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Found 10 results

  1. Hi! I have been making pots for about 7 years and in the past 4 have struggled with small s-cracks appearing on the bottom of about 75% of my pots. The s-cracks are usually around a half inch long, thin, and only on the underside of the pot - never go all the way through and therefore the pots are all fully functional, just annoyingly cracked. In the photo attached, you'll see 3 cracked pots, and 2 planters that did not crack. My theory is that something is amiss in the center of my pots that causes stress & cracking during drying - because typically, when I make planters that have the centers removed, cracks do not appear. The cracks don't show up to my knowledge til after the bisque fire (though because my studio fires my pottery, there are usually a few days that I'm not seeing the piece before it's loaded in the kiln.) I have tried just about every remedy I can get my hands on and still can't manage to kick these cracks to the curb. My current regimen is: 1. Wedge each piece of clay (ram's head) 40x each. 2. Align clay on wheel so the spiral-y part is horizontal per this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7oIZiXmXFU 3. Tap clay to center and use a finger to create a seal between clay and bat. 4. Add water, press down on the clay and get into flat hockey puck-ish shape. 5. Cone up and down three times. I make sure my cone is very cylindrical, with the bottom being almost as narrow as the top, which I read was important for preventing cracking. I make the top of the cone teeny-tiny and focus on getting air bubbles out of that portion. 6. During coning down process, I bring the piece back into a hockey puck shape and run my finger across the top towards the center, occasionally finding air bubbles there. 7. Bring out the walls and compress bottom religiously with my thumb, a kidney rib and my sponge. About 10 times, compressing from the outside of the base to the center. Occasionally, I'll feel little air bubbles during this step and will continue compressing until I've popped them. 8. Continue to compress and flatten bottom as I shape the piece. I don't let water sit in the piece. 9. Let the piece dry slowly and evenly on absorbent surface like canvas or foam (covered after a few hours). Dry with bottoms up once sturdy enough to stand. Something I've noticed: Often when I use the wire to take pieces off the bat, there is a small air pocket right in the center of the clay that appears both on the remaining clay on the bat (picture attached), and on the piece itself. The indentation in the bottom center of the piece is never more than 1/16-1/8 of an inch deep I'd say. It's something I trim off later in the process, but seems to correlate with the pots that end up cracking. A hypothesis: Could I be creating these air pockets during the coning up process? I.e. as I press the clay in & up the bottom air pocket forms? Maybe making my cone so cylindrical is part of the problem? Another potential hypothesis: My wedging is bad and introduces too many air bubbles. Would I be better off using clay straight from the bag? (Or, sigh, trying to get better at wedging?) Last note: I prefer a flat bottom to a footed bottom. It's possible I get less cracks when I trim feet, but I haven't really investigated. Any advice you have on ending this years-long struggle would be so, so appreciated! S-Crack Photo Bat with Air Bubble
  2. Hi folks, I have been thinking a lot of late of the types of things that would be good experiences for beginning throwers, withing to improve their throwing skills. so a few listings of ideas in this thread would be helpful for anyone wishing to develop greater throwing skills and control on the wheel. Basic 9" cylinder with 3# of clay. This should have a flat bottom, evenly compressed, side walls tapering slightly in thickness to the rim that should be slightly thicker than the side walls at the top. Cut several vertically in half to gauge your progress using a cutting wire from the base to the top. 8" diameter bowl with 3# of clay. Remember that a true bowl has a rounded interior, so when opening up develop a rounded bottom instead of a flat bottom as in the cylinder. Again cut several of these in half to check progress. Always remember that a bowl will need extra thickness at the base to support the outer walls from collapsing. 10" plate with 3# of clay. Begin using softer clay, and make careful compression across the area of the plate, as the biggest problem with plates is the lack of compression causing "s" shaped cracks. Basic + Hump Vessel- small cup off of tennis ball size piece of clay. Throw several off of a 4-6# Ball of clay, center the entire ball as much as possible into a cone, then center the top portion of the cone into a tennis ball size, well centered. Throw a cylinder shape, use a rib to define the base, and cut from wheel with a cutting wire, and remove to a bat. Repeat until all of the ball is used up. Bowl-throw several bowls using a baseball sized ball of clay off of a 4-6# hump of clay. Try to make the form a bowl shape, cut and remove as in the vessel, and check progress. Apple baker-Start this form with a baseball sized piece of clay. Open the form as in a bowl, slightly away from center leaving a center stem area. Open the center stem area and pull upwards into narrow cone, close the cone with your fingers, necking inward. Then finish shaping the outer bowl area. cut and remove from the wheel. Check progress with these also to assess the two pulled shapes in the single form. These are just thoughts and I wouldn't have had the apple baker in this list until lately. However, I do believe that the simplicity and complexity of the form will help to improve throwing skills of anyone wishing to advance their skill level. Please feel free to add projects that you believe that will advance throwing skills for a beginner, intermediate, or advanced thower. best, Pres
