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Member Since 20 Feb 2012
Offline Last Active Jun 12 2013 08:56 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Pottery for Everyman

31 May 2013 - 03:51 PM

I love the poster in the background in that video with the calligraphic Kanji for "clay" on it.

He's a great potter and a great teacher.



That symbol looks like a cross.....Is that a sign?.....

He seems like a great potter and teacher. I'd just love to sit down, and have a conversation with him.

Dear All,

What an interesting discussion.

Just yesterday, a friend of mine came to visit. He said "your work is good but you are not going to make it with only focusing on functional pieces." He then pointed out some of the artistic work collected in my home. You know the stuff done by real potters who can command high prices for their work.

He said, they made it in the "big league" because they did something different rather than bowls, plates and mugs.

I found myself really thinking about it after he left. I wondered, do I make enough work that is non-functional or simply pieces that are for aesthetic reflection?? Am I in a functional rut??

I do not see myself now or in the future entering "the big league." I do this for relaxation and fun. I like my pieces to be held and used.

But there is still this nagging part of me that is saying, you may want to consider reaching out further and trying to extend your vision at least for a period of time to see where it takes you in moving away from functional ware. You know...try it for something new and different.

I still have three months left for the summer. Who knows...maybe I will try to move gently away and try more artistic sculptural pieces.


In Topic: A weird spot

31 May 2013 - 12:41 PM

VERY well said, Nelly.

I LOVE the "hard got , easily carried" comment. First rate. Wise man.



Dear John,

Yeah, he was my dad... Posted Image


In Topic: Looking for a red glaze like this one

30 May 2013 - 12:28 PM

I don't use prepared glazes

For my understanding, very few professional/educated potters do. I think I know why:
It gives you more control over what the glaze gonna look like. It is less expensive. What else?

Dear All,

I would call myself a medium level potter. I too have always wanted a perfect red. I used to use something called "Rosie's Red" but now use something called "Saturated Iron" in my little studio.

Saturated iron is brownish. Not a true red or I would send you the recipe.

Ron Roy does have a recipe for a raspberry colored glaze in his book "Mastering Cone Six Glazes."

I know in speaking directly with Robin Hopper and asking about red glazes he said "you have to know your glaze chemistry."

I think, if my memory serves me correctly, I have heard it said that "red" is one of the most complex of colors to achieve. But again, I could be wrong.

Given that I do not want a lot of extra dust in my studio from open bags (due to the space in my garage), I simply order my recipes through my supplier. I send them the recipe and they simply make it up for me, I add water, sieve and I am done. Given my small operation, this works perfectly for me. Yes, it is more expensive but it suits my needs.

This is what I do and it works.

But do look at the Ron Roy book for his raspberry colored glaze. This may provide you with a start for the color you are trying to achieve.


In Topic: A weird spot

29 May 2013 - 01:38 PM

Just saw this new posting that was made as I was doing my other one........

The problem with switching to a different university is that most have passed deadlines for the upcoming semester as well as the commute. Also, I have taken upper level studio courses which many universities will not transfer as they prefer all or most upper level courses to be taught from one institution. All those scenarios push a graduation date back a lot.

Many things can be "done" if the right person is attending to them. Every "rule" can be broken wit hthe right signature on it. You need to get someone at your college in a "high position" to be an advocate for you. THAT is you goal right now. Find that person. If you have to go to the college's President... then do so. You have NOTHING to lose. And again... they created this problem for you.... let them help to solve it.

My main question is will I be just as hirable to a community studio as a community class teacher or tech as well as eventual workshop instructor without a bachelor's degree (but with a strong portfolio, workshop background, and assistantship experience) as someone who does have a bachelors?

The short answer is that the better your credentials... the higher up the "potential hire" list you are. There are lots of people with "......a strong portfolio, workshop background, and assistantship experience" that ALSO have a BFA or MFA that will be looking at the same positions.

Also for future reference, I have been looking into different residencies and fellowship opportunities. I have noticed that none of them out right require a degree to apply but many of the past artists do have a degree. Is this an unspoken requirement or is this because many are in between stages of higher education?

The same thing I said directly above applies here.



This makes a lot of sense, I suppose it works like most other jobs. Another thing, if I stuck with getting my BA but in a different dicipline, will that hinder me just as much or is that where that "piece of paper" comes in?


Jobs are jobs. Business or corporate or academic politics exist all over. It is a fact of life. You learn to deal with it. Part of the "college education" you get is just this... learning to deal with other people and operational structures.

