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oldlady

what is the best studio advice you have received?

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oldlady    1,323

My husband told me in regards to the first thing I ever made, "Do you want to take a hammer to that, or do you want me to?"

 

It makes me smile just thinking about it. I have to admit smashing that teapot was very satisfying.

 

 

 

 

well, it appears i should have taken a hammer to the first part of my original post. it was another gloomy day, a kiln element broke so the 20 empty bowls i have re-made several times this year are trashed, (they are due next week), the dog got sick on the carpet and i took it out on the newbies. sorry, i am not always a grouch

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I was told to hang some essential tools from the ceiling to force myself to frequently stand up and stretch. My studio is quite small - 10 x 16, so I must keep it organized and clean. I don't have tools hanging from the ceiling, but I did install a shelf running around the studio above the windows. That's about as high as I can reach.

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yedrow    8

My best advice I got from my husband who works in the engineering publication field was to make a least three pieces of a new design before making any decisions on it. I tweak and alter the series and play with the glazes on them until I decide if it's a direction I want to go. The final results produce more professional looking pieces where design and finish work together as one. Denice

 

 

That is so weird. I've pretty much come to do that, but I wasn't really aware of it and have never seen it put in words. That's very good advice.

 

Joel.

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JBaymore    1,432

My best advice I got from my husband who works in the engineering publication field was to make a least three pieces of a new design before making any decisions on it. I tweak and alter the series and play with the glazes on them until I decide if it's a direction I want to go. The final results produce more professional looking pieces where design and finish work together as one. Denice

 

 

That is so weird. I've pretty much come to do that, but I wasn't really aware of it and have never seen it put in words. That's very good advice.

 

Joel.

 

 

 

 

Basically this concept is called "working in series" and is a standard approach we teach in the college ceramics classes from ceramics 1 onward.

 

best,

 

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

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Cass    5

1004121527b.jpg

 

this gentleman told me......"make pots"

 

i keep his picture right in front of my wheel, and think...'damn, i have it easy'

 

 

Who is this and where is it?

 

 

didn't get his name...it was on the outskirts of dehli, india

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SShirley    9

I've been thinking a lot about that first post where you mentioned being annoyed by newbies asking questions, and it took me a while to formulate my thoughts on this, so I'm a little late to the party, but here goes anyway:

 

In forums like this there is always an ebb and flow of different individuals active for months or years or whatever and different people have different ideas and information to offer. Plus, if you just check the archives you are probably getting old information. Just because some things never seem to change doesn't mean that nothing ever will. For example during that period of time when Gerstley Borate was not available people were saying it was extinct forever and we all have to find other glazes and learn to live with it. If you checked the archives and found information from that period of time you might believe that it was still the case. And bad information lives forever in the internet, as if it were gospel, and it's often undated and without sources. So I think having a current conversation about what some believe is a solid fact is still beneficial. Plus people learn in different ways, and to some it might be easier to understand in a one-on-one conversation - in the here and now - with somebody who knows things than to sort through pages and pages of "stream-of-consiousness" information, and "me too's". And some people are not quite as tech savvy as necessary to find what they need, or don't know where to look.

 

None of us learned what we know today without asking questions, so it is only fair to return that favor and answer questions for the new batch who are really trying to learn. Somebody helped us.

 

Yes, the earth is flat, and you would know that if you bothered to check the archives.

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mgilespots    0

My teacher - 30 years ago - gave me an assignment: "Make 50 teabowls." When I completed the assignment, he said: "Make 50 more."

 

I was speaking with him last Saturday and reminded him of this long-ago incident. He smiled and said: "You must make the form again and again and again to get to the essence of it. In the process you will also get to the essence of yourself. Then you don't have to think about how you are making the form. You just make it."

 

Best advice I ever got from anyone about anything.

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Galilica    0

Hi~

 

I mostly lurk but thought I'd pop in on this thread. A very wise potter and friend told me to never fall in love with anything I create ;)

 

 

Just opened my own business and got the same advice from my accountant...

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Cass    5

i think its ok to love em, but you gotta love em enough to leave em, lol

 

when we get a pot we really love, really exceptional, we might keep for a while, enjoy it, then maybe 6 months later 'set it fre'e....this has happened 3 times in 15 years....

