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Guilt and the sponge


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#21 Nelly

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 01:45 AM



"Guilt and the Sponge"

Sounds like the title of a new TV sitcom.


That comes on right after "As The Wheel Turns".


I use a sponge when centering, opening up, and when making the first pull and usually the second pull. It is in my hand, not on the clay. After I have established a cylinder to my elbow I walk away from the cylinder for 30 min still allowing the wheel to move slowly. I return, and throw the rest of the pulls without water of any sort. I usually dampen any tools during shaping, so to cut the drag.

With students I explained that the less water, the more strength in the form. Use the sponge, but don't rely on it. In the beginning extra water helps with centering, and with opening up and pulling, but as you get more skilled cut back on the water to suit your style of working.


Dear Mark,

Thank you for your reply. I am making goblets right now. I will try your method. I like the idea of waiting 30 minutes with the wheel spinning. It will be interesting to see how this works. I do worry about my over reliance on the sponge. I can see I use it a bit too much. I do dampen my tools before they touch the surface of the clay. To ensure extra strength in the vessel in formation I also compress with an appropriate rib or similar tool. Know I will try your method tomorrow in making one piece goblets. They are tricky. They wobble. Your pulls and use of water have to be fairly precise and you have to compress the upper cup portion before you squeeze the stem. Squeezing the base again requires water to make the three point pull up. But this stem pull is only on my hands and not the sponge. So, like others, I am paying close attention to what I am doing with the sponge. I do agree, the less water you apply, the more strength in the form as you alter. Thank you for your response.

Nelly

#22 Chantay

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 12:20 PM

I use one of those cheap yellow sponges. I cut it up and use a quarter piece of it. I started because the clay I used had grog in it and was grinding my finger tips off. I've switched to a really soft clay but still use it to do the first two pulls.

-Chantay


- chantay

#23 Pres

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 11:29 PM

I use one of those cheap yellow sponges. I cut it up and use a quarter piece of it. I started because the clay I used had grog in it and was grinding my finger tips off. I've switched to a really soft clay but still use it to do the first two pulls.

-Chantay



I remember the painfully the summer I took Ceramics from Don Tigny. The 50/50 clay grog mix was H on my hands. for 10 weeks I had permanent open sores on my left hand on the hand/thumb knuckle, little finger and pointer. All where appendage connects to hand. I like to open narrow and expand, does not work with raku clay without beating you up.

Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#24 Natania

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 06:55 PM

I have sponge guilt too! But it isn't as bad as my Versa Bat guilt. Versa Bats are big white plastic bats with cutouts for Masonite tiles so that one can throw individual things like cups and tumblers, etc. and interchange the tiles instead of using a million big bats for small objects. It is an extremely handy tool, but so ugly, and such a thick hunk of opaque white plastic (talk about un-ecological), that my sensibilities are offended by it, but I use it anyway. Recently a potter friend visited us from England and I hid the versa bat (although the sponges were in plain sight). He is a person with strong opinions about sustainable living which i generally respect. It seems that pottery goes against the world of prefab plastic, but convenience won over aesthetic / handmade sensibilities in this instance and I bought the whole system which, it must be said, works like a dream.. Shall I continue to use it, and hide it when potters of moral integrity visit? Seems a flawed plan...

#25 Nelly

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 09:37 PM

I have sponge guilt too! But it isn't as bad as my Versa Bat guilt. Versa Bats are big white plastic bats with cutouts for Masonite tiles so that one can throw individual things like cups and tumblers, etc. and interchange the tiles instead of using a million big bats for small objects. It is an extremely handy tool, but so ugly, and such a thick hunk of opaque white plastic (talk about in-ecological), that my sensibilities are offended by it, but I use it anyway. Recently a potter friend visited us from England and I hid the versa bat (although the sponges were in plain sight). He is a person with strong opinions about sustainable living which i generally respect. It seems that pottery goes against the world of prefab plastic, but convenience won over aesthetic / handmade sensibilities in this instance and I bought the whole system which, it must be said, works like a dream.. Shall I continue to use it, and hide it when potters of moral integrity visit? Seems a flawed plan...


