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#113725 The Only Absolutely True Rule For Potters. Pay Attention To This

Posted by JBaymore on 24 September 2016 - 12:30 PM

The old item that you have in the studio for 40 years that you haven't used or needed for the last 30 years... and you throw it out.


The next day.... is the day you need it again.  :blink:





#113717 Do You Like....?

Posted by JBaymore on 24 September 2016 - 10:45 AM

As a long time maker of asymmetrical and "loose" kinds of forms....... intended mainly for function........ I find an interesting aspect in the use of language in this thread.  More so than the pieces themselves.  It is how we are defining and describing things as we discuss them.


The choice of the use of the terms like "Perfect" and "Imperfect" and the association to "Symmetrical".


And the choice of terms like "Unrefined" associated with "Simple" and "Rustic".


And the associations that things like "wobble" and "wonky" are a negative.


I would contend that some of the "wonkiest" asymmetrical and rustic pieces can also be some of the most refined, well-considered, technically well executed, and sophisticated pieces there are, and are approaching if not attaining being "perfect". 





#113713 Studio Safety

Posted by JBaymore on 24 September 2016 - 10:14 AM

Agree with you John. The one that I currently use is a NIOSH 6001 3m, but it's cartridge is also for vapors. an overkill I think. Can one find cartridges without the carbon filter? It is also heavy on my face, and particularly my nose. 

Another question: do you think I can place it under a tap and wash thoroughly if I take the cartridges off?  I always just wiped it off, because of that front nossl- thingy. 




Yes... there are just straight P-100 / HEPA filters available.  Lots of online suppliers of safety equipment. The chemical carbon filter is doing nothing for you for the dusts except helping to empty your wallet.  So unless you are using solvents and stuff like lusters, it is also only making it a bit harder to breathe.  


Yes.... you can usually carefully wash the whole thing (minus filter cartridges) in warm soapy water.  Dry it well, and be careful of any mechanical "flappy" parts that control which way the air is flowing when you inhale and exhale.  And for storage, keep them in a sealed plastic bag AFTER washing the mask after use and letting the filters dry out from a bit of exhaled moisture.   Only dry stuff goes into the sealed bag.... unless you like to add molds to your list of possible exposures ;) .


The P-100 filters do not go "bad" over time.  But the chemical ones DO.  So exposure to air slowly kills their effectiveness.  The sealed plastic bags helps with that too.


After the "bad" comment above....... an important note I'd like to mention here is also that the P-100 filters do not slowly let more stuff get thru as they age.  Quite the opposite.  The filters "fail" by plugging up and letting less and less stuff thru.  Like ..... air.  SO when you notice that you are JUST starting to feel a little resistance to breathing or find that you get a little out of breath for a certain exertion level compared to "normal".... time to change the filters.





#113579 Nerd Playing With His New Toy

Posted by JBaymore on 22 September 2016 - 09:32 AM



Ya know, that new toy, some photoshop and custom printed color ceramic decals could make some CRAZY cool looking stuff!


Like fake wood laminate on particle board.......  stick on macro-crystalline overglaze decals.  :D  :D :D  


"Tired of playing around with complex cooling cycles?  Just use our new KrystalTex decals, and you can eliminate all that fussing around."









#113561 Studio Safety

Posted by JBaymore on 21 September 2016 - 10:56 PM

Like you I wear disposable latex gloves when I work with materials or glaze.  I use to by them at Harbor Freight but they don't carry the latex one anymore so I have to order them.  I also wear a paper mask when I do anything that creates dust like mixing glazes,  I buy these flat ones from Harbor freight that come 50 for $5, they are cheap enough I can use them and then toss them.   Denice


The paper ones are not really what you want.  You want a half face respirator with p-100 / HEPA filters.  Look into something called the "Protection Factor" when it comes to respirators.  It is not JUST about the filter TYPE.  To select the correct mask... you need to do a computation that involves the actual exposure level, the filter effectiveness, and the protection factor of the respirator unit.  Then you have to compare to the PEL/TLV for the material.  For silica... the PEL/TLV is quite low.


And the mask must seal.  Fit testing is crucial.


The paper type masks are only appropriate if you KNOW the exposure level you have to deal with.  To do that you have to do typical air sampling.  Since most folks don't know that...... you have to assume it is high (unless you are a gambler).





