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Member Since 07 Dec 2011
Offline Last Active Today, 07:47 AM

#67851 Teaching ..stressed....

Posted by TJR on 15 October 2014 - 01:58 PM

I didn't reply to this post at first, because it made me really tired out to read it.

You need to set clear parameters for your class.

1. If it's a two hour class, allow for 15 minute clean-up within that time.

2. Write out a course outline e.g. week one centering. Week 2 cylinders. 3. Bowls. 4. Trimming. 5. Handles,etc.

3. I also always began with hand building. If people don't like throwing, they can always go back to hand building.

If it is a 10 week course, you should not be accepting students in the middle.

If it is a year long course, you could accept the newbies at the beginning of the month, or some agreed upon time with your boss.

I taught evening pottery classes at our city art gallery for 8 years. I have now been teaching art with a B. Ed for 27 years, I earned my degree while teaching at the art gallery.

The flaw with teaching evening classes, is that it is a bit thankless. You never get past the beginning stage, then the class is over and you get a new batch. Like Sysefas. The guy pushing the rock up the hill. Eventually you get tired, and the rock rolls back and crushes you. Too synical?


#66918 Who Is Your Favorite Potter Or What Inspires You Most In Your Pottery?

Posted by TJR on 30 September 2014 - 08:11 AM

There are a lot. I am looking at Bede Clarkes' work in the latest edition of Ceramics Monthly. I like the colour decoration and use of slips. I also like his wood-fired work.


#66758 What Do You Do To Energise Yourself In The Studio?

Posted by TJR on 27 September 2014 - 12:46 PM


I have found a cup of expresso gets me in production mode.


How strong?? Just finished a big batch of work and my other life is pretty busy so I thinking it is going to be a bit hard to get a start on another batch.

Drunk in you r work area?


break that not quite good enough to keep thingy that you made a long time ago and trash it.  very liberating.

Tha sounds ok to me, I'll go down tomorrow and borrow my partner's hammer, he says that I destroy the surface of the hammer, is this possible??


Hammers are inexpensive. Buy your own, paint it pink so your partner won't borrow it, and smash away. Cheaper than getting a new partner.


#65745 Production Potter Rate

Posted by TJR on 07 September 2014 - 10:57 AM


you are correct. we should be taking the high road here. I have been a production potter in my life. I have taken on orders that were thankless. This request just seemed to be a bit mercenary to me.

Why not buy the stuff from China and mark it up?


#64920 My New Kiln Lid

Posted by TJR on 22 August 2014 - 06:39 PM

A year or two ago I posted some photos of a new experimental kiln lid for my large DaVinci kiln. Instead of being mortared together like the original lid, it used a compression frame to hold it together, similar to a Minnesota Flat Top design. That lid held up very well for a fair amount of time, but the bricks eventually started to crack. Seems they do not like being compressed along their narrow side. I had though this might be a problem from the beginning, and it eventually was. So this time I rebuilt the lid with the bricks being compressed from the large side, spreading the pressure out over a much larger surface area. I also mortared the bricks together so give it even more strength. The lid is made in two sections, held together by the compression frame. Making it in one big slab would be too large and cause a lot of cracking.




The best thing about this lid is that it's now 4-1/2" thick instead of the usual 3". The added insulation should help with the efficiency of the kiln quite a bit. The lid weighs 250+ pounds, more than the original lid springs could handle, so I attached an electric hoist to raise and lower it. The hoist hangs on a piece of 1-1/4" pipe, which allows the hoist to swivel as it works, and line up in the direction it's pulling.


So far it all seems to be working well. I did my first bisque with the lid last night, and nothing fell apart. The first cone 6 firing will be in a couple of days.

I didn't know Leonardo Da Vinci made kilns! Go figure!


#64892 Do You Donate Your Work For A Worthy Cause?

Posted by TJR on 22 August 2014 - 09:07 AM

I am frequently asked to donate my pottery to various charities. I was recently sent a letter on expensive paper, asking me to donate some work to our city gallery. I have now received a nice email from same director. I also get asked to give to the Folk Arts Council, which promotes local traditional dance. I also donate to the Manitoba Crafts Council.

I do not donate to the annual Women's Golf Tournament.

Where do you draw the line?

How much do you give? Do you see a benefit in promoting your work, or are you just a kind person?


#64775 How To Get Started With Old Stains, Etc

Posted by TJR on 20 August 2014 - 08:40 AM


You don't say where you are located. If you are in Canada M340 from Plainsman is a popular mid-fire white clay. A lot of schools use it. It does not fire up to Cone10, though. It is designed for cone 4-6.


