Jump to content


Member Since 08 Sep 2012
Offline Last Active Today, 10:51 AM

#122425 How Much Are You Willing To Pay For A Mug?

Posted by Benzine on 17 February 2017 - 09:32 AM

I would pay up to $50 for a mug I really liked.


I know there are plenty of people out there, who would be shocked at a mug costing that much, but I can appreciate what goes into making it.  So if I liked the size and style, I would have no problem paying out for it.

#120586 Mixing Dry Glaze With Clay Bodies

Posted by Benzine on 14 January 2017 - 08:37 PM

I have done that in my own classroom, by accident...


We often reclaimed/ recycled clay by taking dryer scraps, then hydrating them to a thick slurry.  We'd then use bone dry powder to work into that slurry to dry and thicken it.  (Note:  I don't do this anymore, because it was a huge mess, and a hazard due to all the dust it created).


Anyway, one of my student helpers, was told to grab a new bag of said clay powder.  We didn't find out until a firing, that they grabbed a bag of glaze powder instead.  The projects made with it, which was only a couple, melted quite a bit.  This was just during bisque, so only about Cone 04/ 05.  

As I recall, they didn't really stick to the shelves.  I just had a couple students, who lost a project, and gained my deepest apologies...

#119238 Check My Work

Posted by Benzine on 27 December 2016 - 11:13 AM

That BBC video was excellent, thanks for posting it!


They sure got that glass to look a whole lot like traditional glaze.  I like the addition of the tree sap.  It seems like their equivalent of liquid gum.

#119011 Wheel Speed When Trimming

Posted by Benzine on 23 December 2016 - 11:09 AM

It almost done a bit like mediation for me-I get in the groove.



I can relate to that.  I find trimming to be quite calming.  The sound of the thin layers of clay being removed is like white noise...



My approach to trimming is to take off a lot of clay very quickly... with the wheel rotating slowly.  Very sharp tools... kept sharp.  Instead of many multiple revolutions to get the clay off....... fewer revolutions.  Decisive cuts.






Coincidentally, I just watched a video of Japanese woodworkers yesterday.  It talked about how they begin every day sharpening their tools.  Doing so definitely makes their work a lot easier, especially considering all they use is no electric hand tools.

#118015 Clay Weight To Fired Object Ration?

Posted by Benzine on 07 December 2016 - 09:36 AM

Probably about right.  I've weighed some of the mugs I've made, just to compare pre to post firing.  My 1 1/2 to 2 lbs. mugs weight right around a pound after firing.


I guess that would make sense.  Water is heavy.  I guess that's one reason why ceramic artist order glaze as dry materials.  Why pay for shipping on a material that comes cheap out of the tap?

  • oly likes this

#118014 Amaco Underglazes And Crawling Issue

Posted by Benzine on 07 December 2016 - 09:32 AM

I have been using Amaco underglazes in my classroom for years.  I have only had a couple issues with them.


One is an issue with application.  A student was trying to do drips with underglaze.  They applied waaaaay too much, and it cracked a bit, as it dried/ shrank.


The other issue is still somewhat of a mystery.  A student applied underglaze at the greenware stage (This is usually when I have students apply it).  After it was bisqued, some of the underglaze flaked off.  Before glaze firing, the student reapplied the underglaze.  It flaked off again, taking the clear coating with it.  We even tried again, to no avail.  Nothing would stick to those spots.  Posters here suggested that something got on the ware in those spots and continued to act as a resist.  This is definitely possible, and really the only thing that makes sense.  I even had a similar thing happen to a few jars I had made.  I don't remember having anything on my hands, when I went to underglaze, but it is possible.  I do remain cautious, when underglazing/ glazing ever since.


I would recommend thinning your underglaze or using less coats.  I treat them like watercolor in some cases.  Build thin translucent layers.


Best of luck!

#117542 Adding Low-Fire Liner To Glazed Stoneware Vessel?

