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About stonefly

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    Painting major in college, elementary art teacher since 95, I inherited a clay studio and am working hard to learn the craft. This is my second year working weekends and evenings at clay. I dream of pursuing a masters in ceramics, but no local college makes things tricky. Maybe someday - for now, plugging away!
  1. Hi Ceramicists! I'm an elementary art teacher and have typically used colored commercial underglazes and a clear commercial overglaze for my little students to finish their work. (06, typical white low fire body) Recently I tried a version of in which the student work is first dipped in an opaque white glaze and commercial gloss colors are applied over. It's a definite improvement in what I've been doing, and the kid's work came out much brighter and more appealing, the whole process was much more forgiving. Only this - I have three gallons of clear to use up. Can I add zircopax or tin oxide or something else to my commercial clear to get a good white majolica base? Thanks for any thoughts! Cristy in WY
  2. I carry water to the studio in buckets. Heat some on the woodstove so it's nicer to wash in. The hardest thing for me is keeping the floor clean - it takes a lot of changes of water to mop it nicely, so mostly it stays pretty grubby.
  3. I teach k-5 and we do a month long clay unit. I've tried to design it so the skills build on each other. It goes: k - pinch pot with stamped decoration, modeled bird (skills - pinch, coil and strong attachments) 1st - coil pot - un smoothed, modeled pair of human figures connected (usually self portrait with parent, but kid gets to choose) skills - attaching, coiling 2nd - textured slab fish dish shaped over a drape mold with attached feet, modeled dinosaur. skills - slab rolling, attaching and modeling - dino has classroom science connection 3rd - cube shaped lidded slab box with animal part attachments - skills: slab rolling and building, modeling and attaching 4th - anasazi inspired coiled pot - smoothed and burnished with black fine line decoration - skills: coiling and smoothing, connection to history 5th - choice: slab built Victorian inspired house (springs from earlier study of Victorian architecture) or slab built vehicle (car, snowmachine, tractor etc.) skills - slab building with attachments If I were doing middle school again I'd bump back to pinch pots at sixth grade and do that whistle project from two joined pots. At seventh I'd do a "burrito vase" slab pot with an exaggerated silly portrait on it. (Maybe silly self portrait? sculpting and proportion) Eighth would do a slab/coil combo of some sort with an introduction to wheel work if possible. I try to show lots of images of contemporary and historical claywork to help kids realize the continuum they are participating in. Other great projects I slip in when there's time are textured pendents from shoe bottoms (good K-3 and moms LOVE them.) Textured wall pots - these can be simple cones or two pieces And spoon holders. Gingerbread men were the community favorites for years. I was at a friend's house the other day - her son is now the owner of a thriving landscaping business, but - yep. There was his gingerbread spoonholder from second grade on her counter!
  4. I have to say that Tim See cracks me up. And can be really helpful for beginners. Crampy Finger, C is for Cookie and the Flexible Metal Rib of Death....
  5. I'm surprised that so many pack water! I have a dry studio too, about a block away from my house. I haul 5 gal buckets from home. I just dip from the buckets, warm the water on the woodstove and pitch the slops into the sagebrush behind the shed. (Which is a giant snow/ice/mud pile right now..) Really dirty stuff comes home to hose off outside or (winter) wash in my mudroom sink. I never thought of a pump with a recirculating system. I have wondered about building a rack with a basin in it and creating a settling and "clear-ish reclaim" bucket under. You could have buckets with spigots above the basin - one clean and one reclaimed for washing in a gravity fed sink-like system. For now I just pack and dip.
  6. Whoops! I found the obvera thread! Sorry - not for the gushing, but for spouting off before reading thoroughly. I'll go read that one, but the gushing and adoration still apply!
  7. Marcia, those textured Obveras are blowing my mind. I've come back to look through your images again four times now since yesterday (And I'm supposed to be working!!) What is it that makes the belly of the pot lighter than the foot and rim in such a lovely gradation? Is that happening from the "dunk in the soup" or have you applied something to the pot to encourage that color shift? They are just breathtaking - I'd never heard of "obvera" before - now I'm googling it all night! (Is there a book I should buy?) Thanks for sharing - so inspirational! Cristy in WY
  8. Hi Trixietree - I'm new here (at least posting.. I've been stalking lurking for quite some time.) Also pretty new to pottery. I've just set up my electric kilns in a shipping container. Like this one Not the most convenient as far as loading/unloading, but putting the kilns in the studio building wasn't an option. (I'm leasing a cabin) Had an electrician wire it. I've fired them through some well below zero nights (wyoming) and they seem to be working okay. I run a space heater for a couple hours before starting them and just leave the door cracked for ventilation. Ive had some ice from condensation on the inside of the walls/doors, but I haven't had any major problems yet.
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