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Viking Potter

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Posts posted by Viking Potter

  1. I am a hands on or visual learner, so books that don't have a ton of photo's don't really help me much, initially I would have to watch someone else do something then try it myself.   YouTube has been a godsend to me more so than any other part of the internet.  Someone can describe a way of doing something that is total BS, but if they can do it in a video, and I can see it actually work I can usually figure out some way to do it myself.  Likewise, when they show something that is just useless, I know right away not to try it that way as opposed to my  reading something that was wrong from the start and then wasting time trying to understand what they are writing about and why I can't get it to work the way they say it should.

  2. Not sure If I can add a picture to a post, but I did post a picture in the gallery, we did our first run of cone 6 material and generally all was well.   only issue, we had some stilts of unknown origin, and they melted into the bottom of a couple of pots.  Had used them a few times for 06 work but never thought that they would not stand up to higher temp.  The wire went right into the base and the base became part of the pot.  New stilts were purchased the next day.  I can now claim to be a potter because I made pots and they hold water and do not leak.  Neil, I am listening and learning buddy.  : )

    pottery success2.jpg


    21 hours ago, Joel Cobbar said:

    That did occur to me and earlier today I tried taking my hands off very slowly and carefully, but the wobble persisted.


    I thought the problem could be posture or bracing and I'm far from an expert on what proper bracing should feel like. I place my elbows on my knees while leaning forward, and hold my knees in place with the rest of my body. I tend to use my upper body weight to apply pressure to clay during centering rather than my arms. 

    I don't know if it's relevant, but the clay will usually leave a wide skirt of clay on the bat, about 1-2 inches at the farthest point from the base of the actual lump of clay.

    I cant center this way, I still get the clay moving my hands, hands moving the arms, arms moving the knee, knee moving the leg.  I make sure my elbows are tucked into my hip or pelvis area so that the clay has to move my hand/arm/hip/butt/stool/concrete floor.  

  4. There are so many examples of how to open that it is impossible to say that there is a wrong way to do it.  So I will tell you how I do it and how my wife with weak and problematic hands does it.  I open with the speed still fairly high.  lots of water/slip to keep everything from grabbing.  Make sure if you feel anything start to grab that you make it slippery again.  I go in with both thumbs and then open moving my thumbs to each side with even pressure.  And I occasionally mess up this way and induce a wobble.   My wife opens with what could be called the hooked fingers or Claw method.  she presses down with the first two fingers of the right hand and when she gets down to the point where the floor of the pot will be she forms a c shape with her fingers and pulls the bottom straight toward her belly button till she has the bottom as wide as she is going to make it .  This leaves an under cut on the inside of the work.  Then, as she keeps her finger tips on the clay in the groove, she straightens her fingers and that brings the rest of the clay out to the same place as her finger tips.  Then she slows the wheel, compresses the bottom and starts to lift.  She got this from a video that she saw (the clay lady maybe?)  If I am having trouble keeping things even I do this as well.


    Found it, This is where my wife saw her example.  


  5. Ok, makes perfect sense.  We had a family meeting and have decided to step up our game and work at ^6.  Which resulted in a planned road trip to get new glaze from our favorite spot, Archie Bray.  We are doing both 06 ceramics and will now do ^6 pottery so I am setting up a second Kiln to keep things separated.  Thanks to all for the valuable education.

  6. When my family took a class we were given a block of clay and each of us had some left over that we took home.  Since we were used to it, we bought more of the same and have continued to use it as we have progressed.  Now, as I learn about clay bodies, I find that this is a mid fire clay that is to be fired to Cone 6.  We have been using it as a low fire clay, with bisque to 04, and our low fire glazes at 06.  So my question is, why not continue to use this clay (or even others) at low fire temperatures?  We are having plenty of success, and satisfaction with our low fire efforts, and frankly, I doubt my old Scutt 231 would ramp up to Cone 6 without a whole bunch of new elements (they are ordered and on their way).  I have some High Fire clay that is reputed to be excellent for beginners and students, but I could never get my kiln to High Fire temps.  What happens if you don't heat the clay up to the recommended cone temp?

  7. I think that the talent relates more to the vision or imagination that the person has.  The ability to see what does not exist.  I know many people who do not have talent, or the ability to imagine something that they cannot already perceive.  I can play an instrument, but I do not hear music in my head.  My father in law can paint a house but cannot envision a painting,  My mother could see and create beautiful things from nearly any kind of material.  So, as stated, skill is hard work, but creative talent may require an inner vision, imagination, whatever you want to call it, and there are some people who do not have talent. 

    Do you sometimes just pick up an object or material and think to yourself, this would be really cool if...   I know people that cannot do that.  They see a door knob and it is always and forever just  a way to open the door.   When someone tells me I am talented I take it as a compliment of my imagination and vision, and I sometimes feel a little sad when they don't seem to feel that they have the same ability to dream. 

  8. what do people think of useing a heat sheild?


    ie single layer of tile backer board on the floor.  then 4 bricks at the locations of the stand feet, then a piece of sheet metal the size of the kiln on top of the bricks which the legs of the metal stand sit on.   


    thus forming a heat shield that sits ~2" off the ground allowing for air circulation.

    As long as it works, There are tons of ways to make sure heat does not transfer, Dead air space is one, etc

  9. You are trying to protect the floor from two different heat sources.  First is the heat transfered directly to the floor via the metal legs of the stand.  You need to put something under those legs that will keep heat from passing through, but still be strong and stable enough to hold your kiln.  I would think the fire bricks would be sufficient for that purpose.  You also have to protect against radiant heat that is comming from the kiln in every direction.  That heat will warm the entire area around the kiln and the closer things are the hotter they will get.  So underneath the kiln you need some sort of material that will keep the area under the kiln from recieving radiant heat and also makes sure that the material does not pass on to the floor the radiant heat that it absorbs from the kiln.  appropriate insulation may be enough to accomplish this purpose.

  10. I have the same issue and I solved it by getting...... a rain barrel.  Sam's Club has them locally.  They are 60 gallons, have a garden hose faucet on the bottom and fill at the top.  I have mine sitting on a cabinet and I fill it various ways including melt water from buckets of snow that I collect and filter.  As for a pump, there are lots of pumps that hook up to garden hoses that you can get in either 12 volt or 115 volt and you can pump water into your rain barrel or out, or both.   I am thinking of building a recirculating water system that would run from 2 or three plastic barrels and utilize a solid trap under a sink. 

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