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Advice and Help Needed


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#1 Brittany

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 11:17 PM

I started pottery/ ceramics on January of this year. I have been completely attatched to it ever since, but sadly, I have no one to help me with any of this. I've been having to teach myself and could really use some help and suggestions from people with experience. Like, what are the best kinds of potters wheels to last long and work well on a bugdet, any suggestions on forming handbuilt pieces, good tools and supplies to have around, where to get supplies, good places to find information on ceramics/pottery, and anything else that could be of value for me too know.

-Thanks



#2 JBaymore

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 11:23 PM

You're in the right place to find resources, Brittany. Welcome.

To start with... start reading the older threads by scanning the topic headers......... much of what you just mentioned is already sitting here simply waiting for you to look at it. Then you can refine some questions that are very specific to your needs.

best,

...............john
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Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

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#3 Pugaboo

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 12:14 AM

Brittany,
I too just started ceramics this year, February for me but I was lucky enough to find a class at an art center. Isnt clay just the best? I am sooooo in love with it i spend every second I can either working with it, watching it being done or reading about it. You might check around your town and see if there are any art centers or such that offer classes, even 1 class will give you tons of info very quickly. This forum and the rest of ceramic arts daily site is a fantastic treasure trove of information too. I highly recommend the video section to see stuff actually be made, it's one thing to read it but another to see someone doing it. Watching other people working will also help you kind of figure out what style you are most attracted to. I LOVE Erin Furimskys work and even bought her DVD, you can search on her name on the site and see some of her videos.

Don't overlook your local library it's got tons of info sitting there for free, when I first started I requested a bunch of books on hold and never thought all 19 of them would show up the same day! Got the librarians attention and we've become friends and she keeps an eye out for new pottery books for me and even gave me a bunch that were too worn to keep in circulation. She has told me when I am ready she would like to put up a display of my pieces at the library which I think is very kind of her. If you prefer videos to books YouTube is great as well though sometimes watching the potters work can be intimidating since they make it look sooooo easy!

I don't know where you are located but for me the 3 websites I have found with reasonable prices and shpg rates to me are Clay King, Big Ceramic Store and Axners. Clay king is cheapest most of the time but Axners has the base items that you might need as you learn more. I am located in Georgia other people on here in different areas of the country can help too I am sure.

First thing you need to decide what type you want to start with low fire, mid fire or high fire. I do mid fire cone 6 stoneware. I am using Little Loafers and plan to stick with it until I get a really good feel for it and can make it do the things I want only then will I switch to another clay since each one works different. If you haven't yet get yourself one of the beginning potters tool sets it will give you the basics. You'll quickly realize which tools work for you and then you can branch out to other tools that you buy individually. I have found cutting up old credit cards make excellent tools for cleaning out inside of objects.

In my class we started with hand building which takes little or no tools to do. My first item was a pinch pot lantern. You can make all kinds of things using a simple pinch pot as the start, seeing what can be done in books on hand building is a great way to learn this technique. Slab construction is also pretty easy, though it did take me 4 tries to roll out my first small slab at home by myself, the teacher made it look so easy with the slab roller in class! Get some wood strips from Home Depot and a large wooden dowel and its much easier MUCH lol. The hardest part was keeping air bubbles out and learning how to handle the clay so as not to create more, once again books and videos are a big help. I am currently working on a large coil vase with a separate base to hold it, it's my first coil piece and will be my final piece in class so am stressing a bit. The great thing about clay is up until you put it in the kiln you can mash it up and start over! I have decided not to do wheel throwing yet as I want to get a good handle on the basic hand building and the not so basic as well. I will most likely take a wheel throwing class next year.

Once you get something you want to fire make sure you select a glaze that matches your clay. Make sure it fires at the same temperature. Some glaze companies like Coyote give really good notes on which clays their glazes have issues with. I am using primarily Amaco and Coyote brands. I also like underglazes which is kind of like painting rather than glazing but you can get very detailed designs using underglazes and then glaze with a simple clear glaze.

Most of all remember to have fun and don't be too critical of your attempts, I by the way am terrible at taking my own advice, and always strive to make things perfect. My teacher says hand built pottery should be allowed to have a character of its own. It's not been cranked out for sale at Walmart it has something to say about being in the world so let it. I am striving to let the clay have its say and still create stuff I like and think worthy of the kiln.

Good luck!

Terry
The world is but a canvas to the imagination - Henry David Thoreau

#4 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 10:04 AM

When will they start posting the WARNING SIGNS??? "Danger, Danger,Pottery is addicting!!!"

Dear Brittany,
Welcome to the forum. Pugaboo gives good beginning advice. To help you further, can you tell us where you are located. Then we can recommend some local suppliers. I would recommend subscribing to Pottery Making Illustrated. Once a year they publish a buyers guide that lists places across the US that sell products, offer classes, etc. You may want to explore this site and connecting links to ceramic arts daily videos, articles, etc. The American Ceramics Society hosts this site and publishes, among other trade journal, Ceramics Monthly and Pottery Making Illustrated. Potters Council is also under this umbrella and can offer you many members benefits and discounts on subscriptions. This forum is organized with subjects to help you search topics..
I think this is a good group and usually respectful, helpful and polite. So glad to have you here.

Marcia

#5 Pres

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 03:36 PM

When will they start posting the WARNING SIGNS??? "Danger, Danger,Pottery is addicting!!!"

Dear Brittany,
Welcome to the forum. Pugaboo gives good beginning advice. To help you further, can you tell us where you are located. Then we can recommend some local suppliers. I would recommend subscribing to Pottery Making Illustrated. Once a year they publish a buyers guide that lists places across the US that sell products, offer classes, etc. You may want to explore this site and connecting links to ceramic arts daily videos, articles, etc. The American Ceramics Society hosts this site and publishes, among other trade journal, Ceramics Monthly and Pottery Making Illustrated. Potters Council is also under this umbrella and can offer you many members benefits and discounts on subscriptions. This forum is organized with subjects to help you search topics..
I think this is a good group and usually respectful, helpful and polite. So glad to have you here.

Marcia


I'll just say welcome to a great group. All of the advice given is "spot on" hope you enjoy your time here and in the studio, and yes pottery is. . . addicting. Once bitten you never recover!

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


#6 Nancy S.

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 07:56 PM


When will they start posting the WARNING SIGNS??? "Danger, Danger,Pottery is addicting!!!"

Marcia


I'll just say welcome to a great group. All of the advice given is "spot on" hope you enjoy your time here and in the studio, and yes pottery is. . . addicting. Once bitten you never recover!


Ohh, yes. I *always* looked forward to the "pottery" segment of my grade school art classes, got started in earnest in 1994-95, but couldn't do it from 96-2004 (no room, no money, nowhere else to go). All those years and I couldn't shake it... Posted Image

#7 Brittany

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 08:35 PM

Thanks! And it's so true! The only reason I even started pottery was because I had to construct something for class, but I got reeled in and now I'm addicted and can't stop.



#8 oldlady

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 12:04 AM

when asked what they do potters say "i am a potter" not "i make pottery".
"putting you down does not raise me up."




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