordered him 25lbs. of air dry clay to hold him till Christmas. He is about to pop a gourd. I grew up in King George Va...

 

I am wondering if we could build a wood fired kiln. Kids are absolutely wonderful at building or making what they need...They are kids that have had many sacrifices...But I do believe this..."Sacrifice can be a gift."

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I was almost ready to push the "send" button on a Thomas Stuart Professional wheel, when my sister said she would look into them for me. She took ceramics in college.  

So am still open to any suggestions!  THANKS everyone!  Such a nice forum group!

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My wheel is a Shimpo WhisperXL; had I not bought that one, I would have gotten one of the Bailey's wheels from http://www.baileypottery.com/. The Thomas Stuart wheels are also very nice and well made -- don't think you could go wrong with that choice.

 

Before investing in a full wood burning kiln, you might want to think about some alternatives -- raku firing, pit firing, or wood-firing in a trashcan kiln http://community.ceramicartsdaily.org/topic/12234-qotw-would-you-fire-your-smaller-work-in-a-trash-bin-kiln/Raku can be done with a weed burner and propane. There are a number of you tube videos on making raku kilns.

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I would recommend starting with an electric kiln ... Not that wood firing isn't great but learning to throw and progressing in skills will be easier with a kiln that easily gives consistent results. So much easier to figure out what went right or wrong when you know for sure what happened in the kiln.

Wood firing is a whole other learning area that could be added once he is comfortable with throwing. You can have more than one type of kiln ... : - ) ... Many of us have combinations of electric or gas or propane or raku or pit firing or wood kilns.

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Btw, above suggestion is something to do in addition to all the lovely advice you've been given on kilns and wheels.

Thank you...I live in a tiny town, where we can't even buy a pair of shoes...So now you know why we love Amazon Prime!  I'd love to visit a pottery studio!

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My wheel is a Shimpo WhisperXL; had I not bought that one, I would have gotten one of the Bailey's wheels from http://www.baileypottery.com/. The Thomas Stuart wheels are also very nice and well made -- don't think you could go wrong with that choice.

 

Before investing in a full wood burning kiln, you might want to think about some alternatives -- raku firing, pit firing, or wood-firing in a trashcan kiln http://community.ceramicartsdaily.org/topic/12234-qotw-would-you-fire-your-smaller-work-in-a-trash-bin-kiln/Raku can be done with a weed burner and propane. There are a number of you tube videos on making raku kilns.

I just read about the trash bin kilns.  Thank you!  I see classes were taught in Japan. I have a son in grad school in Tokyo...I told him to go take a class and zip on home and help us build a kiln!

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Btw, above suggestion is something to do in addition to all the lovely advice you've been given on kilns and wheels.

Thank you...I live in a tiny town, where we can't even buy a pair of shoes...So now you know why we love Amazon Prime!  I'd love to visit a pottery studio!

 

I took my kids to the local library this morning...One wanted books on "turning" and the rest wanted pottery books....Not a single book for either craft.  UGH!

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I would recommend starting with an electric kiln ... Not that wood firing isn't great but learning to throw and progressing in skills will be easier with a kiln that easily gives consistent results. So much easier to figure out what went right or wrong when you know for sure what happened in the kiln.

Wood firing is a whole other learning area that could be added once he is comfortable with throwing. You can have more than one type of kiln ... : - ) ... Many of us have combinations of electric or gas or propane or raku or pit firing or wood kilns.

I think electric would be easier to start with...But most need 220 V and also venting..Is that so?

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Think I have that Thomas Stuart 1hp Professional. It is a very nice wheel. Plan on it lasting me a life-time.

Right now I am leaning towards the same. Will have to decide soon, so it will be under the tree in time!  Thanks!

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You might check the FAQ for the links to Buying a Potters wheel:

 

http://community.ceramicartsdaily.org/topic/5736-in-the-studio-forum-f-a-q-listing-frequently-asked-questions/

 

You(your son, yourself, others) may find comments of help in buying that purchase.

 

best,

Pres

Thanks!  I did find the FAQ's about purchasing a wheel helpful!

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As a compromise you might start out with polymer clay. your son can make only smaller things with it but he might enjoy the feel of working it and it is solidified in your home oven.  comes in many colors.  Rakuku

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Go with the Thomas Stuart wheel. You can't beat the large splash pan, plus TS/Skutt has good customer service. My bearing went out on my wheel, it was knocking like crazy. I called in and it was still under warranty, they sent me a new bearing at no cost. 

 

I clean my splash pan like once a month. It holds a massive amount of trimmings and slop. I would never go back to those little circle pans like i started with when I went to some local classes. Taking them off with clay and water in them, I always made a mess.

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