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Member Since 06 Apr 2010
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#78199 As a potter/ceramic artist, which IRS business code do you use for taxes?

Posted by JBaymore on 29 March 2015 - 09:57 PM

I subscribe to the Japanese approach.  I do not separate "craft" from "art".  It is all art.





#78180 2015 Potters Council Election Results

Posted by JBaymore on 29 March 2015 - 05:28 PM

Back from NCECA.  Exhausted, as always.


Now that the in-person Potters Council Advisory Board meeting held in conjunction with the annual NCECA conference is over, the new Board is seated, and the information was then released to the membership in attendance at the annual Member's Reception..............


The Potters Council is very pleased to announce that Vicky Hansen is the new Chair Elect.


The two new Board members are  E. Preston Rice (who will continue as CAD Forum Moderator also) and Evelyne Schoenmann, our first international member of the Advisory Board.


Steven Branfman moves to one year as the Immediate Past Chair,  and Kevin Crowe is the new Chair for the next year.  Retiring from their terms on the Board are Diana Pancioli and Lyndsay Meiklam.


Thanks go to Diana and Lyndsay for their service to the membership.  Thanks also go to all of the other 2015 election candidates that offered their time and expertise to potentially give back to the membership of the Potters Council.


Posting this notice is my last official act (trailing my Board 'retirement' by a couple of days) as the outgoing Immediate Past Chair and the Chair of the 2015 Nominating Committee.  Serving for the past four years on the Board has been an honor.  Thanks.






Immediate Past Chair

Chair, 2015 nominating Committee

#77435 What Do You Get Out Of This Forum Interaction?

Posted by JBaymore on 15 March 2015 - 10:33 PM

Old Lady, 

I have had private conversations with you. Next time I am in your neighborhood, I am going to visit.

I think you contribute quite a bit to this forum and I thank you for it. I wish you had a different call name. Yours makes me feel disrespectful.




I like to think of this one maybe more from the Japanese viewpoint.  Unlike in America, age, and the wisdom that comes from a long life, is very much respected there.  So in a somewhat literal translation/interpretation, the term "old lady" could actually be seen as a honorific term of respect.  :)





#77258 How Do You Deal With Toxic Chemicals

Posted by JBaymore on 12 March 2015 - 10:58 PM

How timely....my copy of McCann's Artist Beware arrived just today! Subtitle is "The Hazards and Precautions in Working with Art and Craft Materials". First chapter is titled "Is Your Art Killing You". Gee, I can hardly wait to read this thing.


Lee, the reason I've been recommending it, and it is on my reading list for the ceramic toxicology section at the college, is because what you don't know CAN sometimes hurt you.  But..... accurate information is important... not a lot of the fear-mongering and rumor mill stuff that goes around in the clay community. 


Also get on the ACTS-NY newsletter list from Mononna Rossol.





#77062 Gas Burner Question

Posted by JBaymore on 10 March 2015 - 11:25 AM


Unfortunately some hot shot engineers were responsible for much of the design layout and ventilation system of the Univ. kiln room.


I've done more work to "fix" kiln installations for clients and also for the institutions I've worked for that were "designed" by "hotshot engineers" than you can imagine.


On one move to a new space/building.... if they'd gone ahead with the original engineers plans.... it would have been the "conceptual ceramics" department.   No firing would have worked after the FIRST firing.


I LOVE telling an engineer that his calculations are wrong on the effluent temperature that the fan at the top of the stack is going to see.... and it exceeds the specified use temperature of the fan unit that HE selected.  And then showing him the air volume dilution calcs on paper... and then having him reluctantly change it.  He was likely getting 10X the hourly rate that I was.


Arrrrggggghhhhhhhhh !





#77060 Porcelain Throwing Method

Posted by JBaymore on 10 March 2015 - 11:11 AM

"True" porcelain is a composition of just a kaolin and a single ground rock  - called p'tunse.  It is a high silica content feldspathic based rock.  Often also called "Porcelain Stone"   磁器石 )  Neil's basic "recipe" above would approximate a true porcelain (no ball clay) ....in basic chemical composition. Not particle size or distribution.


Might be a "Lost in Translation" moment. ;)  


In Japan clay bodies are almost always wet blunged with a great excess of water from far less pure materials, through repeated smaller mesh screenings as it is moved to different blunging batches, and then is filter pressed to remove the last excess water.  This process produces really good quality clay out of materials that we would think of as "inferior" or "primitive" by our industrially refined standards. 


