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shawnhar

Judge my pots - 3rd batch

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How would you rate these pots. Don't hold back, you really can't hurt my feelings. (I know the one has a crack in the bottom) 

Form, thickness, trimming, glaze application, etc... What would you have done differently? How could they have been better? What can you see wrong or might be wrong?

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yappystudent likes this

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Since they are planters the shapes need to be more easy to remove plant and repot-meaning do not neck the form in much, an always think about removing the plant.Your middle one looks best for that chore.

As to the glaze its about as bland as oatmeal. The feet are good but a notch in the foot will allow the water to drain out from foot.

I made more planters than I could ever recall in the 70's. 

I added a drip tray that drained in 3 holes to outer tray and you could put them on a wood floor with no worries.

The bottom of the planter market fell when imports flooded the market in the 80's

Marcia Selsor, D.M.Ernst and Pres like this

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agree with mark.  good luck trying to get more than a few dollars for each planter.  there are big ones in the dollar store.  try a different shape if you want to sell them.

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agree with above re shape for potting on or reporting.

the inside bottoms are bowl shaped. This isn't reflected by your flat bottomed shaping of outer bottom. This is an aesthetic I love but also means that the way you have trimmedends up with a bottom which varies in thickness

which can lead to cracking from uneven drying...

some fo lk don't glaze the entire inside of planters.

Thick walled planters protect plants from extremes of temp.variation, just saying.

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Great feedback everyone!

I  would never have thought about the shape since I don't do potted plants, and the notch in the foot, good points about the sharp edge and the wall thickness. I know they are pretty bland but my wife said "don't overdo it" and that shino glaze is super boring by it's self.  I am still struggling with thick bottoms on everything I throw, i think that's my worst issue right now and they are still thick even after trimming. Gonna make that #1 on the goal list.

So what shape could they have been that would have been better? I was actually happy my wife said the middle one looks exactly like every other cheap planter anywhere, since my goal was to "make planters", lol and I was trying  to make what a planter looks like in my mind.  But what to do? Obviously different glazing but what else?

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You might want to take yourself on a field trip to some plant nurseries and garden stores and see what they have as well as walking around a neighborhood with nice homes that have plants in planters in the front yard. 

This would give you a sense of shapes and sizes that work for planting and also how to differentiate yourself positively from what is out there. As others have suggested, there isn't much point in reproducing what people can buy inexpensively in the way of imports at a home and garden warehouse store.

JohnnyK and Rae Reich like this

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I will say that making feet on pottery is something that you will need to learn.

practice your foot until you get your own style down. It needs to hold foot off the surface be sturdy look good catch glaze drips and be functional.

many a Potter makes a great pot but fails at goog foot making

i worked for one year mentering a potter on her feet until she found her style that worked 

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I would suggest working on the weight/thickness and get it right before you keep moving on. Muscle memory will make it harder later. You mentioned "even after trimming" so it sounds like you are trying to correct that with trimming tools. I needle every bottom these days because I find it so critical and cutting in half will clue you in on both wall thickness as well as evenness of your pulls.

Next time you trim to shape I would suggest putting a clock to it and see just how much time you are putting into that process. It also always seems to me that extensive trimming when I do it also changes a pot and not necessarily to the better. Just a thought.

 

Edited by Stephen
Rae Reich likes this

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Etsy has a lot of cool ideas for houseplant pot inpsiration, you might try Pinterest also. You might try making some orchid or bonsai pots, there are avid collectors of those and they generally have the money to spend. A search for 'hanging succulent pot' brings up some out of the box designs. There is a trend for wee little hanging ceramic pods to hold air plants and small succulents suspended in a window. 

Min, D.M.Ernst and BlackDogPottery like this

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11 hours ago, Mark C. said:

I will say that making feet on pottery is something that you will need to learn.

practice your foot until you get your own style down. It needs to hold foot off the surface be sturdy look good catch glaze drips and be functional.

many a Potter makes a great pot but fails at goog foot making

i worked for one year mentering a potter on her feet until she found her style that worked 

I know a great podiatrist

Roberta12 likes this

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On 4/11/2018 at 7:12 PM, Mark C. said:

Since they are planters the shapes need to be more easy to remove plant and repot-meaning do not neck the form in much, an always think about removing the plant.Your middle one looks best for that chore.

As to the glaze its about as bland as oatmeal. The feet are good but a notch in the foot will allow the water to drain out from foot.

I made more planters than I could ever recall in the 70's. 

I added a drip tray that drained in 3 holes to outer tray and you could put them on a wood floor with no worries.

The bottom of the planter market fell when imports flooded the market in the 80's

I bet the market for ashtrays has fallen out as well. There's somewhat of a growing pocket (like all things) for planters. I'm sure not as big as in the 70's but people have really warmed up to purchasing handmade and fitting planters that match modern or industrial interiors. I guess it's all about knowing your audience and making it for them.

