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  1. I know that this is an old thread, but I was looking for a way to draw lines on clay - and I am not an artist.... Found the thread about ruling pens and it was an "Aha" moment! I have been using a drafting set of my father's. He was an engineer back in the 1950's and used them to draw blueprints when he was designing oil refineries. I have used the compasses to cut circles in clay and they are awesome for that use. There were these other tools that I had not clue about. Now I find out that they are ruling pens and I have three of them. One is actually one arm of a compass, so I should be able to draw underglaze circles with it. I am excited to try them. Thanks for old threads!
  2. I agree with checking with doctor first. Also, hand therapists, who are either occupational or physical therapists understand the mechanics and needs of joints and can help set up a program to follow which will help decrease pain. I am a retired occupational therapist and biomechanist, but did not work with hands, so am speaking only as a layperson, here. I also have arthritis in my hands and when I started throwing about three years ago, I would put my hands under warm running water, or immerse them in a bowl of warm water, BEFORE I did anything in the studio. While the hands are still in warm water, make a fist and release a few times. If you do this before you start working, it gives your joints a chance to move and "limber up". I use mostly softer clay now. It was a bit tricky to get used to, but much easier on joints. Gentle exercise is happening when you are working with clay, which is perfect and the exercise actually helps the joints maintain their integrity.
  3. Hi, Hadn't thought about the fact that, of course, even bone dry, it could still freeze because of water content. After writing this morning, I looked at my dining room table and decided it was a kiln load, so out to the garage everything went and it is firing away. About -4C right now, so not bad. I have recorded firing times and the extra time to bring the kiln up to summer ambient temperatures is minimal. Household humidity of 20%! Your greenware would dry out quickly! Pres, Thanks for weighing in on this. I guess the idea is maybe to keep the work away from the snow on the way out to the kiln.......Or safely store until ready to go.
  4. Thanks for asking the question, Cajonat. I live in SW Ontario and thought that I couldn't load a kiln gradually in the winter. Warm year this year so far; just hovering below freezing right now. We don't get Alberta cold, but cold enough. Had to laugh about your description of your table. My dining room table is full of bone dry pieces waiting for a load so I can bisque fire. So, if my work is totally dry, can I do the same thing with the pieces and fill the kiln gradually? Or is it a bit more dangerous, because they might not be totally dry? I have heard of people taking work outside that wasn't dry and having it freeze and break, but am wondering about bone dry.
  5. Thanks, Chilly. Such a good video. Sent me down the rabbit hole of Leach videos....
  6. I totally can empathize. I only started working with clay after I retired and when I started, my hands were really sore, with arthritis in my thumbs predominantly, but some of my finger joints hurting as well. I would warm my hands up under running water before I started classes, then as I was in the studio more, I repeated doing that a number of times. I always use warm water for throwing, more for my hands than the clay. I know I am not working for a full days all week, and probably it would be different and harder on my hands if I were, but I do find that my hands hurt less when I have been doing pottery for a few days. One thing that happens when you work with your hands is that the small muscles in your hands strengthen. This is a good thing, if it is done gradually, and seems to help the bone on bone forces decrease a bit. If you decrease the amount of clay you work with and be sure not to put too much force through your joints, that also might help. And the idea about adding equipment to do the work that is causing you the most pain is really good. I think the other thing about this ageing.....is to keep doing the things that you love doing - maybe modified - but keep doing them. This is absolutely a personal opinion, but I think I would rather adapt my activities whenever I can, rather than giving them up completely. Especially pottery.
  7. I can empathize with arthritis, CactusPots. I warm my hands up under warm water before I even start, just to loosen up stiffness. I have only been throwing for a couple of years. I am finding my hands are better because of pottery - slowly strengthening them with throwing smaller vessels. It is handling the larger bags of clay and throwing larger vessels that is the issue. I couldn't work outside in the winter, regardless, living in an area of Canada that gets fairly cold. I don't want to derail the focus of this thread, but something really hit me and I have questions. Part of this thread that hit me was the mention of clay freezing. I get clay that says "Do not freeze" on it . Can clay be frozen? Is it affected by freezing? Can it be rehabilitated if there is a problem with freezing? I would love to be able to store my clay out in my garage that is unheated, but certainly don't now. Just curious.
  8. Thanks. I will have a bucket of water close at hand. I was waiting, with obvious bad results!
  9. How are you applying the sodium silicate....just thinking about the clean up. I have destroyed brushes. I know that this isn't the artistic part of the process, but my inefficient clean up makes me want to use it less. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I haven't used it with slip, but have used it while throwing the pot and stretching it. I love the effect!
  10. Full disclosure: I haven't taught wheel throwing and I am only two years into learning to throw. I do, however, have a background and have taught in human movement sciences. Our eyes are the sensory system that we usually use dominantly, with our other senses as support. We have proproiceptors in our muscles, joints and skin that tell us where our body is in space and where the parts of our body are in relation to one another, as well as giving us the feel of things that we are manipulating - hot? cold? soft? hard. The visual system will predominantly decide whether parts of the body are correct or not. We rarely, other than in wheel throwing, try to keep our hands still against an object that is spinning. If you really want to be the opposite of a good teacher (not recommended) - try having your students throw on a batt that has a spiral pattern on it, rather than no marks or circles - very weird, and probably annoying, if you are still learning. I would suggest that you use all the ideas noted above, from everyone else here - good positioning, anchoring the arms. Then, you could tell the students to close their eyes and feel if their hands are moving. I know this is probably unconventional, but it makes sense - you are removing the dominant sensory system rather than trying to override it. When I was learning, I worked at first centering with open eyes, so I could get the correct hand positions, then I practiced with my eyes closed. Then I worked to throw an entire cylinder with eyes closed. Just a thought.
  11. Chilly, Very interesting question, because after there is digging up the clay from the ground, there could be making a kiln and cutting down trees for wood firing. However, your clothing analogy ends up with you owning the sheep - a serious proposition. To answer your question - I think it would be fun to dig up clay and try to throw it after it has been cleaned, but not for all clay needs.
  12. Hulk, Is that a self-cleaning wheel???? There would be a market for that - a Roomba for the studio, too. Sigh. I expect it is too good to be true, but maybe some day. I use a bluetooth speaker, too - listen to audio books, CBC (Canadian Broadcasting) podcasts, and ABC (Australian Broadcasting) podcasts.
  13. Love this dish idea. Wow! I was an occupational therapist; now a beginner potter - and I think making this kind of bowl is a goal for me. I am going to go down to our children's center for kids with disabilities and see what shapes they recommend and see if I can (eventually) reproduce the shape. Thanks.
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