Jump to content


Member Since 06 Apr 2010
Offline Last Active Today, 09:26 AM

#76089 Pottery And Pregnancy

Posted by JBaymore on 24 February 2015 - 04:05 PM

My recs..................


Take the MSDS-s and any other technical references on ALL of the materials that you use with you and talk to your OB-GYN person about what you do, where you work, and how you work. 


Get a copy of the book "Artist Beware" by Dr. Michael McCann also and read it.


Everything I have ever read or been told by specialists is that it is something that needs to be VERY carefully considered.


Asking for what constitutes medical advice from a bunch of non-medical people, no matter how well meaning, is probably not the "definitive resource" for such an important subject.


While I teach about this ceramic toxicology stuff at the college level.... I straight out tell the students (and it is printed in  handouts) that they should talk to a physician....often an occupational health specialist. ....  for "the real deal".


My $0.02 worth.





#76083 Finding Your Own Style...easy To Say

Posted by JBaymore on 24 February 2015 - 03:30 PM

The terms "perfect" and "imperfect" are not specific enough for this kind if personal searching dialog.  You need to DEFINE exactly what you mean by those terms.  That is the kind of introspection and clarification we are talking about.  (Also see threads about "writing an artist's statement".)


There is a common phrase that is believed by just about everyone (at least in America) and is basically flawed.  "Practice makes perfect".  Nope..... that kind of approach just reinforces existing patterns of working and muscle memory.  Reflective and directed practice makes perfect.  Just practicing the same mistakes and weaker solutions to a design problem just makes it harder to eventually change them.


In some cases the '10,000 objects' (apologies to Malcolm Gladwell) idea could be totally a stagnant and repetitive work situation.  And in some case those 10,000 objects might look to the less astute observer as the same... but subtle changes are happening...and the forms and surfaces are getting stronger and more successful.  And in yet others the changes might be quite evident... but the familial relationships will still be there.  Evolution, not revolution.





#76076 Finding Your Own Style...easy To Say

Posted by JBaymore on 24 February 2015 - 01:35 PM



Go online and into the (gasp) library (you know those things called books  ;)  ) and start looking at images.  Then start a "clip book" (digital or physical) of the pieces that you say, "I wish I made that" about.  Amass at least 100 images.


Then from that selection of images narrow it down to about 20 images that you REALLY feel strongly about.  Put the rest away.


Then (yup....writing) write out the commonalities of traits that you see in the remaining 20 objects.  Use the language of the principles of art and design for this as well as and words that stress feelings.  Write at length.  If initially you can't see connections... look deeper..... they WILL be there.


Then spend some time analyzing that set of commonalities you drafted.


Next....................... take one of your physical pieces from the photo you posted above... and set it on the table in front of you and next to the papers with the listings you just came up with.  Ask yourself "What could I do to change THIS piece to reflect some of the common characteristics that I listed"?  Write those thoughts down.  Then get a sketch pad and using the piece in front of you as a "model", draw the "new" piece as you now envision it.  Look at that fuirst sketch and revise it to improce on it.  Do that a few times.


Then once you have a couple of sketches..... go MAKE that piece you drew in the last sketch.


THEN.... (nope not done yet)............... look at the new piece and assess what you feel is working on it, and what could be improved.


Make the same exact piece again.... but making ONLY the changes you just articulated.  Everything that you did NOT say should be changed should look like a Xerox copy of the prior piece.


Repeat this process on THIS object a number of times.


DO this diligently on the first object...and then a few others the same way................ and you'll no longer be asking about how to do this.





#75897 Signature Stamps

Posted by JBaymore on 21 February 2015 - 02:03 PM

The problem with "potters marks" is that unless a person knows "the code"....... they cannot easily identify the maker, should they wish to.  From a marketing point of view, does not "help the cause".


Ditto for initials.  (Is that stylized "JB" a John Baymore or a John Britt?)  In the case of initials then they are then depending on stylistic aspects (if they even know them) to narrow it down.


