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Everything posted by Pres

  1. Crazy as it sounds, even when centering it is about focus. Try centering with your eyes closed, or blindfolded. This trick allows the learner to concentrate on what is really important beyond hand position. . . the feel of the clay. best, Pres
  2. I think Neil's solution should work well. You can always use something later on the top to make certain it is smooth. . . . grind with diamond pad, and then oil or wax. best, Pres
  3. Brings me back to an old story when I left over a hundred pots from my Summer raku ceramics class on my back porch. Poorly made raku, in design and process. Never intended to do much with them, as I kept the better pieces, maybe 5-8. However, they all disappeared over the Winter months. I have hidden my embarrassment over the years when seeing one in someones home, on a mantle or other sacred place. As signature now is different, and raku usually did not have a clear sig. . . they didn't know. Poorest thing is when they ask me as a ceramic artist for my opinion. . . then I have to let the cat out of the bag. I never sold them, never intended to do more than land fill them at my parents home, but they have come back to bite me. best, Pres
  4. Bill, in answer to your query, when I said lots of variation, with different efforts, this took years with gestation time in between, thinking about what would work better. The last one are better, and once you understand the process, and can throw consistently these little thing off the hump, making 20 at a shot is not difficult or majorly time consuming. They certainly have sold well. best, Pres
  5. Custom orders, or one offs, or gallery pieces were where I started. As an art teacher, that is what we taught in most of the other classes. If a student painted, drew, printed, sculpted, or other forms of art, they were one of a kind or custom. I taught art, but then I did teach craft also. We had a Jewelry and Metalcraft class, and Ceramics classes. In these, we mostly did one of a kind also, biggest restraint here was time. We just did not have the time to make more than one of each type of piece. However, as students moved from Ceramics I to Ceramics II they realized that I had something different in mind for their projects. . . . repetition! Oh how they hated that concept. I made them decide what sort of form they were going to throw, and what it would look like in sketches, and then they had to make a series of them for their project. Ouch! Most of them hated the idea in the beginning, but then by the time they completed a series they began to understand that it was about improving their skills on the wheel. . .If they could only do the form once, was it the best it could be or was it a fluke? Problematic, but got the point thru to them that I was really testing their resolve. Myself, I still wonder about custom jobs, and have found that when I had a weak moment and took one on that it usually took double or triple the time that I had to do a regular piece that I usually did. So over the years, I have taken on fewer and fewer of these "one offs". I say this as just yesterday a woman asked if I did "Steeler mugs" hmmmm, I was in a restaurant where they had some of my mugs for sale, and used some for folks looking for a cup of coffee. She looked at them and I told her no, I did not do "Steeler mugs). Walked away proud of myself, if a little confused about what a "Steeler mug" would really entail. Then I thought to myself, forget it! best, PRes
  6. Hulk recently asked in the QotW pool: What (in a functional piece) elicits "I love this" for you? Babs replied in the same pool: Its feel in my hand . Its "balance" when in use. How it looks to my eye. How it fits in my cupboard. And Its functionality Not taking time to prioritize but bottom one is essential but then.... I really don't know as I could improve on her answer, other than to add. . . I often try to improve on the functionality of pieces. As an example my honey jars with the built in honey spoon is an adaptation to keep bugs out of the honey when outside on the deck or elsewhere. I went through several variations before I came up with one that worked well, and was not too great of a time addition to the project. In the end when dealing with this I have to ask was the improvement worth the effort? Asking once again: What (in a functional piece) elicits "I love this" for you? best, Pres
  7. Address for Nicola is .eu, if that means what I think it does, she is in Europe. best, Pres
  8. Some people like to throw the two sections with bottoms, as this makes it easier to lift off the wheel without warping. Myself, if throwing the pedestal section throw it on a bat without a bottom. Another option here is to throw the pedestal with a thicker (slightly) rim, as the piece will be resting on it, makes for a nice base line. Other options are to cut the pedestal with four parabola/hyperbola shapes. I use a thin walled brass pipe, I keep many diameters as hole cutters for all sorts of pieces, often cutting the foot rings for nicer dishwasher drainage. best, Pres
  9. Just out of curiosity and for future reference Jeff, when you attached the pedestal that you described as a bowl, did it have a bottom on it? If so, you may have a bigger problem as the two layers of clay may have an air pocket between that could cause the join to separate in the firing. If you removed the bottom of the pedestal bowl before joining you should be alright. best, Pres