  3. The next series of online classes are posted on TeachinArt Instructors to look for is Marcia Selsor that is pushing forward with discovery in Alternative Firing. David Voorhees is giving tips about successful throwing of porcelain. Connie Christensen makes a tea set; tray and all and later this year we will add her shino expertise to this school. Nan Rothwell is the latest addition and we are very excited to add her stoneware throwing class. Antoinette Badenhorst added 4 classes in porcelain from Understanding porcelain to making projects in hand building to wheel throwing. Her pinching teapots for the complete beginner is very popular and the pinching porcelain teapots will be available late fall to early winter. An introduction to understanding glazes will also follow later this year. Instructors to look forward to is Paul Lewing, Curtis Benzle and Marie Gibbons. Each one bringing their specialty to TeachinArt.
  4. If anyone is still interested in signing up for the wheel thrown demonstration by Nan Rothwell this coming weekend in Tupelo Mississippi, you can do that here: http://teachinart.com/index.html Nan Is the next instructor that will come on board with TeachinArt this year. We will be video taping her workshop next week. Feel free to check our online workshops out. We are growing and will soon reach the 500 th class mark. We plan some interesting event. If you have ideas of how we can do that, feel free to share your idea with us. http://www.porcelainbyantoinette.com/index.html http://teachinart.com/e-courses-online-workshops.html
  5. Hi guys, TeachinArt.com Online School of Art is pushing forward this year and is offering more and more opportunities to learn at your own convenient time, in the comfort of your own studio. The first batch of classes are posted here: http://teachinart.com/index.html and the schedule for more and completely new classes will be posted soon. You can view our first instructors here: http://teachinart.com/our-art-instructors.html. We are in the process to add instructors Nan Rothwell, Marie Gibbons and Paul Lewing among others to the group. We are bringing a variety of workshops to you. If you know of someone that is successful and may be interested to join our team of skilled instructors, please inform them about our workshops. We strive to bring opportunities to educators and students in a way it has never been done before.
  6. From the album: Copper Dolphin Studio

    A shelf full of my dad's pots. I think he's made as many this week as he has in the whole past YEAR. He overcame a huge hurdle when he started throwing left handed, even though he's right handed. His pots have changed and improved in leaps and bounds. I'm almost as excited for him as if it was me making this progress.
  7. As some of you may know, I am a beginner on the wheel. I started learning in October of last year when my dad set up his new wheel in my garage since he doesn't have a spot for it yet. (Ohhh the sacrifices I make for him ) In the past year I have gotten to the point where I can pretty much make what I want, though I still can't handle anything over five pounds. I don't feel I'm qualified to teach anybody else, but my dad is really struggling. He wants to retire from his masonry business and use pottery to supplement his pension, so there is a lot of mental pressure on himself to make a success of this as soon as possible. I know from my own experience that this kind of thinking makes the learning go much slower, and I've told him so many times, trying to encourage him to be easier on himself and give it time and patience. Today he came over to throw and I noticed this weird thing. I'm right handed. I throw with the wheel spinning counter-clockwise. When I'm lifting the clay I have my left hand on the inside of the pot and my right hand on the outside at around 3 or 4 o'clock. My dad is also right-handed and uses the same setting on the wheel. But he does everything inside the pot with his RIGHT hand, and the outside with his left. His hands are at 8-9 o'clock on the wheel. He has lots of problems with gouging the pot, thin spots, collapses, etc. etc. etc. and I think that might be why. I told him and he laughed and said that he's always thrown this way ... I never noticed before because he really doesn't like help so I leave him alone when he comes over to throw. He threw one pot "my" way and it actually turned out pretty well but he said it was strange and went back to "his" way with the next pot. My question is, which way is correct? If "my" way is correct, then is it easier to re-learn this way, or should he try throwing on the wheel with the wheel going clockwise instead, as if he's left-handed, and otherwise keep doing everything the same? Any advice or suggestions? (By the way, I think he would benefit from a wheel throwing class but I know he won't do it. He's really discouraged right now.) Is it possible that his struggle with throwing can be as simple as having his hands in the wrong position?
