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QotW: Do you find that your learning about ceramics has moved toward more video use like Youtube or CLAYflicks or do you still find a good book viable as a means of learning?


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Hi folks, sorry about the problems with the ICAN website roll out, and I have been thinking a lot about the loss of things like the CLAYflicks, and what it means to people.

Over the years, my best source of information involving almost anything was a good book. I recently finished rewiring a circuit in an old house, and used a book to help me solve some stupid problems that took more smarts than I. An old magazine that I had saved had the answers to adding a ground, making certain all circuits in the line worked, even if one burned out, and surface mount wiring solutions. When it comes to ceramics, I have a very extensive library that soon will all be unpacked into a new library. However, lately more and more of what I have been doing when working on pottery or other things has come from a video or two before hand. Helped my son put new brakes on his car with the help of a video, leaned about some more decorating techniques in pottery on CLAYflicks, and used a video to help put in a floating floor in our house. I still peruse my books nearly everyday finding pictures that I have missed, and tips that I have forgotten, and don't get me started on the books of recipes for glazes!

All of this makes me wonder if the shift for all learning has moved to video and Youtube or is there still a place for good how to books and magazines?

Therefore, QotW: Do you find that your learning about ceramics has moved toward more video use like Youtube or CLAYflicks or do you still find a good book viable as a means of learning?

 

best,

Pres

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Good question!

Books and magazines/periodicals are still very much in the frame for me. Earlier on, watching others work was more important to me than now; I watched - really studied - the other students, guests, and instructors during my two semesters at the local JC ceramic lab, and spent some hours watching video clips every week. Some - several dozen - of my favourite clips, I've returned to again and again, for I'll often "see" differently after some time has passed.

Now, well, perhaps I'm well into that long stretch where time at task is the main thing.

This forum has been (err, is) a great source, and offers a sense of community. There are other forums/groups, aye, however, this one's best, imo.

"What a fascinating modern age we live in."*
- Captain Jack Aubrey

Yep.
Exactly where is the block drain on my Toyota truck - found it.
How to set up our son's wellhouse to run off his generator - found it, use a "transfer switch," aye.
   Where to find a simple transfer switch - found it, arrived at front door three days later.
   How to wire the transfer switch, how to work on the main panel safely when the sun's shining (solar array, heh) - found it.
How to change out the headsets on my road bikes - found it.
Where to find a pump for a twelve year old dishwasher - found it.
   How to replace said pump - found it.
...and so on; "the internet" is remarkable.

That said, learning with/from others, there's nothing else like it; same for opportunity to help others learn - there's nothing else like it, and no matter how much one may try to fully appreciate the opportunity when it's happening, I believe we take those opportunities somewhat for granted. 

Edited by Hulk
one more found it
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I go both ways...books and videos. Since I got into ceramics a little more than 10 years ago, I've accumulated over 50 books on the various aspects of pottery, about a third on just glazes since that's what I think makes a pot. For me, it's part of the learning process. Videos have also played a large part in my learning and understanding of the field along with the 3 community college courses I've taken.  Like Tom says..." learning with/from others, there's nothing else like it; same for opportunity to help others learn - there's nothing else like it, and no matter how much one may try to fully appreciate the opportunity when it's happening"...I totally agree! Been there, done that and look forward to continuing in the future!

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I forgot to re-mention one of my other ways of learning: Teaching others! Over the years my own skills have been honed so much by the observation and correction of bad habits with others. It has made me aware of my bad habits and correct them, and able to analyze what I am doing wrong when having a bad day.

 

best.

Pres

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I think there’s a place for both. I like the accessibility of video, and the fact that there are keyword searches that don’t involve a card catalog! Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words and a visual demonstration is worth volumes. I can find information rapidly with the internet, which I really like. I can see demonstrations from people I’d never get to see in real life, which is amazing!

 But. Video is frequently paced too slowly for me to absorb things easily, and I get really frustrated when people ramble or go too far off topic. That’s a function of my ADHD, and not a comment on the makers of videos. I can get around most of this by speeding up the playback on most platforms, but if there’s graphics in the background, I need to pause to make sure I get everything. Most video also doesn’t include thorough (or sometimes accurate) synopses, or don’t have time stamp markers indicating points of discussion. You have to watch the whole thing to get the one bit of info somewhere in the middle you wanted.

Books go more in-depth. I love the tactile feel of reading a book over reading from a tablet. I can read and absorb information at the exact speed my brain wants. I can skim to that one paragraph with the pertinent info without having to read the entire chapter. I have a few hard copy references that I refer to constantly, because the internet is also distracting, and I don’t need to take side trips into rabbit holes when I just want the Fahrenheit/Celsius conversion numbers for a cone.

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On 10/13/2021 at 2:12 AM, Pres said:

I forgot to re-mention one of my other ways of learning: Teaching others! Over the years my own skills have been honed so much by the observation and correction of bad habits with others. It has made me aware of my bad habits and correct them, and able to analyze what I am doing wrong when having a bad day.

 

best.

Pres

Indeed. Teaching!

Makes one anlyse what is done intuitively and isolate the key points.

Tennis pro had us play with left hand if right handed to emphasise what faced a complete beginner. Not quite the same but certainly was effective re wat was resllh impIrtant for success

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On 10/12/2021 at 4:42 PM, Pres said:

Teaching others!

Oh yes, so true.  Really sharpens the learning.

 

As for books, they are easier to hold open on a page while you are looking at the kiln programmer, or fixing the shower tap, or knitting a row of complicated stitches.  But, sometime words just cannot describe what needs to be done - if a picture tells a thousand words, then a video must tell a million.  But only a good video, correctly edited, good background, no errs and umms.

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Books are essential and imperative! For retention, ease of looking something up, tactile pleasure, art history/historical and modern ceramics images that I can revisit easily, and the best in-house source for well-rooted wisdom.  My go-to's are textbooks from the '70's: Rhodes' Clay and Glazes for the Potter and Lawrence's Ceramic Science for the Potter. Add in Branfman/Raku, Miller/Surface Design, Tristram/Single Fire, & Pitkelka/Studio Handbook and I have more than I need for today's endeavors. Videos are fun, but I get quickly bored and have no retention. I do use the good ones (as Chilly notes) for a visual overview where actual hands-on images are helpful. For images of contemporary art & ceramic art/craft the Internet is invaluable. 

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