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Everything posted by Pres

  1. Haven't used lustres in years, fun when I did, but did not enjoy the smell. At the HS they were more of a novelty, and too out of reach for most things. If I had a student that needed a little extra zing for something that deserved the effort and extra firing, I did it. Otherwise have not gotten into them on my own. best, Pres
  2. Hi folks, once again, no new questions in the pool, so I will muddle through with another QotW. . . . QotW: Do you use commercial products or do you mix your own? In my small studio, I could never imagine mixing my own clay bodies, it would just take up too much space. Much easier to just order what I want in clay from Standard Ceramics in Pittsburgh. Yet I do mix glazes, and slips. I try to stay away from most commercial products that way as the cost is easier for me to make my own. I have purchase some underglazes, and mason type stains to mix colors that are hard to reach with ^6 unless you have a more elaborate set up than mine. My use of commercial product is based on convenience more than anything else along with a healthy eye on budget. So what is your mix of Commercial and home mix as the original question was: QotW: Do you use commercial products or do you mix your own? best, Pres
  3. A little aside from all of this, as something happened the other day that is related. I have since retiring become more of an avid bowler. Walking back from the pro shop in the local lanes the other day a black man, called out to me. . Hey Mr. Rice! Was surprised to see him, and that he knew me over the years, had him in 2006 he informed me. Anyway, we started talking about bowling, and he said he was practicing as he just started in a league this year and have 120 ish average. I asked him to throw the ball to let me see what he was doing. After that I asked him what he was aiming for, he was shooting for target marks at the end of the alley almost at the pins. I told him to shoot arrows, one in particular, and stand at the left of the alley. . . . 3 strikes in a row, a 7 pin leave, and then 3 more strikes. He was excited, to have that many marks so easily. Told me I always was a good teacher, and was amazed I could help him so much so quickly. I guess some of us retire, but can't break the habit of still doing what we loved! Not that I don't love the clay too! best, Pres
  4. The warnings about stilts are still legit. The biggest problem most folks have with the stilts is that the hybrid type that use wire and porcelain will often collapse with the wires bending as they age more. This will often cause the pot to tilt and possibly fall off or hit another pot thus gluing them together. I have also seen time where a thin bottom of a pot is pushed up by the weight on a not fully supportive stilt. In the long run the best for ^6 is to not stilt and either wax, or clean carefully the bottom and up the edge about 1/4". When I was teaching, and before when a student, I would put a beveled undercut on the pieces near 1/4" to hide the unglazed area of the piece from most viewing. Does not matter so much to me anymore, but the undercut does allow for quicker removal from the wheel when throwing. best, Pres
  5. I have had recent problems with a kiln where I had replaced elements. As I fire completely manual, the next load or two my timing was off. I did not have your problem, but had the problem of over firing. Any time you change elements, switches, or replace a broken brick, or a fuse you may have problems dealing with the timing. In your case if using a setter you under estimate the time to reach 1000 F. Most of the clay chemical changes happen in that area, other than the quartz inversion. best, Pres
  6. These days much of this is easier than it was in the day as the internet provides instant access to those How-to books I wasted money on back in the day. If I can see it or read it, I can usually do it. best, Pres
  7. Hi folks, once again no questions in the QotW question pool, but I will attempt to raise another once again. I was making a list of parts I needed to repair my kiln the other day, and had taken off the switch panel of the L& L and taking a few pictures made determinations on the web site using the serial # of the kiln to choose replacement parts. I also had checked into areas of if this burns out, replace it, but also replace x, y. or z. This got me to thinking about the types of things that have made me grow experience wise in the HS studio, and in the shop at home. . . making repairs! I know that many out there have a handy better half that do repairs, others have friends or other potters nearby always handy to fix something or at least lead the way. Still others out there will call in a specialist to repair the kiln, fix the wheel or such. Over the years I have found that my understanding of the equipment is often better than some of the so called specialists that I have had looking at things. Not going further. . . QotW: When something breaks down, how do you deal with it? best, Pres
  8. There is a recent posting, https://www.housebeautiful.com/lifestyle/a30872908/georgia-okeeffe-rare-pottery-sothebys-auction/ that describes the later years of Georgia O'keefe as she is losing her eyesight. Interesting if not very in depth. best, Pres