I've used a number of approaches over the years.  You can date work a bit based on the signature. Some people even do this change deliberately and with some structure. (If you find any pots labeled "OEW" ....  particularly raku ones...... that is me....... and you have some old and somewhat rare "Otis Earthworks" pieces from the very early 70s when I was in Otis, MA.) 


Now I use my signature on all but very tiny forms.  Engraved with a rounded point tool. 


(Please folks... don't sign with a needle tool!!!! Nasty quality of line and sharp after it is fired.)





#75623 Throwing Off The Hump?

Posted by JBaymore on 17 February 2015 - 03:32 PM

Pres mentioned the key to the s-crack issue....... I learned this in Japan.  EVERYTHING starts as a "plate" kind of form and if it is a bowl-ish hollow shape, the walls are then brought upward.


I use this a lot......... particularly for thrown yunomi and chawan. 


Also key is the trimming........... if the bottoms are thinner than the average walls or thicker than the average ....... it also promotes base cracking.


It is a mechanical skill like all other basic throwing aspects.  Guided and evaluative practice will let you develop the technique.  You can't short-cut the hours.





#75471 Making Burners Do's And Don't's

Posted by JBaymore on 14 February 2015 - 08:48 PM

No problem.


The most detailed part is getting the pipe that acts as the gas supply into the center of the mixing tube, and aligned with its axis.  And then SERIOUSLY sealing the manner in which you got it in there back up on that mixing tube.  There used to be a pipe part called a double tap bushing that allowed you to use a black iron T or cross for that function .....but they are like hen's teeth to find today.


Technically... and moving toward the "down and dirty" aspects...... you could just use a gas supply pipe coming into a large (1 1/2" or 2") T on the burner's mixing tube with a standard bushing (or not as good....... close nipples and reducers) to bring it down to maybe a 1/2" or 3/4" line (for the gas supply) and then just use NO orifice at all.  Very BAD design... but it'd work at some level.  The gas/primary air mixing would be bad, and the control of the burner (turn down ratio, etc.) would be bad... and it'd give the flame retention nozzle a chore to maintain the flame seated at the tip....... but you'd get a "burner".  I've seen it done.


Ideally you want the orifice "squirting" the gas stream out in the exact center of the mixing tube, and on axis with the flow of the air introduced by the blower.  This usually means a pipe coming in from the side thru the mixing tube wall, and then an ell to the short stub that holds the (replaceable) drilled orifice.  This is probably the most "nasty" construction detail.


A few likely useful links from some of my kiln class handouts to get you started on the road.............:





























#75469 Making Burners Do's And Don't's

Posted by JBaymore on 14 February 2015 - 06:47 PM

Ah....... some history....... and some credit to Harry's contributions......


Harry DeDell was the "Marc Ward" way before Marc's business existed.  Harry ran new England Ceramic and Kiln Supply in Danbury, CT.  At that time I was doing a lot of kiln design and building work for schools and private clients and used NEC&KS as a supplier for many kiln building materials....... they had better stock of that kind of stuff than the NE staple of potters, Newton Potters Supply (Newton, MA).  That is how I first became involved with Harry.  I learned a lot form Harry.


Because of my background in teaching kiln design and operation at MassArt, eventually Harry and I developed a professional relationship where I was doing kiln consulting work for him for some of the NEC&KS clients.  I also was working with Harry on kiln design and ideas on custom burner stuff.  As a part of NEC&KS, Harry very much specialized in combustion systems parts that you had trouble finding elsewhere........ retention nozzles, orifice parts, valves, BASO valves, thermocouples, and so on.  Eventually he developed a simple but slick power burner system design which he site built and sold as ready-to-use units to go along with the commercial burner units NEC&KS stocked.


Harry was a great guy and really knew what he was doing.  A real asset to the field...and an "unsung hero" in studio ceramics.


Eventually Harry sold out NEC&KS to the rapidly expanding Cutter Ceramics (side note- I was directly involved in the very birth of the Cutter Ceramics company also) and he went to work for them.  Tom Cutter, Jack Brennan, and Harry brought me on as kiln technical consultant for Cutter Ceramics (later Cutter-Eagle Ceramics) and I worked as a commissioned person for them for many years before they self-destructed by expanding way too fast.  In addition to general consulting and client services, I did kiln plans for them...... including the significant revisions to the Brookfield Kiln plans that Gerry WIlliams originally designed for the Brookfield Craft Center (using Harry's power burners) and a guide to using the Fyrite Flue Gas Analyzer.


