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Kathy P

Dispose, smash, trash - what do you do with the "fired but unfit" pieces?

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I saw a video of a potter smashing a mug that was defective.  This made me wonder what other potters do with a fired piece that failed.  Other than smash 'em up cool videos, are there any good practices or ideas?  

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I have an old outhouse on my property. I am gradually filling it with rejects. I figure some thousand years from now some archeologist will dig it up and wonder what wacko civilization it is he discovered! 

 

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Mother-in-law.

EDIT: who is under strict instructions that when she is done with them they are to come back to me or be smashed and binned.  Although a great mountain of raw material could be produced, no mosaic projects have been planned....

Edited by curt
Additional clarification

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Some I break, some are still sitting around for me to rediscover, and once again mock me with failure...

Usually, if I am not happy with something it doesn't make it to firing.  Those that do, the defect is usually with the glaze, and I keep them, because I like the form.  Others, I have in my classroom to discuss the issues.  For example, I have a small vase with a really nice glaze combination, that cracked because that combination cause some severe dunting.  It illustrates nicely how a clay body and the applied glaze interact with each other.

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A couple ideas that came to mind, tumbling media for rock polishing or bullet casing polishing (for those that reload), or using the glazed shards for cabs set in silver for jewelry, or even bisque fired bowl shapes with ill-fitted lid for metal clay firing (to hold carbon).  Or maybe convert a bisque piece into a bead rack.  Or knife sharpener, or stone scratch tester for identification of rocks.

Edited by Kathy P

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4 hours ago, Pres said:

Maybe getting to the point that you save more than you toss says something.  If you don't toss,  what does that really say about being a potter?

I think some of this needs to be qualified by your level of output. 

The number of pots I screw up irredeemably compared to the number of pots I make is pretty low. But because I'm reasonably prolific (less than Mark, more than someone taking their first class), it still means I chuck more things than my in-laws thing are strictly necessary. But my house and studio are only so big

But me chucking five pots in a month means something different than Mark chucking five pots in a month, or a beginner who only made 5 pots this month chucking 5 pots.

So maybe it just says something about where you are at in your learning level, and how prolific you are. 

 

 

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I and at least two other that I know put stuff, unsmashed, out at the base of a tree in a yard,  or some other spot where they become part of the landscape.  sometimes pieces are removed, sometimes they become occupied, and in a couple of cases additional pieces appear from aliens or gnomes or wherever.  We don't produce enough to  bury the tree yet.

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Gotta tell 'em goodbye. Have enough ghosts in my life without being haunted by dead clay thingees.

But wait...if the piece is merely disabled, should I perhaps look upon it as one would a person with certain conditions that are not the most desirable to have?  Should I be asking Self, "Is it just "differently-abled"? Does it not have a right to live? Might it not thrive in the right environment, in the right home (maybe with the in-laws)?  I look over my table that is full of fired-up "almost-there"s, and ask myself "Who am I to say?" I begin to pull pieces back from the trash, I put Mr. Hammer away, I mutter justifications and rationalizations, I draft text in my head for descriptive esoteric art-speak, I begin a list of the lucky pending recipients of my precious discards.

I call that The Quicksand Effect.  Sinking---inevitably and pretty fast; struggling hard to get out in time...the more I struggle, the deeper I sink.  Best to be avoided in the first place.

Best to act like a mafia hit man from Bklyn. and just dispatch the offending problem pieces swiftly and without hesitation.  No ghosts, no lingering spirits, no regrets--apply only the ruthless truth. If it don't cut the mustard, it don't cut the mustard. Well, except for that one with the ferocious looking crack and the truly delightful, awesome, gorgeous glaze. Maybe I could use it for...

Edited by LeeU

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Build a booth at the local kids carnival fundraiser with a steel backer.  10 bucks gets you three pots to smash.  

You'll sell out, I promise.  Little kids' moms have a lot of frustration bottled up.  

:D

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