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Joseph F    865

No epics *yet*, except failing to enroll for a ceramics course when I was 18 :)

 

Ooops, perhaps I shouldn't have said this just before my next firing????

 

Joe

 

Depends on if you believe in jinx's or not. DUN DUN DUN! 

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glazenerd    816

Had an epic just a month ago: think I already posted that episode. Managed to fire a test load of unglazed tile; wonderful!!

Was thinking so much about formulation and effect: left the glaze batch sitting on the glaze table.  I use to keep a stack of bisque tile by the test kiln---note "use to".

 

Nerd

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Mark C.    1,798

This is another epic story of my past.It happened in the late 80's or early 90's.

 

A long time ago I got most of my clay from a mega supplier called Westwood Clay Co. circa 1970s-1980s This Company never paid any attention to us little potters when their clay went bad-we where always at fault so I got feed up and looked around some-There was a small clay company down south in LA area near Westwood that I heard made good clay it was called Laguna clay co-The owners Dad lived near me and when he sold out his stuff and moved I bought some of it-During that time I decided to see this clay company and meet his son John-It was a small place in Santa Ana at that time about 14 hours drive south of me. I switched to their porcelains after a tour of the plant by John Brooks. I used Dave’s Porcelain for many years in my production studio.

 

Over Time Lagina grew and bought out Westwood clay and took over in their facilities.Since then they have bought facilities country wide-In Ohio and Axner in Florida.

 

Years went by then I starting to have problems  with Daves mostly bloating and some shivering-I was an old time experienced user and did not take its my fault well-yes I raised my bisque temperatures and still I lost huge amounts due to bloating all the while the techs said it was me but every one I know who used this clay also had these woes. After firing three car kiln loads at Xmas I and getting nowhere with on this issue with the Clay company. This was a bad time to loose so much work and I snapped.

 

After a few long stonewall talks to John Brooks I packed up 3 whole 35 cubic foot car kiln loads in 3 huge TV boxes and shipped them UPS to Johns upstairs office-I did not pack these to survive just tumble stacked 3 whole kiln loads in large boxes with zero padding and drove a full large truck off to ups the bill back then in the 80’s was over 100$ to ship about 150#. I felt great as this amount of work really showed what the crap was going on. After many months of tossing their stuff in the trash I sent it all to the top man. It was liberating and really pissed him off but you see I said how do you think I feel after making all that work and having it bloat- my time my glazing and trimming my gas my sweat -It got thru and years later at a workshop their clay John Pacini  told me that story  and I was legend at Laguna for doing this as John had to pack over 100 #s of shards down stairs to dump them from his upstairs office .No one had ever sent in that sheer volume of fired work and the boss had to deal with it.I never asked for a credit I just wanted to get my point of blame across to the company.I'm an ethical person and expect the same treatment.

I feel good just thinking about the story it warms my heart
 
You see in this world you should be held accountable for good bad or inferior work-clay is our life blood and no matter how I fired it bloated-it was an ingredient problem on the manufacturing side and we all knew it.

They knew it but would never admit it. Nowadays I have a good rapport with all of them but we all know where we stand-They need potters like me and I need clay makers like them. Now I have over 35 years of Dave's under my belt .

In the clay business things can change very quickly and not always for the better.

 

​PS sorry about the test sizes as I copied this from a 2012 post in this forum  and some text sizes changed?

 

Edit: (Text size fixed -JBaymore)

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ChenowethArts    461

There was one particular instance when a student asked to bring in a piece because there was space on the top shelf of the gas kiln.  She promised to get it into place, close up the kiln and begin the overnight candling before the evening was over....which she did.  What she failed to mention was that the piece was earthenware.  The firing was a Cone 10 reduction firing.  Upon opening the kiln, there was nothing of hers on the top shelf, but the flood of melted earthenware dripped between (and fused) nearly every shelf and puddled in/on pieces below the drip source.  It wasn't pretty, neither was it much fun to clean up.

 

-Paul

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LeeU    328

WOW...I had not fully comprehended the gravity and potential heartbreak, to say nothing of serious financial damage, of some of these truly epic losses for people in business,education.production, & other aspects within the world of ceramists.  Puts things in perspective. No tears from me over the next clay failures in my life.  

