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Member Since 02 Apr 2010
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#91812 Qotw: What Do You Think Of Art Critique?

Posted by Pres on 01 September 2015 - 01:24 PM

Critiques are difficult. Difficult to do objectively, and difficult to receive objectively. What I mean here is if you are critiquing someones work, you have to step outside of your own biases and preferences, look beyond what you know and look to the qualities of the object/s in front of you. . . difficult. At the same time if you are being critiqued, you have to step outside of your ownership of the work, become impersonal about your work, and listen to what is being said.  Often critiques are taken most easily when working in a shared studio environment where peers respect each other, working towards their own expressions. Often comments about form, texture or other attributes are taken in the give and take of the day. Growth happens. The problem with most of us, as Chris has stated, we work alone remotely removed from others on a day to day basis. Often the only critique we will get is at a show from a cranky person that is dragging themselves through 200 booths on a hot muggy day, when they would rather be at home relaxing, shopping in an air-conditioned mall, out playing golf, or in the pool. Their spouse brought them along.


Posting pieces in your gallery, should get some response, especially if you ask, but all too often people don't respond because they really can't see the work in the picture, or get a feeling for size, detail or other attributes; are afraid of offending you; are rushing through hundreds of pots for inspiration and don't want to take the time to post. Too bad that we don't respond, and I am one that usually does not. My reasoning comes from years of grading. I the last 20 there were set criteria for work, I knew what the intent was, what the design parameters were, and the materials. I usually upset students with my thorough bluntness, but I tried to be objective, unbiased, and open minded. However, junk is junk, and if it is so, I say so!




#91744 Pugmills

Posted by Pres on 31 August 2015 - 08:05 AM

Pres, you gave me a good laugh...answering the dog ear question 2 years later.  I see you subscribe to my philosophy of "I get to everything....eventually."

Actually, I go to my blog and check on the page views. If there is something I missed, I catch it that way. Kind of going around the horn to get to China! :D

#91606 Cheers To Art Teachers!

Posted by Pres on 28 August 2015 - 12:59 PM

I loved teaching, loved the kids, and thought my school supported me well considering how art teachers in other districts fared.  However, there is a shortage of teachers in the US now. Reasons and theories abound,



, but in the long run since the inception of NCLB, high stakes testing, and Core constraints the profession is highly lock step and constricted in general. Creative teaching gets put on the back burner when the curriculum is locked to a test. Intelligent, creative teachers will not fare well in that environment, and many have opted for private sector, or other sort of job. At the same time charter schools bleed off public funds, textbooks are being purchased less with online resources, and public opinion of the profession has become a down hill spiral.


I believe that much of the powers that control the system are colluding to destroy it in order to put in a private sector substitute that puts more money in hands of the few. Just me being cynical.


Would I recommend teaching to some one today? No. However, if you are so inclined, I hope you have as good an experience as I did.





#91492 Cutting Dies From Plastic, Need Advice

Posted by Pres on 27 August 2015 - 08:01 AM

I have used a jig saw and a coping saw to cut this out. However, a decent dremel with speed adjustment will work with a zip saw type bit. You need to adjust it up or down a bit to find the right speed. I also like to set it up using drill holes at corners and mid points. It takes a rasp or file in the end to smooth thing up so leave an 1/8" clean up space to meet anything where tolerances are important. Final clean up can be done with any number of tools on a dremel.


hope this helps,



#91471 Cheers To Art Teachers!

Posted by Pres on 26 August 2015 - 10:33 PM

There was an older shop teacher(Industrial Arts), that used to tell his students "Find a job that you love doing, and you will never work a day of your life. Most days that was exactly the way I felt. The revolving door of time just kept getting faster and faster until someone stuck their foot in it and I found myself. . . retired. Not really ready, as I had just had too much fun. It is what it is.


Thanks to the kind thoughts of teachers, they deserve it. It is not the same profession as when I started, but then what is?

