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Pres

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  1. OK, I was thinking if you were there, I often get up into that country to visit our LLC. best, Pres
  2. Strangely enough, @ladyinblack1964, I was the provider for one such search by a couple of secretaries in my school district. These older ladies wanted to experience clay, and had often chided me to provide a class for them. I didn't have any place to have classes, as my tiny one car garage was packed, but they were relentless. One day I told them that if they could talk the superintendent, their boss, into letting me teach a saturday class in the winter in the HS that I would do it for free, and charge tuition to build a fund for studio improvements as the art department was always short of budget for new equipment. They prevailed, and I started teaching the class back in the late 80's, and it is still taught today(at least before covid). This class only lasted 6 weeks, on Saturdays in mid winter, usually from 9 to noon, tuition was $60 with materials extra based on fired weight of clay. I taught the class basics in the first two classes as 1 hr sessions with work after and open for last four classes. Always student based on what they wanted to explore. Maybe you could find some way to prevail upon your local art teachers to provide something like this. Over the years the class I taught bought 4 potters wheels, a new bailey extruder, kiln shelves, workbenches and throwing stools. Good luck! best, Pres
  3. I have been using top loaders all of my life, never putting the money into a front loader. I did fire a front loader my first year in college, and old electric. Nice, but it was small. I helped load several front loaders in college, but these were so big you stood in them to load them, and the climb up and down was the biggest problem with people passing ware up to you for loading. That was not convenient, Heck, even the salt kiln I fired with the bricked up front was deep enough I had to stoop over to get into the back, so my experiences with front loaders were not great because of the sizes. Top loaders I used in the HS and other places were either older square metal boxes lined with brick, or stackable **gons of some sort. I ended up with a 23" L&L in the HS for our first new kiln. It was fantastic to keep running, and we used it for over 30 years, never really replacing it but augmenting it with a second of the same size 20 years after buying the first one. This allowed me to have one cooling and one firing when it came to crunch time at the end of the semester. These were all 48" tall, and therefore I would lift off the top section to load and then replace it for the end of loading, great for gut muscles! That sort of effort kept me in pretty good shape, and I never really noticed the loading of the shelves into the kiln as they were much lighter than a kiln section. My latest kiln if 28" in diameter, top loader **gon. Not so deep, but as much of my ware now is not as large, works well enough. Shelves are 1/2 shelf, and easy to load into the bottom. Years ago I started using gloves with really grippy surfaces to load and unload after I cut my hands on a sharp shelf edge, my own mistake. These gloves are really helpful for gripping the shelves when lifting them around. All in all, guess given the money I would still stay with a top loader. . . . this dog is done with new tricks. best, Pres
  4. Oh yeah, I use a hand held power extruder for handles and other small pieces. Have used glaze calc software for years, as I really hated doing the paper work in college. Also have a recipe spread sheet to automatically figure batch weights. best, Pres
  5. Hi folks, no new suggestions for a new QotW topic in the pool or elsewhere. So I will pose another question once again. Lately, I have been thinking about the direction the new kiln is taking me, and what that means. I also have realized that maybe my age is showing because I still like to do some things in old ways. As far as the new kiln goes, the process of calibrating the thermocouples is pretty much completed. Only the next glaze firing will tell. I find the ease of firing with the Genesis controller mixed, as even though I do not worry over the setting for a firing, I do have a tendency to double check color against the firing graph. I guess the kiln controller if my step into the future. Things that I do that are old school will include the use of a triple beam balance to weigh out glaze chemicals, wedging clay, and reclaiming scraps. Setting the weights on the triple beam balance makes me think about what I am doing. . . kind of a second check, as is marking the chemicals with grease pencil on my plastic sleeved recipe charts. Keeps me focused. Wedging, actually helps my back believe it or not. The pushing down while rotating the clay and body eases back strain for me, and is one other reason I reclaim scraps. QotW: What things do you do that would be Old School, and what do you do that would be considered Embracing the Future? best, Pres
  6. When doing lighting, go LED, brighter, less shadows, easier to pay attention to detail. best, Pres
