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About Pres

  • Rank
    Retired Art Teacher
  • Birthday 08/20/1949

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  • Location
    Central, PA
  • Interests
    Camping, kayaking, family, travel, Art in general. I have a small studio in my garage. Two electric kilns, two wheels, wedging table etc. I am primarily interested in cone 6 Ox. but like to see what is going on at all ranges. Read about ceramics voraciously and love the feel of the clay and throwing. Have to admit that my greatest joy is in the making, not the glazing. That said I do mix my own glazes, some of my own formulas, some borrowed. Retired from teaching art, in 2009 after 36 years, taught ceramics 34 of those years.

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  1. Stick blender also works well, if don't have another blender. I use mine a lot for stains, and glazes that may get to stony to use. I usually add hot water, let sit for a while and stick blend. Often the biggest problem with some of the standard jars is the lack of an opening large enough to get the glaze out. Sometimes would cut the jar in half with a band saw and peel glaze out. . . extreme but? I'm glad some manufacturers are using wide mouth jars, but I don't use commercial any more. best, Pres
  2. Like Hulk, I really don't wet the wheel or slam the clay. I have a simple method of starting the wheel on low, using a damp sponge to put a little water on the wheel soaking most up with the sponge while the wheel turns. I then toss the clay into the center of the wheel and start to center. When working with larger pieces of clay. . . over 5# I use a slap centering method to follow up on the first two steps instead of immediately trying to center. This technique uses both hands opposite one another rhythmically slapping the clay into a cone shape that eventually is more centered. I do not slap hard, just constant at a medium slow wheel speed. Then I use the normal centering that I do. Slap centering is especially helpful the larger the clay amount gets, allowing me to center up to 25# when needed. best, Pres
  3. There are some options when working with a long term sgraffito on pots. One would be to continue to dampen the pot with a mister bottle as often as needed. Another would be to use a sealant of some sort to hinder the drying process of the pot, a spray wax or enamel. You may find that this opens up other possibilities as there are some colored waxes out there, Maybe you could use the colored wax in areas, and sgraffito through that. As far as cleanup, you are correct to be concerned about silica dust, and again there are some possible solutions. You could use a damp cloth on the work table under the piece to gather the bits of clay and dust, when done wrap the cloth up, and let sit until you can shape the dampened pieces into a lump and remove to throw out or re-wedge. Another possibility is a frame over a large bucket with water in the bottom for the clay to fall into. A mask is useful, but only if it fits and is comfortable to use while working. Hopefully, this little brain storm will help you to come up with your own solution. best, Pres
  4. Often however, even with the foot ring situation you should realize that often the bottom may need to be ground as sometimes you will have some glaze sticking no matter how careful you are. best, Pres
  5. That will also let your move away from the hazards of barium. best, Pres
  6. I was just working with a few adults this morning. . . brought back a few old adages I would use when teaching the kids back. . . well back then! Move the clay, don't let the clay move you A flopped attempt on the wheel is nothing more than a dog dish. . . we don't make Dog Dishes or ash trays! It does not matter which thumb or finger you open up with as long as it is comfortable and does the job well, When pulling it doesn't matter if you use your braced pointer finger, the side of a knuckle, or other. . . . just so long as it on your right hand. Once you feel the pull begin at the bottom of the wall ease up on the pressure slightly and move up with the clay When exploring a form, try to limit the variables, weigh the same amount of clay, use the same consistency, and try to throw the wall thicknesses the same so as to really evaluate what you do Others too, but too long to remember. best, Pres
  7. In the day, I used a Taurus wagon, and then a Nissan Quest. I limited my shows to within 50 miles, and Penn State happened to be within that. I would usually go over to State College one day to set up, and then return with pots the next day, and if needed get more. We registered the business in my name and my wife's so that both of us could handle the booth. In the first years, I took shelves and set up under an easy up show tent I purchased just for the shows. Then I built shelving with hidden storage that took longer to set up but was better looking for the display. 7 years of this and a mutual decision was arrived at that we no longer do shows. At the same time I was offered a Summer position at a local college to teach grad classes for teachers as a "Technology bridge" this was in the day when computers were just getting into classrooms for teacher use. best, Pres
  8. I had thought about putting in water and a sink, but after pricing out the cost of the running water and drain it was a better solution to use buckets. Running all to the garage would have been over 3k several years ago. Just as running the gas line was 2K. best, Pres
  9. As Neil has said, most districts prefer the teacher to be firing during the day. I fired at my HS for 36 years with several different kilns over the years. All firings were during the day, but I would start my firings the night before with the "candling" bottom switch on low, and lid 2" propped. Next morning the firing would move through a standard schedule as my kiln was not programmable in the day. There have been some times when I would work late and the firings would end around 9 pm, but I was usually in the building doing sets for the drama department. Later on the janitors and admin decided kilns could be fired through the night without me being there, but I always had a good idea when I should reach temp, and would set the timer on the setter to 30 minutes more. This was not the greatest of methods, but it did save the kiln one time when the kiln setter drop tab was leaning inward instead of straight thus not dropping down. With proper ventilation in the kiln area there should not be a problem for student or you being there. Did it for years in the same room as the kids, and then later in a separate glaze/throwing room. best, Pres
  10. Other option on any sink is to add a 2-3" piece of pipe into the drain so that sediment settles in the sink to be cleaned out. Comes in pretty handy, remove the pipe to completely drain the sink. best, Pres
  11. Once again, there are no new questions in the pool. I will pose a question that I believe was hinted at a bit when someone asked if they heated their throwing water and how. Using that as an end point and going back, QotW: Do you have water in your shop, a sink with cold water, or both? In my brick garage, there is no running water, no leaks either!! My water at any time either comes from the kitchen in the house, or the hose at the side of the house. Now going into the house with dirty dusty shoes is a definite no no, so I keep a pair of shoes for in the shop on the back porch. Most times for hot water I fill a 2 gallon jug with hot water in the house before going to the shop. Often in the Summer I just get the jug filled from the hose. As to heating, I usually just throw with cold water. . . I don't seem to notice much change in the arthritis either way. I used to like hot water, but don't worry about it as much anymore. best, Pres
  12. I agree with you there Marcia, even in the HS I was at the GPA was king. Students would not take art classes often because it would hurt their GPA. Most parents and students did not realize how a weighted GPA system would hurt the overall aspects of a well rounded liberal education that included the arts, and other areas. However, when you consider that a weighted system would set up a multiplier of 2 or 3 as opposed to a 1 for arts; it was certainly true that the arts suffered. This was always one of my biggest battles with counselors and administrators that needed to put students someplace where they would be least able to disrupt academic classes. We had administrators that supported the arts because, and I directly quote, "they are our pressure valves"! best, Pres
  13. When I made some molds using gesso and wood with a sealer over top, I used bakers spray to help release the pieces from the molds. best, Pres
  14. I fill a gallon jug from the house in Spring and Fall. Winter I hardly ever throw as the clay is frozen. Summer never have to worry about cold water, just get it from the outside spigot. best, Pres
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