#91322 Happy Birthday Preston

Posted by Pres on 24 August 2015 - 08:05 AM

Lee, every day is special to me, that is why a birthday is just another day. Still special, but. . . .

#91272 Bone Head Mistakes

Posted by Pres on 22 August 2015 - 12:32 PM

As I usually only have a few glazes in different colored buckets, I had not labeled them. This early Spring I was disappointed in the glaze surfaces, even though they were OK. So I replaced a white with a new white as at my cone 6 the old white was chalky even though properly applied. I also added a few other glazes to the mix. Next load found that I had forgotten the glazes in the original buckets, and the new mix was again not as pleasing as I had hoped. Test tiles in the load pointed out the problem very well! So next load will show for certain how things go. All of the containers are now numbered lid and bottom to match a numbered test tile. Many of the glazes are meant to go over others, and were being used on bare clay with base glazes over top. Not successful, but not bad.  Lesson learned, really need to not be in such a hurry.





#91136 Happy Birthday Preston

Posted by Pres on 20 August 2015 - 08:31 AM

Kiln load off at 3am this morning. 24 hrs of impatient waiting. For me this is worse than Christmas when I was a kid. I could always wait until the day even if it didn't happen on the 25th but maybe the 6 or 7th of January. Waiting for a kiln to cool is so much more difficult. That is why I will be trying to be occupied for the next 24, but first a nap.


I don't know how much guidance here, and I really don't feel I know as much as so many of you, but I do know that I love the forum and want it to remain a safe and healthy place to discuss all things pottery, and a few side tidbits that make all of us. . .individuals.




#90936 Digital Die Cutter

Posted by Pres on 16 August 2015 - 03:59 PM

For those of you who do not really understand what this strand is about. I have included an image that it took me and hr to create in a draw program and exported as an SVG file to Make the Cut. This image was then cut in 8 minutes. I can not even imagine trying to cut this by hand using either an exacto, or a stencil burner knife. I have used both, and . . . not fun. This image is a test run of one I want to do in craft foam to roll slabs on. However, this image cut from card stock would work well as a stencil for glaze, especially after I use it a few times with some spray paint to stiffen it up.

Attached Files

#90893 Digital Die Cutter

Posted by Pres on 15 August 2015 - 04:11 PM

I recently bought a KNK Zing Air. It will cut thin plywood to thin mylar. I have begun developing my stencils in Corel Draw, and moving them into Make the Cut. This software controls the die cutter, but is a pretty full fledged imaging program also.  It will also import almost any type of image to be used for cuts. SVG(Scalable Vector Graphic) files are pretty easy to find if you do not wish to design your own. My reason for this machine was the ease of being able to use any source as a starting point.  I still have to use one of the cut stencils, but have cut some pretty complicated bare tree stencils for work on patens, mugs, and bowls. Hoping to use these on some of the pots in the next load.




#90771 Teenager In Adult Beginner Wheel Class.

Posted by Pres on 13 August 2015 - 08:52 AM

When I taught my adult classes, I allowed parents to bring children with them. There were some provisions that I set the first time it happened. 1) the child was a paying student. 2) the parent was responsible for the childs behavior. 3)intrusions on the adults in the class due to the child would be looked upon unfavorably and cause for expulsion. 4)the adults had to approve the admission of the child in the class. 

It seems harsh/unfriendly looking at these provisions that I ended up setting, but you had to realize some of the circumstances involving the adults. Most of these adults used this morning class to "escape" from their usual duties which included parenting. Time was limited to 6 classes of 3 hours each. Not a whole lot of time. Each student was treated individually with a wide variety of construction techniques going on from extrusion to slab to throwing or coil. There was a wide variety of skill levels in the class, with some students able to throw quite well, and others just beginning, some able to design and execute a handbuilt piece using any technique, and others needing step by step instruction from inception to completion. All of these meant that time was important, and needed to be efficient in the use of that time. Trying to engage an unhappy child was not on my list of priorities.

#90544 How Often Do You Gear Up For A New Direction Or Experimentation In Your Work?

