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Member Since 08 Sep 2012
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 09:48 PM

#88112 Stream Of Consciousness Back Fires ....

Posted by Benzine on 30 June 2015 - 10:33 AM

Sorry to hear that Chris.  


I've been there before.  Things always go better the next time...  Unless you want to embody the definition of insanity, and continue to repeat the same thing, over and over, expecting a different result.

#87208 Feel Like I Am Hitting A Brick Wall - Perhaps You Have Experienced This?

Posted by Benzine on 15 June 2015 - 07:34 PM



There's nothing wrong, with questioning your direction.  In fact, I think it's healthy.  I do it, not only with  my artwork, but also with my teaching.  It never hurts to ask, "Is this working, and if not, what can I do to change that?"


My suggestion for your path, is at first, just keep doing what you have been doing.  As I commented on your status the other day, your work has come along way, since you started.  Keep practicing and refining your skills on the wheel.  If you do indeed want to add sculptural elements to wheel thrown wares, you'll want the wheel portion to take as little time as possible, because the sculptural portion will definitely take a bit more.  


I've seen quite a few people here mention that they do mostly wares, they know will move.  And they use those wares, to drive their business, so they can occasionally afford to create more in depth, maybe less commercial wares, sculptures, etc.


In regards to classes, there's nothing saying you have to take a semester college class, or anything like that.  I've seen local art guilds have guest artists, who teach a variety of media and techniques.  The classes are usually all day, on a Saturday and Sunday, and that's it.  They aren't too costly, unless you are trying to get a Graduate credit, which is one reason they interest me.  In that cast, yeah it's a little bit of money.  The local art guild here,  had an artist who was teaching figural clay sculpture.  I could not make it, and I'm still kicking myself.  


Best of luck, on whatever you decide.  Like I said, there's nothing wrong with question things.  And there's definitely nothing wrong with a little productive venting.

#87129 Engaging Children - Special Pricing

Posted by Benzine on 14 June 2015 - 10:39 AM


i had a small bowl and gave it to a neighbor child for his 4th birthday, (complete with the counting out of the fingers to four).  a year later i asked him how he liked his cereal from the star bowl and he told me it was on the mantle and his parents would not let him use it.  sigh.............................


Grrrrr.  How will they learn to properly use and respect stuff if it's out of reach.  I made a mug for a four-year-old, and on delivery I asked her what she would like to drink out of it?  It became her "hot-chocolate-before-going-to-bed" mug.  And get's used every day.


I made my daughter a  tea set, for a Christmas present last year.  Four cups, four plates and a teapot.  I also made the storage box.  So I had countless hours into all of it.  But it's meant to be used.  I made everything "heavy duty" for use by a child.


I also make mugs, as Graduation gifts, for my students.  On the card, I include a note, saying that they are meant to be used, and by used, I don't mean decoration, or holding pencils...

#86369 Making Very Fine Lines!

Posted by Benzine on 02 June 2015 - 11:38 AM

When I was going through my last figurative phase, I settled on a technique that reminded me a little of etching.  I scratched fine lines into a leatherhard (on the dry side) pot, then bisqued.  I then wiped a black stain wash onto the piece, which darkened the fine lines, then wiped it off.


This mermaid bowl is an example:


That's awesome!  Very nice illustrative style.

#86345 Chattered Bowl..

Posted by Benzine on 02 June 2015 - 08:49 AM

Very nice work.  Chattering is one technique I have no (purposeful) experience with.  Might have to start practicing and add it to my repertoire.


Also, congratulations and good luck with the wedding, not to mention buying a house.  Ah, life in the "real world".  Things they kept telling us were coming, when we were in school.  Turns out, they weren't just making up stories...

#85835 Who Is Looking For A Walker?

Posted by Benzine on 01 June 2015 - 04:56 PM

The Walker is a pug mill with a large hopper, which is what I like most about it.  You could throw some scraps in there one day, close the lid, and not have to worry about pugging, until you were ready.  

It also has a reverse switch, so if the clay came out too wet or dry, hit revers and let it mix a bit longer.  


It's not a de-airing pug mill, but I never found that to be an issue, as I wedge everything anyway.

#84748 Community Challenge #2

Posted by Benzine on 31 May 2015 - 09:49 PM

Awesome indeed Paul.  Is this an item, you intend to start making on a production scale?  I think a lot of customers, would snatch them up.

#82641 Qotw: Are You A Thrower Or A Hand Builder?

Posted by Benzine on 27 May 2015 - 10:24 PM


pres, please name another movie in which pottery is even mentioned.
you might not like it but it gave lots of would-be potters the impetus to start.

Please tell me I am not the only one who pays disproportionate attention to the pots in The Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings and netflix's Marco Polo?



You are not.  I kept looking at the wares in Game of Thrones, thinking, "Hmmm, I wonder what kind of clay body that is?..."

#82621 Raku - When Is It Safe For The Second Piece?

Posted by Benzine on 27 May 2015 - 07:08 PM

I usually put the new ones in, as soon as I finish taking the old ones out.  I don't even preheat on the lid, and I don't have issues.


Much like Chris said, any body that works for Raku, should be able to tolerate quick heating and cooling.

#82476 Qotw: Are You A Thrower Or A Hand Builder?

Posted by Benzine on 26 May 2015 - 08:00 AM

I can't pick which medium I prefer, let alone what process in a given medium.

I like doing both, and use both depending on the project at hand. But since, for the sake of this discussion, I can only choose one, I'll say wheel, because I use it a bit more.

Beatles and Rolling Stones? Are those like music groups or something?...

#82470 Large Flat Pieces Cracking During Glaze Firing

Posted by Benzine on 26 May 2015 - 07:09 AM

Clay lover, I sometimes uses coils to explain to students, that while fragile, ceramics are quite strong. I take a bone dry piece and break it, it with no effort at all. Then I try a bisqued piece. With a quarter inch coil, I can't safely break it.

As long as they don't get dropped from more than several inches high, they should stay in good shape, while stored.

#82113 It's Too Big..she Said

Posted by Benzine on 20 May 2015 - 08:47 PM

I think I can speak for the rest of us, when we assume all Canadians are polite.  I for one, poke fun at the notion.  A stereotype, does not define a nation.  Though, all things considered, that's not a bad one to have.  When people think of the U.S., they think we are overweight, gun-toting bullies.  


I've heard enough of your classroom stories, to know, that there are quite a few Canadians, that are far from polite.  I of course, can relate.  I also work with the same clientele you do.

#81865 Jar Lids

Posted by Benzine on 18 May 2015 - 09:22 AM

It would be a shame to glue them. How about buying some sheets of cork, cutting it to the diameter of the jar, then glue that to the underside of the lid. The lid will have a nice snug fit, and be stable.

#81750 Accidentally Left My Plugs Out... My Reds Look Fabulous

Posted by Benzine on 16 May 2015 - 07:50 AM

Well, there is that story, of the potter years ago, who couldn't replicate a beautiful red color, the local ruler really liked. In frustration he threw himself, into the firing kiln, the result was a beautiful red, due to the reduction he caused.

So what I'm saying is, who or what fell in your kiln Pugaboo?

#81711 Mug Sizes

Posted by Benzine on 15 May 2015 - 04:30 PM

I make mugs, for Graduation gifts. They are generally made from 1 1/4-1/12 lbs. of clay. They are about four inches tall, by about the same wide. I like them to be all purpose, for the college/ career bound. They are good for coffee/ hot chocolate, cereal, ice cream, soups/ ramen, etc. They are not, however, to be used for PENCIL HOLDERS!!! *Shakes fist at people who coddle their functional wares*