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Failure Is Fine

... and maybe even fun

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#41 Chris Campbell

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 03:06 PM

I just watched the tv documentary on Diane Nyad (sp?) ... The woman who "failed" three times before she made the swim from Cuba to Florida. All I can say is WOW ... her courage to come back from incredible setbacks was truly amazing to see. Luckily she did not believe those who wanted her to stop because she had failed.

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#42 S. Dean

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 08:51 AM

A few thoughts on this topic by others….

 

I have not failed.  I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.  ~Thomas Edison

Try again.  Fail again.  Fail better.  ~Samuel Beckett

One fails forward toward success.  ~Charles F. Kettering

Notice the difference between what happens when a man says to himself, "I have failed three times," and what happens when he says, "I am a failure."  ~S.I. Hayakawa

A failure is a man who has blundered, but is not able to cash in the experience.  ~Elbert Hubbard

Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.  ~Henry Ford

You always pass failure on your way to success.  ~Mickey Rooney

 

It is a mistake to suppose that people succeed through success; they often succeed through failures.  ~Author Unknown
 



#43 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 10:05 PM

Great quotes! failure raises the learning curve.
marcia

#44 arnuleprizh

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 03:50 AM

It is part of growing up.

It serves as a lesson in life.



#45 MikeFaul

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 05:29 PM

 

 

Care to share a failure that resulted in a learning leap? :unsure:

 

Beware of foreign clay bodies as they may not dry at the same rate as the one you're use too...

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#46 Bob Coyle

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 06:28 PM

Remember what Ben Franklin said... "there is many a slip between the cup and the absolutely perfect, primo, balanced, finely glazed and fired mug."

 

Or maybe it was Aristotle.. or Paul Soldner???



#47 jolieo

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 09:18 AM

Hi my experience is failure is either trying to reach for something new or carelessness.sometimes carelessness yields surprising or beautiful results. The reaching can teach so much but usually much more on reflection. Usually I am so single mindedly going for what I think I can achieve that only later do I realize what I learned from that experience. Also I believe that there is more to be learned and repeated in a group that is cohesive ( not an easy thing to come by). A honed group mind can steer new developments to an advantage w/o losing the goal. I can't say I have ever had a true ephipeny , but my mistakes take the fear out of creating, if I believe that I already have done my worst , can only get better right? Also I always stash my failures. I have found that looking at them later does two things for me: the never are as bad as I remember, I usually kinda like them. And they show a clear path of my development , which encourages me to continue. Jolie

#48 Pres

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 09:55 AM

Test tiles, and an organized test tile panel will help to improve on your glaze problems Judd. One of the first things I did was to create a board with a grid on it where I would attach the test tiles with screws. Then I started with test tiles for each of the glazes we had, with the clay we used. Each tile was incised with a line, and had an iron stain painted on. When dipped we dipped one coat on 3/4 of tile, then a second coat on 1/2 tile. backs were cleaned, tiles were fired. After assessment these were mounted on the grid board. Then we started other tiles with combinations of glazes over glazes. Combos were painted on back with stain. These got mounted at lower part of the board.

 

As to pinch pots, you may find that turning out the lights for part of the period, forcing the students to pinch the pots using their sense of touch in a guided practice approach will work.  I did this believe or not with HS kids. I did do some preliminary work on my own. I turned out the lights and memorized the room. Then during the class I could walk between and around without them knowing where I was when I wasn't talking. I also pulled some shenanigans at times where they would really be confused-climbing on top of a table so I was in the middle up high-then giving their next set of instructions.  Funny thing is, they were so amused by the crazy teacher and the complete isolation and concentration on the process that they didn't think of mischief. It was a good lesson, and I even did it as an inservice one time with a bunch of teachers and administrators.


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#49 Benzine

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 12:00 PM

You give "Crazy, Old Art Teachers" a good name Pres.