  9. I glaze large bowls two ways. One way is to use a large square bin, fill it with glaze from my 5 gal bucket, and roll/dip the bowl through the glaze holding it with staple removers in each hand. If the bowl is too large I will dip 1/2 and then the other 1/2, usually dipping at an angle as to not divide the bowl in 1/2 visually. You'll find lots of ways to vary this technique aesthetically. The second way is to use a small 2-4 cup pitcher to pour the glaze into the interior of the pot rolling the glaze quickly to pour it out. Then I pour glaze over the outside of the pot as evenly as I can in one stroke while the pot rests on a padded stand in the square bin I mentioned before. Big secret to both of these is to wash the pot just before glazing with a damp sponge, getting some moisture into the clay to keep the glaze from getting really heavy build up areas. Often with either of these I use a compressor and glaze sprayer to add other glazes over top of the base glaze for decoration. best, Pres
  10. Yeah, big bowls are lots of fun. Depends on how big they get though. I made one in grad school that was pretty big thrown, even after firing it was 40" in diameter, and 14" tall. What do you do with a bowl that big! My sister-in-law uses it as a magazine rack! best, Pres
  11. One more technique for moving large pieces. Throw on the wheel head, use the cutting wire to cut normally, then put water on side opposite you, and pull the cutting wire through again to get a layer of water under the pot. Have someone else hold aboard even with the wheel head, put more water between the board and the pot, and pull one more time with the cutting wire moving more water under the pot. . .if the pot catches and move toward the board, keep going until it slides on to the board. If does not catch, gently use spread fingers to push the piece on to the board. best, Pres
  12. Did shows for around 9 to 10 years, 7 yrs at Penn State Festival. Talking to people was the best part of the show for me, worst for my wife as she usually ended up selling and packing! My bad for sure! best, PRes
  13. Yeah hulk, I use the Van gilder glazes quite a bit. Have the DYI book also. best, Pres
  14. Another option to the white slip is to use a liner glaze, or white glaze on most of the areas of the pot, and then paint, dip, sponge or spray your colors over. I find this works exceptionally well with the hazelnut brown I use from Standard Ceramic. It works well if you leave areas such as the shoulder to rim bare, and the shoulder to base covered with the white glaze. best, Pres
  15. Just saw that I had missed this post, so glazednerd, just yesterday I was working with a few students (adults) and one was having the same problem you were. I told them that instead of ending the pull at the top of the pot to imagine that the pot was an inch or so taller and to "follow through" with the pull. This does help when coming to the top of the pot. best, Pres
  16. Okay, last question was: do you make anything that is easy and quick to make but looks like it's more work than it is? That brings to mind just the opposite: QotW: What do you make that is difficult, and takes time but is not viewed as difficult? I think if I were to look at my pots over the years there are at least two things that seem to be unappreciated for their complexity or difficulty. Large anything, and covered dishes. I will take on the covered dishes first, as the two parts for me has much to work on. I find the fitting of lids not too bad, and the placement of handles is fine, but then when you consider the throwing so that the bottom of the casserole does not crack, the marrying of the walls into the base, and the arch of the lid and lid fit, the placement of the lid handle for use with mitts and the side handles of the dish if it has them. . . . .there is a lot to go wrong. Don't get me wrong, my percentage of survival of good well thrown and glaze ware in this category is high when I do it, but I haven' in years, They never sold well. Large anything, I have done the covered jars, the large floor vases, and two three and four section pots over the years. In talking with lot of folks it is not construed as being worth the money!!!! They don't understand the fact that to get to the point that you can throw a 36" cylinder and shape it, trim the base, and then glaze it may only take you an hour and a half all together. When looking at the price tag they can't wrap their heads around the fact that it took years to gain the skill to do it. Just saying... . So QothW: What do you make that is difficult, and takes time but is not viewed as difficult? best, Pres
  17. I was demonstrating at Altoona Area HS, where I used to teach, on Wednesday last week. I did 6 demonstrations(class periods) Each included a 9" cylinder of 3#, a 4# bowl, and a plate of 5#. Then I threw a few pots quickly showing how things were done in a studio situation; the teacher Eric Hoover narrated while I worked. I used stamping on the cylinders, and the plate before final shaping. While I was doing this, I was thinking of another basic wheel throwing project for beginners: sponge holders with drip edge. This uses a very similar concept to the apple baker. . .creating a small edge outside of a cylinder about 4-5 inches tall with a notch cut in it. I use a piece of pipe salvaged out of a toilet paper roller when the clay is near leather hard to cut two holes to establish the width of the slot and cut the rest of the slot with a fettling knife. I realize that many folks are making these, but they are not too difficult, and for a beginner another form to knock off. best, Pres