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Brian Reed    23

This was not in a class, but a video I recently watched of an interview with Warren MacKenzie. He was talking about working at The Leach Pottery and an exchange with Hamada where Hamada was demonstrating making a few pots. I cannot remember the type of pot, I think it was a bowl. He created his bowls and remarked that all the bowls were slightly different and Hamada remarked that the first one was the best. That is one where he did not give himself any strict guidelines, he let the form be the form and was creating. The others were an attempt to recapture that first one.

 

Which would leave you to believe that the first one is always better and that being creative and allowing the form to flow is best, but that was only half the story.

 

Hamada then went on to say that he could recreate that first form if the threw 150 pots. Then he would have the ability to recreate that bowl as intended.

 

That makes me think about what many people are saying here, just in a real and different way. It is not that you must throw 50 tea bowls, or 100 cups to get it right. It is be creative, let your work be your work, let your forms flow, but remember to become a real master at that form it takes time and repetition.

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JBaymore    1,432

Yes, the earth is flat, and you would know that if you bothered to check the archives.

 

 

I knew it, I knew it, I knew it! ;)

 

best,

 

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

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Isculpt    96

This isn't about pottery per se, but it has resonance for anyone who loves clay (or any other pursuit, for that matter). It struck me as the truest thing I've ever read about happiness, and it helps to adjust my atitude when I'm feeling sorry for myself because I won't be retiring with a big fat pension -- (that's assuming I ever DO retire!) !

 

"We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about."

Charles Kinglsey 1819-1875, English novelist & historian

 

Jayne

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Nelly    16

sometimes when i read the questions from new members i wonder if they have ever read any pottery books, talked to experienced potters, taken classes or in any way prepared themselves for the roller coaster they got on when they first touched clay. some of you are kind enough and patient enough to answer even the most elementary questions. i think i have lost my patience with the impersonal internet questions that cover the same ground over and over. if that questioner were right there in front of me, i would be much more involved and able to answer the most basic question politely and in detail but the written question makes me want to ask the writer if they know that what they are asking is already answered somewhere in the archives. look there first.

 

maybe i am just getting old and grumpy. or maybe i am just stalling about getting out to the studio and mixing up the glazes i need for an upcoming show.

 

 

Funny this should come up this morning as I have been thinking about the forum as I did other chores ... reflecting on how well this forum has worked out. We do have a place where newbie questions are answered with respectfully presented information. None of the "Why don't you check the archives first" stuff that is often seen on other forums.

 

When I was on the Board of the Potters Council, we saw the need for a "newbie friendly" forum and thanks to ACerS and the Potters Council this is what became of the idea. Biggest thanks to ALL of the people who ask and answer questions. We are slowly but surely building up a base of experienced potters who are not necessarily 'Names' but have years and years of solid, on the ground experience to share. Slowly but surely lurkers are coming out with their first posting to ask or answer a question. Subjects that would have flamed other forums to a standstill have been dealt with easily and openly without harsh words.

 

I hope I never get tired of answering questions ... the only reason I am where I am in pottery is because other people took the time to answer mine. The only dumb question is the one you don't ask because you are afraid to, or don't want to look clueless or whatever.

 

So here is where I welcome lurkers to post, newbies to ask and all to answer. The WELCOME mat is always out.

 

Oh yes, on topic ... the best advice I ever got on any subject was to ask the question.

 

 

 

My appreciation for this forum is that no matter what time of day or night, someone is always there for me with answer to my many seemingly silly questions.

 

When I worked in a communal studio, it was almost understood when you joined that you would be on-call in the event a serious issue arose in the studio. We just went down the telephone list to get our question answered no matter how simple as it was necessary to keep the studio running and prevent any damage or upset in the studio.

 

Here, believe it or not, I get the same treatment.

 

And I tell people. I say, without this forum, I would likely have not got through my first year working on my own.

 

Reading a book is one thing but having someone explain it to you directly and using simple language has been really, really helpful.

 

The best advice I ever got and I take with me to this day, is to try new things. Constantly experiment. When you lose the magic of opening the kiln after it has been fired and seeing your work something has been lost.

 

Right now, my kiln is on and it is full of little glaze experiments within safe and knowledgeable boundaries of what can work. But there are little surprises none the less, waiting for me. The mixtures of oxides and different compounds I put together on the weekend await me. Tomorrow.

 

Tomorrow night, I will open up the kiln and my experiments will speak to me. It is that element of surprise and experimenting that has been useful for me as a part-time artist. Without that, I am not sure I would be a potter.

 

The buzz of surprise keeps me going. I hope no-one puts down a "silly" question as we have all been there at one point in time. Despite taking many, many classes and reading lots of books, spending hours in the studio, it is important to remember that working with clay, construction, firing and doing the glaze work is complex. We all started somewhere.

