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Posts posted by lgusten

  1. I start with daydreaming....see some images in my head and play with them.  Then I sketch...because I will never remember the details of a daydream.  Then I mess around with the clay to see if any of the ideas really have merit...it takes awhile but I sometimes I can get some good results.  I also use props...fancy word for old junk that I collect that has a pleasing form or detail that just screams out to be part of a pottery project.


  2. I have a favorite mug that I bought at a pottery sale years ago.  I use it alot.  When I put 2 chips in the rim, I was upset...like I lost a friend.  Luckily, the artist scrawled his name across the bottom of the mug with a little internet search I found him and was able to have another...not exactly the same, but it has the same feel.  Also, this time, I had a great conversation and got to know more about the artist...making my mug more valuable to me.  

    Now a tile maker that doesn't get handmade....wow....nothing feels like an handmade tile....I don't care how many tiles a factory can churn out...they still do not feel like the handmade ones.

  3. Our main studio where the restoration work is done is where I keep my slab roller and do that part of my clay work there.  This building has its own heat and air...kinda like the ones hotels use.  It keeps the studio comfortable.  The kiln and glazing part is in the basement...which can be a little cold in the winter, but not unbearable.  So no downtime.  Though we do close for occasional snow days here in NC just because the rest of the town closes.

  4. Yappy, while I agree that those who are poor do not have an equal opportunity for higher education today, I think that not all folks that had the good fortune to earn a degree are bad because of their good fortune.  Rather it is the artists, gallery owners, sometimes collectors who only value the piece of paper and do not accept those who learn their craft through different channels .  This type of condescension reflects on their personal issues and their insecurities and not education.  

    I was fortunate to attend college in the mid 70's with scholarships and grants (that would not begin to cover the costs these days).  To please my family, I took art classes but did not major.  My experience was a series of very condescending art teachers that belittled whatever we did.  I was never able to afford to go back to college again....needed to keep the roof over head and eat.   But I still had the fire....even without the degree...worked with textiles.  Never gave up thinking about art as a career.

    Fast forward to 2001...I moved to Winston-Salem, NC....they have a community art school, Sawtooth...they teach ceramics.  I was able to take some classes to learn basic techniques, asks questions, pursue some of my own ideas...and ask more questions.  Everyone I worked with was willing to help anyone move along on their artistic journey.  So I would call this art education invaluable.  Informal only if that means no degrees offered but the education is key to my basic understanding of the craft.   Now it is up to me the learn the nuances...find my voice....listen to other potters ...and not worry about the piece of paper.  




  5. On 9/16/2018 at 11:02 PM, LeeU said:

    The NH Potters' Guild has a wood kiln located over an hour away from me, but so far they have been unwilling to accomodate my (physically invisible) disabilites and I can't physically participate in the required pre-during-post firing work...several 8 hr. shifts over a 2 week period.  I have suggested (requested) that they consider having  a policy like the NHIA  community education program that gets me into the anagama firings. I am allowed to pay (a premium!) for the shelf space and then am not required to work shifts.  So far the board has not added my request for discussion (& hopfully resolution) to any of the meeting agendas. I'm not interested in getting into the legalisms of a public non-profit not making a reasonable accomodation (i.e. in this case, pay to play) for someone with a disability, but I'm about ready to withdraw from the organization. I'll again bring up the issue of having a policy on disability accomodations at the next meeting, but that's probably the end of it for me. I don't care for the feeling of being discriminated against, in effect, even when I know that is the furthest thing from people's conscious minds when they just don't "get it" if they don't see a wheelchair! 

    Wow!!  Thought a guild that you are a member of would be more accommodating.  I don't think you should withdraw, but you may consider making a formal request for them  to explain what in their rules prohibit them from accommodating your needs.   I don't think that they would want to be linked with a discriminatory process.  

  6. I always have a bag on the table where I working to place scraps which I try to add as I go so they are not dried out.  I mist inside the bag.  So the clay says moist.  When I have enough, I plop the contents of the bag out and smoosh  (Technical term) the pieces together into a rectangular shape.  Then I set the roller on high setting then roll, then set it lower and position the clay the opposite way and roll again....and do this again until I reach the thickness I want.  What I found about changing the direction each time was that I reduced the amount of air pockets.  I also waste very little clay and don't generate so much dust.

  7. Lee, I  like the notion of knowing that we are not alone.   We can still be creative and support each other's journey.  Finding ways to move forward despite the odds is acting creatively.    Gabby's idea is a good one.  Does someone teach pottery making in your area?  A interested student may want to help just to add to their education. 

    Acceptance of the physical limitations that our bodies are putting on us is very difficult for me.  I worked on the wheel for a short time several years ago but stopped because of the pain in my hands....ended up have surgery on my right hand...nothing as extensive as Mark C and Johnny K have had done...but serious enough for me to examine how I work with my hands.   I still experience weeks of downtime if I overdo it.    Was thinking for a while that I would not be able to make pottery.  That was a depressing time.  After feeling sorry for myself for a while...decided to figure out how to rearrange my life so that I can follow my dream of making pottery.   Here's what I got so far:  We have stopped taking large and heavy work in the restoration business ....yeah, we can do it, but the downtime needed to recover is not productive.  When was doing my work at a local community art center, I started testing out using their big Bailey slab roller to help with wedging....works great....so I saved up and bought one of those.  Also, I have chosen to go with a small kiln to start, it has 15" shelves (I don't always make large things...It will also challenge me to come up with creative ways to design and make something large.  I have the name of a guy who can help with the big gardening things I do...like move the giant plant pots or big plants.  I am even researching easier plants or shrubs to grow in the yard so that I can maintain the use of my hands.

    Thanks to all for sharing. 

  8. Gabby,  I cannot begin to imagine how you do it....or any of you who have experienced or in the midst of experiencing great medical challenges.   My heart goes out to you all. 

    My troubles are small in comparison.  I am 61 for a couple more months and have always used my hands whether in fiber arts or 25 years of restoring ceramics  and making ceramics for 15 years...  all stuff that is hard on the body.   My hands, wrists, back and shoulders have given me trouble for many years .  Most of the time I don't think about it....it is my normal. 

    I had to put the studio on hold for a few years for a variety of family and financial reasons, but with the arthritis pain increasing in my hands, I feel driven to get moving on getting my studio up and running and me back to making pottery....the road before me doesn't seem without end like when I was younger.  I just want to be able to give my craft a good 25 to 35 years....or as long as the hands and back hold out. 

    Oh....I hand build.....there is something very comforting about building with the clay...cut and formed very much like the textiles I worked with years ago.  

    Thank you, Pres for starting this thread.  

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