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Idaho Potter

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  1. Like
    Idaho Potter got a reaction from Deleted user in india ink or what else ?   
    Nepheline,
     
    Well, shoot! I got sidetracked. If you want the pot to be truly functional, use a non-crackle glaze on the interior, then you only have to test how soon the india ink, or whatever, will last in the dishwashing. I have glazed (to cone 5-6) the interior of a bowl, and then raku fired the exterior expecting crackle. I leave a unglazed band between the cone six and raku glaze (it becomes black during the post-fire reduction). My clay is a raku clay that can take lots of different temperatures. I have also glazed the interior with cone 05-06 glaze which matures during a raku firing. Not knowing what you are firing your work to, makes it hard to adequately address your problem.
     
    Shirley
  2. Like
    Idaho Potter got a reaction from D.M.Ernst in Teaching Ceramics to Adults   
    Happypots,
     
    I, like you, have given "private lessons" to adults, with a different take, however. If the student wants to learn ceramics, they start with handbuilding and work their way up. I remind them that getting work fired by someone else (other than in my studio) isn't all that easy. Most places feel more comfortable knowing the student has at least the fundamental basics under their belt. And I try to convince them that the first piece of equipment they need to buy is a kiln--not a wheel.
     
    I have also had students who only wanted to learn wheel throwing techniques. My classes are three hours long (reality check--set up and clean up equal approx. 1/2 hour which is one-third of your alloted class time) plus the student can practice on their own for three hours a week as well. The classes (and the practice time) run for six weeks--no extensions. This is still only 36 hours total (providing they are motivated enough to practice). There are restrictions during class time. They do assigned work--cylinders, bowls, bigger cylinders, shaped cylinders, bigger bowls. If they practice, they can experiment as much as they like, but when they come back to class they do assigned work. Someone who took pottery in high school will advance more rapidly, but tossing a total newbie into wheel throwing without that background is a disservice to your student.
     
    They need structure until they master centering, opening and repeated attempts at drawing up the clay into a viable form. Just as an untrained horse doesn't know what to do with that bit in their mouth, the newbie needs gentle, steady reinforcement so trust and confidence can grow. Rethink your method and maybe the time set aside for classes. When that student actually draws up a slightly wobbly cylinder and it doesn't collapse--their smile will light the whole studio. Once they feel they can throw well, I put more stumbling blocks in their way. They are expected to weigh the clay and make three whatevers of the same size and shape. No, I don't expect the outcome will be exact, but it is something that is important to working with pottery. They are also expected to draw what they intend to produce. No fancy drawing, jut a line drawing showing dimension measurements. These are not "rules" for teaching, they're my methods. I think they need goals--even if I have to set them.
     
    If you are giving group lessons, invite your student in to see the progress of others (or maybe drop in to the community center to take a peek).
  3. Like
    Idaho Potter got a reaction from Phwriter11 in Teaching Ceramics to Adults   
    Happypots,
     
    I, like you, have given "private lessons" to adults, with a different take, however. If the student wants to learn ceramics, they start with handbuilding and work their way up. I remind them that getting work fired by someone else (other than in my studio) isn't all that easy. Most places feel more comfortable knowing the student has at least the fundamental basics under their belt. And I try to convince them that the first piece of equipment they need to buy is a kiln--not a wheel.
     
    I have also had students who only wanted to learn wheel throwing techniques. My classes are three hours long (reality check--set up and clean up equal approx. 1/2 hour which is one-third of your alloted class time) plus the student can practice on their own for three hours a week as well. The classes (and the practice time) run for six weeks--no extensions. This is still only 36 hours total (providing they are motivated enough to practice). There are restrictions during class time. They do assigned work--cylinders, bowls, bigger cylinders, shaped cylinders, bigger bowls. If they practice, they can experiment as much as they like, but when they come back to class they do assigned work. Someone who took pottery in high school will advance more rapidly, but tossing a total newbie into wheel throwing without that background is a disservice to your student.
     
    They need structure until they master centering, opening and repeated attempts at drawing up the clay into a viable form. Just as an untrained horse doesn't know what to do with that bit in their mouth, the newbie needs gentle, steady reinforcement so trust and confidence can grow. Rethink your method and maybe the time set aside for classes. When that student actually draws up a slightly wobbly cylinder and it doesn't collapse--their smile will light the whole studio. Once they feel they can throw well, I put more stumbling blocks in their way. They are expected to weigh the clay and make three whatevers of the same size and shape. No, I don't expect the outcome will be exact, but it is something that is important to working with pottery. They are also expected to draw what they intend to produce. No fancy drawing, jut a line drawing showing dimension measurements. These are not "rules" for teaching, they're my methods. I think they need goals--even if I have to set them.
     
