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What Is The Most Incorrect "rule" You Ever Heard For Pottery?

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#41 Pugaboo

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 12:15 AM

Min - You have to remember I am NEW it took me quite awhile to figure out how to wedge properly. I think for awhile there I was adding more air into the clay than out of it. At first I used the wrong height and had some issues with my hands and wrists. So I got a low step to stand on to get my work surface to hit at the proper height.

I did discover something the other day which made it much easier for me to wedge reclaimed clay. I keep all my scraps in 2 gallon ziplock bags. When a bag gets full its time to reclaim it. I usually just spray some water inside the bag at the end of each session then when I wedge dump it out and start wrestling with it.

Well a few weeks ago I decided to just dump some of my clay water into the bag instead. After doing so realized I had added too much so let the bag sit for about a week. I then took the bag with it sealed up and just started dropping it on the floor flipping and dropping it repeatedly to work the extra moisture into the clay. Every few drops I would let some air out then squeezing it tight to remove the air seal it up and drop some more. After a few times of this I dropped and shaped the clay inside the bag into an approximate ball then rolled that out of the bag onto my canvas covered table. It was still a bit soft and sticky but started wedging it and within a few times realized it was so much easier to wedge the softer clay. I mean really easy. It only took a little while for the clay to firm up and not be sticky. By the time it was firm enough to use I cut it in half to check for air bubbles and found none. I was amazed because it had never been so easy before. From now on I am going to make my reclaimed clay a bit wetter to start with since its easier on my hands. I actually found I could control the wedging movements better thereby getting a much nicer air bubble free clay much quicker doing it this way. I don't know if its the proper way to do it but for the moment it's working for me.

Oldlady - I haven't started throwing yet and am just doing coils, pinch and slab for the moment and am very much aware of my thicknesses at all times. I tend to be very precise, too much so at times I think since I can measure and trim a piece to death to get it perfect all the way through. I am working on this trying to loosen up a bit and let the clay live a bit more rather than controlling it down to a hairs breath. I make maquettes of just about everything then also make a cardboard template to use to cut the pieces out so everything starts out as precise as possible. I keep these labeled and ready to go for future pieces so i dont have to remember what size or how i assembled something.

Early next year I will be taking a throwing class and will have to learn about telling how thick a piece is that way which ought to be interesting. Cutting the pieces in half sounds like an excellent idea to see exactly what is going on inside the piece and will make sure to utilize this once I start thanks. Oh and by the way yes I am a leftie too but then so is my teacher which will hopefully make it easier on both of us during class.


I tell people lefties are more creative we have to be to live in a right handed world!

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

#42 jrgpots

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 01:11 AM

6 years ago I was given a small programmable kiln. I was reassured that since it was computer controlled it didn't need to be watched.....you guessed it. One fried mother board, one garage fire later; and $139,000 poorer, I learned that that was not a good rule

#43 Benzine

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 07:31 AM

 

 

 

 

Figures! Are you still using a sofa to sit on when you throw?

 

Naw, I've moved on to a padded desk chair.....I'm serious.

 

 

What is next? A rolling chair?  :)

 

It does roll.  It's an adjustable height, padded, rolling chair, you'd use at a computer desk.  Though, to be fair, I bought it in college, and my backside has done a good job of wearing down that padding.

 

6 years ago I was given a small programmable kiln. I was reassured that since it was computer controlled it didn't need to be watched.....you guessed it. One fried mother board, one garage fire later; and $139,000 poorer, I learned that that was not a good rule

There is learning the hard way, and then there is what happened with you........Wow!

I'll be honest, I've left a couple programable kilns unattended, in my classrooms.  Though, I do usually give a heads up to the custodial staff, something along the lines of "If you smell smoke....."

 

I think the air bubble myth is one that should continue to be propagated, at least in the classroom setting.  It really forces the students, to take care, when handling their clay.  If you tell them, there is no consequence for sloppy preparation and construction, there will be issues.  If they are told, that their project will explode, and it will effect their grade, they will make sure that clay is well mixed/ wedged, before starting. 

