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About Benzine

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    Socratic Potter

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  • Location
    The Hawkeye State
  • Interests
    The Arts (Drawing, Painting, Ceramics, Graphic Design), Running, Music (Mostly Rock), Movies, Technology

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  1. In my college course, I heard how a well known ceramicist died of manganese poisoning. Not long after, I wanted to use some manganese as a stain. I used the plastic gloves provided when applying removing the stain. After I was done, I took the gloves off and found parts of my hands coated in the watered down manganese stain. The gloves were apparently not the best quality...
  2. I tell my students that anything over an inch thick, isn't going in the kiln. I don't even show them the hollowing out method. Instead, I show them how to use slabs and coils to create sculptures, since it will give them a uniform thickness, and avert cracks and explosions.
  3. This is essentially what I tell my student, just worded a bit nicer. I tell them it is fine to be inspired by another work of art, but trying to copy or replicate it, is not OK. I also tell my students, that if they post their work online, make sure to watermark it extensively. With social media, there is way too much sharing of content, without giving proper credit. I've seen people post others work, and act like they are a genius simply for finding and posting it. Then when criticized they usually say, "I was giving it exposure!" *Sigh*
  4. One of my classroom wheels is old Shimpo, and it had the yellow one piece with two drain plugs. It leaked even with the plugs, and even when I replaced the worn plugs with brand new. There were cracks around the plug openings. I finally replaced the splash pan, because it sustained even more damage, and was overdue. When I removed the pan, it was heavily rusted underneath the pan. So what started as a splash pan replacement, ended up being a complete strip and paint job. It looks pretty sweet, if I do say so myself!
  5. Great video! I always love to watch the production process, whether it be a single potter at their studio, or a large scale operation like this. But Man, trimming/ smoothing bone dry wares! Don't let my students see that, because that is a no no in my classroom! Also, around the minute mark, it looks like the worker is smooth areas, that have already been glazed. What exactly are they doing? The handling of those fully loaded ware boards is just ridiculous! I'd struggle with the single hand restaurant serving platter, so there is no way I could deal with a fully loaded ware board that is longer than I am tall!
  6. There was definitely a lot of that in College. A lot of new media and techniques, that were different and in some cases those things were vastly different depending on which of the instructors you had, even if they were the same class. For instance, I had the same instructor for both my Painting classes, and his classes didn't not operate as the other painting classes did. We had to do twelve paintings a week. That may seem insane, but it should be noted, that he never said what size the paintings had to be. So most of the class would do several smaller, experimental paintings, and continue to work on a larger one each week. Some of my classmates hated that approach, I liked it. It allowed us to experiment and refine our skills multiple times over. Currently my strolls into unfamiliar territory are when I try a new lesson. I would say the stakes are higher, because if I try something new and run into unforeseen issues, I can shrug it off or adapt. If an entire class runs into unforeseen issues, that's way more of a problem.
  7. They might not have been de-airing, but I loved the Walker I had at my previous School! If I found one for sale, and had some disposable income, I'd snatch it up.
  8. I teach in Iowa, and as of now, we are set on being in person starting August 24th. I am going to have plans ready for all our potential scenarios; In-Person, Hybrid and Digital/ Online Learning. If we are Online Only, I have been assured that students will be coming in to pick up materials. Essentially, they have to as we are providing Chromebooks for all of them. So for my 2-D classes, I can have a "package" of materials ready to go, to get us through multiple units. My Photography class is a bit trickier, as we still shoot film, and actually start by the students building their own pinhole camera. For my clay work class, I was going to initially just have the students go over terminology, and work on their project sketches, but I'm leaning more towards sending clay and tools home with them. I already have tool sets, that I give the students normally, so that part is already set up. I could just send a block of clay home. Not ideal, and the parents might not like it, but it's an option! I keep asking for a million dollar salary, but the Administration just chuckles and walks away...
  9. Ditto to what Mark said. Govdeals and Publicsurplus are worth watching, though I have rarely if ever seen a pugmill come up. Plenty of wheels and kilns though! Craigslist is worth checking out, but the frequency there is about the same as the other two sites mentioned. Ebay is probably your best bet, but I've found that the sellers have unrealistic expectations of how much used pottery equipment is worth
  10. I used to use the "Spooze" mix, and will still do so on occasion. What I've become partial to, is using a combination of magic water, and a super clay saturated, deflocculated slip. I'll dab some magic water on the connection points, score the surface, more magic water, a healthy dab of the slip, then just press the pieces together with a little side to side or twisting motion, and smooth everything out. I will say that I usually have to go back a few times, and touch up any cracks that may have shown up. I've used it to fix many rim breaks, where *someone* picked the ware up incorrectly (Because of course, I never specifically told them not to, even telling them exactly what would happen, and what it would look like if they chose to ignore that advice)... I've also added things on, right as I was loading them into the bisque (usually nothing structural, just small bits that weren't attached properly) I honestly don't know if I have used this to repair a handle, as usually in that case, we rehydrate the ware, remove the old handle and make a new one. A few years ago, I did a bit of an experiment, where I joined some uniform pieces together using a couple different joining materials/ processes, and at different stages of dryness (workable, leatherhard, bone dry). I then tested how strong they were both before and after the bisque. I mainly did this to illustrate the importance of a proper join, done at the right time. I'd have to go look to see what I found to be the best method, though I can say nothing at the bone dry stage was nearly as strong as those done earlier. I might have to replicate that experiment!
  11. I tell my students, that if they are centering correctly, their arm shouldn't really be getting tired, since they should be bracing and using their body weight. I always say, that a couple pounds of clay, shouldn't be able to push back on at least a hundred pounds of you. When I was in my Ceramics course in college, there was a Graduate student working on his Masters. He was also an Education major, and was extremely helpful to the rest of the class. He showed me how he centered, by using both hands to pull the clay towards himself. It worked great for him, not so well for me. I should note, he was also a "thrower" on the Track and Field team, so kind of a big, strong guy. He also had to make and use special bats to accommodate the large bowls and platters he made too.
  12. Yeah, I thought the same thing, about the protruding screws.
  13. Rookie move, they should have used Gorilla Tape!
  14. Is it just me, or do a lot of the X-rays showing; bolts, pins, screws, plates, etc look like a DIYer's attempt at reinforcing/ fixing part of their home?
  15. @liambesaw Crackle slip on a life-sized tibia... I think that's hilarious, I hope he did too!
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