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Member Since 02 Apr 2010
Online Last Active Today, 05:08 PM

#80050 Glaze Settling Out - What To Add?

Posted by Pres on 25 April 2015 - 09:24 AM

I used to use epsom salts in every glaze I had. I kept a lidded container of water with as much Epsom salts in it as would dissolve. Every time I made a new glaze I would add 2Tbsp of this liquid to the glaze liquid, helped to keep glazes from settling or worse yet hard panning. If I had a glaze that settled out quickly, the next time I made it up I would add bentonite before mixing in water. When mixing up 15 glazes for HS studio, you get to learn your glazes pretty well after a year of so. Back then, I would look at the recipe and take interest in how much clay was involved in the formula, and how the glaze settled after mixing. Now I am more aware, and using Insight for more understanding of the glaze chemistry.

#79896 Humor: The Best Way To Learn!

Posted by Pres on 22 April 2015 - 06:25 PM

I agree TJR, I don't think there was really any ill will with the video. But, like I said, I just didn't find it funny. What they could have done, is focus on the pottery student "characters" we all have to deal with, that give us a chuckle. The big, strong athlete, who thinks they can throw a two foot vase right out of the gate, but then realizes that a pound of clay, can put up a good fight, and won't quite give you enough clay, to get to two foot. Then there's the gigglers, who secretly make something phallic, when you aren't looking, or just laugh at anything that has that look, i.e. coning up clay, pulling a handle, etc. And there is the student, who thinks they will be the first to successfully sneak a pipe or bong past the teacher, because obviously, the teacher is oblivious to such things, having just been relesed from the "Art Factory/ Farm, where they were isolated from all the outside world....

In my opinion, focusing on those types would be more amusing, than the struggles of a student sincerely trying to do something.

Used to love challenging the biggest jock in the class to a "wedging contest". This after everyone was worn out from wedging, but getting the hang of the Rams Head or Cone technique. All of the complaints about my muscles hurt, I am not strong enough, I can't do this had been heard, and whined out. It was time for a laugh. So I challenged a student. First to choose the right student big, strong, not self conscious. Then to have him choose a weight of clay to wedge, and I double that. So then to wedge, any technique he wanted. As would always happen he would be worn out in 5 minutes, and I would still be going on. After everyone would get over the laughter, I would explain as I already had, that it was about the rhythm and the body movement. If using your arms to wedge and not your body you would get worn out easier. If using your body, with legs spread as in walking, right height of table, and movement from legs up to shoulders you don't have to move your arms so much to move the clay.  Lesson learned, break in class period, and proper reinforcement of good technique.

#79776 Does Moving In Social Media Circles Support Your Clay Career?

Posted by Pres on 21 April 2015 - 08:39 AM

I had always "lurked" in the background on CAD, while teaching. I found solutions to problems, ways to organize, little helps on studio, students, glazes and techniques. When I retired, I came out of retirement in that I stopped lurking and tried to get involved, filing the void. I found out about the NC potters conference, attended it, started a blog to be able to "teach" somewhat. Then for some reason the folks at CAD asked if I would moderate here. I jumped at it. As far as facebook, and linked in, really not there yet, but otherwise I am getting enough to keep me busy.

#79746 Humor: The Best Way To Learn!

Posted by Pres on 20 April 2015 - 04:51 PM

I had a more hands on approach; I would often use the students hand to make a pull, center the clay, or open up. I usually had them working on 3# balls so I could get my hands in there with theirs. I usually asked questions about how the new positions were in contrast to the ones they had been using. In long run, different strokes for different folks, no two teachers are alike.

#79707 Some Restrictions On Posting To Stop Spam?

Posted by Pres on 20 April 2015 - 07:54 AM

In the last two weeks, I think I have deleted at least 5 pieces of spam with no reports. Actually have not deleted spam, but marked an account as a spammer. The control of spam in this way is pretty non reversible, as the ID goes in to the black void. I would not want to have just anybody with that sort of power, not that I am above making mistakes, but I hope to never get vengeful or petty.

#79664 Humor: The Best Way To Learn!

Posted by Pres on 18 April 2015 - 11:30 PM

I always had a rule about questions, sometimes bit my tongue about it, but for me there was never a stupid question as long as it was about the classroom material.

