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Kelly Savino

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Everything posted by Kelly Savino

  1. Hi. Don't do this. That penny was a copper coated zinc wafer and zinc fumes are nasty and can cause flu-like symptoms. Yes, it foams up like one of those snake firework things you can light on a sidewalk. It can reach up as high as the kiln lid. But you don't want to mess with zinc fumes.
  2. I would put it to very good use! I teach at Shared Lives (the Lott Industry studio), at the Potters Guild, Owens College and Hands On Community Studio at TBG. I'd be happy to trade you pots, fresh eggs, tomato seedlings, anything you like! I'm at 419 902 6800. Let me know if I can swing by and pick it up! Yours, Kelly
  3. I'd take one or Laurie Spencer's cairns... and live in it ;0) http://www.lauriespencer.com/page4.php?view=preview&category=2&image=12 Kelly
  4. I make weird food. I ferment kombucha tea, store a week's worth of bread dough in the fridge, make kraut and other brine-fermented veggies, crock pickles, yogurt and kefir, and breads and pizzas in a wood fired clay oven. I have had to come up with my own dishes and pots sometimes to suit my needs -- a tall-chimneyed kombucha fermenter with a spout, a giant lidded refrigerator-friendly bowl for dough, a kefir strainer that separates kefir from grains, or a tofu press for making tofu from soy milk. My MFA show focused on ancient pots for fermented and cultured foods, so a lot of what I am making is historically inspired, but as I use my own work I keep tweaking it to better fit a fridge shelf, oven rack, brine presser lid, or spatula. I am learning that there are other fermenting freaks out there as well, and may end up trying to make a line of pots for that market - after a little more research and delelopment!
  5. I line up the gaps, so the heat can weave back and forth through the open spaces.
  6. A few suggestions: First, check your elements. They don't go all at once, and they will weaken and slow down long before they give it up completely. Second, check your thermocouples. It's easy to bash one with a kiln shelf and they can get worn and corroded. Next, stagger half shelves. A full shelf makes a heat dam that separates top from bottom. The more space between right and left shelves, the better. Consider that you may be firing too fast. Our guild kilns, instead of firing to ^6 and shuttign down, get set to ^5 with a 20 minute hold. It evens out the kiln heat. Finally -- is your kiln vented? Best of luck! Yours Kelly
  7. I got mine at a police auction. The evidence number is still on it ;0)
  8. You can often find used hobby kilns (often for sale by older ladies) of a reasonably small size. There is a yahoo group called "potterbarter" where people list wants and items for sale or free to pick up. Maybe give that a try? (I'm the moderator). Or look in your local paper, or on craigslist. It's often a good idea to find a place, like a guild or art center or community college, where you can not only fire your work but have access to workshops, glazes and other resources. Not that it isn't awesome to build a kiln. I just built a catenary with IFB and hard bricks I got for a hundred bucks on ebay ;0) Photos here: http://www.primalmommy.com/buildacat.html
  9. I expect I have been in both of these roles -- the mentee, at first, sometimes so overwhelmed with dozens or email suggestions that I didn't follow up with them all -- and the mentor, sometimes taken for granted by the folks who want an easy, impersonal answer, NOW. Being paid for the service can complicate it further: I had a student at the guild who ended up in my studio for some one-on-one attention, but soon felt welcome to make unreasonable demands on my schedule and my space because "after all, she was paying me." I would be very cautious in future mentorship relationships; it takes just the right match. I find a traditional teacher-student relationship to have a lot fewer pitfalls. I went back to school in my 40s and realize now that I wouldn't have grown the way I did with peer support; the very fact that a teacher can MAKE you do what you might not wish to do, or critique without weighing the balance of honesty on a friendship, really cuts through the obstacles. It wasn't easy for me to be back in the student role, but it pushed me and challenged me in a remarkable way.
  10. I am not sure that suck factor should decline over time. The truth is, if I make too many good pots in a row, I realize I'm staying in a safe zone, not pushing myself or taking chances. I loved Simon's realization that his suck factor peaked when he was in grad school, trying a bunch of new ideas and considering other people's criteria. I try to keep that going beyond grad school, seeking out crits, pushing myself into areas where I am weak or uncomfortable, and generally challenging myself to push everything just an inch past what i am comfortable with.
  11. I have to second Chris on that. An envirovent is well worth the money. It evens out the firing, brightens the colors, and takes nasty gasses out of your workspace. Even bisque offgasses toxins in firing, and some glaze ingredients (like manganese) can be more dangerous to breathe than to handle. I believe there are lots of gadgets potters don't need in the studio. Safety equipments and kiln vents are the exceptions.
  12. A lot of old pugmills just aren't going to maintain vacuum pressure, and many people find it's more hassle than it's worth to keep that aspect of the wheel operational. I use mine like a big old sausage grinder, for recycling -- I suppose there's a little lmore shrinklage without the deairing, but it wedges up soft and throws beautifully. Watch your hands! If there's a way to make a kill switch or otherwise shut it off if something gets stuck, I recommend it highly! Pugmills don't know clay from flesh and bones and just keep chugging, so be careful. Does it come apart? Unless you use it all the time, clay can harden around the auger and that's a half day's work to dissassemble and clean out the chamber... but if you store clay in there wet for too long, you can get corrosion and metal flecks in the clay. Good luck with your machine! I find that the huge quantities of fresh clay and the ease of recycling have improved the quality of my work. Medocre pots go right back in...
  13. In 2008 my husband -- the main breadwinner for a family of five -- lost his job. It was a University position, and we lost health coverage, dental and orthodontic, prescription, vision, and tuition waivers for my three kids. Through the Potters Council we have had access to a reasonable, high deductible insurance policy that we paired with a health savings account. He now teaches part time at 4 different colleges, and I teach at a college, a guild, and out of my own studio, but none of those combinations provide health coverage! We really can't afford to go without coverage. We're happy that this policy has provided us with a lifeboat.
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