Edited by BlackDogPottery
LeeU likes this

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Since everyone has crit' the planters, I will talk a bit of the vase form. From a personal aesthetic, I feel your shoulder line is too low, creating an awkward form. I would bring the shoulder line up a bit thus shortening up the neck. Then give the neck a bit more curve flaring to the lip. This will protect the lip from anything inserted into the vase, and give a little more support to the flowers or other objects placed inside. You have a second line on the neck just below the lip, this could be used as a double shoulder line giving the neck/shoulder greater emphasis if they were within a 1/4" apart. All subjective, but I think the form needs more robust treatment.

 

best,

Pres

Rae Reich likes this

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Great replies everyone!

I've made a list of things to work on, like check out other planters for ideas, learn how to make good feet, work on thick bottoms/trimming (this one is probably the toughest at the moment) I had 2 other planters bisqued and plan to try some more interesting glazing with 2 colors and brushed wax.  Tomorrow is my full (well, only 8 hours) day and the plan is 2 large planters and 20 mugs to focus on the overall thickness and foot, then use those for glaze practice, and handles (i haven't done a handle in 30 years, lol).  I tried 6 on Thurs night and was only able to keep 2, and they were not very good. My throwing class starts on the 30th an I'm really looking forward to some structure.

Pres, I like your input on the vase, when I looked at the final I thought the same, actual neck and flare are muted and the strongest line too low, it's heavy on the bottom as well. 

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May I suggest say with handles that you just practice making them for some time before keeping any. Pull some than see how to improve on them pull some more. Put them all back in bag after wedging. No need to put them on mugs until they are better looking and this will take some practice. I have found that many do not have this disciplined approach but those that do get a better jump on pottery sooner .Just the way they are attached is a skill set that needs to be practiced.

Its the same way with feet on pots or throwing forms whatever-try to master a process not all the processes at once. Soon you pull them (skills) all together and a nice mug is made instead of 60 ugly ones that you save d along the way.

In school I learned this approach -but in art centers around the country etc its never taught that way.Pottery is not precious its just wet clay until you fire it.

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Yeahbut... every dud piece is a potential test tile too. Better to experiment on anything that will stand up (as long as you can afford the kiln space). Then when nicer pieces are ready, you'll have a little repertoire of successful glaze techniques to use on them. 

Of Course you'll throw away anything that might embarrass you :)

D.M.Ernst likes this

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I'm 45 minutes out from teaching my weekly mixed level wheel class so this was a perfect thread to find as I get into teacher mode. Lots of great feedback here already, but to add my two cents, the most impactful advice I give students is the simplest: focus on developing muscle memory of strong fundamentals.  Improving your wall evenness without having to rely on corrective trimming and developing more precision/intention/style in the trimming of your feet will progress your work much faster than learning how to new forms in a mediocre way.  There is a shift that I am always so happy to see in my students' work when the pots make the jump from looking like the clay was in control,  to communicating human command over the material. You're getting there, shawnhar! Focus on the basics, develop a true command over the material while making cylinders and bowls, then the fundamentals will carry over into other forms like planters, plates, vases, jars, etc. Repetitive throwing of basic cylinders and bowls, only to wire them in half to inspect then re-wedge them isn't the most glamorous or exciting exercise, but it sure is effective. 

shawnhar, yappystudent and C.Banks like this

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On 4/15/2018 at 3:06 PM, Rae Reich said:

Yeahbut... every dud piece is a potential test tile too. Better to experiment on anything that will stand up (as long as you can afford the kiln space). Then when nicer pieces are ready, you'll have a little repertoire of successful glaze techniques to use on them. 

Of Course you'll throw away anything that might embarrass you :)

Yes, but every dud piece is made from and requires additional natural resources to complete. I am all for keeping some sacrificial lambs (particularly with beginning students I find it's important to keep a really high percentage of pieces both for learning all steps of the process and to keep students engaged), but keeping everything, especially when you are throwing with a level of proficiency shown in shawnhar's pictures seems a bit irresponsible to me... especially if there's an expectation of just throwing out pieces you aren't satisfied with.  

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47 minutes ago, Chris Throws Pots said:

particularly with beginning students I find it's important to keep a really high percentage of pieces both for learning all steps of the process 

I agree with this, didn't say keep everything. Really. Many suggestions for recycling pots in other threads. 

My mother kept one of my first year mugs on her counter for the rest of her life. 25 years I had to rethink that decision. :) please smile

Chris Throws Pots likes this

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My situation is a bit different since I have the sales outlet built in at my wife's shop. She's already sold 2 of those planters, one of them was the cracked bottom. Her argument is, even if I only get 5 bucks out of it, better than throwing away 5 bucks.  I've sold 6 out of the 12 kept pots so far, for a grand total of $45

 

Getting closer to keepers, to me these seem a bit more indicative of early work vs. rank beginner. My walls are getting much better at the bottom and starting to get a feel for glazing. Tried some experimenting with the glazing on these 2, I was worried about the outcome but they turned out way better than I thought

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Rae Reich likes this

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