#79567 Humor: The Best Way To Learn!

Posted by Pres on 17 April 2015 - 03:31 PM

Do you think a group of students would find it. . .  funny, or otherwise?

  • Min likes this

#79549 Glaze Squirt On Kiln Shelves

Posted by Pres on 17 April 2015 - 10:19 AM

Is it possible that there is a combination of two things going on. I agree with the spitting symptom, but wonder if the cause is firing the ware too fast after glazing. I have found that if you glaze pieces and fire them too quickly, the water in the piece turns to steam, and forces some glazes to flake. I counter this by adding a water smoke in the first hour of glaze firing. Seems to help especially if the last few pieces were just glazed. The one bowl definitely is crawling from too thick a surface.

#79470 Confess. How Many Of You Colored Outside The Lines As A Child?

Posted by Pres on 16 April 2015 - 08:34 AM

As an Art teacher in school, it was heart breaking to hear the excuses, hurt and dismay that kids and adults would talk about when unable to participate in the early days of a class. Some, very few, art teachers had abused them early, but more often than not it was the well meaning or mean classroom teacher or parent trying to instill a certain amount of discipline in the student. It seemed that often my job was to reroute their lack of confidence to where they realized that yes they did have talent, but maybe not in flat drawing or painting, but maybe more in 3D  clay, sculpture, Jewelry or maybe unfound talent in drawing or painting. When you had someone come to that Ahaaaa moment, it is most gratifying. One of the main reasons I think it important to have Arts in the schools beyond just music, drama, and drawing and painting. Being able to explore a variety of art experiences allows one to discover their talent(s).


Access to materials, and new techniques is so easy today, that if someone has a need to create(which most of us do) they should be able to find an outlet for it.

#79457 Are You Making Your Own Pottery Tools?

Posted by Pres on 16 April 2015 - 05:15 AM

This thread has run before, and to repeat, yes I do. I often adapt other things, like bamboo spoon/spatula sets that are so popular now, buy a set, cut off the handles make some modifications to the left over piece to make it easier to hold or make a foot decoration etc. and  use it. The handles get turned into knife edge ribs.   I use hacksaw blades in the 50 pack to make parabola cutters by tying a string between holes to make a arch to cut nice even curves in thrown cylinders for candle lanterns. I use rasps and saws to cut wooden stamps, shape plastic and wooden ribs that I have hand carved. 


When teaching at the HS I had a drill press, band saw and belt sander in the studio. If I needed it, I made it. Lots of tools for handicapped students came about like that.

#78780 Newbie Discouraged But Persistent---Help!

Posted by Pres on 07 April 2015 - 10:44 AM

In throwing cylinders, they should look more like your third pic, but upside down until shaped. So make it with a throwing motion that actually moves gradually inward, to counter the centrifugal force pushing the top wider. More of a gradual cone shape going up.

#78720 Newbie Discouraged But Persistent---Help!

Posted by Pres on 06 April 2015 - 11:28 AM

In all things clay, depend on your sense of touch, not your eyes. When you get the feel for the clay, then worry about the aesthetics of the form. I often teach students(as many others here do) by blind folding, or turning out the lights, or having them shut their eyes as they center, open up and throw. Try it especially on your pinch pots, and when throwing.

#78613 Well Met At Nceca

Posted by Pres on 04 April 2015 - 10:43 PM

Story was much more involved, and well told. I can see Tom around a campfire telling ghost stories and scaring the ^&%$*^&%$ out of folks!

#78463 Well Met At Nceca

Posted by Pres on 02 April 2015 - 03:09 PM

I hadn't even thought about that not being part of my duties there. However, I really even forgot that I did help. Poor Tom, got dragged in, but he helped too!




#78445 Well Met At Nceca

Posted by Pres on 02 April 2015 - 09:09 AM

Yes, Marcia, but I left the person out on purpose. I did not want to embarrass anyone. I was so happy to meet you after all of the encouragement you have given me over the past few years.


At the same time, I never got a picture of you! I have seen so much of your posts, your work and even followed you online through much of your travel, that I should have. Maybe next year in KC.


You know what folks, I am still in a dither after being in RI. Visual overload!