 

Also, as I understand it, the reason some ceramicists are concerned over air bubbles, is because the bubbles allow steam to build, in those spots. 


"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#44 OffCenter

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 08:49 AM

Pugaboo, the air bubble myth will always be with us (especially if teachers use Benzine's reasoning!) because of the example you gave of some lame-brained instructor telling students that some thick, not completely dry piece blew up because of air bubbles. BUT, just because air bubbles do not cause pots to blow up doesn't mean you don't need to get rid of them. They interfer with throwing (or rolling slabs, etc.) and, as someone has already mentioned, show up in the finished pot and look like a tumor. If you're having trouble wedging, maybe try a different way or use both the kneading and cut-and-slap method. I think the cut-and-slap method when done properly is better at removing air. I start by doing that then finish with spiral shell kneading.

 

Jim


E pur si muove.

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

#45 OffCenter

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 08:55 AM

6 years ago I was given a small programmable kiln. I was reassured that since it was computer controlled it didn't need to be watched.....you guessed it. One fried mother board, one garage fire later; and $139,000 poorer, I learned that that was not a good rule

 

Sorry to hear about that! My kiln shed caught on fire once, but I saved it and even if I hadn't it would have only cost about $1,000 to replace it. The problem was that the plug on the small kiln had worked lose and caused and arc. I've never heard of a kiln actually causing a fire because the kiln would just burn out before doing something to cause a fire (unless the potter did something really stupid like placing the kiln too close to something flamable). Was your fire caused by the wiring?

 

Jim


E pur si muove.

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

#46 OffCenter

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 09:00 AM

Come on, Benzine! You're joking right?

 

"I think the air bubble myth is one that should continue to be propagated, at least in the classroom setting.  It really forces the students, to take care, when handling their clay.  If you tell them, there is no consequence for sloppy preparation and construction, there will be issues.  If they are told, that their project will explode, and it will effect their grade, they will make sure that clay is well mixed/ wedged, before starting."

 

You don't have to tell them there is no consequence for sloppy preparation because poorly wedged clay causes enough problems without having to make something up.

 

Jim


E pur si muove.

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

#47 Benzine

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 09:25 AM

Come on, Benzine! You're joking right?

 

"I think the air bubble myth is one that should continue to be propagated, at least in the classroom setting.  It really forces the students, to take care, when handling their clay.  If you tell them, there is no consequence for sloppy preparation and construction, there will be issues.  If they are told, that their project will explode, and it will effect their grade, they will make sure that clay is well mixed/ wedged, before starting."

 

You don't have to tell them there is no consequence for sloppy preparation because poorly wedged clay causes enough problems without having to make something up.

 

Jim

Well, I can always ammend my spiel a bit.  And I will be honest, I've propagated the myth for so long, because that's what I learned....In fact, I think my college text book mentions it. 

 

Tell you what, I'll stop spreading the myth this year....It will counter balance the fact, that I'll be having my students trim on a Giffin Grip....muhahaha!


"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#48 Claypple

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 09:31 AM

6 years ago I was given a small programmable kiln. I was reassured that since it was computer controlled it didn't need to be watched.....you guessed it. One fried mother board, one garage fire later; and $139,000 poorer, I learned that that was not a good rule

 

I think this is another myth, that the kiln can go on fire. The bad wiring will start the fire, not the kiln itself. Where is Neil to comment on this?

 

Benzine, how about a rocking chair? 



#49 Benzine

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 09:59 AM

 

6 years ago I was given a small programmable kiln. I was reassured that since it was computer controlled it didn't need to be watched.....you guessed it. One fried mother board, one garage fire later; and $139,000 poorer, I learned that that was not a good rule

 

I think this is another myth, that the kiln can go on fire. The bad wiring will start the fire, not the kiln itself. Where is Neil to comment on this?

 

Benzine, how about a rocking chair? 

