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Evelyne Schoenmann

Qotw: Would You Laugh At Me If I Told You That I Am Using A Gg?

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I remember, years ago, when other potters were here on the forum, that a few started to laugh at people who were using technical devices or, heaven forbid; a splashpan. I use a splashpan, otherwise I'd have to paint my studio every time after throwing.... And a month ago I bought myself the best technical device ever (well, not ever maybe): a GG! (sorry but I may not make advertisement here, but I guess you get what I mean). I make uneven chawan (remember: beauty lies in imperfection) and can't center them satisfactorily on my wheel. So GG is helping me now! In addition I can use it for carving my bi-discs in centering them on the GG and let the wheel spin very slowly, and then carve and use the movement! Very handy for lots of my ideas.

 

How about you? Are you using technical or other devices you know some people would laugh at you if they know?

 

Evelyne

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I have been using a Griffin Grip now since a few years after they came out. I thought they might help some of my students with their trimming.  After getting it, I realized that it was so good that they would never learn how to trim without one, so required them to trim at least 5 of their pots by hand before getting their grubby fingers on the GG. I have used it over the years to trim plates, bowls, mugs, trim and assemble chalices, It has so many uses in the studio, that I really can't name them all. It will not do everything, as I make some bowls that are larger than the diameter of the GG, and large jars and such are best trimmed in a chuck to keep the shoulder from collapsing on the neck. However, I would be much slower doing things the old way as I am using the GG.

 

 

best,

Pres

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I have been using a Griffin grip for about 15 years for holding various-sized chucks for trimming my orbs. It makes it fast to switch chuck sizes. I also use it for when I apply terra sig. I support small pots off the bat and can invert them to do the other side. Really speeds up the process.

 

Marcia

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I don't understand the mentality of people who disparage the folks who like to use a centering tool like the giffin grip.  I understand there is a line somewhere that once crossed, puts into question the notion of "handmade", but the GG and tools like it are nowhere near that line.  Why not say we shouldn't use electric wheels?  It's not that different a notion. 

 

I hope there are no teachers out there that start their students on GG's.  I don't even bring one into class, but then I teach only beginners.  For more advanced students who have learned the basic centering techniques, I don't see a problem.

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Anytime you can find something that can make your job easier or more productive or more creative is fair game! I'm currently working on a magnetic grip that Min talked about some time ago. I also have a drawer full of crown and other moldings that should give me some interesting profiles.

I guess I just love working with my hands and clay gives me all kinds of opportunities to express my creativity both in what I create and the tools I have made to accomplish that.

Good luck with your new GG. Hope it makes things easier on your hands!

JohnnyK

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I agree with Pres and Doris, you really shouldn't start students out with a GG simply because they don't learn any other way of trimming. Speaking from experience.  My first teacher didn't know how to trim, so she had everyone trim using a GG.  When I set up my own studio, I automatically bought one.  After that, I learned to trim using a foam pad on a bat, on the wheelhead, using a chuck, etc.  I do however still use that device!  For tall things, or in the way Marcia described.....it's a pretty handy tool!  Yeah, and I use the splash pan too! And a slab roller.  Yep. 

Roberta

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I have a shop full of tools-all kinds of tools-grinders-saws tablessaw hand tools-oh wrong shop well lets see the pot shop also is full of the same type of tools bench grinder- 3 giiffen grips-the super huge one as well-power sponge tool-central vac system-yes I have and use all the tools-I also have 5 wheels with 5 splash pans-power daily slab roller . Tools -its what separates us for other animals.

 

The thing is I,m a tool junkie been that way forever

Pres I do not have a large shop for the non clay stuff just a few outbuildings.

Working as an electrician and plumber early in life taught me that specialized tools was where it's at

Weathers it's a carbide roof single cutter fior a cordless drill or a hydrolic ram for marine salvage or proton magnometer meter for finding underwater shipwrecks for diving on . If I need it for a job I tend it get one.

Even if that job is for fun.

Weather it's clay wood or metal you need tools to help you

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I personally don't like using them. I didn't have an opportunity to try using the Grip until I was already able to re-centre with some proficiency. I borrowed a friend's, just to see what the fuss was about. At the time, the bottoms of my pots didn't have the same centre as the tops, and I lost more bowls that day because I trimmed right through the sides of the pot. Around the same time I was shown how to tap centre, and that worked much better for me, so I stuck with that. I'm pretty fast at it now, and I still do it even though my pots are a lot less wonky.

 

Just because I don't like them for my own practice doesn't mean I'd belittle anyone for using one. They ARE a tool, and they are handy for chucks and other uses. In Mark's case, a few seconds saved on any action repeated 50-100 times in a day adds up to a noticeable savings. For me, it's not yet. If I ever get to his level, I'll have five, and be proud of them.

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I view any tool that helps me to produce a better product as a godsend. Should I be laughed at for wanting to make better pieces? I think NOT! Nor should anyone else be laughed at. We use a multitude of tools in pottery. Should we laugh at the use of those tools as well? Again, I think NOT!! Any tool that helps one to produce pieces of better quality, is also a tool that brings more joy to the process of doing so. And isn't that really what pottery is all about?