  8. This picture makes me so happy that I wanted to share it. I started learning to throw last October. It was a very, very bumpy road and I didn't start having things to keep until mid-February. I almost gave up. To be honest, I did give up, for weeks at a time, but fortunately kept going back to it. The pitcher on the left is one of my very first "keepers", a little mug that I knocked against and decided to turn into a cream pitcher. It's one of my first attached handles, beginner slip trailing, the whole nine yards. The pitcher on the right was made about six months later. It's a pitcher because that's what I decided to make, not a mistake. I deliberately decorated and glazed it similar to the other one because I wanted to see them side by side like this. In every aspect of these two pieces, from the throwing, to trimming, the handles, decoration and even the glazing, I can see how much I've learned in less than a year. I can't wait to see what happens in another year! Maybe I'll be making pots that levitate or are invisible or something. Who knows.
  9. I don't even remember when someone advised me that flipping bowls so that the rim is on a flat surface, while drying, would reduce the amount of warping...but it is a practice that I still follow. I keep seeing studio images with drying shelves full of bowls, and the bowls are resting on their feet with the rims upright. OK...so, here are my questions: Is there any validity to the claim that drying bowls with the rim down reduces warping? Is there some point in the drying process where flipping bowls over evens-out the drying? Is the practice/preference more dependent on clay choice (i.e. porcelain vs stoneware) and/or size of the bowl? If you talk to your bowls, what do they say is their preferred drying position (its OK if you don't speak bowl) . -Paul
  10. Jennifer McCurdy Testing the Limits of Porcelain: Thrown, Altered and Carved Sculpture WS01 – Saturday & Sunday, 10-4pm, February 15 & 16, 2014 Fee: $200 member/$225 non-member This 2-day demonstration/discussion based workshop that will explore basic wedging, centering, and throwing techniques unique to porcelain. McCurdy will take participants through the production process of forming the cylinder followed by the technique of “dry throwingâ€, using two metal ribs to create the shape of the piece. Next, she will show her technique of altering these pieces off the wheel to create soft shadow ad movement. Day two will demonstrate carving techniques on leather hard porcelain vessels. The workshop will conclude with a discussion of sanding techniques and firing strategies for porcelain which take advantage of the material’s qualities. McCurdy will discuss the concept of “strength vs. plasticity†inherent in the porcelain as it moves through the working stages; from wet to bone dry and finally through vitrification; the transformation of porous clay to translucent porcelain through heat fusion, a process that occurs in the firing. Jen will offer candid conversation about the creative process, the importance and value of setting personal goals and about the development and transition of her work over the past thirty years while offering tips on making a living in the art world. This course is recommended for students with a working knowledge of clay coupled with a willingness to explore new ideas before enrolling. JenniferMcCurdy received a BFA from Michigan State University in 1979 and then learned how to formulate and throw porcelain at Florida Atlantic University under John McCoy in 1980. She has been selling her porcelain in art shows and galleries for the last thirty years, and her work is included in the collections of several museums, including the Smithsonian Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC. She maintains a studio in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts. Her focus on the reflective and bone-like quality of the bare porcelain has led her to explore the light and shadow of the clay forms, resulting in a unique melding of line and structure. She is looking forward to sharing some of the tricks she has learned along the way – tricks of the trade, and tricks of porcelain. Perspective students are encouraged to review Jennifer’s website at www.jennifermccurdy.com. WS01 – Saturday & Sunday, 10-4pm, February 15 & 16, 2014 Fee: $200 members; $225 non-members Contact Matthew Hyleck at matt.hyleck@baltimoreclayworks.org for more information. Baltimore Clayworks 5707 Smith Avenue Baltimore, MD 21209
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