#113477 Seeking More Technical Understanding Of Firing To A Cone

Posted by JBaymore on 20 September 2016 - 01:15 PM

In the supplier's defense...... one of the issues here is that .... (OK, politically incorrect stuff coming) ........ a lot of potters are cheap, cheap, cheap.  Meaning if I as a clay supplier cost you $0.01 a pound more than my competitor...... those folks will go to my competitor.  Even if my product is actually superior.... because in many cases they do not realize that fact (it is "hidden" in the technical side).


So I have to produce clay cheaply...... because I need to sell that clay.  If I were to really quality control and technically test the bodies I used... and be constantly revising them BEFORE the potters in the filed start having issues....... I'd be going out of business.  Because the few cents a pound that all that costs me to do.... people won't pay it.


In some cases ... they don't SEE the differences... because they do not know where to LOOK for the differences.  A huge portion of studio potter's out there have testing regimes that are  .... if it looks like a pot, and quacks like a pot, .... it is a pot.  I call this the "Mark 1 Eyeball Test".  I simply look at the pot and the glaze....... if it looks good....... I assume it is good.  Base on a cursory visual inspection.  Away it goes for sale.





#113472 Returned To Pottery After 45 Years, Now In Pain

Posted by JBaymore on 20 September 2016 - 12:13 PM



Later this year we plan to raise the wheel which will mean learning to throw all over again. But I know it will help my back and neck to do it so it will be worth it! 


Make sure that you research John Glick's article on this subject.  It is not just about standing up.  Standing and throwing without really understanding what you are trying to accomplish can simply move the repetitive stress injury zone to other body parts.  Seen it happen with even students.





#113457 Seeking More Technical Understanding Of Firing To A Cone

Posted by JBaymore on 20 September 2016 - 07:38 AM

Edit: by the way, the commercial clay biz needs to be faulted: making a c6 to c10 firing range claim is just flat bogus IMO and in my testing.


I've been pounding on this issue for years.  Absolutely true.  This is so that they don't have to stock more different types of clay bodies.  Cost and complexity saving for them.  Not great for the potters.  They get away with it because people do not complain.  Many don't complain because they don't know.





#112841 Ceramics Studio/woodshop Safety

Posted by JBaymore on 09 September 2016 - 11:06 PM

Welcome to the forums.


You've got a bit of a "tiger by the tail" there.  You have some potential professional liability if you know about the hazards and don't do something about them.... but if you "blow the whistle" it sounds like you'll be on the bad side of the faculty.  Not good.  And if you actually DO blow the whistle loudly so it can't be avoided to be heard in the ivory tower..... the admin folks will possibly try to fire you...... because it is expensive to fix this kind of stuff at an institutional level.


To whom do you answer in your position?  If it is the faculty....... you obviously have a real problem.  They'll make your life miserable.  Personally ..... I'd be looking for a different job from the sounds of this.


Sounds like there are likely OSHA violations all over the place.  You might have issues of the welding flare in the same space as people not working with that stuff and not wearing eye protection.  Light shields to stop that have to be in place.  Are all the guards on the power equipment?  Who does training for students and staff on the equipment?  How is that documented?


Has OSHA "Right to Know" training been done?  How about respirator fit training and medical monitoring? Are MSDS (now called SDS) books for all the materials used in the studios posted in appropriate accessible stations?  Are there eye wash stations where there need to be?  Safety showers near dangerous fire-y stuff?  How about stuff like fire blankets in hot working areas?  Fire extinguishers?  Is there local pickup ventilation on stuff like saws and grinding wheels?  Are all the corridors and walkways clear to the required distances?


Note that the safety issues that organizations like OSHA enforce do NOT apply to students.  Yeah... crazy, I know.  The rules apply to the people employed in the college.  Including you.  And you'll be in those spaces a lot of hours... so you are at risk from the mess more than the students. 


The OSHA and National Fire Protection Association websites are good resources.  And your head of the Facilities Department (or Buidings and Grounds) can possibly be your friend in all this.  Unless he/she is 'under the gun' also on this stuff.