    If you are giving group lessons, invite your student in to see the progress of others (or maybe drop in to the community center to take a peek).
  4. Like
    Idaho Potter got a reaction from Tarantara in Water In A Studio Without Plumbing: Ideas Needed   
    I concerned about you using household drains to cleanup studio messes.  The sedimentary residue from clay, glaze, and other stuff will eventually block your drains and could cost you a lot of money to repair.  That stuff sets up like concrete.  Cink's are expensive.  However, you can make something similar using laundry tubs with standpipes under your stainless sink.  I've been using mine for over thirty years, never had plumbing problems, and when I moved to Boise, brought the whole thing with me and set it up in my new studio nine years ago.  I use twin tubs, so once a year, I bail out water from one side--let it go dry, and scoop out the sediment into the trash.  Then I do the other side.  If you are interested, I could probably come up with some drawings.  Basically it is based on a deep sink with a standpipe that was designed for cleaning up plaster from molds, etc.  Works like a charm, and cost is low--laundry tubs, some PVC pipes, and enough room under the tubs for a P-trap.  (my stainless sink is set high, and I cut the legs off the tubs to lower them but keep space for the P-trap)
     
    Shirley
  5. Like
    Idaho Potter got a reaction from Teget in Applying clear glaze over underglaze   
    After reading all the above, the question that comes to mind is how important is this piece that needs a second application of underglaze? If it something that you could live with IF the underglaze smeared, then, go for it. On the other hand, if it is one-half of a matching pair, you'd be assured of a good finish if you bisqued it again.
     
    I have used both approaches, and sometimes I'm lucky, sometimes not so much. I apply three coats of underglaze to greenware, bisque and then clear glaze. If interrupted while applying underglaze, sometimes I have to reapply after the bisque firing. I usually run the pot through the next bisque so I know the underglaze won't shift or bleed or smear. With careful application of the glaze you may succeed, but because I like really clear edge definition I've learned to do the second bisque.
  6. Like
    Idaho Potter got a reaction from TwinRocks in Help With Older Cress Kiln   
    I've been using a Cress FX-27P with a Kiln Sitter for 25 years. The only time I ever use slow speed is when I have sculpture pieces and want to make sure they are truly dry before firing bisque. Sometimes the clay thickness isn't as even as I'd like so I lean towards the safe side. If you are throwing pots and know they are dry you can start at fast speed, although I usually use medium.
     
    My instruction manual says to start at the number one, leave the lid propped open for the first hour or so, ALWAYS leave the top peekhole open throughout the firing. That's pretty much what I do. Since I got a digital Skutt, I mostly use it now for firing bisque (cone 06 to 04), but when I have a lot of glaze work it takes the overflow and fires to cone 5 - 6 without a problem.
     
    Bisque firing takes from 4.5 hrs to 6 hrs. Glaze firing takes 8.5 to 12. Time depends on how heavy the load is and firing speed. Until you get used to the kiln's idiosyncrasies, I'd err on the side of caution. Better to use slow speed that might take more time than to lose your pots. Keep a ledger to refer to (i.e., size of load; type of work fired; firing speed; time elapsed). I'd also suggest setting the hour timer to at least one hour more than you think is needed (on glaze firings I set it for two extra hours).
     
    Hope this helps. If you bought this used, check the elements and cone assembly for wear--this should give you good service for years to come.
  7. Like
    Idaho Potter got a reaction from Rae Reich in Do You Throw Straight Out Of The Pugger?   
    I bought a Peter Pugger Power Wedger  (de-airing pugmill) in 2003, when I was 68.  It has saved me time, and body parts.  Buying a large piece of equipment like that is more of a mental problem than financial or physical.  Once you've decided on the purchase, in your mind it's already in your possession.  Sort of like buying a house or a car--you have to make the mental commitment, first.  Until the object of your desire becomes a high priority, you'll keep waffling.
     
    I cut the pugged clay off in 3 to 4 pound sections.  If I need 6 lbs. I slam two three-pounders together.  I seldom wedge--that's why I spent the big bucks!  I have never kept track of which end is up because I take the pugged cylinders and gently form them into squares and then balls.  Small items using 1-2 lbs are thrown as Mea said, in soup can orientation.  The only time I get S-cracks is when I haven't compressed the base well, and that's usually when throwing off the hump.
     