Harry developed his own company called DeDell Burner when he left Cutter (before the final chapters) and ran that for many years.  Basically Harry's company was essentially what Ward Burner is now.  When Harry finally decided to retire (and Ward Burner has just been starting up), I got a phone call from Harry one night.......... and he gave me 'first refusal' to buy his business before he offered it to anyone else.  I was of course flattered... but I wanted to remain mainly a studio artist and PT professor...and knew if I bought that business, it would take up all of my time.  So I thanked him and said "no".  I understand that he eventually sold the business to Marc Ward...... but I do not know that for sure.  But the current power burners that Marc sells are pretty much carbon copies of Harry's design as are a number of the other product offerings.


Highbridge, If you look closely at the basic power burner design that Marc is currently selling, you can figure out how to build one that is very similar from off the rack parts (which is what Marc is doing).  You are in England, so I can't give you sources there.  But all you need is off-the-shelf black iron pipe parts for about 70% of it, a good flame retention nozzle, and a squirrel cage blower. A small amount of cutting and welding, a few bolts and such, and you have the basics.  You can fancy it up with blower speed controls instead of using a flap to control primary air. 


Then add stock flame safety components to match what ever code you will have to comply with.  Since I do not know UK codes.. .... can't advise you there at all.  But here in the US... all of the necessary parts are available from places like Johnson Controls.


Sometimes I still order from Ward Burner for simplicity....... and sometimes order parts direct from the manufacturers.... depends on the job and if I am trying to save a few bucks.


If you are trying to do something similar in technology level to the Ward power burner.... you can build them.  BUT... and this is an important "but"......... you may find that the amount you will save when combined with the inevitable mistakes you will make and have to correct.... along with your time... that buying the items might actually make more sense.  Us potters often try to do everything ourselves...... when sometimes we should really "call in the pros". 


Just like in making pots...... your TIME is your highest expense in making your work.  If you are looking at this as an educational endeavor............... that is one thing.  If you are looking to "save money"........ it might not work out as expected.





#75377 Leaving Functional Ware Unglazed

Posted by JBaymore on 12 February 2015 - 11:24 PM

Banko, Shigaraki, Bizen, Yixing and other such traditions all are unglazed wares.  Depends on what your and your audiences standards are.


We've been using unglazed kitchenwares in our house for 40+ years...... Japanese, mine made in Japan, and mine fired here. 


At cone 6 however, as Pres is alluding to above,........ I'd be looking at the nature of that body.  The stuff I am using in the general kitchen all is something like 0.5% apparent porosity or less.  All is fired to between cone 9 and cone 14.


Yixing and banko wares are more porous.... but are intended to absorb the tea oils over repeated uses.  They are also NEVER washed with any kinds of soaps... just rinsed with hot water.


Some of it is about care in handling in use.  Don't leave a half full coffee with cream stand in the cup for three days before washing it! ;)





#75091 Quick Question: Progressing From Test Glaze Batches To Production Batches

Posted by JBaymore on 10 February 2015 - 08:21 AM

You don't "know" that test glaze until you've use it is LOTS of tests and firings.  I'd say got for the 1000.... then got for 3000 if that 3000 is looking like what you want... then 5000.... and so on.


Use the need to have things to set the glaze ON as an excuse to make simple 1 lb. thrown cylinders as throwing development exercises.  If you simply must have some tangible product of those throwing exercises..... maybe make simple cylindrical flower vases or add a handle and make mugs (if the glaze is expected to be suitable for that).


Kill two birds with one stone.





#74960 Sodium Silicate Alternative For Throwing Technique?

Posted by JBaymore on 06 February 2015 - 01:50 PM



Try different stiffness and sizes of of brushes.  Try different patterns of brush strokes.  Put it on very unevenly.  Don't put it on everywhere.  Lightly rough up the surface before applying the sodium silicate.  And so on.