Background ........ I used to be the H+S officer for our college, and chaired the H+S Committee for 9 years.  Been there, done that, bought the T-shirts.  And spent a lot of the college's money.


If they are putting that responsibility ON you specifically... then you have no choice but to address it.  Good luck.





#112588 Questions About Manganese In Clay, Slips, Etc

Posted by JBaymore on 05 September 2016 - 09:34 AM

There is a large level of misinformation in the studio pottery community about various aspects of toxicology of the materials we handle.  The key to negating this influence is getting good solid information about the subject.  There ARE good references out there....you just have to make the effort to find them.


Two huge assumptions that are both wrong:


  • Because it is art materials... it is all OK to handle.  It's art for crying out loud!
  • Oh my god, that stuff contains xxxxxxxxxx ..... we're all gonna' DIE!


There is a lot of misinformation in the studio pottery community surrounding manganese.  A lot of the studio pottery community has heard information about horrible events attributed to manganese that are totally apocryphal.  Meaning.... no proof.  Assumptions made.  There are good scientific studies that show that manganese has the capability to cause some serious issues.  But you need to understand the WAY that manganese enters the body, and the magnitude of the exposure that is implicated, and the extent of exposure that has to happen.


One of the most basic tenets for understanding toxicological impacts:  Intensity, Duration, and Frequency


Manganese dioxide ( the common form potters use) is not absorbed thru intact skin.  Skin contact is not an issue.


Respirable DUST is the main problem with manganese for studio potters.  And the main potential source for that problem is sub-micron fume dust particles from manganese vaporizing out of glazes, slips, and clay in the kiln. 


Respirable dust is the main problem for studio potters for just about ALL of the materials we use.  You want to have something to worry about......... it is SILICA dust.  Look it up.  It is not only about silicosis... it is about lung CANCER too.  Controlling clay and glaze dust in the studio is you number one priority.  Because it is sourced just about EVERYWHERE. 


If you control that problem appropriately (you likely cannot totally eliminate it) ........ then the smaller amount of dust containing manganese particles coming from manganese bearing slips, clay bodies, and glazes will also be decently controlled.


If you are not controlling the dust sources in the studio... then adding a manganese bearing source of potential respirable dusts is just compounding the potential issues.  You'll use less volume of manganese bearing slip to color the surface of the clay than you will if the whole (dust producing) clay body contains manganese.  So that is the better choice if both options give the eresults you want.  You'll also FIRE less mass of manganese in the kiln... thereby producing less manganese fume.  So that is the better choice.





#112433 Supplies To Buy When Buying A First Wheel?

Posted by JBaymore on 02 September 2016 - 09:07 AM

My preference is for wooden bats (when I use bats).  For probably 90% of what I make I simply pick them up off the wheelhead.  I often use a bat ON the wheelhead...... but it is there to make the working surface wood instead of metal.


Nerd... maybe get 1 each of a plywood one (I like Bailey's), a MDF one, and a plastic one... and see what YOU like.  When starting out....... it is good to learn how to pick up pieces off the wheelhead.  It is about skill acquisition and development at the beginning stages..... not the pieces themselves.


For smaller work... the Whisper is a NICE wheel.





#111958 Qotw: Epic Failures Anybody?

Posted by JBaymore on 25 August 2016 - 01:22 PM

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..............


I needed more of my custom clay formula mixed up.  Called up my handy-dandy long term supplier and ordered another 2000 pounds of it.  I had a show coming, a number of custom orders to complete, store/gallery stock to replenish, and so on.  I had already started production on the noborigama load a bit... but knew I'd be running out of clay any day. On the average I know that my wood kiln takes about 2000-2200 pounds of clay made into pots for a load....depending on the particular types of pieces for that load.


The clay arrives one day.  As the driver is unloading it I notice that the bags are labeled "Bateman" not "Baymore".  I ask the driver about that.  He says...... "Not to worry... just mis-labeled".  I say.,.... please call the factory and check on this to make sure it is my clay.  He does.  Gets assurances that it was just a mis-spelling of my name when the warehouse guy heard it and labeled the bags.  OK....... fine.