 

I used to do pinch pots, with my high school students at a previous school.  But that's when I had a Ceramics I and II.  Now, I just have the one class, so I've dropped the project, for the sake of time, and doing more in-depth projects.  I still go over the "pinch" process, there just isn't a project that focuses on it specifically.

 

You can't beat glaze test tiles.  I had never made a tile board, when I started my first teaching job.  The previous instructor had some tiles, but just in a small container, and they were pretty beat up.  So I remade all new tiles, with some student help, and had a nice little board.  My second job the instructor had the tiles, well taken care of.

At my current job, there were NO tiles at all.  I once again made all of them, and created the board.

 

The boards that I made, are a little different than yours Pres.  I don't screw my tiles down.  They just slide on a nail, so they can be removed, and held near projects, to figure out schemes.  I also, etch a number that corresponds to the glaze onto the tile.  This also serves as an area, where the glaze collects, to show what happens, in that instance. 


"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#50 Pres

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 11:09 PM

I screwed mine down to the board so that there was always an excellent example easily found. We also had heavy string bound test tiles of our glazes, but then you never could find them when wanting to make a quick point. We would paint the name of the glaze on back of tile in unglazed area.


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#51 Chantay

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 12:10 AM

Come January I will have been working with clay just two years.  I think every failure is a rung on the ladder toward success.  My 14 year old daughter said something to me this evening.  She was practicing her violin.  I complemented her on her improvement.  Her response was, "Mom, when I see how much better you have gotten with throwing clay it makes me realize that I can be as good as I want if I'm just willing to keep at it."  Brought tears to my eyes. 


- chantay

#52 Chris Campbell

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 11:20 AM

What a great moment for you both ... Thanks for sharing!

Chris Campbell
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TRY ...   FAIL ...  LEARN ...  REPEAT


#53 flowerdry

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 07:56 PM

When starting something new, like a new form I haven't made before, I always assume it's going to involve lots of failure until I'm satisfied with the result.  But I don't think of my unsuccessful attempts as failures.  They're just points along the path to success, and I try to enjoy the journey.

 

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#54 docweathers

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 12:27 AM

Sometimes I have more fun solving glaze and throwing problems than creating pretty pots.  Once I get something to work well, I usually lose interest in it. I'm not inclined to reproduce that item, but then of course, hobbyist versus a production Potter.

 

Learning from failures requires extensive data collection so you can understand that caused the failures. No data, no learn. I have a database that allows me to take pictures of of everything I do after glazing and after firing, with extensive notes. When something goes wrong to this provides a lot of clues to solving the problem.

 

Lately, I've been running many hundreds of test tiles to try to get a better pallet of glazes. This approach is been invaluable in sorting out what works and what doesn't. Some days I think test tiles are my art.form. :mellow:  


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#55 Norm Stuart

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 12:57 AM

I'm far prouder of test tiles of glazes I've worked on than ceramic pieces I've made.  And usually it's my partner who made the test tile itself.

 

Solving a riddle is far sweeter than something which merely goes right.

 

Test tiles are an anticipation of things to come, while a finished piece is merely part of my past.

 

Sometimes I have more fun solving glaze and throwing problems than creating pretty pots.  Once I get something to work well, I usually lose interest in it. I'm not inclined to reproduce that item, but then of course, hobbyist versus a production Potter.

 

Learning from failures requires extensive data collection so you can understand that caused the failures. No data, no learn. I have a database that allows me to take pictures of of everything I do after glazing and after firing, with extensive notes. When something goes wrong to this provides a lot of clues to solving the problem.