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glazenerd    816

I appreciate all who put their personal "epics" out there, so others could see "ooppss" happen to everyone.

 

"Epics" are like a fast food: they come in small, medium, and large. Some make us cringe, some make us narrow our vocabulary: and some make us want to put our heads in a kiln on fast fire. Sometimes they can almost cause the collapse of our beloved endeavors, as we have just read that story. Does not matter the skill level, the years of learning, or even the years of experience: "epics" still happen. We go into our studios or work spaces to get away from life and the troubles of life follow us in there: and distracts us. We think about our bills, our kids, our spouses, or the trouble of the month: hitting wrong buttons, grabbing wrong jars, and drift away from what we are doing. I wonder how many have simply sneezed while trimming a pot: and cut it clean through?

 

The stories come from the experienced, the season; from some of the best in the business. This week's QQW however was actually geared towards those just starting out, or perhaps in it for years and just starting to learn a new technique. As you have just read: "epics" are going to happen: most often due to the learning curve involved with clay and glaze.The issues of life are visited upon the potter: just like any other profession. We have bad days, off days, and days our minds just simply check out- it happens. That same human spirit that creates works of art out of clay: is the same human spirit that is subject to the frailties of life. Perhaps even more so for clay arts: because there is an intensity, a fervor, a passion for what we are doing. When that much focus in poured into a piece: it is not surprising that we get distracted in the mundane "duties" of making pottery such as proper loading of a kiln, or supporting a shelf, or paying close attention to a firing cycle.

 

There is only one group of people in this world who have never had an epic failure: the ones who never did anything in their lives. When you expose yourself by putting you heart and soul into you work: you then likewise expose yourself to human frailties. It is a well known historical fact that Da Vinci was rarely satisfied with his artistic works: including the Mona Lisa. Get over the "epcis"; they have and will happen: the hardest part of pottery is being content that you did your best.

 

Nerd

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Mark C.    1,798

Its not if you had a huge mistake it more when you have one and what do you take away from it.In Ceramics its just a matter of time. The mixing can get you on glazes the kiln can get you in so many ways-the clay can get you just when you think you have it made.

Ceramics makes one humble.

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JBaymore    1,432

 

There is only one group of people in this world who have never had an epic failure: the ones who never did anything in their lives.

 

Very true. Ya' gotta take risks.

 

best,

 

..................john

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JBaymore    1,432

John, I think your epic story takes the prize.  I got a knot in my stomach reading it.

 

Wasn't fun living thru it.

 

best,

 

................john

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Pres    896

Learned not to use the wheel as a shop table for use with the circular saw. Cut a very small notch out of the wheel head. Good news. . . after years I have found that the notch makes a perfect place to lift bats from with a trimming tool. In the future, I would put the notch in the bottom of the bat! :huh:

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firenflux    45

When I started working with a potters wheel, I could never get the pots thin enough or tall enough. In my frustration over trying to re-center the clay to trim it and get it thin enough, I started hand carving my pots. Initially I used a fetling knife and it was very haphazard, but I ended up liking the look and feel of the textures I created. Many many years later I can now control the thickness of my pieces to allow for purposeful carving and texture. In essence, my struggle led to my esthetic.

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GiselleNo5    464

When I started working with a potters wheel, I could never get the pots thin enough or tall enough. In my frustration over trying to re-center the clay to trim it and get it thin enough, I started hand carving my pots. Initially I used a fetling knife and it was very haphazard, but I ended up liking the look and feel of the textures I created. Many many years later I can now control the thickness of my pieces to allow for purposeful carving and texture. In essence, my struggle led to my esthetic.

 

One of the reasons I started texturing my pots with carving and slip trailing is that it drew the eye away from the imperfections of my inexpertly made pieces. Well as my skill at making pots grew so did my skill at decorating. Now I choose to decorate the pots because I like it, I don't do it to hide mistakes. Mostly. ;) 

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Marcia Selsor    1,301

I am cleaning out my library/office and found a scrap book for my class where we actually got a warning for smoke. Front page in the Billings, Gazette with a laughing fireman.I mentioned this in an earlier post but I found the picture.

post-1954-0-27285200-1474923845_thumb.jpeg

post-1954-0-27285200-1474923845_thumb.jpeg

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Rae Reich    67

I'll relate my first "epic fail" because, while not huge, it ruined other's pieces. End of first semester, helping to load a glaze firing of everyone's work into the big car kiln prior to Christmas. I was eager to place all the pots and saw an opportunity in the spaces above the loaded pots for plates and shallow bowls. So, I put kiln posts between the pots and perched the plates on them.