    I envy those who can comfortably wedge clay.  It was always the start of any pot and I'd use the time thinking and planning the how and what.  I actually miss it, but arthritis, age, and a bad(sad) result of a shoulder operation forced me to reassess my priorities.  I don't regret my decision.
     
    Shirley 
  8. Like
    Idaho Potter got a reaction from ChenowethArts in Do You Throw Straight Out Of The Pugger?   
    I bought a Peter Pugger Power Wedger  (de-airing pugmill) in 2003, when I was 68.  It has saved me time, and body parts.  Buying a large piece of equipment like that is more of a mental problem than financial or physical.  Once you've decided on the purchase, in your mind it's already in your possession.  Sort of like buying a house or a car--you have to make the mental commitment, first.  Until the object of your desire becomes a high priority, you'll keep waffling.
     
    I cut the pugged clay off in 3 to 4 pound sections.  If I need 6 lbs. I slam two three-pounders together.  I seldom wedge--that's why I spent the big bucks!  I have never kept track of which end is up because I take the pugged cylinders and gently form them into squares and then balls.  Small items using 1-2 lbs are thrown as Mea said, in soup can orientation.  The only time I get S-cracks is when I haven't compressed the base well, and that's usually when throwing off the hump.
     
    I envy those who can comfortably wedge clay.  It was always the start of any pot and I'd use the time thinking and planning the how and what.  I actually miss it, but arthritis, age, and a bad(sad) result of a shoulder operation forced me to reassess my priorities.  I don't regret my decision.
     
    Shirley 
  9. Like
    Idaho Potter got a reaction from Rae Reich in Designation--"Master Potter"   
    I think I'll go with John on this. Just as our electricians and plumbers go through apprentice, journeyman, master, so did the guilds of old. Back in the day, there were guilds for everything, from candlemaking to sculpture; from carpentry to weaving; from bookbinding to printing. That was how people learned the skills needed to work their way up the social and economic ladders. As an apprentice, you became familiar with the tools of the trade (usually by having to clean up after the master) and would occasionally get to help a journeyman on small jobs. As a journeyman you were given jobs to do with limited supervision and a final check to make sure it was done properly. As a master you taught and had the final say on work done under your guidance.
     
    Next time I hear someone call themselves a master (whatever), I'll ask with whom they apprenticed.
     
    Shirley
  10. Like
    Idaho Potter got a reaction from Mug in Multi-Piece Slip Cast Mold Help   
    If, as you have written:  " Having 6 individual molds is just to big and unwieldy I've found." is true, you will really learn what unwieldy is when you handle a mold for three vases.  If you intend to reuse the mold multiple times, as quickly as possible, you need to make the plaster between the vases at least as thick as the outside walls of the mold or there will be moisture problems.  Interior walls will take longer to dry, and that means any casting will take longer to set up because the plaster will be absorbing moisture from both sides.  
     
    Most working molds need walls at least 1 1/2" thick (refer back to comments made by bciskepottery) and double that to 3" between what you cast .  Add up the depth of plaster needed, plus the size of vase (I've allowed 2.5") and you come up with a length of 16 1/2 " , width of 5 1/2", height of 5"; plus the base plaster which also needs to be at least 1 1/2" thick.  Actually, if the base is to be 16 1/2" long, I'd make it reinforced with burlap, or mesh of some sort and another 1 1/2" of plaster.  Hope you are strong, in good shape, and have a friend to help. Because when you fill the mold and have to dump the excess slip, I'm not sure the word unwieldy will any longer suffice.
     
    Shirley
  11. Like
    Idaho Potter got a reaction from oldlady in Multi-Piece Slip Cast Mold Help   
    If, as you have written:  " Having 6 individual molds is just to big and unwieldy I've found." is true, you will really learn what unwieldy is when you handle a mold for three vases.  If you intend to reuse the mold multiple times, as quickly as possible, you need to make the plaster between the vases at least as thick as the outside walls of the mold or there will be moisture problems.  Interior walls will take longer to dry, and that means any casting will take longer to set up because the plaster will be absorbing moisture from both sides.  
     