While there are no guarantees on anything in life, if you have a BA in Art, a strong ceramics portfolio, and some ceramics teaching experiences listed on the resume', I think it certainly can't HURT you when compared to not having any degree at all. BEST would, of course, be having the BFA in Ceramics after your name.... but if that is not possible.... the BA in Art might be the "best of the available options".

Sometimes you have to make "lemonade" out of the lemons.

But don't get out the lemon squeezer just yet!

You said you "talked to the department". I am thinking that means that you have not yet gone to someone ABOVE the department level to get some options and answers????? Depending on the school..... there are usually a couple of layers of people ABOVE the people at the Department level that CAN help sometimes. Just make sure as much as possible to not "tick off" the art department people as you approach this problem. Don't "throw them under the bus" too directly unless you have reached the absolute "end of the line".

Work your way slowly and politely up the line of "powers that be" until you reach the last of your options. That last option may actually be someone a bit "outside" the college in a sense.... a member of the Board of Directors of the college. Most schools have them in one form or another. Get one of thei Board's member's ear... and somtimes amazing things can happen. Suddenly, all the BS goes away. (Unfortunately.... this is the way the world works in SO MANY things.)

But you absolutely must show that you have worked you way up the ladder if it gets that far. And be able to show that your actions were professional all the time as you dealt with it. Inside you may want to kill somone.... but don't let a speck of that show on the outside. Follow up every meeting / conversation with a polite written piece that expresses your thanks and states your undertstanding of what went on and what options were discussed.

You might find that you have more options than you think you do to solve this. Persistence and determination go a long way to succeeding in life. Go get em'.

BTW........ See your profile... I left a note there.



Dear All,

I am not a professional potter and have no academic credentials in art. I am, however, an academic. I teach at the university level.

Do know that increasingly, everywhere in the job market, degrees are fundamental. Agencies (whether schools or community centers) put out a job description. They develop this description hand and hand with those in positions of power within the setting. This is done so they can make sure they all agree about the type of person they want to fulfill a variety of different aspects of the job (i.e., skills, future funding, accreditation, identifying the qualifications of their staff in their marketing brochures etc.).

Thus, my advice, while not solicited, is to stay in your program. Grin and bear it. Finish it with style.

One more year, when you think about it can easily be reduced to weeks if you think about it in those terms.

I know when I have students who lament their time in the classroom I try to break it up into small chunks. I say, it is now the fall term. You have exactly 12 classes in this course and you will be that much further towards the end. The idea of say having to do one year can be overwhelming. Think of it in small steps leading to a big goal. The goal is the piece of paper.

This piece of paper will open doors that may and likely will otherwise be closed to you if not completed.

My father had a saying he told me repeatedly as I lamented going to school. He said 'education is hard got but easily carried around." I remembered this through my many, many years of study. It helped keep me focused. Today I have those pieces of paper and they are light in my pocket but they are heavy in terms of trying to get jobs that would not be open to me otherwise.

Your goal should be something like, I want to work the least amount for the most money. This will free you up for what you really want to do in life.

Think of it as finishing this degree, maybe giving yourself a break and then assessing your situation more carefully. You may find the MFA is where you really should be but without that other piece of paper, you will have to go back to this step and complete it.

In short, finish the degree to "keep all your options open in life."

Whether you are in pottery, psychology, political science or architecture, today's employers want that piece of paper. You may not make that cut in the job posting if you do not meet their really basic standards posted. And yes, you need a strong ally who will stand beside you to recommend you for any position (with or without the piece of paper).

It is just too, too competitive out there in the world today. Jobs are at a premium today.

My two cents worth.


In Topic: The lid is now closed

26 May 2013 - 02:39 PM


you haven't told us how it came out.

Dear All,

My first batch came out without any big problems.

Please know I have a new camera. I am trying to figure out how to connect it to my computer. Once I get this done, I will send an e-mail to show you my specific learning in majolica.

I am putting one more batch into the kiln this week. Thus, I should have some images from last weeks firing and this weeks to show the forum or discussion group.

I am going to experiment with spray starch on the outside before decorating some new bowls and see how redipping an already fired piece works.

My main learning from last week is that it is "all in the dip." If you start off with a poorly dipped vessel it will carry through in the firing. You need a good solid coating of the glaze for optimum coverage.

Just give me one more week and I will send you some images to pour over. Sorry but when it comes to technology, I am not the brightest. But I will figure it out. You will see my bowls once I figure out how to put them on the computer and then transfer them to the forum.

Thank you so much for asking.