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Everything posted by GEP

  1. This thread has made me think hard about sieving. I go through a lot of glaze these days, and sieving has become very cumbersome timewise. Unlike @Callie Beller Diesel, sometimes glazemaking does sneak up on me! So annoying to sit down for a day of glazing, only to open a bucket and say “oh [bleep].” It sets back my whole day. @liambesaw‘s idea of putting a brush head on a power drill is very intriguing. But ultimately I decided that the lowest speed on my power drill is still too fast. Plus my sieve that fits a 5 gallon bucket is pretty shallow, it holds maybe a half-gallon at a time. The idea of a shallow sieve combined with a power tool has me visualizing large horizontal splatters of glaze across my studio. I was sold by @Mark C.‘s comment that the Talisman holds 2 gallons. I ordered one this morning. I like the idea of the high volume, combined with the controlled hand cranking. As for cleaning it, I don’t have a wide and shallow sink. I don’t think my household drain could handle this much glaze anyways. So my plan is to take it out on the patio and clean it with the garden hose.
  2. I've tried it with a hand-held scrub brush. It took just as long as using my hand, and the brush got clogged up and took a long time to clean. I think you need the spinning action of a power drill, or the cranking motion of a Talisman, in order for the brush to work faster than your hand.
  3. A few months ago I posted some WIP photos of clock designs that I was experimenting with. Here’s how they are turning out:
  4. My studio is in a basement, so it is mostly underground and very well insulated. The pipes that feed the hot water radiators in the rest of the house run across the ceiling of the basement, which provide a decent amount of heat. Also, when the kilns are firing, the room is toasty warm. At worst, the temp in the basement might go down to the low 60s. I can put on some extra layers and a hat and still work. Or I might plug in an electric radiator and sit right next to it. I struggle with the very low humidity in winter, trying hard to keep the pots from drying too fast. But temperature is not really a problem. I can’t really take a break for winter. Once the holidays are over, I need to start making pots for the big ACC show in February.
  5. I used to tell my students “if it works for you, it’s not wrong.” My “bad habit” is to skip foot rings on all pots that I am producing in high volumes. Foot rings are very time consuming. I still like to trim them on things I make in lower volumes. But for mugs and small bowls, no way! I’ve heard potters say dogmatic things like “all good pots have foot rings,” but I'm like “nah.”
  6. I have both a Bailey and an old Thomas Stuart, which are now made by Skutt. I don’t need the drain hole in the Bailey either, but I know plenty of my former pottery students would need it, because they throw with a lot more water and the splashpan can’t be removed to empty it. I do like the gate that allows you to push trimmings out, The TS doesn’t have that and it is much more work to get trimmings out. The splashpan on the Bailey is more comfortable to lean my forearms on for bracing. On the TS, I need to add foam cushions to the splashpan rim or else it is way too uncomfortable to lean on it. The Bailey is quieter. The TS is overall heavier and sturdier. It’s an old second hand wheel and it has never needed repairs. The Bailey sometimes flexes and feels less sturdy. Though I wouldn’t call it “flimsy.” (Unlike a Pacifica which definitely has some flimsy parts.) Once it developed a wobble, but the repair was very simple. Once I had to tighten the bolts on the pedal, or else the wheel would turn on by itself. Again, the repair was very simple.
  7. You could try making your stencils out of Tyvek instead of paper. Go to the office supply store and buy some Tyvek envelopes. It behaves like paper against a pot, and it doesn’t wrinkle when it gets wet. You can invest some time cutting out your stencil, knowing the Tyvek will basically last forever.
  8. My ceramics education was not formal. It consisted of informal recreational classes, plus some excellent workshops, lots of reading, plus the most important element which is years and years of hands-on experience and practice. It can be done, but it certainly takes a lot longer than 4 years. And you need to put together your own "curriculum" so to speak, and research where to get the training you want. Even advanced topics like kiln-building and fuel firing can be learned this way, if you search for it. On the plus side, it's a lot cheaper than college tuition. You can also be working full-time while you do it. I recently gave a throwing demo at a local community college. The classroom and facilities were beautiful! I was a little envious, and wished I could have learned in a setting like that. But at the same time, Mark mentioned this above too, if you get a college ceramics education, you are still short of the years and years of hands-on experience and practice that it takes to realize your goals. So condensing all the education into 4 years doesn't get you there any faster. I have a college degree in design, and I would not trade that educational experience for anything. It transformed me from a talented but naive/immature high-schooler into an adult who could navigate the professional world. This is not something you can teach yourself. It takes role models and a lot of guidance.
  9. My spool says “20lb.” Not sure you can see this in the photo, but each cutoff wire is two fishing lines twisted together, so it’s thicker and stronger than a single 20lb strand. The twistedness is very useful. It puts little pockets of air between your pot and the batt, so the pot can’t stick itself back on. And you can make interesting patterns on the bottom of your pot.
  10. Homemade cutoff wires, made from fishing line and fender washers. Taught to me by the marvelous Nan Rothwell in Charlottesville VA. I love that these can be made to any length of your choosing. Storebought ones are always too long. The first one is for cutting pugs, the second one is for cutting off small pots like mugs, the third one is for everything larger than a mug. They break every so often, but it takes only minutes to make a new one, and that one spool of fishing line will probably last a lifetime.
  11. I have an extra day off this week, so I am exploring some of the ideas that have been rattling around in my head. If possible I like to introduce new designs at my open studio in december, which means I need to start figuring them out now. Edit: ....aaaand now that I’ve studied this photo a bit, I’m going to erase the “7” on the brown one, and try to put it in the right place.
  12. Need to dry out and launder my entire display, after a rain-soaked weekend show.