    Most working molds need walls at least 1 1/2" thick (refer back to comments made by bciskepottery) and double that to 3" between what you cast .  Add up the depth of plaster needed, plus the size of vase (I've allowed 2.5") and you come up with a length of 16 1/2 " , width of 5 1/2", height of 5"; plus the base plaster which also needs to be at least 1 1/2" thick.  Actually, if the base is to be 16 1/2" long, I'd make it reinforced with burlap, or mesh of some sort and another 1 1/2" of plaster.  Hope you are strong, in good shape, and have a friend to help. Because when you fill the mold and have to dump the excess slip, I'm not sure the word unwieldy will any longer suffice.
     
    Shirley
  12. Like
    Idaho Potter got a reaction from Rae Reich in Aesthetically Pleasing Garments For Clay Workers.   
    Thrift stores frequently have sweats for sale cheap.  I've bought a couple pairs and altered them slightly.  Waist band intact, cut off back side (butt & legs EXCEPT a two inch strip for behind the knee, and the cuff or elastic at the ankle).  These fit well over jeans, shorts (indoor or outdoor) or anything else you wear (or not).  Let them dry and next time you throw take them outside and scrunch up the thick clay areas and start throwing.
     
    Shirley
  13. Like
    Idaho Potter got a reaction from Marcia Selsor in Who Needs Art . . .   
    This past weekend I listened to the TED radio hour (you might be more familiar with www.ted.com ) that discussed creativity from the point of view of a scientist, an educator (this was  the only name I remember--Sir Keith Robinson), and performance artists.  I will go to the TED website and look into it further.  
     
    The main premise was that artist's brains, during the creative process, light up in certain areas like a pinball machine, but their frontal lobe actually almost disconnects at the same time.  Seems we artists need to get out of our own way so that the process can continue.  Creativity works better when we subdue our subconscious and quit worrying about failure and/or what anyone else may think of our efforts.  
     
    We all need art.  Robinson said that education is now being operated the way a Fortune 500 corporation would handle it.  Corporations no longer hire people with only one degree they want more paperwork to flap about.  He also said that the more education leans that way, the less innovative the corporations will be because they will have eliminated any creativity that doesn't fit the "bottom line".
     
    Boy, I hope not.
     
    Shirley
  14. Like
    Idaho Potter got a reaction from TwinRocks in 10 Cool Trends In Contemporary Ceramics   
    Benzine's comments on page one of this thread took me back a few (nay, much more than a few) years.  Back in the 1950's when I was trying to learn something about technique in painting, I took a class at San Francisco State in oil painting.  I'd been fortunate to have a really great teacher in high school that taught me composition; challenged my imagination; inspired me; and made me work at art because he believed that to produce art you at least needed an idea of where you wanted to end up.  Not so, the college instructor.  
     
    The class was entitled, Techniques of Oil Painting.  I wanted to learn technique--the application of paint to canvas--whether using a brush, knife, forearm, my nose, or any means necessary.  Regrettably, the class I'd signed for ended up more about painting large swathes of paint next to equally large areas of paint with no thought as to application, color, composition or anything else.  When the instructor kept referring to his work as "abstract", I finally spoke up and asked what was he abstracting.  His response was to shout he didn't need to explain himself to a "child" ( I was almost 20 and he was probably about 30). I said if he couldn't explain what his subject matter was, then it wasn't an abstract, but merely planes of color arranged in some manner that suited him.  
     
    I got bounced out of that class so quick!  Had a heck of a time getting my tuition fees returned, too.
     
    That episode did two things. (1) Made me rethink taking classes in higher learning.  (2) Made me realize that if you throw cow poop at a barn wall and end up framing it , it's still cow poop!  
     
    Before you rag on me, let me state that I like Jackson Pollock, Mondrian, Picasso and a whole slew of other non-traditionalist artists.  BUT, their early work shows that they studied and then departed from traditional aspects, but with an idea of where/what they wanted to achieve.  No art speak, just a view of where the work would end.
     