  10. Hulk recently posted in the QotW pool: Still curious what mentor/mentee experiences others have had with regard to throwing? Hulk adds to this question by stating: I started at the local JC Ceramic lab, where short demonstration introduces skills required for upcoming assignments, then practice. From there, anyone struggling and/or having questions and/or asking for help would get some one on one or small group. I as (still am) ok with that. I have/am learning by practice, making mistakes, and observing others. Isn't it interesting what we see when observing others - particularly what we didn't see earlier? ...aha! For myself (Pres), even though I thoroughly believe that learning to throw is much like learning how to ride a bike; I believe that good practice can be taught, reinforced, and improved upon with the aid of an experienced teacher. First to cover my beginning statement, much of life depends on what is referred to as a priori knowledge that is pre existing knowledge to help learn something. However, riding a bike is something that you really don't have a lot of pre learning to help you out. Much the same when working on the wheel. The coordination of using the foot pedal, you can relate to the gas pedal on the car as it makes things go faster. but how do you learn the right pressure to move the clay, to center it, to brace yourself for greater strength/pressure on the clay, or how to gauge the thickness of the walls or the depth of the floor? All of this must be learned by viewing others, practice, practice and. .. . well you get the idea. In the beginning a good demonstrator/ teacher is paramount to understanding the steps in the process, the general body positions, the positions of the arms, hands and finger, and the speed appropriate for the stage of the throwing at hand. Only practice will really allow you to approximate the steps demonstrated and end up successfully. My last sentence of the opening paragraph states that a good teacher observing can make good improvement on what is already learned. I have seen many adults taking an adult ceramics class that I taught in the Winters at the HS where I taught, and where I still help out. Many of these folks are art teachers, or had ceramics in HS, college or both. All too many times they have developed weak habits when throwing, that as an experienced thrower I can help them to correct, improve upon and by doing so allow them to throw larger amounts of clay with greater confidence and experiment with forms they would have never been able to accomplish before even though the desire was there. So to return to the original question from Hulk: What mentor/mentee experiences have others had with regard to throwing? best, Pres
  11. Used to dip the bottom of pots in wax when bone dry in the day, then scratch through the wax with a stylus to expose the bare clay, then use a sponge to water etch the surface. Negative, not raised, but still worked. Don't mess with it anymore. best, Pres
  12. Hi Rick, I have been throwing a lot of Patens (plates) for communion sets. These usually are with in 12-14" in diameter for use with whole loaf type communion. I throw all of my plates with wetter than usual clay, wedged well, and coned on the wheel a few times up and down. then I use my rt fist and lft hand to push the clay downward into a low compressed 1-2 inch thick flat form on the wheel, then Using my hands I pull the outer band outward from the center to get about a 1/2" thickness across the area leaving a little more clay to pull the rim on the outside of the form I finish this area with a large slightly bowed wooden rib compressing a little thinner. This area I stamp with stamps, slip, and decorate even overlapping that thicker edge. Then I use a wooden rib to add a slight undercut to the outer edge as if cutting the form off of the wheel.Lastly I pull the outer thicker area upward and outward to from the lip about 2-3" rising from the wheel head for easy lifting of the form when used in communion. The rim gets a little thickening with a chamois, and some decorative lines on the rim diameter. Then I use my cutting wire to separate the plate from the bat, and remove the bat for the rim to stiffen up for flipping on another bat before trimming when leather hard. I trim with a double foot ring, narrow 2-2 1?2 diameter in center and one at outer edge. best, Pres
  13. Hi, So you are pouring boiling water into your teapots? Hmmmm! Wonder if it wouldn't be better to fill pot with hot tap water before, let warm up pot, then try your boiling water. . . after it has stopped boiling. I always do this with my own, and tell customers the same, as heat shock can really stress the pot, especially around the base as that is the thickest part of most teapots and the thermal expansion between walls and base is not the same. Pictures will help, but I think that is your problem. best, Pres
  14. Hi folks, once again it seems the pool of questions is dried up with nothing new offered. Again, I will try to offer a question of interest: How do you prefer to organize your tools for your work areas? I have several work set ups, that I use in the studio. My wedging table does multiple duty and has a few plastic trays that are attached to the front for tools, like the wire cutters and a putty knife for scraping. I also have a shelf underneath that the banding wheel and scale store on. I have a flip down cover that fits tightly over the original surface that is made of plywood to wedge the white clay on, the darker clays on the original concrete surface. I also have two containers stored underneath of magic water. . . one lighter, one darker. I also have a tray near the wall where the table is attached with a brush, and round dowel like rib, and tooth brushes for joining handles and pieces to pots. For throwing, I have a CXC with a stand up square wooden trimming guard that stands in front of the wheel on end. This allows me to set a kitchen wire basket with partitions to hold numerous ribs, stamps and other tools. I also keep a bucket on the wheel tray, and a few most often used tools. When I start trimming, I remove the top kitchen basket, and remove the CXC splash guard to slide the trimming tray in place. On the right of the trimming tray is a magnetic strip where I hand may trimming tools not in use. I also have cabinet next to the wheel with several drawers I can open and retrieve tools or stamping materials as needed. There are many of you out there producing many more pots than I, and have excellent organization skills to set up your work areas. . pass these ideas along! So I will ask once again. . . How do you prefer to organize your tools for your work areas? best, Pres