 

Nelly

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Best advice:

ALWAYS test a sample of your latest clay delivery before diving in and making a ton of pots with it.

 

The same should be said for each new batch of glaze you make.

 

This small precaution can save you a lot of work and money over time.

 

Don Kopyscinski

Bear Hills Pottery

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Nelly    16

Best advice:

ALWAYS test a sample of your latest clay delivery before diving in and making a ton of pots with it.

 

The same should be said for each new batch of glaze you make.

 

This small precaution can save you a lot of work and money over time.

 

Don Kopyscinski

Bear Hills Pottery

 

 

Dear Don,

 

Well, after reviewing my previous post...you could be right. I pulled out a bunch of stuff that was just gawd awful. New clay body that did not match my glazes well or my kiln was too hot. Something?? So yeah, okay, you could be right.

 

But I will still experiment. I just now know I have a pile of bowls waiting for my sledge hammer. They simply cannot be seen.

 

Nelly

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JBaymore    1,432

Best advice:

ALWAYS test a sample of your latest clay delivery before diving in and making a ton of pots with it.

 

The same should be said for each new batch of glaze you make.

 

 

Spoken by a wise man who obviously has "been around the block".

 

I almost bankrupted by pottery business once by not doing that with the clay.

 

best,

 

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

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koreyej    1

Does it count if the best advice I was given is summed up in "Finding Nemo"?

 

Just keep swimming!

 

My struggle to stay in the clay has been a difficult journey since I was 15 years old. Through meaningless jobs, no money or room to pursue my interest, no kiln space, no ceramics programs near my home. I have kept going, kept creating, kept moving forward. 21 years later, I now have a full blown pottery studio in my home. Wheel, kiln, and all. It didn't just fall out of the sky. It is the result of years of work, acquiring equipment, and continuous refining of my craft. The best advice I got is the best advice I have to give to others. Just keep swimming!

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koreyej    1

My husband told me in regards to the first thing I ever made, "Do you want to take a hammer to that, or do you want me to?"

 

It makes me smile just thinking about it. I have to admit smashing that teapot was very satisfying.

 

 

lol That's one of the best things I have taught my students: How to Properly Smash a Pot. These things are not precious, they are just clay. If it's fired, and it's bad, by all means smash it into little pieces! It sure helps get over the disappointment of a bad pot, or a glaze that failed miserably.

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Tara M B    0

A teacher picked up one of my finished pots, felt the bottom and informed me that I was "too good of a potter to leave the bottom like that". I wasn't a good potter... But I realized that it didn't take skill to smooth out the bottom. It always stuck with me as something I could control.

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Nelly    16

Hmm, I forgot one, "Shut up and load the kiln. I'll put you on the wheel when I'm ready."

 

 

Dear All

 

From a world reknown majolica artist/historian/academic--"the world does not need anymore ashtrays or bad pots--either do it right or don't do it at all."

 

Nelly

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Chantay    101

[quoteFrom a world reknown majolica artist/historian/academic--"the world does not need anymore ashtrays or bad pots--either do it right or don't do it at all."

]

 

 

 

I'm cracking up over this one. Last week someone wanted to custom order an ash try (cigar size, please).:blink:

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kathi    2

My husband told me in regards to the first thing I ever made, "Do you want to take a hammer to that, or do you want me to?"

 

It makes me smile just thinking about it. I have to admit smashing that teapot was very satisfying.

 

 

lol That's one of the best things I have taught my students: How to Properly Smash a Pot. These things are not precious, they are just clay. If it's fired, and it's bad, by all means smash it into little pieces! It sure helps get over the disappointment of a bad pot, or a glaze that failed miserably.

 

 

 

I have a wonderful 2 lb sledge hammer!

My first pottery teacher told me, "Don't get emotionally attached to your pottery."

I have a gravel floor in my kiln room; to that, I have added a great deal of smashed pottery. It actually looks kind of great.....

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Lucille Oka    16

I used to make every tool, 'doo-dad' and 'doo-hickey' I needed, and maybe wanted to use in the future. One day one of my professors simply said, “Lucille you don't have to make every tool.†It was an epiphany. I hadn’t realized that while I was working out this and that I could have just as easily bought the tool I needed. Now before I think of making a tool I 'need', I see if it is readily available. If it is, I'll buy it, if it is not I might make it but only if I really, really need it. I have no more excuses for not working.

 

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