    I'm sure all of you have experienced throwing a pot early in your career and having it collapse in a strange way or fold in on itself.  Sometimes it even looks good enough to keep.  However, those happy accidents are few and far between.  Students would ask if they could keep it.  I would say, can you produce another?  Most often, the answer was no.  We work hard and every once in awhile serendipity gives us a gift.  Most often, the gifts come about by perfecting our techniques to the point where we no longer have to rely on happy accidents or serendipity.
     
    my two cents,
     
    Shirley
  15. Like
    Idaho Potter got a reaction from Roberta12 in Image Envy ...   
    I'm sure we all have image envy, but personally find it too hard to sustain.  I have an attention span shorter than the life of a fruit fly and have a bad tendency to get side-tracked easily (if you saw the movie UP! and understand "squirrel!", you know whereof I write).  I am not a multi-tasker.  I have a one-track mind that occasionally jumps the rails.  All the great ceramics I've seen, books I've read, music I've heard and conversations I've had with others are filed away somewhere, but I can't remember the password to access those files most of the time.  Soooo, I'll continue to drift through the years and every once in awhile have an AHA moment when I recognize an object or idea that clearly rings a bell--too bad I can't find that door to answer.
     
    Now, what started this thread?
     
    Shirley
  16. Like
    Idaho Potter got a reaction from Babs in Aesthetically Pleasing Garments For Clay Workers.   
    Thrift stores frequently have sweats for sale cheap.  I've bought a couple pairs and altered them slightly.  Waist band intact, cut off back side (butt & legs EXCEPT a two inch strip for behind the knee, and the cuff or elastic at the ankle).  These fit well over jeans, shorts (indoor or outdoor) or anything else you wear (or not).  Let them dry and next time you throw take them outside and scrunch up the thick clay areas and start throwing.
     
    Shirley
  17. Like
    Idaho Potter got a reaction from Isculpt in Image Envy ...   
    I'm sure we all have image envy, but personally find it too hard to sustain.  I have an attention span shorter than the life of a fruit fly and have a bad tendency to get side-tracked easily (if you saw the movie UP! and understand "squirrel!", you know whereof I write).  I am not a multi-tasker.  I have a one-track mind that occasionally jumps the rails.  All the great ceramics I've seen, books I've read, music I've heard and conversations I've had with others are filed away somewhere, but I can't remember the password to access those files most of the time.  Soooo, I'll continue to drift through the years and every once in awhile have an AHA moment when I recognize an object or idea that clearly rings a bell--too bad I can't find that door to answer.
     
    Now, what started this thread?
     
    Shirley
  18. Like
    Idaho Potter got a reaction from GEP in 10 Cool Trends In Contemporary Ceramics   
    Benzine's comments on page one of this thread took me back a few (nay, much more than a few) years.  Back in the 1950's when I was trying to learn something about technique in painting, I took a class at San Francisco State in oil painting.  I'd been fortunate to have a really great teacher in high school that taught me composition; challenged my imagination; inspired me; and made me work at art because he believed that to produce art you at least needed an idea of where you wanted to end up.  Not so, the college instructor.  
     
    The class was entitled, Techniques of Oil Painting.  I wanted to learn technique--the application of paint to canvas--whether using a brush, knife, forearm, my nose, or any means necessary.  Regrettably, the class I'd signed for ended up more about painting large swathes of paint next to equally large areas of paint with no thought as to application, color, composition or anything else.  When the instructor kept referring to his work as "abstract", I finally spoke up and asked what was he abstracting.  His response was to shout he didn't need to explain himself to a "child" ( I was almost 20 and he was probably about 30). I said if he couldn't explain what his subject matter was, then it wasn't an abstract, but merely planes of color arranged in some manner that suited him.  
     
    I got bounced out of that class so quick!  Had a heck of a time getting my tuition fees returned, too.
     
    That episode did two things. (1) Made me rethink taking classes in higher learning.  (2) Made me realize that if you throw cow poop at a barn wall and end up framing it , it's still cow poop!  
     
    Before you rag on me, let me state that I like Jackson Pollock, Mondrian, Picasso and a whole slew of other non-traditionalist artists.  BUT, their early work shows that they studied and then departed from traditional aspects, but with an idea of where/what they wanted to achieve.  No art speak, just a view of where the work would end.
     
    I'm sure all of you have experienced throwing a pot early in your career and having it collapse in a strange way or fold in on itself.  Sometimes it even looks good enough to keep.  However, those happy accidents are few and far between.  Students would ask if they could keep it.  I would say, can you produce another?  Most often, the answer was no.  We work hard and every once in awhile serendipity gives us a gift.  Most often, the gifts come about by perfecting our techniques to the point where we no longer have to rely on happy accidents or serendipity.
     
    my two cents,
     
    Shirley
  19. Like
    Idaho Potter got a reaction from Stellaria in 10 Cool Trends In Contemporary Ceramics   
    Benzine's comments on page one of this thread took me back a few (nay, much more than a few) years.  Back in the 1950's when I was trying to learn something about technique in painting, I took a class at San Francisco State in oil painting.  I'd been fortunate to have a really great teacher in high school that taught me composition; challenged my imagination; inspired me; and made me work at art because he believed that to produce art you at least needed an idea of where you wanted to end up.  Not so, the college instructor.  
     