Posted by Benzine on 30 November 2016 - 09:30 AM


The glaze has to fit the clay - another lesson in not rushing, how many do I need?


When does time end?


In my experience working with clay, and Art in general, the thought of "Yeah, I should have known better..." comes up often.

#115202 Qotw: What Means "imperfection" To You?

Posted by Benzine on 27 October 2016 - 08:56 AM

Imperfections are aspects to the piece, contrary to what I was trying to achieve.


If I have a piece, where I wanted clean lines, or definition between colors and I have drips or smears, those are imperfections.  If I have a piece that I want to be as symmetrical and even as possible, that is a bit oblong or uneven, that is an imperfection.


However, if I am layering glazes with the purpose that they run and mix in an interesting way, I won't mind some random/ unexpected drips.  If I have a piece, that I ad a groove or swirl, which causes some distortion, I obviously won't care if it a bit off elsewhere.  


And I've actually had the opposite problems.  I've had glazes I wanted to run in an unexpected way, that stayed put.  I've had forms that I wanted to be a bit skewed, that were a bit too perfect.  In that case, the perfection was the imperfection.


So I guess it's all about my intent.

#114687 Oven Safe

Posted by Benzine on 14 October 2016 - 08:29 AM



Several customers asked me at last weekends art show how hot can these pie plates go to-My answer is always the same 2,400 degrees and try to keep the fire dept from spraying water on the house fire when it gets up to that temp as the water will cool the pot unevenly.



I love this response Mark!  Do you get blank, startled stares when you say it, or do the customers get the joke immediately?


Most laugh -I have said this for decades

I have been told I;m hard on some customers.


As someone, who has worked shows for the amount of time you have, I'm sure your demeanor is appropriate.  Plus, your work speaks for itself.  Customers can buy smiles and sunshine from another artist.  Talk to you if they want quality wares.

#114686 Old Chemicals

Posted by Benzine on 14 October 2016 - 08:27 AM

rocks are millions of years old already, a few more won't matter



But how can you be sure?  What if One million and one years is the limit?!!!...Hehe....

#111922 How To Make A Perfect Two Part Sculpture

Posted by Benzine on 24 August 2016 - 07:35 PM

What temperature are you firing at?  


At low fire temps, you can just build the entire sculpture at once, then cut it to fit the kiln.  After the firing, things should fit the same.  But with mid to high fire temps, the pieces can warp, when not fired together.

#111750 Ceramic Buttons Necessary For Fiber Kiln?

Posted by Benzine on 21 August 2016 - 08:49 AM

I like my ceramic buttons.  Myself and my Art Club students made them look like faces.  So when the kiln gets to temp, and we take the lid off, we have some glowing kiln gods watching us unload...

#111685 Qotw: Are You Showing Us The Best Piece You Made When Starting With Pottery?

Posted by Benzine on 19 August 2016 - 09:42 PM

These are some of the first things I made, but probably not the best, from that first class.  That would be a slab sculpture I did, that I don't have a photo of at the moment.  It was a college Ceramics I class.  I had worked with clay for once project, in high school, but it wasn't fired.

First Wheel Set
Album: First Set
1 images

#110953 Classroom Materials

Posted by Benzine on 04 August 2016 - 12:21 PM

I would have no problem with my work being used.  I actually asked the Guinea Potter to show some of her amazing underglaze work.

Students never seem to understand the difference between using glaze and underglaze.  I tell them underglazes behave more like paints, and Guinea's work is an excellent example of that.

#110637 Classroom Materials

Posted by Benzine on 27 July 2016 - 09:52 AM

For Art terms like Elements and Principles, art supply companies like Sax (Now part of School Specialty)  or Dick Blick offer such things.  

Allposters.com has a great selection of Art posters.

Or, depending on your district, you can print and laminate things yourself.  Just be careful of copyright laws.


Of course, I say all this, not knowing where you are located.  So some of my suggestions won't work for you if you aren't in the States.