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Everything posted by Benzine

  1. The organic multi-tool at the ends of our arms, haven't quite kept up with all the modern demands, that we put on them. Our necks and upper backs are also paying the price...
  2. Sorry to hear that Mark. Probably not a lot that you could have done to avoid it, other than to not do pottery for decades huh? What caused the issue with your wife's thumb?
  3. I did a batch of pit firing one time, with all the wares being green. Almost none of them survived, and those that did had a lot of spalling. Needless to say, the next time, I had everything bisqued first. I have heard of people, some on this very forum, who do primitive firing, and used a standard oven to preheat the wares, before putting them in the actual fire. So that's always a possibility.
  4. As long as you are putting everything back in, that is coming out, you can use it for a very long time. What I mean by that, is that you lose fine particles in the throwing water, that need to be reworked into the rest of the clay. Without those fine particles, the clay won't throw the same. In regards to how long to let the practice pieces set, I would scrap them before they get leatherhard. Make several to a dozen, and rewedge. Make another batch, rinse repeat. The freshly thrown wares might seem a bit too wet, by if you are wedging on a porous surface like plaster or concrete, they will probably be at a good stage by the time you have them wedged and portioned out.
  5. Hmmmm, off the top of my head, I'm going to go with this one: During my fifth year teaching, I had a Ceramics I class, in which I also had a couple "helpers". I forget what that District called them, but essentially they got a credit for helping a teacher, with whatever they needed. Generally I would only have one per class, but for some reason, I accepted both at the same time. Anyway, the way we recycled clay, was by having the students hand mix the wet reclaim, with a dry clay powder. I realize now, this was it's own level of stupid, and it was just something I did, because that's how it had been done by the previous instructor. I had a couple students, who needed more clay, and the clay powder was out. So I sent my helpers to get another bag from storage. The students mixed it with the reclaim, and that was that... UNTIL, some of the projects made with that clay were fired. Said projects partially melted. Unlike several of the other stories, this was not a Low Fire/ Mid-High Fire issue, because we only used Low Fire. Instead, it was a label reading issue. The helper students grabbed a bag of dry GLAZE powder, without looking at what it was. Am I partially to blame? Absolutely! I should have double checked, and in their defense, the bags looked identical, minus the stamped label, which is partially abbreviated. Luckily, there wasn't enough glaze mixed with the clay, to damage anything. The projects didn't even stick to the shelf. Basically they were large scale Egyptian Paste sculptures. And fortunately, the contaminated clay was easy to find, and dispose of. The worst part was that the students lost a project that they worked on. They still got a proper grade for it, they just had nothing to take home.
  6. A sugar jar, that looks like it's coated in sugary glaze!
  7. Good point! People tend to use either coils or sand for this purpose.
  8. Almost anytime, that myself or my students have made something large, I had them build it on a kiln shelf, or something else, that can just go in the kiln with it. That gave us something strong to grab on to, while we were moving them. As others have stated, showing us some reference photos, would allow everyone here to better help with the problem.
  9. I never clean off greenware, other than touching up some rough spots or marks, with a damp sponge. If you are going to apply an underglaze to the greenware, giving it a good wipe down might be a good idea. The same is true if you are single firing, and applying a glaze to a raw clay body. This will just remove anything that could cause the glaze or underglaze to not stick. When it comes to glazing bisqueware, I give everything a good rinse under a faucet, for the same reason, I mentioned above. I also make sure that I wash my hands before handing the cleaned bisqueware. I do this, so I'm not getting the naturally occurring oils from my hands on the ceramic, which can resist the glazes. I also don't use lotion or anything of the like when I'm glazing. This can get a bit annoying, because while I'm glazing a bunch of wares, I am usually rinsing my hands a lot, which means my hands are getting dry.
  10. Don't you love that! As a longtime teacher, I'm surprised you let anyone borrow anything. Teachers, especially Art teachers get pretty jaded about loaning stuff out. We usually get emails every month or two, about someone missing something that wasn't returned. In some cases it's a very specific piece of P.E. equipment, and I'm thinking, "Who would even take that?!"
  11. I'm kind of in the same boat @pixelcat402. For the end of this year, we just essentially cut off grading, after the schools closed, and the students got the grade they were at. We could offer additional work, but the students weren't required to do it. We are very much looking at a similar situation for next year. I too am trying to figure out how I can engage the students, when they are working from home. This is especially true, if the year STARTS digitally. If I met them in person, I could get them materials, but if we never meet, things are more difficult. I am thinking that I could start by going over terminology, demo the techniques, and have them work on sketches for the actual projects. Beyond that, no sure what they could do...
  12. How can the instructor expect work to be fired?! I can't even require work, of any type, from my students. Regardless, do not try and fire it, unless you have access to a proper kiln. Yeah, as I mentioned earlier in this topic, years ago, I tried pit firing raw clay years ago, and almost nothing survived.
  13. One of the worst sounds, I've ever heard, was when I tried to sharpen an underglaze stick, in a hand sharpener. Normally high pitched noises don't get me, but this one did...
  14. Love those @liambesaw ! My first thought was, that they looked industrial/ like something automotive related. In regards to the topic question, I think it is best to err on the side of caution. Like many have pointed out, we don't know the actual numbers, due to the lack of testing. I live in a relatively rural State, and in a very tiny town, yet we still have cases. My Father, initially thought this whole thing was overblown, and now the County he lives in, has one of the highest case numbers in the State. As a teacher, the repercussions are just tragic, especially for the Seniors, the retiring teachers, those in activities and athletics, and worst of all, those "At Risk" students who depend on School for structure and a sense of normalcy. My District is currently only doing "Voluntary Learning". We provide optional resources for students, and don't have to make up the days. We may yet go to "Required Learning", at least for High School, but that will obviously present even more obstacles. My Three-Dimensional class, was half way through a project, with at least two left. That class is mostly clay work, so obviously it will be difficult to give them the same experience, at home. I don't think a lot of it has set in yet. I'm just kind of numb to it all, as this is indeed unprecedented.
  15. Just so many "trickle down" effects with this whole Pandemic. There are workers and jobs, you wouldn't even think about, who are being affected.
  16. Is said recipe for a colored or other such decorating slip, where other things are added? If so, it's so the recipe is precise. If not, then I have no idea.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Of course you haven't seen anything. The super-intelligent ants you created live below the surface... For now!
  20. 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.
  21. @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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. Is it the entire kiln load, or just a select few? Could anything be falling onto the pieces, like corrosion from a thermocouple?
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