  18. Over the years, dealing with students and myself I have found most clay mold not to be a problem. I do however, caution that some of the materials folks have a tendency to use, like paper towels, and old rags to clean up and keep pots and clay damp can be problematic. I have found pockets in slake buckets where a piece of paper towel or and old rag has been left to rot. This pocket when burst would have a terrible stink, and some spores in the gas. Black mold is not great stuff and always organic materials in the clay will have a dark black mold. I personally have not had any problems, but I would imagine if someone is immune weakened, they may react. I have had several students on the other hand observe the same as I have, that often minor cuts will often heal much faster when working with the clay than trying to avoid it. IMHO best, Pres
  19. Min thanked be for posting, I'm thankful for getting a new topic, as it is difficult to come up with something new on my own a lot of the time. . . Sooooo THANK YOU MIN! best, Pres
  20. Min posted a new QotW in the question pool, so from her: QOTW would be. . . do you make anything that is easy and quick to make but looks like it's more work than it is? Years ago when I was doing shows, I made a ton of small covered boxes. You all have seen them, throw a closed form in one piece make a notch and then trim so that the top makes the lid. These sold for usually $15 back then, and I usually displayed them with bath salts or beads, change or pocket stuff, and even salt for in the kitchen. These appealed to a lot of folks, as it was hand made, inexpensive, looked elegant and was useful. I usually threw them anywhere between 4 inches in diameter to 8 inches in diameter. Another item I used to make that went well, but was similar to the above was a potpourri heater, make the above box more rounded, put a tower under it with an opening for a votive candle and place the potpourri with water in the top carve decorative openings in the lid. Sold back then for $35. So: What do you make anything that is easy and quick to make but looks like it's more work than it is? best, Pres
  21. Jewelers wires work pretty well for cutting wires also. I prefer the brass coated ones, and picked some up a while back to create some cutting wires. Not bad, and can get different weights/diameters. Large platters I flip using a bat over bat technique. However, for the piece shown, would figure it best left to dry slowly setting on a bat after cutoff ans slight movement. best, Pres
  22. As Ben mentioned in his post, I did use a large round plastic bowl cut in half to catch trimmings from the griffin grip. However, I few years ago we renovated the kitchen, and I repurposed one of the counter tops by adding sides to it and cutting a slot for the wheel shaft so that I could slide it on to the wheel with the regular splash pan off. Then I added pieces of wood on either side underneath so that they would grip the sides of the CXC holding this new trimming area in place. I also added a magnetic tool rack on the right inside. This way I can stand it up when not in use resting on on the open end at the end of the CXC acting as a table for my tool rack (silver ware drying/storage tray). Now I don't have to store the extra splash pan anywhere, and don't have piles of trimmings on the floor. As Ben said also, the GG is a great tool for assembly. I use it to trim and assemble chalice and patens. First trimming the thrown stems, using a rig I made up using plumbing parts, then I trim the chalice bowls and mix and match stems to bowls and assemble while on the wheel, using the wheel to compress the joins, carve an inset in the bowl to match the stem and smooth the join more with a metal or wooden rib. You can see much of this on my blog. best, Pres
  23. Throwing 20 stems and 20 bowls for chalices is problematic as to what to throw first, and when to join. Having a magic box, eases the effort. best, Pres
  24. Marcia Selsor always recommends that, as I had been taught years ago. Called waking up the clay by some. best, Pres
  25. Tom, you have targeted one of the facts we must deal with. ... potters are at the mercy of their suppliers. About the only way to handle that if your materials are not delivered in a proper manner is to find other suppliers. However, over the years I have seen steps that I had thought mad little sense. One of these was the not placing twisty ties on the bags anymore; obviously a cost cutting measure, but in retrospect one that matters very little. If the boxes remain intact, and the bags inside remain intact, then there should be no problem. I really don't see as a direct supplier would open a box and poke holes in the bags to moisten the clay, but . . . who knows. I have not had any problem with my supplier, as they are the manufacturer and usually the turnaround for clay orders in negligible. All of this in defense of suppliers or manufacturers, I know that I abuse my own clay. It freezes most winters in December and does not thaw until April. It sits under my kayaks in the Summer, baking under the tarp. I have come to realize that because of my mistreatment each box is in need of wedging, and often mixing between two boxes/bags. I use the bread cut and slam method to start, and then finish with spiral cone wedging. Frustrating, but my fault. best, Pres
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