    The class was entitled, Techniques of Oil Painting.  I wanted to learn technique--the application of paint to canvas--whether using a brush, knife, forearm, my nose, or any means necessary.  Regrettably, the class I'd signed for ended up more about painting large swathes of paint next to equally large areas of paint with no thought as to application, color, composition or anything else.  When the instructor kept referring to his work as "abstract", I finally spoke up and asked what was he abstracting.  His response was to shout he didn't need to explain himself to a "child" ( I was almost 20 and he was probably about 30). I said if he couldn't explain what his subject matter was, then it wasn't an abstract, but merely planes of color arranged in some manner that suited him.  
     
    I got bounced out of that class so quick!  Had a heck of a time getting my tuition fees returned, too.
     
    That episode did two things. (1) Made me rethink taking classes in higher learning.  (2) Made me realize that if you throw cow poop at a barn wall and end up framing it , it's still cow poop!  
     
    Before you rag on me, let me state that I like Jackson Pollock, Mondrian, Picasso and a whole slew of other non-traditionalist artists.  BUT, their early work shows that they studied and then departed from traditional aspects, but with an idea of where/what they wanted to achieve.  No art speak, just a view of where the work would end.
     
    I'm sure all of you have experienced throwing a pot early in your career and having it collapse in a strange way or fold in on itself.  Sometimes it even looks good enough to keep.  However, those happy accidents are few and far between.  Students would ask if they could keep it.  I would say, can you produce another?  Most often, the answer was no.  We work hard and every once in awhile serendipity gives us a gift.  Most often, the gifts come about by perfecting our techniques to the point where we no longer have to rely on happy accidents or serendipity.
     
    my two cents,
     
    Shirley
  20. Like
    Idaho Potter got a reaction from Rebekah Krieger in Expectation And Appearance   
    This has been a most entertaining thread!  Years ago I traded fad and fashion for comfort.  Sweats + T-shirt and Birks in summer, spring and fall.  Winters I add a sweatshirt on top and socks on bottom.  Everything covered as best I can with an apron.  Dress up is for weddings and funerals--I don't like going to either one.  When mingling with folks at the grocery store, I trade sweats for jeans and wash up.
     
    Reading about the critics reminded me of a potter friend of mine who had Dragon Lady fingernails and her hands always looked like she'd just had a manicure.  At a show, I heard a "customer" dispute the fact that she had produced all the pottery exhibited in her booth had been done by her--because of the length of her nails.  She responded with, "It is because of my martial arts training.  I can throw pots, or disembowel an opponent just as easily."
     
    I wanted to applaud.
     
    Shirley
  21. Like
    Idaho Potter got a reaction from ChenowethArts in Raku Party - How Can We 'do It Up Right'?   
    It's one thing if you are just going to demonstrate the raku process, and totally different take if your want your friends to experience raku.  As to what type of work to fire, I'd suggest throwing small tea bowls/cups off the hump and having them bisqued, ready to go.  I would also limit glaze choices and discuss the unglazed portion of the pots/tiles because negative space has a lot to do with the finished product.  As people arrive, I'd have the kiln working on its first load so that all the preheating is almost done, and the following firings could well be down to approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
     
    I'd not bring forth the drinks (except for water) until after the firings are completed.  Then they are celebratory.
     
    I've had groups of kids (5th grade) and/or adults help during a raku firing, but not until they've done a dry run.  When you have a group of people, you really need choreography so the procedure becomes more of a ritual dance.  You don't want people stepping on the gas hose; bumping  into the table (or kiln) with pots; running into others while they are handling hot pots; etc, etc.
     
    Putting all the difficulties aside, I, personally, think that raku is a participant, not a spectator sport.  To break the ice, have two good friends come over a day or so before the party and walk them through the procedures--without heat.  Then fire up the kiln and have them actually handle removing a pot from the kiln (with tongs!) and placing them in the smoke pots.  When the "party" starts, have them help again, and tell  your other guests to watch how the work flows from glazing table, to preheat, to kiln, to smoke pot--and see who else wants to help.  I  never have more than two new novices learning and keep the helpers to only essential participants--in other words, rotate your crew. Anyone who is timid about being around fire or heat, should become the rooting section.
     
