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    SF Bay Area
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    Potter, Sculptor, Mad Scientist

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Ceallach's Achievements

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  1. I had something similar happen with two 19b platters, and it made me want to cry....mine did not go clean through though. I did some reading in old books and found some sections about different kinds of cracks. Radial cracks, like this, that go from rim to center without following the S-curve pattern point to drying problem. In my case, the platters took a ridiculous amount of time tobget to the point of being able to flip them. Weeks in the damp Cali winter. So the platter rim would harden first even though the rest was still very wet. In my case, the rim itself took a long time. It was at the studio, not at home, or I would have been able to leave it open to dry. Going forward, i plan to get some Hydrobats ti ease the drying thing. In my mind, the cracks are from pressures as the clay shrinks and the clay being able to drag across the drying substrate. I have a clear intuitive picture of how this would work in my mind and can't think of any common thing to use as an analogy. I went ahead and glazed them on the off chance that the crack would not open more. I was not lucky. I am sitting on it to decide if i will do something with the cracks. They are neither functional, so I have opportunity HTH
  2. Glad I am not the only one with this problem. Funny how much we use the senses. I have similar issues with video-conferencing.
  3. Michael Cardew, Simon and David Leach, Shoji Hamada, someone mentioned Hans Coper but did not mention Lucie Rie. There are artists that did ceramics which are interesting, including Picasso, Klee, Chagall, Miro, Gauguin. They aren't potters but their work is interesting in use of color and surface design. Lady Kwali from Nigeria was an Abuja potter while Cardew was there. She was unusual in that she came to the studio as an established female potter in the Nigerian tradition but overcame the (colonial) gender biases of the time. (This whole thing is interesting because of the British intent to create a Nigerian pottery tradition; Cardew's training of local men as potters in a continent where women are overwhelmingly the potters and do amazing work--imperialism at its finest really). We recently found some of the African pots that we had in storage....one in particular, probably from Congo, was beautifully round, thin and consistent to be mistaken for thrown, not coiled work, and beautifully reduced in a pit-fire. Sometimes, it's less of a potter, but a tradition. Every region in the US has solid pottery traditions that are very different.
  4. I have had this issue as I started to throw larger pieces and there's a number of things that I have noticed: Clay should be well wedged and same consistency. A hard piece will throw off your hand when you open. An air bubble can do the same thing. The angle of the dangle matters. if you go straight down (75-90 degrees from the wheel head), the clay will torque your finger and you'll get an offset opening. Make sure that your hand is going down at about 30-60 degrees to the wheel head and pull back towards yourself as you go. Speed matters. If you go too fast, its easier to wrong fast. Slow down the wheel head a bit and slow down your hands. Someone mentioned bracing, you can never be too braced or stiff. Slow and steady wins the race. Opening in one pass is an advanced technique. Go a bit at a time I have found that using my thumb to create a solid dip in the center of the clay helps to guide as I open. For smaller pieces, I might open only with my thumb, for larger ones, I'll use my thumb, put the heel of my hand down on it and push out to about 10-11 on the clock....but that's for 20-30#. There are some other techniques for centering that are good....coning the clay up and down a few times can center almost any clay as long as it will move in your hands. I saw someone speak about centering not the entire ball of clay, but one slice at a time.....center the first 1/2 inch of clay on the wheel, then come up to the next 1/2 inch and center that next, and so on. But the number one thing that I see learners (women in particular) do when learning is not moving in on the clay. To move the clay, you have to provide an immoveable shape for it to comply with. lines of force from your body need to move in a straight line to the center of the clay. When centering, your left hand (assuming your counterclockwise) should be lined up tip of the thumb, base of the thumb, wrist, elbow in a straight line as a push. The right hand will be more of a pull through the center of the clay toward your left hand, still keeping your arm lined up the same way. Those elbows should be tucked into your knee or thigh to brace, and the legs should be in a square stance that is stable. Finally, I would recommend taking a workshop from a thrower, not a handbuilder. You'll learn SO MUCH.
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