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Member Since 18 Apr 2011
Offline Last Active Jun 30 2016 07:05 AM

#99560 Poetry Of Pottery

Posted by BeckyH on 13 January 2016 - 10:37 PM

If you have never come across this, I hope you enjoy it:

Marvin Bell
I can tell you about this because I have held in my hand
the little potter’s sponge called an “elephant ear".
Naturally, it’s only a tiny version of an ear,
but it’s the thing you want to pick up out of the toolbox
when you wander into the deserted ceramics shop
down the street from the cave where the fortune-teller works.
Drawn by stones, by earth, by things that have been in the fire.
The elephant ear listens to the side of the vase
as it is pulled upwards from a dome of muddy clay.
The ear listens to outside wall of the pot
and the hand listens to the inside wall of the pot,
and between them a city rises out of dirt and water.
Inside this city live the remains of animals,
animals who prepare for two hundred years to be clay.
Rodents make clay, and men wearing spectacles make clay,
though the papers they were singing go up in flames
and nothing more is known of these long documents
except by those angels who divine in our ashes.
Kings and queens of the jungle make clay
and royalty and politicians make clay although
their innocence stays with their clothes until unraveled.
There is a lost soldier in every ceramic bowl.
The face on the dinner plate breaks when the dish does
and lies for centuries unassembled in the soil.
These things that have the right substance to begin with,
put into the fire at temperatures that melt glass,
keep their fingerprints forever, it is said,
like inky sponges that walk away in the deep water.

#96671 Wheel Throwing Progress

Posted by BeckyH on 02 December 2015 - 10:54 AM

Videos of people's failures would be very useful-seeing others mistakes can show you more than watching them work perfectly. In general we have tried to shelter folks from failure so much that working past disappointment is very hard for them.

#93139 Community Challenge #3

Posted by BeckyH on 23 September 2015 - 10:11 PM

While they may rhyme, pound cakes are not (usually) round! Once again, the motivator is available.

#90502 Onion

Posted by BeckyH on 09 August 2015 - 09:25 AM

Guinea, I hate to break it to you but onions don't have fronds.  I think little feet...maybe even bunny feet..would be cool.

Looks like you've never left one too long in the bin. They will sprout long green leaves. They do have little roots, so I suppose you could make a foot ring of thin strands.

#90427 Work Table Height

Posted by BeckyH on 07 August 2015 - 10:20 PM

The formula is to find a height that lets you keep your hands above your waist when working. Bend your arms with your elbows at your side until your hand are parallel to the floor. That should be a good height to start with. If you have a kitchen counter that you like you can use that height. You can always use chocks to adjust the height, or make a stand for a wedging bat or work board. I made one out of 3/4" pvc pipe for a very tall cook to put his cutting board on.
If the table is too tall make a step out of plywood that is the right height for comfort. Be sure to put nonslip tape on the top! Most step stools will be too tall and will have a tendency to slip when you lean over the bench.

#90426 Sheet Pan Racks For Drying?

Posted by BeckyH on 07 August 2015 - 10:12 PM

These are the backbone of my professional life. The perfed trays are pretty lightweight. You would be better off cutting plywood to fit the rack. You could put some wire grating on top for better air movement, or wrap the boards in canvas. The useable area is about 2" narrower than the rack if you are doing anything taller than the spaces between shelves. They are available with different shelf spacing, so think about the size of the stuff you want to store/dry. The zippered vinyl covers are good at holding moisture-I used them as makeshift proofing racks by adding a pot of boiling water at the bottom with my product at the top. If you keep your wares about a foot from the bottom of the rack you can put in a water pan underneath and it should hold enough moisture to keep things leather hard for a while. You will have to experiment with your local humidity. Get the heavy duty ones and they will last for a very long time. Be nice to the casters or they will get tricky to steer and kind of jumpy, and that could mean stuff falling over or cracking.

#90002 Community Challenge #2 - The Results

Posted by BeckyH on 01 August 2015 - 09:13 PM

Well, maybe next time will be pound cake. Chocolate, vanilla or black walnut. Unless folks just want more brownies!

#89876 Stream Of Consciousness Back Fires ....

Posted by BeckyH on 30 July 2015 - 10:41 PM

They are very good at camouflage, so you could have just said that it was there, but you have to look really, really closely.

#89753 3D Printer To Make Master Mould?

Posted by BeckyH on 29 July 2015 - 08:03 AM

Well, several show up when I googled for 3d plaster printer. Mostly they look like places where you send them the object file and they print it for you, but you could get the same kind of machine that they use.

#87814 Community Challenge #2

Posted by BeckyH on 27 June 2015 - 12:08 AM

it can be done! I have some pretty good GF brownie recipes.

#87324 Removing Greenware From Ceramic Mold Questions

Posted by BeckyH on 17 June 2015 - 04:01 PM

You can run a small heater or dehumidifier near your molds, which will help them dry. We let larger pieces sit until the wall-the solid layer next to the mold-is about 1/4" thick before pouring off the excess.
Pinholes can be caused by dirty molds. Older molds often leave pinholes, as the plaster has started to degrade with use. If you are using old molds, you may have to recast a master and recast the mold in new plaster. Most of the time a damp sponge or chamois will take care of them. If the top of the piece is plugged with semi-solid clay, you can poke it with a dowel or small sharp knife, then pour out the excess slip still inside the mold. Pieces with small gates (pour holes) often need this, especially if the rest of the piece is broader, like a tree mold will be.
The many variables of slip viscosity, temperature, mold dryness, air humidity, etc.,etc. mean you need lots of practice to gauge your cast pieces readiness to be pulled. Be prepared to experiment until you have a good idea of how the slip will act. You can reclaim your clay.

#87293 Feel Like I Am Hitting A Brick Wall - Perhaps You Have Experienced This?

Posted by BeckyH on 17 June 2015 - 09:27 AM

At this point you are in training to learn a new trade. You could be in school learning to be a nurse and have the same issues. With that in mind, is there a studio in town where you could work part time? The exposure to others working methods is valuable in itself, and if they can't pay cash, perhaps private lessons or free clay or some exchange could be worked out.
Also, decide for yourself what's really important to your family life and let the rest go. Home made dinner is nice, but it's time eating together that's more important to me. Adding layers of stress because society tells us to be "doing it all" will just drive you nuts. Kids really can amuse themselves. They will still thrive even if you take the time to clean. And a clean workspace equals better working habits, which means more money when you are trying to sell in quantity. Also, you can have them help with the chores-it builds character!

#86807 Community Challenge #2

Posted by BeckyH on 09 June 2015 - 06:01 AM

Well, enjoy a box of Leckerli for me!

#86660 This Old House...gingerbread Style

Posted by BeckyH on 07 June 2015 - 11:08 AM

As a baker, it took me a minute to realize this wasn't edible gingerbread. It's fantastic.

#84715 Life Expectancy Of Ceramics

Posted by BeckyH on 31 May 2015 - 06:00 PM

I use this as a selling point. I have a bit of schitck were I describe how beakers thousands of years old exist, and that the beaker they purchase today could be found by the archeologists of the future....it works pretty well, too!