Posted by Pres on 09 August 2015 - 06:48 PM

I'm a very tight thrower, with my finished pots being very smooth and symmetric. As of late I have pushed and pulled simple pieces(mugs) with ribs and fingers to be looser in form. Just something I believed I wanted to try. I have yet to become successful, as the pieces are becoming more pleasing to me, but others do not seem to like or understand them. I think you can see a difference in these new pieces on my blog site. I still have another glaze load to fire before getting back to the wheel for more chalices, patens and mugs orders.




#89713 Qotw: What Makes Something Qualify As Hand Made?

Posted by Pres on 28 July 2015 - 03:57 PM

I have been to this place so many times before:


1987-designing a course to teach computer animation and computer music with a music ed. colleague. Others in the art department argued that it should not be in the department, it was not art, and animation was not either. Even digital paintings were not. . . art. Fade to 1995 and you get the same argument, that high resolution digital paintings were not art, and therefore should not be accepted as such in the local juried show. Step forward to 2010, and 3D printed work was not acceptable.


Personally, I look at the computer as a way of creating by hand, even though multiples of the same item can be printed, but 3D is crossing into industrial product/design. A digital painting is very often with a multitude of strokes, brushes, colors with extreme value manipulation. Layers of underpainting can go into the production of the work until completely finished. The digital tools allow for easier visualization that meets the artist's expectations. Like a traditional painter though, it is the knowledge and the skill of manipulating the tools that allows the work to happen. Problematic is that all too often a digital camera image is used as a starting point and manipulated with the tools to a final image. Is the one completed as a painting stroke by stroke, less or more than the camera image manipulate in the photoshop type program? Didn't we have this argument at the turn of the 20th century?


So here we are today, where yarn is most time purchased already spun, clay already mixed, paints already prepped, glazes already mixed, jewelry bits to choose from and so much else available. Does the definition of handmade mean that the item starts from raw to finished, only the purest of the purists would say so. Does it start with a base material of some refinement and go to a finished piece? Most would agree it does. However, does that same footing yield commercial cast products, hand painted and fired as being the same? Most of us would think not, I believe.


I think in the long run, when the essence of the creation is hand created by the craftsperson/artist, then the piece is hand made. When either the form and the surface is created already, one cannot consider the piece. . . man-made.

#89657 What To Do To Stimulate Creativity?

Posted by Pres on 27 July 2015 - 08:57 PM

Creativity is one of those things that art teachers are expected to teach in their classes, all too often the expectations fall short, and the times it seems like it happens, is the luck of the draw. You try a series of exercises for searching for shapes, exercises to enhance color intuitiveness, or even differences in pattern and texture in a single piece. Many times you end up teaching the student usable tricks, like looking through a window at a page full of random doodles to find shapes, when you get one really nice, is it that you have taught creativity, or taught them by a law of averages a way of looking for shapes that finally worked. Maybe only once! I could go on and on, but in the long run, there are those of us that muddle our way through piece after piece constantly working, growing, looking, learning, striving to be creative. In the long run, it may be again just a series of numbers with one piece or two rising to the top. I don't know. Can you teach someone to be intuitive? Knowing what comes at the next corner, before it comes?  These things have been argued over the centuries. Great minds and artists, Einstein, Picasso, Socrates, and others have bandied these ideas about, but maybe it is as simple as Chuck Close who said. . . .Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just show up for work.

#89555 What $70 Got Me.worth It, Or Not?

Posted by Pres on 25 July 2015 - 12:04 PM

What are your plans, for the rebuilt kiln, you are working on?

Kiln I am rebuilding is in great shape, fired once or twice. Bricks in bottom broke out letting coils drop. Replaced bricks in bottom shelf will allow full use. Smaller than my other kiln could be loaded full for bisque, load would be equal to glaze in big one. Nice thing is, no staying home all day and night to baby it along! I still would not go out/away, but would definitely be able to do other things while it was firing.