As to the timing business, the standard correct answer to ANY question in ceramics applies here as always" "It Depends!"  ;)


Cylinder thrown... outer surface prepped for the sodium silicate.  Apply the sil.  Then wait X seconds/minutes.  Belly out.


I typically leave if for anywhere from maybe 30 seconds to as much as a couple of minutes, depending on what surface I am looking for.  Could never got get a cup of coffee.  I am constantly watching the surface and the amount of water coming out of the wall.  It is a 'monitored process'......I'm right there, in the moment, watching.


I throw dry (slurry or nothing) and thin too....so have to be careful with the timing.   Too long and yes... the piece will crack right through.  (If you throw thicker...... this might never happen... never tried.)


When I am doing this I have a stock of tissues/paper towels sitting on hand.  The sil goes on.  Then with the wheel rotating very, VERY slowly I use the tissues to simply sop up the mixture of sodium silicate and water (being driven out of the clay body by the change in the ability of the clay to hold the water) and throw them away.  I also immediately am using a small sponge with water in it and running that along the wheelhead to get the crap off there before I start bellying.  (NOTE:  don't throw the tissues on the table or floor around the wheel.... as it dries sodium silicate is a GREAT glue!)


If I am using a wood bat on the wheelhead, it is a bat that is solely for using sodium silicate.  Eventually it screws up the absorbtion of the bat surface.


Hope that helps.





#74891 Sodium Silicate Alternative For Throwing Technique?

Posted by JBaymore on 05 February 2015 - 11:17 AM

The sodium silicate works because it "kills" the outer clay layer's plasticity by changing the chemistry of the water in that layer of clay.  The part it can't migrate into (interior of the form) remains plastic.    it is not that it dries.  With sodium silicate... there is no need to use a torch, heat gun, or blow drier.   You CAN use them... which changes the effect somewhat.... but you don't have to.





#74631 Does Fading Always Mean A Glaze Isn't Food Safe?

Posted by JBaymore on 01 February 2015 - 10:33 AM

Hesselberth and Roy used leaching for drinking water as their guide. 



I think it is important to point out here that Mononna Rossol (ACTS NYC) was using the drinking water standards for comparisons to glaze leaching as a guideline before that book was ever published.  That is a GREAT book and Ron and I have presented together on glazes at NCECA in the past........ not slighting their work........ but giving credit where credit is due.





#74060 Pregnancy And Working In The Studio?

Posted by JBaymore on 25 January 2015 - 12:26 PM

FYI....... Our stock policy at the college is that it is 'not recommended' and that the person should themselves talk with their OB-GYN physician and take the toxicology handouts we provide and copies of the MSDSs of the materials they work with to the conversation.





#74044 Artist Statement

Posted by JBaymore on 25 January 2015 - 09:35 AM

Came back to also say something I missed above but I think is important......


The Artist's Statement is a "two way street".  What you make of course influences your artist's statement... but in writing and editing and constantly updating artist statements... that action helps to clarify your thinking and hence will greatly impact the making of your work. 


Writing an artist's statement is part of developing your work.  Developing your work is part of developing a strong artist's statement. 


You can repeat that last pair of sentences for the rest of your life. ;)





#74043 Artist Statement

Posted by JBaymore on 25 January 2015 - 09:10 AM

I would take a workshop on writing an artist statement.  As it stands I don't apply for shows because I don't have one and don't know what I would say.  I've searched online and have also clicked the links in this thread and nothing I've found so far helps me to write one or feel remotely comfortable knowing where to start.  I have artist statement block!


Start writing about what you do and why you do it.  Stream of consciousness.  No one is going to read THIS piece but you.  It can be 50 pages... whatever.


Then start using the strikethrough type face and edit OUT stuff that does not sound clear... and retype in something that says that better in a red or blue typeface .


Then start taking out what is not the MOST important stuff to YOU.


Like working in the studio....... just get you hands into the clay...and it all starts to work.


Eventually it will package itself up.  As you are getting closer to the end..... have others read it and make suggestions.