In America we tend to mix clay direct to the plastic state from industrially beneficiated (dried and airfloated, etc) clays with just enough water to make it workable.  This is NOT the way to make really good clay.  It is the way to make cheap (production-wise) clay. 


If we took the same kaolin and ground rock the Japanese (and Chinese) use for porcelain, and mixed up a body the way US suppliers typically do.... it'd likely be totally un-useable for forming.


The reason this labor and machinery intensive process  'works' in Japan is that the valuation for ceramic work is generally higher there.  And they are willing to have material cost a higher percentage of the sale price (indicating respect for good starting materials). Many ceramic centers mix up their own clays from mostly local materials (hence the visual distinction between pottery "villages" work).  Clay prices from suppliers in Japan in many/most places would shock you.  In America... many, many potters will go to another supplier if the price of a pound of clay is even one cent more.  No incentive in most cases for our suppliers to make better clay.


If that clay you got to feel was brought from Japan, Chris, it likely was produced by the blunging and the wet filter press method.  That is likely a portion of the buttery quality you mention.  And the repeated screening and settling process will take out the large particles so that is another part.


PS:  For porcelain (in Japanese "Jiki"   磁器  -gee key-), often in the blunging there is a huge magnet suspended in the tank with the mixing slurry... to take out the hematite (iron) nodlues.





#77021 Porcelain Throwing Method

Posted by JBaymore on 09 March 2015 - 02:27 PM

There are many techniques that are used in Japan to deal with VERY different clay body types (from typical American) that are done to make it survive or work better.  If I use some of them here with our clays... it often doesn't work.  And if I handle the clay there like I do here..... often it doesn't work.


Example, there is one body I use in Japan that if you put it out into the sun to dry... it cracks almost instantly.  Anotehr if you cover it with plastic... it cracks.





#76694 What Causes Glaze/clay 'tide Mark'?

Posted by JBaymore on 03 March 2015 - 04:34 PM

The finger wipes are thinning the residual glaze coating on top of the body.  This thin glaze coating is on a stoneware type body, so the interaction of the glaze and clay body (called the interface zone) will exist.  This is where the body grows crystalline materials into the glaze, and the glaze "eats" materials out of the body. 


In this situation there is little glass forming there... and the percentage of the body materials that are "in" the super thin glaze layer is high relative to the glaze's normal composition.


Two things are happening there.  One is that the alumina from the body is raising the Al2O3 content of that glass there.  That will tend to influence color rendition out of any oxides present.  Secondly, even white stonewares contain traces of iron oxide. 


The combination of a high alumina glassy phase and small amounts of iron oxide cause iron to go to the reddish color phase.  Hence the reddish brown marks. 


Same reason real shinos blush with that red firecolor on the thin spots on the high alumina refractory bodies they use.  Difference her is the presence of calcium and magnesium...... which dull the iron colors more toward the browns.. 





#76544 What Causes Glaze/clay 'tide Mark'?

Posted by JBaymore on 01 March 2015 - 09:38 PM

It is volatile compounds in the glaze are fuming the body along the border.  The common factor in the neph sy and the wood ash fusion buttons is high levels of sodium.  Potassium also does it.


You can't see the same stuff coming out of the larger expanses of the glaze surface and going into the kiln atmosphere... because it won't "mark" the glaze surface it is coming from.  But the bare body acts as a "tracer" for this stuff.


Almost all high wood ash glazes do this.  Ditto to high soda ash shinos.


Less common at cone 6 range than at 9-10 due to the reduced volatility of the soda and potash compounds.





#76536 Finding Your Own Style...easy To Say

Posted by JBaymore on 01 March 2015 - 08:39 PM


It is much easier to get to where you want to go if you have even a vague idea of where that place can be found.




I'm reminded of:


“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to."
"I don't much care where –"
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go.”

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland    





#76510 How Many Sell Ceramics For A Living?

Posted by JBaymore on 01 March 2015 - 01:52 PM

We are truly fortunate to have on this board active, self supporting potters who take the time to give back to the pottery community by contributing their advice and insights. However, the majority of self supporting potters I know do not post anywhere on the Internet for a ton of reasons ... Most having to do with the need to manage any free time they get. Pesky things like food, rest, life and family!

I post this for two reasons ... One is so that you know you are getting a somewhat skewed view of a potters life if you are asking on the Internet ...
And two, to encourage you to consider going to NCECA this year ... since it is nearby ... so you can meet and talk to various potters at all stages of their careers. This is a yearly conference that even the hardest working potters try to find time for. You can meet people at every stage of a pottery life. Most respected Graduate Ceramics programs are represented so you can talk with your peers from all over. If the price tag is too high, consider volunteering to help ... and save money.