I continue working on the load.  At one point I am wedging together some of my OLD clay.. and some of the new clay.  As I slice the bung, I notice a SLIGHT marbeling of the clay.  Hummmmmm.............   Now I know enough about clay bodies that organics in the clays can cause slight color differences that have no bearing on the fired results.  That is normal.  Things like fireclays and ball clays (both were in that body) often look different run-of-mine to run-of-mine. 


BUT.... I flash back to "Bateman".  I call the supplier again myself.  Yup... it is the correct clay.  Yup... it's organics.  Yup...... not to worry.


Finished making and bisque firing the load and glazing.  Stacked the kiln.  Fired the kiln.


Unloaded the whole load into the shard pit.


I was NOT my clay formulation.  Probably was a cone 6 oxidation body.  Or a really botched mixing job with materials mis-weighed.  Just about nothing was salvageable in the whole load.  Looked terrible, slumping, warping, cracking, awful color... you name it... it had it.


This nearly bankrupted me.  Each firing of a large kiln like mine is a huge investment of materials and labor TIME.  LOTS of eggs in one basket.  Amongst the other stuff, I had one huge 12 place dinnerware set order in there for a very good client that was to be a wedding present..... missed the deadline.  Lost the purchase and the client.  Had no stock for general sales for a while.  Had used up a lot of paid-for materials.  Got zero dollars for my investment of all that time (time which simply can't be recreated).  Needed to spend more $ to get more materials to make more work.  Put production behind by one full kiln work cycle. 




SO....... I went to small claims court to try to recover something out of this mess.  Now the law says that I had to go to the court in the place where the company was located.  That was a couple hours drive away. I also consulted with a lawyer.  So there was more time and money invested.  My day in court finally arrived (weeks and weeks after he unloading).


And....................... I lost.


You know those disclaimers that the suppliers have on their websites and in their catalogs?  The ones that say "we are not responsible.... clay and glaze materials are naturally occurring minerals and we have no control over .... blah....blah.... blah".  Yup.... they are very powerful tools in a court of law.  They stand up.  Not only did I lose the value of the load... I had to pay for the clay!  Now the court DID allow me to not pay the INTEREST on the clay cost bill that accrued during the dispute.  Yay!


Lessons..... a multitude. 


The BIG one........... the phrase I use on this forum and in my classes all the time......... "test, test, test".


Do not put materials into full production until you KNOW that they are working correctly.


Also... trust you gut.  That should have lead me to .....test, test, test.  I screwed up.  I didn't.


The company in question... which shall remain nameless....... no longer exists.  They went out of business not all that long after this incident.  Guess maybe they had a lot more incidents like this.


There you have it.  Don't repeat my mistake.





#111949 Supplies To Buy When Buying A First Wheel?

Posted by JBaymore on 25 August 2016 - 09:50 AM

I'd put in my vote for a better wheel also for a totally new beginning thrower. 


If you are not looking to really make throwing a long term high priority in your clay adventures...... look for a used one... or a new Brent B or something like that.  You probably won't need "horsepower" or torque like even a Brent C ..... and you don't need to spend the $ for quiet of a Shimpo Whisper.


Check "The Potters Attic"  on Facebook for used equipment ads.  And Craigslist.  And anything your local Potters Guild / club might have.





#111947 Glaze Calculation Software Recommendations

Posted by JBaymore on 25 August 2016 - 09:28 AM


- include supplier and price details for materials





Insight does that.  Check the MDT options ... there is a place for you to put in the price you pay.  The price per pound for any glaze (if you've done that) is dis[played in the "data" area that shows stuff like Si:Al ratio, Mol wt, and so on.





#111774 Press Molded Tiles/trivets

Posted by JBaymore on 21 August 2016 - 06:31 PM

Have you looked at the pricing for commercial ceramic work in nice department stores?  Made mostly by jigger, jolly,hydraulic dry pressing, slip casting, and injection slip molding.  I would price them at what you think they should be priced as the quality of the OBJECT, as well as with a slight consideration for the COG aspects and the labor factor.  Just don't market them as "each made totally by hand forming".  If it makes you feel better, put "press-molded trivet" on the hangtag.  If someone asks how they are made... be truthful.  Simple.


Remember that "designers" get to charge a lot because ...well........ because they are "DESIGNERS".  But the objects sold are often totally machine made.  But it is good DESIGN of the object.  It is the design work that is the key.