  15. Spend a few bucks and buy a solid maple, 18" to 24" rolling pin. This may take a little more to roll, but in the end it is easier to cut several pieces out of a large slab than to try to piece them. I had these in the HS I taught in until we bought a slab roller. Even then I had students use rolling pins and sticks to roll slabs as many times you do not have slab rollers. When using rolling pins, do not grip the handles, as this is rough on your hands, use the hands open over the pin, even though the thumbs hook underneath. Keep your hands dry, and if necessary use some form of body powder as a lubricant. best, Pres
  16. Marcia, the amount of depth in number one is amazing along with the ever so significant use of the leaf motif with the blue green. . . very stunning! Number 2 continues to emphasize the great body of knowledge you have amassed with fuming and soluble salts. . . . when does the book come out? best, Pres
  17. What clay are you using it on oldlady? I have found that transparent glazes really react differently depending on clay color and use of base color, even when working on a white body with areas of white base glaze and bare areas the differences in value and hue can be quite dramatic. best, Pres
  18. Seems like most of the commercial buyer/sellers want the 50% cut, It'w what the expect in retail to cover the costs of overstocks and no sells, or even the company buyer that is behind the trends. best, Pres
  19. I would be working too hard with a cart like that, as I had to move 2K from the street to under the kayaks that are covered with a heavy tarp. I load up a horizontal cart, and in 30 minutes had it all moved and stacked on the 12X4 palette I had built to keep them off the concrete. best, Pres
  20. Used to place old bath towels wet in the Walker, for the Summer months as it got no use. Saved having to clean out completely before going home for the Summer. Also would put towels in the top of all the Brute garbage cans with sealed lids on. Clay in the Fall was always so fat when coming out of the buckets it allowed time for the new clay boxes to age a bit. best, Pres
  21. Add to the list a good convertible horizontal/vertical hand truck, especially if your clay in dropped by palette in your front driveway and you have gates too narrow for a skid lift! best, Pres
  22. Used to use an old fridge outside to keep pots in for trimming. I could keep them for a week or so in the fridge section with occasional spraying. I also could keep smaller pieces, mugs, small bowls, chalice pieces, in the freezer section for 2 months before to dry to trim. Got rid of the fridge a few years ago as it was just to ugly and space consuming outside. Now I just cover with plastic and trim the next day or so. bet, Pres
  23. Hi folks, ONCE AGAIN, no new suggestions in the question pool. I will fall back on something touched on a while back, but maybe mentioned in a different way: What tool or piece of equipment non related to Ceramics would you recommend? All of you have probably heard me brag about my re-purposed electric caulk gun, and the use of plastic plumbing parts for trimming chucks, or using bamboo kitchen utensils to make wooden ribs, or stick blenders for mixing glazes in the commercial ceramic sprayer. I will not go through these again. However, I would recommend that anyone getting into ceramics not waste their time on cheap shelving, as it can only lead to disaster when a shelf collapses from weight, or tips over for some reason. Years ago I purchased a few commercial grade shelving units from a big box store that would hold over 2k lb. in weight. This holds most of my dry glaze and clay materials without the worry of tipping or collapsing. The other advantage of shelving for these heavy bags is to keep it off the floor to stay dry, and to save on my body when moving them around or filling bins etc. . That also brings me to another tie with the shelving. a good steady metal cart that allows you to move a bin under the bag, and cut the bag on the shelf to fill the bin. Have a good day folks, and think about What tool or piece of equipment non related to Ceramics would you recommend? best, Pres
  24. Denice, I also recycle my clay. First because I live in the city, and would not know or want to dump clay anywhere. Second because I believe it is a resource, and try to use it. Happy to know someone out there has the patience for coil pottery, and uses colored clays to enhance it. best, Pres
  25. Since there was no recent QotW in the question pool, I will once again pose a question: What process do you use with the clay you use, including glazing and firing range? I have used several different clays over the last several decades, starting with a wide firing range clay that I fired to ^6, didn't work out too well as it never seemed to be mature. Then I went to a clay similar to the one I used in the HS, a ^5-6 clay that was quite nice, very throwable, good for handbuilding, and speckled, however mine did not speckle. This was so that I could not be accused of using school clay(watch your back). After I retired, I did use the speckled version, but stopped using it as I became concerned of the manganese in mortars, and I was getting a little bored with the clay. Next I started using a hazelnut brown and a white that both were ^5-6. I found the hazelnut great to throw with, but glazes turned out darker. Then started to glaze both with a white glaze before spraying on colored glazes over top. I find that this has allowed me to get the color to accent the textures I stamp/incise into the pot before shaping. It still seems to be a learning process as now I believe the white glazes underneath leaches color out of the sprays on top, last batch I use the white glaze only on the inside and down an inch of the white clay pieces . Added as an edit: Whooops, guess I do need to say that most of what I do is wheel thrown, with some going to slab construction with wheel thrown components. Most of the ware is functional, unless it gets big enough to be considered super functional. Stoneware clay is what I use, as I prefer the feel over the buttery feel of porcelain, but that too may change. The step in that direction would be to find a porcelain at ^6 that I can like. Asking one more time. .. . . . What process do you use with the clay you use, including glazing and firing range? best, Pres
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