  7. Hi folks, nothing new in the pool for QotW, so once again, I will pose a question. A while back we asked: What studio habits do you have that others have warned against? Asking just the opposite- QotW: What best habit would you recommend to a beginner setting up their studio? My best suggestion would be to look at your storage, surfaces and flooring, in order to control dust. I would suggest sealed rubbermaid type bins for chemicals, sealed buckets for glazes, work surface easily cleaned, without dust gathering canvas or other materials. I would try to stay away from containers with deep recesses in their lids, as they gather dust, Stay away from low shelving as they will gather underneath. Use dolly's to move larger containers out from under shelving to be easier to clean areas. Then clean once a week at least. Limit your ceramics space to ceramics, no household tools, or other storage in the studio. Most of my mistakes are listed here! Asking once again! QotW: What best habit would you recommend to a beginner setting up their studio? best, Pres
  8. Another thing that is a factor for me is the clay body itself. I have a tendency to start wet, when centering, move quickly to drier, and then pull final stages with almost no water. I have gon through a lot of clay bodies looking for the clay that has a bit of tooth for touch, strength when stretched or otherwise abused, and able to work with my glazes that I like. It has taken me through many clays, of which I find SC 112 & 200 very good, SC 630 good, and SC 211 quite good. I hand build and throw, so I like to have clays that will do both well. Each of these clays throw well for me with some adjustments to my style, but they will throw quite thin, will work well with faceting and stamping or other abuse before shaping and will hold up to extreme inflation of the form. So searching for the perfect clay for your processes is a step in your throwing advancement especially as you step from beginner to intermediate thrower. Another step is to expand your repertoire of forms, if you see something, learn to throw it. After learning the form, modify or improve it to make it your own. The more you analyze forms and understand their strengths and problems the better your throwing will become. Finally, never, never become too attached to one piece. . . it is only a step to something better. You have to be able to reject something that just does not seem right, or you know to be a mistake even though it may make you happy. There are fortunately happy mistakes, whether from the kiss of heat, the flash of a glaze fume or even a form that ripped but still stands well. best, Pres
  9. As mentioned by @Bill Kielb, beginners leave a lot of clay in the base. That said, best advice is practice. While practicing make certain to get the pull started with a strong pressure between inside and outside pressure points, as you feel the clay start to rise, raise your pressure points, but let up slightly on your pressure. This will allow you to get the most out of the base, and to allow the walls further up the strength to not buckle. One simple way to concentrate on the feel is to throw with your eyes closed or blind folded. I have often demonstrated from beginning to end blnd folded for class demonstrations to show students that most of it is in the touch and feel of the clay, not the sight. best, Pres
  10. @neilestrick, I get it, respected friends, those who know, I wouldn't mind. I'm lucky in that there are very few around me involved in Ceramics of any sort, that do not have a kiln. best, Pres
  11. If you want a whiter piece yet, use a clay without the speckling of the Manganese, or even more go for a white clay body. I love the speckling, some do not, and if wishing to do brush work or other decoration with under/overglazes use plain bodies. best, Pres
  12. Hi folks, not much in the way of activity in the QotW pool of late so I am STUCK once again. Not to give away any trade secrets as I am sure that some of you know or guess that there is communication between moderators on their own forum category. Put this together with a posting in the marketplace of late targeting a web site or app for renting out kiln space. There was a bit of back and forth over whether to post it, and where. As you can see, the issue is resolved and it is posted. However, is it really resolved? My response from in the moderators "dungeon" was: Interesting concept, not that I would join, but interesting. I would not want to be responsible for a "precious object" being ruined some way, either perceived or actual, as I would not want to be privy to a piece that would damage my kiln either by wrong clay, glaze, or application. Too many uncontrollable factors for me. Much different than in a classroom where everything was controlled by me. To put this into a question: QotW: Would you be willing to participate in a kiln space rental that would bring in a little extra cash, and supply a service to potters without a kiln in your area, and if so why? If you would not want to participate also tell us why. You can thank @Min for this question as she saw my response and thought it would be a good QotW, best, Pres
  13. Yeah, I use a small amount of rutile to make a butter cream liner glaze. I like it better than stark white. best, Pres
  14. Yeah, as educators, we went through a lot of theory about the brain, and learning disorders, motivational skills and tons of other things. . . what inservices were for. Never figure that an artist/craftsman is an idiot. . . they look at things differently, and many are as articulate as a technical author, more creative than a fictional writer and more versatile than many CEO's. IMHO I have my spreadsheet set up for 500, 750 and 1000. However, do to the buckets that I use I have stayed with most glazes at 750. Less slopping around and easier to mix for me. best, Pres