 

It tilts back a little, does this count?

 

Honestly, the main reason I'm using it, is because, it sits at the perfect height for my wheel.  No sense in spendingmoney on a stool, if I have a seat that already works.


"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#50 Chris Campbell

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 10:02 AM

Pugaboo ... My goodness, you are working hard! You make my case for the fact that reclaimed clay is the most expensive clay you will ever use. Your attention to detail might make you a good candidate to join us colored clay crazies though! : - )

Air bubbles have never been a big issue for me ... I have had sculpture explode but it was no mystery since they were incredibly uneven in thickness and the explosion was almost expected.
I fire closed balls and garden rocks without air holes poked in them and haven't lost any. I think that rule depends totally on your clay body and firing temp.
I use a Giffen Grip whenever I feel like it and lightning has not struck me .....yet.
I do use a splash pan as I would look like a clay sculpture myself if I did not ... I am one messy thrower! I can get clay splashes on the back of my head.

Chris Campbell
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http://www.ccpottery.com/

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#51 jrgpots

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 10:04 AM

6 years ago I was given a small programmable kiln. I was reassured that since it was computer controlled it didn't need to be watched.....you guessed it. One fried mother board, one garage fire later; and $139,000 poorer, I learned that that was not a good rule

 
Sorry to hear about that! My kiln shed caught on fire once, but I saved it and even if I hadn't it would have only cost about $1,000 to replace it. The problem was that the plug on the small kiln had worked lose and caused and arc. I've never heard of a kiln actually causing a fire because the kiln would just burn out before doing something to cause a fire (unless the potter did something really stupid like placing the kiln too close to something flamable). Was your fire caused by the wiring?
 
Jim

Mother board burned out, drew too much power so the wiring arced. The bad thing was that the wiring was behind a cabinet filled with reloading supplies....Yup, gun powder. I now have a dedicated kiln shed with seperate sub panel. The walls are cinder block and thewiring comes up through the cement floor.

#52 Claypple

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 10:14 AM

Holy cow! You kept the gun powder closer to the kiln?! Actually, don't you think it was a good thing that you were NOT watching your kiln?    :D



#53 jrgpots

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 10:26 AM

A funny story about the fire. I had some kicking bags hung in garage for Tae Kwon Do practice. They of course thebags partially burned and that is where the fun story starts. The center of the bags were full of a white substance wrapped into brick shapes wrapped in plastic tape. The fire inspector came back about one hour after the fire to start the investigation. He found these "bricks" with white stuff in them in a pile below what used to be the kicking bag. Yup, the drug unit from the local police was called to identify this white stuff. It ended up being white sand wrapped it plastic bags all taped up. I still remember watching one of the officers cutting open one of the 8 bags and tasting a tiny amount of the white stuff. It ended up being white sand...the filler of the kicking bag. I'm not making any of this up.....REALLY!

Jed

#54 jrgpots

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 10:30 AM

Holy cow! You kept the gun powder closer to the kiln?! Actually, don't you think it was a good thing that you were not watching your kiln?    :D


The cabinet was about 6 feet from the kiln, but the wiring coursed past behind the cabinet and that is where the wiring failed.

As I read this post, I still have a hard time wrapping my brain around it all.

#55 Benzine

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 10:31 AM

I fire closed balls and garden rocks without air holes poked in them and haven't lost any. I think that rule depends totally on your clay body and firing temp.
I use a Giffen Grip whenever I feel like it and lightning has not struck me .....yet.
I do use a splash pan as I would look like a clay sculpture myself if I did not ... I am one messy thrower! I can get clay splashes on the back of my head.

I don't dare allow my students, or even myself to fire sealed forms.  I don't believe the results would be anything other than horrific, especially due to the sometimes abbreviated drying/ firing schedule.

 

You will be safe using Giffin Grips until Jim acquires his God-Like powers.

"How did I get clay there" is one of those magical mysteries right up there with, "How can a speck of glitter teleport across the room, from a sealed container?"  The latter is one of the reasons I don't allow gliter in my classroom. 

