Posts made in January, 2012

Production Pottery – Challenge #1

Posted by on Jan 31, 2012 in Class, Dinnerware, How-to, Multiples | 0 comments

Although not all potters aspire to be production potters, all potters will benefit from the skills required to make dinnerware.  Potters who can make multiple pots similar in form and size are efficient throwers and have the technical skills to accomplish any sort of pot.  Their only  limitations are desire, creativity, and time. Essentially, there are two basic challenges to making dinnerware sets: Similar pieces must be similar Dissimilar pieces must relate to one another Challenge No. 1:  Similar pieces must be similar – essentially, this means that each salad plate you make should be like every other salad plate in size and shape. Here are some tips that can help to accomplish this: Measure, Measure, Measure Weigh the clay and record it Note the starting diameter of the clay disc before opening and record it Measure the inner diameter and record it Measure the outer diameter and record it Measure the height and record it Measure anything that is helpful to you to replicate the shape and record it Make adjustments to define the pot shape and establish your ‘recipe’ Use the same tools to throw and shape the pot – changing tools will result in a different outcome If trimming a foot, trim to a specific diameter (this is the easiest challenge to overcome) Throw all the pieces in one sitting (ex. make all the salad plates in one session) Trim all the pieces in one sitting Make an extra piece – if you want a place setting for 4, make 5 When making multiples, don’t overlook a good pot simply because it doesn’t match the set.  A bowl might be a good bowl in its own right – keep it and use it individually or as a glaze test....

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Production Pottery – Tools

Posted by on Jan 28, 2012 in Class, Dinnerware, How-to, Multiples, Review, Scale, Tools | 0 comments

There are two fundamental challenges to making dinnerware.  The first challenge is to make similar pieces look similar (i.e. one salad plate should look like all the other salad plates).  This is accomplished by making pots that are the same size and shape.  Making pots that are the same size will help them look like they belong together; and, it is easier to replicate size (height and width) than it is to replicate shape – the key is to measure.  Fortunately, there are a few tools that can help potters in their quest to make place settings. A good scale is indispensable when making sets.  Starting with the same amount of clay will help a potter make subsequent pots in a set.  I have two Escali scales and recommend them highly (they also come in a variety of fun colors).  For more elaboration on what to consider in a scale, refer to the blog entry “Potter’s Tool Kit – Scale“. A ruler is very basic but essential tool.  Measuring height and width will help potters make sets and will help develop a ‘recipe’ of important statistics. Calipers will make measuring diameters more accurate and with less distortion of the pot. Pointer or chopsticks can expedite pot production because after you set the height and diameter, you can throw each pot to those dimensions without stopping several times to measure.  Although these help, it is still a good idea to measure the height and width in case the pointer or chopstick gets bumped during throwing. I recommend keeping a studio notebook where you can record measurements and notes.  This is a good reference in case you need to make a replacement plate or bowl in the...

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Production Pottery

Posted by on Jan 27, 2012 in Dinnerware, How-to, Multiples | 0 comments

Pottery classes have resumed  at the art center, and, I am thrilled to be back among such passionate people.  This session, we are working on dinnerware which is a sneaky way to have everyone make multiples – after all, there is no better way to acquire technical skills other than practice. Although  not all potters want to be production potters, all potters benefit from the sills required to make multiple pots that are similar in form and size.  Basic technical skills are prerequisites to any creative endeavor. Essentially, there are two basic challenges for potters to resolve when making dinnerware sets: Similar pieces must be similar Dissimilar pieces must relate to one another In the next few posts, I will share some thoughts and tips for overcoming these...

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Posted by on Jan 20, 2012 in About Me, Philosophy | 2 comments

Although I love the holidays, there is something fresh and uncluttered about January.  The darker days seem to lend themselves to quiet contemplation; and, as a resolutionist, I find myself thinking about what would like to do in the new year. The primary thing I would like to focus on this year is developing more interesting pots.  This is one of those immeasurable goals – allusive and hard to define.    Essentially, I would like to add layers of depth to the pots to make them feel more like my own.  I haven’t figured out how I am going to go about this; and, I suspect that it will take much longer than a year.  A few things I will do to help myself along are: compiling a sketchbook/scrapbook, carving stamps, more glaze experimentation, and purposeful quiet time. In addition, I would like to make some pottery for myself.  The few pots that live in my cabinets are seconds and misfits.  They are fine but I would like to upgrade.  I hate to have our guests see my ‘ugly step-children’.  Among the pots I want to make for myself are holiday plates for next Christmas.  Along that same thought, I want to make an Advent calendar for our home.  It occurred to me this past holiday season, that our young houseguests would have enjoyed opening the jars during their visits. I am sure that there will be other things to challenge me in the New Year; but, these are what seem to be on my mind the  most....

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Zumba and Pottery

Posted by on Jan 19, 2012 in About Me, Philosophy | 0 comments

I have been going to a gym for several years; I work out on my own but I also take classes.  I really like the weight lifting and aerobic classes.  But, in an attempt to expand my class-repertoire, I decided to go to a Zumba class.  Although, I love to dance, I am not rhythmic so this is a challenge on many levels.  It is a lot of fun; and, after a few classes, I am learning the steps.  In fact, I am convinced I am dancing just as well as the instructor – until I look in the mirror… But here’s what I noticed, some of the women are so tentative in their movements that they look stiff and uncomfortable.  Other women engage themselves completely; and, although, the dances are choreographed, their individuality comes through.  I think there is a corollary in pottery – it is difficult for those who are afraid to make mistakes and those who are too self-conscious to make make pots that are distinctively their...

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