    1. Show previous comments  4 more
    2. Pres


      Yeah, that is why I am doing more of the wholesale. My wife is not up to doing markets anymore, and I don't know as I do either. Penn State was fun, but in the long run not really worth it for me back then. Paper work of sales taxes, and other income tax was problematic also. So now, I am not having to do the sales tax and as long as I keep my W-9's and others in order along with my earnings, my tax man is happy.


    3. Gabby


      This brings back so many drenched camping memories.

    4. Pres


      Ha first camping trip I took my new wife on was to Acadia ME. It rained all most the entire trip, Had an old canvas tent of my grand parents! We got soaked, but she wanted to go again the next year, and every year after. First thing we got before leaving the next year was a new tent!





  13. I use terry cloth towels. Mostly hand towels while throwing. I wash my hands in the throwing water bucket, dry off with a throwing towel. Then finish washing my hands in the sink, drying off on a “clean” towel next to the sink. When glazing, I wrap a bath towel around my waist. Because like @LeeU I cannot resist wiping my hands on my pants. Glazing seems to require much more hand wiping than anything else. When pulling handles, I wear a terry cloth wrist band to stop water dripping down to my elbow. I tried @Callie Beller Diesel‘s method but it didn’t help. For me, the water doesn’t drip down my arm during the pulling phase. It drips during the phase when I shape the handle and attach the bottom end. Because for that move I hold the mug up at eye level > arms now angled upward > water runs down arm rather than off the hands into bucket. All of my studio towels and wristbands get taken down to a neighborhood laundromat, rather than my home laundry machines. It’s one of those big ones that is open 24/7. I figure their drains can handle a lot more than my house can.
  14. A good response to this, if you are feeling cheeky enough and if the person is sufficiently deserving: “Haha! That joke is always funny.” This also works when someone makes a crack about the movie Ghost.
  15. I disagree on this one point. Even if we set aside the aesthetic debate, many mid-range and high-fired stoneware and porcelain pots are more durable than mass produced ceramics. Of course every potter’s work falls somewhere different on the durability scale, but many of us are ahead of industry. “Your stuff really lasts. Even my kids can’t break it.” I hear this feedback a lot.
  16. I just had this conversation with a customer this weekend. She has one handmade mug, and loves using it daily. Her husband cannot fathom why she spent $38 on a mug. His favorite mugs are the ones he stole from a restaurant, therefore they were free. He sees them a purely utilitarian. I told her that buying handmade pottery is definitely a subculture. Most people don't get it, but some people do. So the reason to make it is for the small subculture of people who value this sort of thing. I'm finding it hard to imagine that anyone involved in art making (eg the tilemaker) can't understand that different people have different values.
  17. In the photo of my hands, you can see in the lower right corner, the coffee grinder that my iPad was perched atop.
  18. Ok here are my hands. They are dirty this morning from yardwork, not pottery. Gnarly cuticles, bulging veins, and I’m always nursing some cuts and scrapes.
  19. Speaking of hands, has anyone else here ever had to be fingerprinted? I had to give fingerprints when I was hired to teach at a community center. The person doing it had a terrible time getting prints from my worn down fingertips. I have a potter friend who has a high security job. Her company is trying to install electronic fingerprint readers in their office, and she’s having a tough time using them. Just think of the crimes we potters could get away with.
  20. This is my favorite and most important scheduling tool: a wall calendar that displays the entire year at a glance, and can be written on with a dry erase pen. I plan out about 2 months worth of days in advance, then stick to my plan as close as possible. It takes an emergency to make me ignore my plan. If I don’t stick to it, I will arrive at shows feeling underprepared, and I hate that! The shorthand you see (1a thru 1d, 2a thru 2d) refers to to-do lists that I keep in a notebook. Each to-do list produces about $1250 worth of pots. So when I apply for and get accepted into a show, before I commit to it I will make sure I have enough days to produce the necessary amount of inventory. If yes, then I will commit to the show and schedule the days of production. This way, I am always fully stocked. But I avoid overstocking myself which I consider wasted energy. As you can see, I give myself regular days off, usually two in a row but sometimes three. I need these days out of the studio to let my sore muscles recover. Often, one of those off days will be spent working, just not in the studio. This is when I get my computer stuff done (bookkeeping, bill paying, writing blog posts, writing email campaigns, making hang tags, photographing my work, website updates, etc.) So that means I get one day “off” but that’s enough. Today 6/26 which is a day off. Tomorrow I start another round of glazing. And then I reach the end of my currently scheduled days. I have a completely unscheduled week 7/1 thru 7/7. Weird feeling! I will probably schedule those days as “video days” because I don’t need more pots for the three shows coming up in July. When I get near the end of my July shows, I will plan out all the days until my three October shows. Then follow the plan.
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