    If you quench with water have them plunge in a water filled 5 gallon bucket (been using the same one for over 25 years).  Part of the process is cleaning the pots afterwards, and they can do it at your house or at theirs.  Have green scrubby material either by it self or as one part of a sponge.  When your friends discover the glint of copper, gold, or silver hiding under the soot, their grins will light the neighborhood.
     
    Hope you all have fun, 'cause that's what a raku party is.
     
    Shirley
  22. Like
    Idaho Potter got a reaction from Mesi in Expectation And Appearance   
    This has been a most entertaining thread!  Years ago I traded fad and fashion for comfort.  Sweats + T-shirt and Birks in summer, spring and fall.  Winters I add a sweatshirt on top and socks on bottom.  Everything covered as best I can with an apron.  Dress up is for weddings and funerals--I don't like going to either one.  When mingling with folks at the grocery store, I trade sweats for jeans and wash up.
     
    Reading about the critics reminded me of a potter friend of mine who had Dragon Lady fingernails and her hands always looked like she'd just had a manicure.  At a show, I heard a "customer" dispute the fact that she had produced all the pottery exhibited in her booth had been done by her--because of the length of her nails.  She responded with, "It is because of my martial arts training.  I can throw pots, or disembowel an opponent just as easily."
     
    I wanted to applaud.
     
    Shirley
  23. Like
    Idaho Potter got a reaction from Babs in Expectation And Appearance   
    This has been a most entertaining thread!  Years ago I traded fad and fashion for comfort.  Sweats + T-shirt and Birks in summer, spring and fall.  Winters I add a sweatshirt on top and socks on bottom.  Everything covered as best I can with an apron.  Dress up is for weddings and funerals--I don't like going to either one.  When mingling with folks at the grocery store, I trade sweats for jeans and wash up.
     
    Reading about the critics reminded me of a potter friend of mine who had Dragon Lady fingernails and her hands always looked like she'd just had a manicure.  At a show, I heard a "customer" dispute the fact that she had produced all the pottery exhibited in her booth had been done by her--because of the length of her nails.  She responded with, "It is because of my martial arts training.  I can throw pots, or disembowel an opponent just as easily."
     
    I wanted to applaud.
     
    Shirley
  24. Like
    Idaho Potter got a reaction from timbo_heff in Underglaze Issue   
    Treat underglazes like you would artist's paints.  Mix them.  If a yellow is too brash, add a little white.  If a blue is too dark, add a lighter blue--not white--and you'll find you still have a dark blue, but it won't look black.  There's a great vibrant blue (Marine Blue) that should work great to brighten rather than lighten the dark blue.
     
     I mix orange with yellow to achieve the interior of an orange, or mix with red to create a beautiful persimmon.  Amaco's colors are so stable, and true to the color on their test tiles, that they can be used in a very painterly way.  The only ones that still give me problems are the greens  and very pastel blues and grays.  If you want a lighter color, white is probably not your best choice.  Want to lighten a red?  Try adding yellow with a tiny touch of white (unless you want pink)  Want to darken a red? try green with a tiny touch of black.
     
    Regardless of whether you paint on bone dry (as I do) or bisque, another firing at cone 06 is wise.  I've never had underglazes run if the ware has been fired after application.
     
    Shirley
  25. Like
    Idaho Potter got a reaction from ChenowethArts in Going Over To The Dark Side With A Pug Mill-Never Thought I'd Say That   
    The main difference, between de-airing  or no, is not having to wedge the clay.  You turn on the de-airing vaccum while still mixing the clay.  Then, leaving the vacuum working, you switch from mixing (let the auger completely stop) to pugging.  After you have emptied the pugmill, turn off both the vacuum and the pugger.  For heaven's sake, remember to open the vacuum line and release the pressure.  By the way, the vacuum pressure should be between 20 & 25 PSI before switching from mixing to pugging.
     
    I use reclaimed clay for throwing, else why have a pugmill?  Mark, I don't work in porcelain, but porcelain is why they finally came out with a stainless steel Peter Pugger--because it's not supposed to compromise the clay. 
     
    I've had my Peter Pugger for almost eleven years, and my back and wrists thank me.  It may keep me playing in the mud into my nineties, which is better than hanging out at the senior center's bar.
     
    Shirley
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