Dear Bianca,

What an interesting reply. I know, I too have an aversion to plastic given my affinity to clay. Having said this, I do use a giffin-grip, but have refused to use the interchangeable tile system yet. I am happy with my masonite bats and those made with hydrocal.

I do know the masonite can hold bacteria and warp but given that I do not throw enough to ever run out of bats, I have stayed true to my old system.

What I think is interesting is that we all have little areas where we use different things to help us in our process.

Great posting.

Nellie

#26 spring

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 12:03 AM

I just saw this post and I gotta say it made me smile. 25 responses about someone questioning the use of his sponge. I mean, can you imagine what the non-ceramicy person perusing this forum would think. Ahhh, Ceramics!

#27 Pres

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 01:47 PM

I just saw this post and I gotta say it made me smile. 25 responses about someone questioning the use of his sponge. I mean, can you imagine what the non-ceramicy person perusing this forum would think. Ahhh, Ceramics!


Ahhh potters and their guilty . . . pleasures!

Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#28 Benzine

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 02:43 PM

Pre-Centered clay does exist.........In a way:

http://www.dickblick...kcenter-system/
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#29 JBaymore

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 03:52 PM

Pre-Centered clay does exist.........In a way:

http://www.dickblick...kcenter-system/


Ah... America... land of instant gratification. :rolleyes:src="http://ceramicartsda.../rolleyes.gif">

best,

..............john
John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

#30 Nelly

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 05:38 PM


Pre-Centered clay does exist.........In a way:

http://www.dickblick...kcenter-system/


Ah... America... land of instant gratification. :rolleyes:src="http://ceramicartsda.../rolleyes.gif">

best,

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



Dear All,

I watched the dickblick video and the precentering system. Wow, is that ever strange. I wonder if it is for real?? I felt like I was watching a commercial for one of those vegetable chopping machines that you'd get at a flea market. Like John, I too am rolling my eyes.

Nelly

#31 Natania

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 06:29 PM

I also have seen this device advertised. It seems that learning to center is a right of passage for learning to throw. Seems somehow wrong to skip the first and most important step. Also the thing is probably more trouble than is centering really! Another example of someone making money by convincing people they need an invention that they don't. if we want plates made by a machine, we can buy them at Walmart.

#32 bciskepottery

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 07:59 PM

Warren McKenzie said it best (to a group of high school students visiting his studio): "Centering is over-rated."

#33 Nelly

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 11:32 PM

Warren McKenzie said it best (to a group of high school students visiting his studio): "Centering is over-rated."


Dear Bciskepottery,

I think if I saw this same clip he mentions that there is a point where a bowl or vessel looks good in the perfect form and then it loses its beauty due to it's overt perfectiion. While not a verbatim transcript, this was the sentiment. I try to remember this adage when throwing. We spend so much time trying to become perfect or exact in our technique that when it comes time to be playful and really allow for inner expression it can get lost for a while...at least that is the point I am at. On my bucket list for the year is something about allowing myself to make things and simply attach them without rhyme or reason. My guess is that through this process, I will return to a place of discovery. A place that sets me on a new path in my pottery development.

Nelly

#34 Benzine

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 11:42 PM


Pre-Centered clay does exist.........In a way:

http://www.dickblick...kcenter-system/


Ah... America... land of instant gratification. :rolleyes:src="http://ceramicartsda...lt/rolleyes.gif">

best,

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


Yeah, I almost consider it "Cheating". But it's not like the device is perfect. It appears you can only center a set amount of clay, which I guess would be fine, if you want all of your vessels to be roughly the same size.
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#35 Nelly

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:03 AM



Pre-Centered clay does exist.........In a way:

http://www.dickblick...kcenter-system/


Ah... America... land of instant gratification. :rolleyes:src="http://ceramicartsda...lt/rolleyes.gif">

best,

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


Yeah, I almost consider it "Cheating". But it's not like the device is perfect. It appears you can only center a set amount of clay, which I guess would be fine, if you want all of your vessels to be roughly the same size.