 

Holy cow! You kept the gun powder closer to the kiln?! Actually, don't you think it was a good thing that you were not watching your kiln?    :D

I'm paranoid about any small scraps of paper/ power towel sitting within feet of the kiln.


"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#56 OffCenter

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 11:03 AM

Pugaboo ... My goodness, you are working hard! You make my case for the fact that reclaimed clay is the most expensive clay you will ever use. Your attention to detail might make you a good candidate to join us colored clay crazies though! : - )

Air bubbles have never been a big issue for me ... I have had sculpture explode but it was no mystery since they were incredibly uneven in thickness and the explosion was almost expected.
I fire closed balls and garden rocks without air holes poked in them and haven't lost any. I think that rule depends totally on your clay body and firing temp.
I use a Giffen Grip whenever I feel like it and lightning has not struck me .....yet.
I do use a splash pan as I would look like a clay sculpture myself if I did not ... I am one messy thrower! I can get clay splashes on the back of my head.

 

 

If you like the Griffen Grip you'll probably love the Brent Quick Centering Tool http://www.youtube.c...h?v=60VQX9AU7sI. The video is funny. I love the way the guy talks and the fact that the clay he throws is not centered (which is a good thing but not what they're trying to do). At least the comments are good.

 

Jim


E pur si muove.

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

#57 atanzey

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 11:42 AM

Jim - I didn't watch the whole thing.  Maybe it's my headache, but it was alternately hysterical and painful. I wonder if they actually sell those things?  And my problem isn't a 2 pound plug, it's those +25# pieces!

 

Alice.



#58 S. Dean

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 12:11 PM

 

If you like the Griffen Grip you'll probably love the Brent Quick Centering Tool http://www.youtube.c...h?v=60VQX9AU7sI. The video is funny. I love the way the guy talks and the fact that the clay he throws is not centered (which is a good thing but not what they're trying to do). At least the comments are good.

 

Jim

 

 

OMG.  i can only envision that Brent went to the ivory tower of engineering and asked them to design a "centering tool" for school teachers with no throwing background who have to teach wheel classes.   Engineers gone wild!  BTW, the list price is $199.00



#59 Benzine

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 12:21 PM

 

Pugaboo ... My goodness, you are working hard! You make my case for the fact that reclaimed clay is the most expensive clay you will ever use. Your attention to detail might make you a good candidate to join us colored clay crazies though! : - )

Air bubbles have never been a big issue for me ... I have had sculpture explode but it was no mystery since they were incredibly uneven in thickness and the explosion was almost expected.
I fire closed balls and garden rocks without air holes poked in them and haven't lost any. I think that rule depends totally on your clay body and firing temp.
I use a Giffen Grip whenever I feel like it and lightning has not struck me .....yet.
I do use a splash pan as I would look like a clay sculpture myself if I did not ... I am one messy thrower! I can get clay splashes on the back of my head.

 

 

If you like the Griffen Grip you'll probably love the Brent Quick Centering Tool http://www.youtube.c...h?v=60VQX9AU7sI. The video is funny. I love the way the guy talks and the fact that the clay he throws is not centered (which is a good thing but not what they're trying to do). At least the comments are good.

 

Jim

 

I didn't finish the video, but it was fairly amusing.  I think the clay wasn't centered, because the adapter that fit on the wheel, didn't look centered. 

I need to go back and read the comments.

I won't go so far as to bash this, and call it worthless, but outside an elementary classroom, it's unnecessary.

 

Jim - I didn't watch the whole thing.  Maybe it's my headache, but it was alternately hysterical and painful. I wonder if they actually sell those things?  And my problem isn't a 2 pound plug, it's those +25# pieces!

 

Alice.

Yeah, but on the plus side, you can count those twenty five pound centering sessions as both cardio and resistance training.


"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#60 Chris Campbell

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 12:26 PM

I don't need that tool as I only buy pre-centered clay.

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