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About Benzine

  • Rank
    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. I have taught on both a block, and a standard/ traditional eight period schedule. I definitely prefer the block! I started teaching with the block, had several years with that. Then I went to a different district, that had the eight-period. Then switched districts again, and they were also on the block. Since then, we have switched to an eight-period as a cost saving measure. I'm not a fan, but I am flexible, and can adapt. I honestly never had a problem, with the student's attention, on a block schedule. Most of them love working hands on for an hour and a half. It gave me time to demo, and then them time to work, right after seeing my demo. Now, I do a demo, and it's time to get cleaned up. I guess my strategy was just always having something for them to do. They could be researching ideas for their next project, sketching it out, getting their slabs, or coils made, for said project, building, underglazing, glazing, working on the potter's wheel. They never had "Nothing" to do, and with a variety of options, they didn't get bored. I will say, it has been several years since we switched. These more recent students are definitely different, in regards to behavior, attitude, etc. So, who knows, I could very well have issues if I had them on a block now. A couple of years ago, I visited another school, to see how that teacher ran things. It was a professional development option, that I had been suggesting for years. That school was also a block schedule. I thought the instructor did a great job, because he also had plenty for the students to be working on. I was there towards the end of the term, so they were doing presentations, along with finishing up their projects. I thought that was a great idea. Especially considering that a lot of classes beyond the Language Arts classes are being called upon to incorporated reading and writing in recent years, due to worsening test scores, in those areas.
  2. My raku kiln is similar to the one in the link. I fire several small, to medium-sized objects at a time. I've tried some larger bowls, but they overhung the shelf, causing the rims to crack, as they were in the path of the flame But it's a good little kiln, and it does what I need it to do.
  3. Of course you haven't seen anything. The super-intelligent ants you created live below the surface... For now!
  4. This Season, has been very enjoyable. There are a couple very strong competitors, that I am fairly confident will make the finals. Like oldlady said, it is surprising that people don't try and make themselves more rounded, before appearing. There have been many times this Season, where a person will say, "I'm a thrower, I don't know how to sculpt." or "I'm a sculptor, I don't know how to throw". They generally know, what they will be expected to do, so making yourself well rounded would be beneficial. I don't know how long of a heads up they get before filming starts, but if I were on the show, I'd put a lot of time into practicing a wide range of techniques and forms.
  5. @Pres shared his solution on the boards, years ago. It was basically a large plastic bowl, that he cut in half, with opposing pieces of velcro on each half, so they could be reconnect when putting on and taking off the trimming catcher. I tried to look for his original post, but couldn't find it. Since I tagged him, he will better be able to reshare the link, or the photos he originally posted. And yes, Giffin Grips are awesome. Not just for trimming, but for centering and joining two separately thrown pieces, for centering then decorating wares, etc.
  6. The great thing about glazes is, that like clay, until they are fired, they can continuously be reused/ recycled. I use a stick blender to mix slip and glazes, because you don't have to move the material you are mixing to a different container, which is handy. If the glaze is still heavily settling to the bottom, it may need to be tweaked a bit, by adding some bentonite and/ or epsom salt, to help better suspend it.
  7. I watched the previous two seasons recently. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I do wonder how they are going to keep coming up with new throwing challenges though. For the purposes of the show, there really is only so much they can do, within that format.
  8. THAT'S DISGUSTING! Urine should not be used in glaze, but instead, just swished around in the mouth, as a teeth whitener like nature intended! Seriously though, my High School Art Teacher told us stories of he, or at least people he knew in College, who would urinate on their Raku pots, after pulling them out. Did this actually happen? Who knows? Myy Teacher had stories for days, and at the very least, they were entertaining.
  9. Is it the entire kiln load, or just a select few? Could anything be falling onto the pieces, like corrosion from a thermocouple?
  10. Oh Snap!... Literally. Like @liambesaw said, the bars are more reliable, for the sitters.
  11. I require my students to have a sketch, that shows their general idea, for the form, and an approximate width and height. Just hopping on the wheel, and stating "I'm make a bowl, mug, etc" tells me little. How big of a bowl or mug? What do you plan to use if for? How are you going to finish the bottom? It annoys them, that I ask these questions, but I tell them, I can't help them, unless I see their vision.
  12. I *generally* have a really good idea, of what I'm making well before I start. I champion sketching, to all my students, and I try to practice what I preach. There was a time, at home, that I had a specific form that I wanted to make. I had done something like it before, and had it pictured in my head. Once I got past the initial stages, to the forming, it just wasn't working for me. So I got some new clay, and before I restarted, I grabbed some chalk, from my daughter's Art easel, and made a rough sketch on it. That's all it took, and I knocked it out, no problem. The only time I kind of wing it, is when doing demos, where I don't have a final product, that I am trying to achieve, and when I'm making a lot of random forms, like for an "Empty Bowls" donation.
  13. Or if you live in a small, rural town, it can change day to day, especially when something in the main gets knocked loose. Then there are the times the City forgets to change their filters, or they flush the hydrants. I hope you want RIO in your glaze recipe, because that's what you're getting!
  14. That seems high for a cone 6 electric firing. I've seen an average estimate of about $20 per electric firing so $40 for a bisque and glaze.
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