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Member Since 20 Jun 2012
Offline Last Active Aug 06 2014 01:41 AM

#63357 What Are You Working On?

Posted by Rebel_Rocker on 27 July 2014 - 05:38 PM

Nice handles Pres.


 A few things I'm working on currently:


 Tallest thrown form I've done yet. 10 lbs clay. 12 inches tall. Pretty happy with it, I think the wall thickness is very even right up to the rim. Still green. Still contemplating glazes.



Tiki Jar. Black Clay, 8 inches tall. Thrown closed form and carved. Won't be glazed. Still green.



 Flame Vase. Thrown in 2 pieces, the top vase and a bottom 'donut' double wall form. Combined and carved. Thinking shino with wax resist for good orange on flames and thick turquiose on top so it should end up pretty grey with a little bit of turq to contrast the shino nicely.


#62320 Where To Start With Wheel Newbies?

Posted by Rebel_Rocker on 13 July 2014 - 04:26 AM

 If he wants to throw he HAS to learn to center.


 Honestly I don't think it's that hard but...


 In the community studio I am working at I have helped a few people, but in different ways.


 One guy would sit there and just try and center for days on end. Nothing else. I finally told him 'Just do it' time to pull, you need to finish one piece and work through all the steps. If you only try to center all you will ever have is a lump of clay. BORING=quits. If you jump in both feet first you will have a wobbly cup. What's better? I really well centered lump of soggy clay or a wobbly cup?


 A wobbly cup. Why? Because you have experienced throwing from start to finish and you now have points to improve upon. OR, you could have a really nice lump of clay. Now he is throwing some pretty nice large 'bowls' (more shaped cylinders but...). The point is he kept going and now loves it.

  I think that is what Marcia meant. It is better to have a bad center, keep going and learn to pull, to clean lip, etc... and get through the entire process once. THEN do it again BETTER. Then again, etc.. Spending 5 hours centering is not fun. Spending 30 minutes working through the process is. That leaves 4 1/2 hours to try again, and again, seeing improvement, building muscle memory, achieving something.



 Other people had sticking points. Too much mositure, too dry and sticking hands pulling clay out of round. Foot propped up on pedal throwing off balance, etc...

 Kept using wrong hand positions until I corrected them 20 times in 10 minutes, etc..



 I've been at this for 2 years and have TONS to learn but my advice teaching him is this:


1:Cylinders. They are easier. (with grain of salt, a really tall cylinder is harder than a really small bowl). But a cylinder can be turned into a bowl, not vice-versa. (still best to throw bowl as a bowl)

2: Show him the basics, let him work. Watch him closely and catch his mistakes early. Be patient but diligent. Don't let him develop bad technique, that turns into bad throwing, frustration and giving up. Better to be frustrated for the first 3 hours, then the first 3 days.

3: wedge up 5-10 balls of clay (not one). have him throw one, when it fails scrape it away and start over. Everyone wants to keep first throw, yet it's probably not worth it. Install early that it's OK to toss a bad piece and try again. 1 makes 2 better, 2 makes 3 better...


 3 days is plenty of time to learn (basics) imo, but that depends on time. 30 minutes a day, NO. 3 hours a day, YES. I guess that depends on student/instructor too. I have seen instructors ramble on for hours telling students how, then walk away when students try. Students get frustrated and I jump in and say... let me help you as you do it... and they end up with a thrown item on their first ball of clay (even if horribly rough).

  Throwing is not hard if someone sits with you one on one and catches/fixes your mistakes.

  It is IMPOSSIBLE if the teacher walks away and leaves you to your own vices.


 I have also found strict weights don't matter. Clay is a loose subject. For some 1 pound might be easiest. My hands are fairly large and one pound of clay is TOUGH. My fingers get all bound up on each other. 2 pounds is much easier to handle, I have room to breathe yet it's not too much weight/size, etc... 4 pounds is probably just too much for a beginner though.


 Be loose, but don't let bad habits develop, but don't be over bearing. Sometimes it takes mistakes to realize a bad habit needs correcting. Make it fun first and foremost, if he still doesn't like it he never will. If it's fun and he sees it is possible then he can determine how serious he wants to get.


 The basics of clay are easy with a little help and fun, almost anyone can teach that. To be really good depends on  willpower and nobody can force that on anyone.

#22477 Was: Etsy or Ebay? Now: When Should You Start Trying to Sell?

Posted by Rebel_Rocker on 20 September 2012 - 03:07 PM

I say go with it.

I haven't been doing ceramics long and I am loving it, people say I am doing really well. Though I know I am not on their level I too am interested in selling stuff. I'm in my second class, but I have spent a ton of time in open studio, so my 3 months might compare to some else's year and you might be in that same category...not much time in years but a lot of time in studio. (my current class has been 9 hours and I probably have 40+ hours in that studio)
Sure you can give stuff away and I do/have/am. But sometimes you need a few bills to fund further development. Clay isn't free and it's hard to spend $ on clay and end up with a huge pile of gifts and to keep going.

Some of the more experienced potters even said it 'I wish I could take back some of my early work'. But that's just because they are now better. But that stuff also shows their development, and quite possibly at some point someone will WANT to collect that early work.
My question to them would be "if you made that 'mistake' why can't other people?". Sure advice is great but everyone ALWAYS learns more from their mistakes than from someone else's.

Ceramics is art, art is beauty, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Your stuff looks pretty nice and I am sure many people would love to have a piece. I think I recognize it from Deviant Art too.

I do agree with the more experienced potters that it's probably best in the long run to just not sell everything, pick and choose. When you get a good piece sell it, when you get a 'bad' one give it away. (I'd put donations in the realm of selling, you don't want someone to get a free piece because of a donation and think 'this is horrible'... friends and relatives will be much happier to have them as gifts).

But at the same time why should you wait until it's all 'professional grade'... That's a very elusive term. Especially when experienced potters who have been doing it for many years continue to say they are still improving. 'Professionals' are a wide gamut from production potters who can make 50 mugs that all look the same and sell them for $10-20 a pop to people who make one of vases that cost thousands of dollars. So what if you start selling one of tree vases for $50. It might not be in the realm of the thousand dollar one, but is it less enjoyable to someone who bought it because the foot isn't perfect? (I have no idea how good your feet are ;) ). Is it less enjoyable to someone who can afford it at $50 but not at $1,000?

I think once you have forms/feet/glazes/etc... down and working good for you (and imo it seems you do) then why not see what you can do with it. I think if you sell it it should be nice all the way around (who wants to buy anything with obvious flaws and defects?) but I think that soley depends on you. You work, your focus, your skill. If you have experienced people like teachers that say you are really good (not your mom, they always think you're the best) then it's probably a good reference.

Now if you had asked about getting your work into the Guggenheim then I would probably say you'd want to really perfect your art before even trying. But to sell nice work at a decent price on a crafts website... completely different ballpark.

#22200 Need help Identifying-pricing a item?

Posted by Rebel_Rocker on 14 September 2012 - 06:49 PM

I like it, bowling shoe details, the dripping looks like oil which could be a statement about how many products these days are made from petroleum and the ugly goopy mess that really is.

Guess art is in the eye of the beholder. Honestly I think most of Warhol's stuff is pretty crappy, but what do I know :D