Funny, when I watched that clip on the centering device, all I could think of was a used car salesperson--the language was stilted and repetitive. Hypnotic. Somebody, somewhere will likely go and buy this device in the hurdles required to center. Not sure of the cost but I do see it as a bit of a waste of time. It is similar to that new arm thing that they are promoting now to center clay. Not sure if you have seen this advertisement. If you haven't I will look it up and send you this clip.

Nelly

#36 Nelly

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:06 AM




Pre-Centered clay does exist.........In a way:

http://www.dickblick...kcenter-system/


Ah... America... land of instant gratification. :rolleyes:src="http://ceramicartsda...lt/rolleyes.gif">

best,

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


Yeah, I almost consider it "Cheating". But it's not like the device is perfect. It appears you can only center a set amount of clay, which I guess would be fine, if you want all of your vessels to be roughly the same size.


Funny, when I watched that clip on the centering device, all I could think of was a used car salesperson--the language was stilted and repetitive. Hypnotic. Somebody, somewhere will likely go and buy this device in the hurdles required to center. Not sure of the cost but I do see it as a bit of a waste of time. It is similar to that new arm thing that they are promoting now to center clay. Not sure if you have seen this advertisement. If you haven't I will look it up and send you this clip.

Nelly


Here it is "the strong arm."



Nelly

#37 Mark C.

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 02:46 AM

With the arm you get not one But two bamboo steamers and a full set of Ginzo knifes and if you hurry and order right now we will throw in for free a sponge.
Extra separate shipping charges will apply to free sponge
Tonight only only 39.95 plus shipping and handling in three easy payments
make checks payable to Ginzo sponge team and easy centering
As seen on TV-the real deal no more meshy centering this could be you with a centered ball of clay-its that easy.
Mark Cortright
www.liscomhillpottery.com

#38 Nelly

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 09:24 AM

With the arm you get not one But two bamboo steamers and a full set of Ginzo knifes and if you hurry and order right now we will throw in for free a sponge.
Extra separate shipping charges will apply to free sponge
Tonight only only 39.95 plus shipping and handling in three easy payments
make checks payable to Ginzo sponge team and easy centering
As seen on TV-the real deal no more meshy centering this could be you with a centered ball of clay-its that easy.


Dear Mark,

Oh you did make me smile with this response. Very creative!! ;)

Nelly

#39 OffCenter

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:47 AM

Warren McKenzie said it best (to a group of high school students visiting his studio): "Centering is over-rated."


I think so, too!

Offcenter
E pur si muove.

"But it does move," said Galileo under his breath.

#40 JBaymore

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:48 AM



Pre-Centered clay does exist.........In a way:

http://www.dickblick...kcenter-system/


Ah... America... land of instant gratification. :rolleyes:src="http://ceramicartsda...lt/rolleyes.gif">

best,

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


Yeah, I almost consider it "Cheating". But it's not like the device is perfect. It appears you can only center a set amount of clay, which I guess would be fine, if you want all of your vessels to be roughly the same size.



Actually I don't consider it "cheating". It is derailing necessary learning.

Learning to center is not ONLY about centering the clay. The development of sensory awareness, the understanding of the motion of the plastic clay when acted upon by the forces like the driven wheel head and the friction of the fingers, and other such stuff is critically important to all throwing activities and developing to be a good thrower.

This device puts the goal posts in the wrong place for the beginning ceramist. It makes the object the goal, not the learning. TOTALLY wrong emphasis.

Tools like the Giffin Grip, the Strong Arm, and maybe even the centering device (I'm skeptical on that one ;)src="http://ceramicartsda...ault/wink.gif"> ) are best used and evaluated AFTER you have acquired the skills to not NEED them. Then you can appropriately evaluate them as to their suitability for your work. Using them too soon, shorcuts important skill development.

Once you can quickly center clay to obsessively tight concentric levels.... then is the time to work on not centering the clay so rigidly......letting the clay have a voice as a raw material.


best,

..............john
John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com




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