 

That was how I, and the plate owners, and those whose pots were beneath the plates, learned how soft the clay becomes at ^10.

 

I'm still amazed that the lab tech I was "assisting" didn't correct me before that car rolled into the kiln!

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Mark C.    1,798

(I'm still amazed that the lab tech I was "assisting" didn't correct me before that car rolled into the kiln! )

 

Just shows that Lab Techs may not know as much as one may guess.

  •  
  •  

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Mark C.    1,798

I am cleaning out my library/office and found a scrap book for my class where we actually got a warning for smoke. Front page in the Billings, Gazette with a laughing fireman.I mentioned this in an earlier post but I found the picture.

Is that newspaper from 1983 or is it 1953? its hard to make out the date?

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Mark C.    1,798

I had an electric overfire in a bisque load earlier this spring -it got really hot-I unpacked it all into a trash can and took it to the road base grinder down the hill right after unloading it all as it was packed FULL.. I do not consider it an epic failure just something that will happen now and then if you work hard in clay like us production potters do. I ordered and installed a new cone sitter . Problem fixed.I just threw another load and moved ahead. Its ceramics and it will always at some point get you. It just part of the deal.

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Marcia Selsor    1,301

 

I am cleaning out my library/office and found a scrap book for my class where we actually got a warning for smoke. Front page in the Billings, Gazette with a laughing fireman.I mentioned this in an earlier post but I found the picture.

Is that newspaper from 1983 or is it 1953? its hard to make out the date? '83....I'd be older than Beatrice Wood if it was '53!

 

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Kaolinwasher    44

I made a small wood fire kiln 9" x13.5" x 10" deep put my pot in it and started firing  i tried to go slow but the fire box was 2x bigger than the interior of the kiln,  as i fired i heard what sounded like pop corn, but i just wrote it off as the wood poping , crackling, after about 4 hours of an enormous amount of wood , being burned . And keep in mind i had a 8 ft chimney that was 8" wide so it was really pulling . I opened it up and the pot was gone. it had disappeared. i had put it in green and it blew into tiny speks and was like sawdust  that ended my wood firing . 

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Mark C.    1,798

I made a small wood fire kiln 9" x13.5" x 10" deep put my pot in it and started firing  i tried to go slow but the fire box was 2x bigger than the interior of the kiln,  as i fired i heard what sounded like pop corn, but i just wrote it off as the wood poping , crackling, after about 4 hours of an enormous amount of wood , being burned . And keep in mind i had a 8 ft chimney that was 8" wide so it was really pulling . I opened it up and the pot was gone. it had disappeared. i had put it in green and it blew into tiny speks and was like sawdust  that ended my wood firing . 

Welcome to the school of hard knocks-I'm a graduate myself

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Marcia Selsor    1,301

I heard a story by Kurt Weiser about the Mothers day sale at the Bray. Someone unwittingly bought an unfired pot from of the the studios and put it in the dishwasher.It disappeared too.

Marcia

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Babs    386

Not tying the dog up.

I load my pots into the back of my truck/ute whatever to travel to my kiln a couple of hundred metres away.

I need always to tie up the sheep dog who is in love with the back of trucks/utes whatever. No. of occasions, note plural when I just jump in to drive and the dog jumps in  on top of the trays of pots, are not to be confessed here.

Various dogs have done amazing midair manoeuvres to try to avoid landing but the results are well about the same... leave to the readers imagination.

Have driven off to town with box of pots on top of car roof, used to trucks y'see.

leaving my trimmed and slipped pots on top of water tank to dry and forgetting them , overnight rain.....

And so on.

Batch of teapots with no holes fromt he chamber tot he spout....

Gotta have that morning coffee now, agitated as I know that the dog is off and I left a truck tray load in my carport.

Checking out now.

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