#64670 First Day Of School Clay Activity

Posted by TJR on 18 August 2014 - 11:50 AM


We have one supplier that we use for paper. Great price on watercolour paper. Problem is, they always wait until they get enough orders for a pallet before shipping. This takes 6 weeks sometimes. I go in to check my orders only to find that the secretary did not submit the order. So now I have no paper. When I asked;"why?", she said that I didn't have any money in my budget. I am ordering for the NEXT  school year. Of course I don't have money yet, as it is not the future.

It always pays to check on these things.


#64663 Base Of Pots 'chipped Edge' After Glaze Firing - Why?

Posted by TJR on 18 August 2014 - 08:56 AM

The term is "plucking". It happens with porcelain quite frequently. When waxing the feet of my porcelain bowls, I put a bit of alumina hydrate in the wax. Problem solved?


#64494 Tumbler/ Ball Mill

Posted by TJR on 15 August 2014 - 10:42 AM

Ironically, I am an expert on ball milling ,having used a 30 gallon ball mill to blunge clay, and a 10 gallon ball mill to mix glazes.

In order to grind granite, or flint, you still have to calcine.

There is quite a good section on ball mills in Michael Cardew's book "Pioneer Pottery.' I'd give you the page #, but I am too lazy to go upstairs.

Ball mills are traditionally made out of porcelain, but I have seen 5 gallon plastic buckets used.

The speed is critical. you want the clay balls set at a speed to pound. Too slow, and they slide along the interior and grind your mill. Then your balls go flat.[had to say it. Sorry]

Harry Davis used to build them as well.

Try you tubing it.


#64486 Tumbler/ Ball Mill

Posted by TJR on 15 August 2014 - 08:43 AM

Take your feldspar and granite and put them in separate bisqued bowls. fire them to bisque temperatures in your electric kiln. The granite will now be brittle enough to pound with a hammer. Sieve to taste.


#63089 Flying With Ceramic Material

Posted by TJR on 23 July 2014 - 12:07 PM

I was in Toronto once visiting my sisters. I realized that one of my sisters lives very close to Tucker Ceramic Supply in Oakville ,Ontario.[a suburb of Toronto.]

I was working in low-fire Majolica at the time, and thought I could buy an exotic Fritt at Tuckers. Long story short- I am at the airport ready to board my flight back to Winnipeg. I am holding a large bag of white powder in a zip lock bag. I mean big. Not a sandwich bag. Say 1000 grams of fritt. It suddenly dawns on me that this looks a bit hinky. I also had long hair in a pony tail, and a beard.

I went to the ticket agent. They said to go to special services. I told them what it was, and showed them my receipt. They said to check back in an hour. I was hoping that they wouldn't confiscate it, as fritts are expensive. I picked up my package an hour later-no problems.

I am sure they analyzed it. It looked like a big bag of cocaine.Anyway, my glazing was a success.I have also brought pots back in my carry-on without a problem.

Dry clay would be O.K. too.


#61993 Does Your Dominant Hand Dictate Form Or Are You Ambidextrous.

Posted by TJR on 08 July 2014 - 09:02 AM

Tom........ was playing in clubs professionally at 13.  Music success almost derailed the clay career.  But if I'd have stayed on that path I likely would not be here now.  ;)   I revealed a bit of visual evidence on "Throwback Thursday" on my Facebook page B) .


Thanks for the birthday wishes...... coming up soon...... the big 65!!!!!!  How'd that happen.





I guess that's why you were able to do so much stuff.I wish you a long life.


#61923 Does Your Dominant Hand Dictate Form Or Are You Ambidextrous.

Posted by TJR on 07 July 2014 - 04:42 PM


Happy Birthday, by the way.


#61375 Aesthetically Pleasing Garments For Clay Workers.

Posted by TJR on 25 June 2014 - 04:50 PM

TJR, you aren't supposed to split up the jeans you are currently wearing.  You are supposed to take old, worn jeans...

Oh! O.k. Remember those horrid big ass long skirts made out of old jeans?You sewed a triangle of material up the middle? I didn't like those either. Or sewing those dingle berries along the vertical seams of your jeans? No !. I actually saw two guys wearing suspenders with jeans in the same room, this week. Jeans have belt loops, people.

I know I am going to pay for this one. Bring it on.

Only two more days of school, then I am FREE,FREE, ha! Ha!.