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QotW: What is your favorite trick/hack that you have used to solve a problem when making pottery?

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Hi folks, going through some of my old techniques, and things I have figured out for myself and wondered about others tricks.

QotW: What is your favorite trick/hack that you have used to solve a problem when making pottery?

One of my favorites when working with cylinders or other thrown forms is to use an embroiders hoop to mark the line around a thrown form to mark an easy cut an angle to cut and then reverse the top portion 180 degrees and rejoin for pieces like salt pigs.



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The problem solutions I've tried out (and am happy with!), not new; some are used by many others, some are not popular at all.

For the second day of Wheel I class, I brought a large (large!) grout sponge to clean up with. From there, I cut up another sponge into purposed shapes/sizes (credit Bill van Gilder). The little round sponge that came with the tool kit saw enough use to eventually wear out (I didn't get a new one tho'!).
Leaving the work areas clean, that's required at the local JC ceramics lab. It's still a habit; I wipe down all.

That's one - likely a very popular re-use (grout sponges often have rounded corners, which I like better than car washing sponges; look for tight cell structure and soft feel).

Likely on the other end of the popular spectrum, I use a pointer tool for initial carving away of un-round bits when trimming.
Background, my hands don't alway work the way I'd like; I pretty much have to use both hands on the trimming tool, hence, no steadying finger on the ware.
Background ii, I expect the upper portion of the wares to be finished; when trimming, it's the bottom half (or third) that gets attention. I leave the ware on the bat until the top portion is approaching leather hard, then wire it off, which often leaves a step on the bottom.
Even with two hands, it's a challenge for me to round the ware with cutting tools. The point does not follow the contour of the work; it dives right in, boom, round, and boom, flat. There's the bottom and outside edge of my foot ring. From there, I go to the L (or J) shaped cutting tool.

If I were tempted (?) to go somewhere in the middle, perhaps the various marking, burnishing, and chattering methods...

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Yogi Berra said something like “90% of baseball is mental. The other half is physical.” Ceramics is no different, 90% half mental. My favorite hacks are mental.

The phrase “What is the kiln going to teach me today?” has helped me solve more problems than any single tool, technique, or material. 


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