 

I consider anyone who sneers, scoffs or laughs at me for the use of such tools to be a bit of a pottery snob. Those are the people that I have NO time or patience for. <_<

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evelyne, i was one of the first people i knew who got a giffin grip.  i use it all the time.  it holds the round pots while i trim them, slip cover them, while i carve them while i do almost everything decorative.  i only use the small sliders so i have access to the most area on the pots.  i admire anyone who can use the taller stick holders, have never mastered that tricky step.

 

nobody who is a serious potter is so insecure as to laugh at anyone else and their methods.  we all love you and do not care how you get to the finish line. 

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I have a GG. I use it all the time to trim my forms that have even lips. Everything else I trim on a chuck of clay. I threw and trimmed for about a year before I bought a GG. I got so tired of using lugs of clay to hold down my pots. Trimming back then took me a ton of time, so much time that my lugs would dry out after about 2 pots and I would have to get new lugs. It really drove me bonkers back then. Now trimming a pot takes very little time as my throwing has improved a ton and I trim very aggressively taking out a lot of clay very quickly then refining it with the last trim overs.

 

I don't see the problem with the GG, as long as it doesn't limit the your forms and creativity because you can't trim something that the GG wont hold. Although now they have those fancy adapters that hold anything I think? Since we are on this thread, has anyone tried those? They look cool. EDIT: Flex Slider 3

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I have had a GG pretty close to when it was available. I use it when I'm making multiple pieces, which is almost all the time & it cuts trimming time. My only problem is trimming lids, the knob is too small to be grabbed by the lugs. I made a chuck that works ok, but it would be nice to not have to remove the GG to trim lids.

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I have had a GG pretty close to when it was available. I use it when I'm making multiple pieces, which is almost all the time & it cuts trimming time. My only problem is trimming lids, the knob is too small to be grabbed by the lugs. I made a chuck that works ok, but it would be nice to not have to remove the GG to trim lids.

 

For trimming lids I put the lid inside the pot that it goes in and attach that pot to the GG. This seems to work great for me. 

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Like Joe, I trim anything underneath a lid by turning it upside down in the pot. Most times. If it is after I have altered the pot, I place another small pot in the GG and use that to trim the lid upside down as on a chuck. GG helps a lot in fine tuning lid fits. I have even thrown handles on to the lids while using the sliders and rods with pads to hold the lid.

 

 

best,

Pres

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having met and talked with (been yelled at by) mr Giffin, i can swear that you are not our mr giffin.   or so often erroneously referred to as Griffin.  i guess that would make the tool a griffin gip.

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Here is a small factoid about the GG

Brian the inventor who now lives in the San Juan islands in Washington state also has more inventions in the wood working business than the clay business. Old lady he really is a nice guy as well most of the time.Not sure why you got yelled at but its common knowledge not to pull on supermans cape?

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i was demonstrating the new bailey magnetic quick-trim at NCECA.  mr giffin decided it was a direct competitor of his wonderful grip.  i could not hear him in all the noise and we had a loud discussion.    funny thing, the bailey looks different now.

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I learned to trim on a Giffin Grip helping out in my friend's studio long before I ever tried throwing on the wheel. I've since learned to trim off the wheel head, a chuck, or a pad of clay. Still haven't figured out how tap centering works so if anybody wants to inform me ....

 

The biggest benefit I can see to using the Giffin Grip is that it saves time because of how quickly and easily you can change out your pots, and because you can turn the wheel up to full speed for trimming, which is not a good idea with other trimming methods. I'm still at the place with  my pottery that the bottom and the rim has a slightly different center (off by under 1/8" generally) so I've learned ways to fix this when trimming since the Giffin pretty much just goes with the centering of the rim. 

 

I think the wheel itself is the most important tool. I use it for everything. I work more often sitting at the wheel than I do at my table. I use it for painting insides, for cutting guidelines for decorating, etc. etc. etc. 

 

My friend recently got a strong arm to help her in centering. She has been a full time potter for over six years. But she's already starting to have issues with her arms, wrists, shoulders, back from the larger pieces she makes in production. She was so apologetic when she got it as if she was "cheating". 

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My beef with the use of a GG is people do not take the time to learn how to tap center or center wares for trimming. They just jump past this step in the ceramic learning curve.

For me it's all about a time savings . For most hobbiest this tool is not something you must have.

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Tapping to center using a wet lip to stick the pot to the wheel is a fast way to trim. Works best with a good stoneware imho. I agree people should learn the basics , then develop using tools as needed in your work practices.

Marcia

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giselle, there may be a simple fix to the problem of differing centers, rim and foot.  check the bottom of the giffin grip to see that all 3 of the slides are at the exact same number of grooves.  they are so d&(^ tiny, it is very hard to get them right.

 

a second thing could be not opening the ball of clay in the exact center.

 

each will result in the difference seen when trimming.

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