 

Lately, I've been running many hundreds of test tiles to try to get a better pallet of glazes. This approach is been invaluable in sorting out what works and what doesn't. Some days I think test tiles are my art.form. :mellow:  



#56 ChenowethArts

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 05:31 AM

I have filed this failure under the category "Trust Your Instincts"...and "Back-up your kiln sitter".  I was pushing a bisque firing back in November to have things ready for a holiday sale...and by 'push', I mean I placed a few items in the bisque kiln that were not completely dry...ok, full disclosure, they were still pretty damp.  I never heard the 'pop' of an exploding pot but did notice that the firing seemed to be taking much longer than usual.  The kiln sitter had not cut off so my initial though was the dense load is just taking longer.  Finally, a look through the peeps revealed a much brighter heat color than my experience taught me and I decided to shut down the kiln.  The next day when everything was cool, I opened the lid to discover that one of those 'damp' pots did explode AND lodged a small shard in the kiln sitter bracket preventing the shut-off bar from dropping when the cone softened.  The bisque was wayyyy over-fired.  So, back-to-basics: I make sure there is a visible cone at one peep hole, I promise to kick myself if I am silly enough to put wet stuff in the kiln, I will trust my instincts when firing times go beyond a reasonable time frame, and I will not be completely dependent on the old kiln sitter..


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#57 Pres

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 09:21 AM

Paul, I had nearly the same thing happen to me one firing in  the HS. We had reassembled the kiln after putting in a new floor, I had forgotten to check the kiln setter. Our setter was positioned over two sections. It seems the top section was shifted a little inward. This caused the cone to melt, but the setter tab to not fall.  I have always gotten used to checking kiln temp by heat color, and noticed that the kiln had hit yellow orange. Checked the setter, and sure enough at I touched it the tab dropped. At home here as I fire completely from cones checking heat color keeps me informed of the speed and temp of the kiln, a useful skill for any potter.


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


#58 Benzine

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 08:46 PM

Wow Paul, I never even thought about that happening.  What are the odds of that piece getting stuck right where it needed to be, to cause that to happen?  Good thing you checked.

 

That's why I'm glad, the couple of cone sitter kilns I've used in my classrooms, had the timer shut off as well.  I knew the time it would take to get to the required cone, and set the timer accordingly.  Unless the timer failed, I couldn't over fire. 

 

Norm, you are very pro-controller.  I don't fault you for that, they are great.  I love the fact, that I can set my classroom kiln to heat at a consistent rate, and hold, to pre-heat my iffy student projects. 


"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#59 Babs

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 09:48 PM

 

Even adding a long pre-heat before a bisque with a computer controller we still have to be concerned about the bowl which has been thrown with air-bubbles inclusions.  It may pack the punch of a grenade, but at least the fragments can't interfere with the firing controller.

 

The result is people at our studio have become pretty good at catching air bubble pots as they're being thrown, so get tossed before they get to the "To be Bisqued" shelf.

 

But you still might appreciate swapping out your kiln sitter for a V6-CF.  http://www.clay-king...tro_sitter.html

 

I have filed this failure under the category "Trust Your Instincts"...and "Back-up your kiln sitter".  I was pushing a bisque firing back in November to have things ready for a holiday sale...and by 'push', I mean I placed a few items in the bisque kiln that were not completely dry...ok, full disclosure, they were still pretty damp.  I never heard the 'pop' of an exploding pot but did notice that the firing seemed to be taking much longer than usual. 

 

I opened the lid to discover that one of those 'damp' pots did explode AND lodged a small shard in the kiln sitter bracket preventing the shut-off bar from dropping when the cone softened.

 

I have seen a potter whose handles are hollow with no air hole made, so how does that work?? Or is the exploding pot not because of trapped air but dampness? Thickness of piece with air trapped may be part of the scenario.



#60 Chris Campbell

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 10:25 PM

Norm ... I wish you had done a control piece with no holes in it.
I don't always remember to put holes in closed forms but am very patient with my drying ... nothing fired til bone dry and I don't have explosions. This is with stoneware bodies, not the porcelain. I would not recommend doing it but I sometimes forget.

Of course the dominant fact is how much you care about the piece or if you need the whole kiln load of work for a show ... : - )

Chris Campbell
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TRY ...   FAIL ...  LEARN ...  REPEAT





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