  15. @oldlady years ago, I was a math/science major in undergrad school. . . flunked out! I switched to art ed, and made the deans list every semester at a small PA college. Now I don't do math when it comes to glazes, and I use a triple beam balance also. However, in the 80"s I discovered computers and found that they worked well for me. So now I use a spread sheet to keep my glaze formulas in. This allows me enter in the glaze empirical formula, set up 500, or 750 or 1000 grams of glaze or stain or other material and it will automatically do all of the calculations for me. NO math! I love it. best, Pres
  16. Have you used this glaze before with successful results? Did this occur with one piece, or all of them? What was your firing schedule? Post a pic. Is the glaze from a bottle or did you order the dry glaze? Are you certain the glaze was mixed well? Often with glazes that are mixed from powders some oxides will settle earlier than others requiring thorough mixing and at time sieving to make certain everything is reconstituted. I asked about the kiln because either hot spots or firing schedules can effect the glaze fired results. Often with a new commercial or home mixed glaze you will need to experiment to get the advertised result. Hope these help. best, Pres
  17. Looking at your pics, I think the answer is in the shadows. The last pic shows a shadowy ring that does not look like a trim ring. I would say as others have said that you need a thicker plate, and possibly a wider foot ring, maybe even two if you are going to trim thinly. best, Pres
  18. I slam wedge to begin with, love using a wiggle wire for this process as if needing water the little wave are perfect to spray into. I slam wedge soft and stiffer together, block up and repeat about 10 times, then I cone wedge it 200 times 10# at a time. Put it into a bag and twist flip onto a pile that I use later. Have done it for years, still have good wrists, but arthritic thumbs and some fingers. I do not do large volumes of work anymore and would probably do differently if I really did volumes at this point in life. In the early years I couldn't afford a pug mill, but used a Walker pug at the HS. Never recycled my own clay in it. Too much trouble transporting it there. best, Pres
  19. @Mark C.You point out by your post that much of your success is more about playing the suppliers like one would play the stock market. Buy low, sell high, stock up for rainy days and consolidate/control shipping costs and other costs. More than a potter you are a manager of your entire business. Many of us do not have your business sense, but can certainly learn from your example. best, Pres
  20. I didn't have any idea about ADHD until my son was diagnosed, as many of his habits were mine. These would amount to disorganization, sloppy desks, missing appointments, and others. Over the years though, I had found ways to cope, excessive note keeping and rewriting notes, Keeping things simple where it mattered, but allowing myself to soar when it came to new ideas, I still do the same things like pitchers behind the glaze it goes with, glazes numbered not named and in order of application. Separation of pieces with different glazing steps so that I did not mix things up. Finishing one task before moving to the next. . . throw chalice stems first, then bowls, trim stems, then trim bowls and assemble after each is trimmed while still on the wheel; sign before removal. Everything is much easier for me this way, but then don't "normal" people do the same things, just don't have to do them consciously? best, Pres
  21. Hi folks, I was at the Standard Ceramics store in Pittsburgh on Monday. This was a buying trip for materials, as I have not been there since the last NCECA, and have not really purchased much in glaze materials in nearly 20 years. Last order I had stocked up on a lot of items, probably more than I needed. However, this time I was in need of replacing frits, oxides and a few other chemicals. Add to that the common novelty shopping for ribs, cutting wires and other tools and it is easy to drop $500 or more. I was a little shocked, but considering what I had heard out there had braced myself for a surprise. Seems like to me that the frits were nearly double what I had paid when I bought 200 lb of each. Oxides I knew had gone up, but cobalt carbonate seemed higher than I had expected. This got me to thinking about what the community has noticed in the way of price increases over the years. I would especially be interested in the opinions of @Min, @GEP, and @Mark C.. QotW: What have you noticed in the rise in prices for materials over the last 20 years? Has the cost of glaze materials progressively increased or is it a steady rise? best, Pres
  22. Yeah, but there is a downside to that sometimes. My classroom in the basement in the beginning had a wood shop, and across the hall from them was the severely handicapped children. My worse time was when the shop teacher was planing a lot of cedar, and mix that with the urine a poop smells out of the spec ed room. . . . as I was down the hall from both, and the loading docks for the central supply was at the opposite end; I felt like I was living in a hamster cage! By the time I left though revenge was sweet, as the shops closed down. . . much to my chagrin and I took over the two rooms that the spec. ed had been in for my new computer animation classes. When this art teacher retired he had the most real estate of any one in the school district at the educational level. best, Pres
  23. Perlite was used to allow overnight drying, and then raku firing, body was very open. This was at a state level PAEA conference. best, Pres
  24. Amazed by the amount and quality of light just replacing my old flourescents with LED units. Same size, but twice the light! best, Pres
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