This is a perfect time for you to be asking these questions and NCECA is a great place to get answers.


Great advice from Chris (no surprise there).


It CAN be done........ it is just a scad of hard work.  And it will not happen instantly.  But in some ways it is no different from running ANY type of small business....mostly the same issues.  You have to get up and do the work every day.  If you are making and selling widgets or making and selling pottery........ if you don't have a really tough Boss (you) the business is not going to make it.





#76437 Finding Your Own Style...easy To Say

Posted by JBaymore on 28 February 2015 - 04:05 PM

That leaves only one problem...what to do with copies? Give them away or keep them for yourself or consign them to the shard pile. Just don't present them as your original ideas.


One of the assignments I use in my upper intermediate throwing classes is a "copy the masters" problem.  I give the students a series of images of a selection of specific works (that I choose for reasons that I keep to myself ;) ) and they are to make a "Xerox copy" of that piece... right down to firing finish.  As close to the scale, form, and surface as they can achieve.  They are given quite a bit of time for this ... since it is a BEAR to actually accomplish. 


On the pieces bottoms they are required to inscribe the word COPY, their name, and the date.  And are instructed to never sell this piece.


You are right... it is an excellent task.  





#76413 Glazed Piece Fading In Dishwasher

Posted by JBaymore on 28 February 2015 - 11:54 AM



I looked at the new pictures....... better images... and shows the issue much better.  If the unglazed CLAY on the backside is not also changing color like this, then it is for sure the glaze that is not standing up to the chemical environment and the abrasion of the dishwasher.  Which it is technically POSSIBLE for a stained clay body to also lose materials from the outer surface... it is less likely.


At high fire (like cone 9-10) the glaze /body interface layer (not glaze/not body) is picking up the coloring oxides from the underlying clay and those colors (and other materials from the body) are becoming part of the glaze.  So if the glaze itself is not stable, then it allows some of those materials to be affected by the change in the glaze.


I think the "lightening" of the colors (not the significant color change) and the loss of shine is the fact that the glaze's surface is becoming "etched" as the surface is both slightly dissolved by the strong Ph change of the dishwasher detergent in the very hot water, plus the "sandblasting" effect that is a part of the dishwasher's process with the detergent. 


In any case... it is an issue for functional stuff from both a "repeat customer" standpoint... and potentially also a toxicological one.





#76151 Finding Your Own Style...easy To Say

Posted by JBaymore on 25 February 2015 - 11:05 AM

One of the things all of the faculty at our college are telling our students when they get to that place where they are "overanalyzing" and "creative blocking" and "obsessing" on solving world peace" in their work and just can't seem to DO any actual work... is to just go get their darn hands into the clay....... and start WORKING.... and let the clay begin to lead them.


Not blindly just thoughtlessly making ... but with consideration as they see what is happening and then respond to it and build from that.


"Working in black clay and white glazes" is a great start one year into your studies.  Start making pieces with that approach....... and let the results lead you along as you look at them and make decisions about what comes next.  At the same time ....be looking at black and white works as much as you can... all KINDS of artwork.... not just claywork. 


And remember...... 40 years from now you might be making polychrome, low fire primary color sculptures.  Your work and ideas will evolve with the impacts of making work, visual (and other) influences in your life, and a 'changing you'.   But for now.......... you are starting to know a bit where you want to go. 


'Personal style' does not typically land on your head like a ton of bricks.  And there are often divergences from 'the road' and reconnections with a former path (Example-see Don Reitz's work right after his bad car wreck.).





#76131 Finding Your Own Style...easy To Say

Posted by JBaymore on 25 February 2015 - 08:39 AM

Mel Jacobsen tells a great story that relates to your comment, (and this discussion) High Bridge.


Mel apprenticed in Japan.  He worked in a workshop that had a master potter and a few apprentices.  Mel was the resident "gaijin" (foreigner) and an American.  Of course Americans are 'known' for being totally innovative and creative.  So his sensei (teacher) challenged him to make a new form.  Of course this was to be on Mel's own time after he did the work required of the pottery...... which was making senesi's forms.


So most every night after working his butt off all day, Mel would sit there and try to come up with something "new and different".  And he would then place that piece he came up with on sensei's work table before he went to bed for the night.


Sometime the next day there would be a Japanese book or magazine sitting on Mel's wheel platform opened up to a picture of that form.  He said that went on for a year.