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CERAMIC

ART

TRENDS,

TOOLS,

AND

®

TIMES

Clay

TECHNIQUES

Volume 18 • Issue 93 AUTUMN 2012 Volume 19 • Issue 95 SPRING 2013

Dick Lehman: Innovative Surfaces Can Paperclay Change the Way You Work? Career Paths for Art Majors A Classroom Mosaic Project Triaxial Blends with Roger Porter Phil Rogers Portfolio Review

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contents

features

Cover photo: Spawning Jumper by Dick Lehman. 3.5" H x 3.5" D; porcelain clay body. Thrown, stamped, and expanded; glazed with a 3-glaze overlap: a microcrystalline iron glaze, a ‘fake-ash’ glaze, and a strontium-blue glaze. Reduction-fired to cone 9. See story, page 14.

®

TIMES

Clay

Spring 2013 Volume 19 • Issue 95

Cover inset photo: Shino cup by Dick Lehman. 3.5" tall; high-iron clay body; thrown, slip decorated, and glazed with Malcolm Davis Shino. Cone 9 reduction.

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14 Dick Lehman: Innovative Surfaces The successful marriage of surface and form are embodied in the full scope of recent works by this seasoned master.

22 An Elementary Tile Mosaic Project Students of any age can take part in this rewarding project, ideal for fostering unity through collaborative success.

Laterally Facetted 6-Sided Bowl. 3" tall, 6" diameter; porcelain clay body; laterally faceted; glazed with a three-glaze overlap: a microcrystalline iron glaze, a ‘fake-ash’ glaze, and a strontium-blue glaze. Gas-fired to cone 9 in a reduction kiln.

30 Endless Possibilities

48

An accomplished clay artist and glaze technology instructor for several decades, Roger Porter leads countless students to pursue the formulation of new glazes by the thousands.

This illustrated, step-by-step project is easily formed without special tools or equipment.

48 MEME the World! A mug with a message travels the globe on a fund-raising journey with virtual participation.

Justin Crowe’s ‘MEME’ project makes world headlines. Become a part of the story on page 48 ...

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

41 Handbuilding A Textured Tripod Mug

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®

contents

TIMES

Clay SPRING 2013 • Volume 19 • Issue 95

departments

22

19 AS FAR AS I KNOW

9 EDITOR’S DESK Four Beloved Clay Legends Live On in Our Hearts

“Career Paths for Artists” by Pete Pinnell

25 BENEATH THE SURFACE

11 WHAT’S HOT Clay world news, events, and calls for entries

“Strengthening Your Work with Paperclay” by Lana Wilson

33 GREAT GLAZES Roger Porter shares a few favorite formulas

29 KILNS & FIRING “Secrets to Port Size” by Marc Ward

34 THE GALLERY A selection of unique works by CT readers

37 TOOL TIMES “A Few Great Tool Favorites” by Vince Pitelka

40 CLASSIFIED MARKETPLACE Goods and services offered especially for clay artists

Pictured, above and top right: A classroom mosaic project offers elementary students a way to collaborate and create a permanent installation that serves to inspire future students and enhance their learning environment. For details, see page 22.

44 SLURRY BUCKET Studio-tested tips to save you time and money

“OSHA Mandates New Material Safety Data Sheets” by Monona Rossol

“Phil Rogers Portfolio” review by Steve Branfman

Where you can learn claywork in your community

49 AROUND THE FIREBOX

50 ADVERTISER INDEX

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43 STUDIO HEALTH AND SAFETY

47 BOOKS & VIDEOS

45 POTTERY CLASSES

Find your favorite ceramics suppliers in this issue (please tell them you found them in Clay Times!)

columns

“The Cobalt Blues” by David Hendley Justin Crowe, “planking” in the clay studio. Find out why, p.48.


E 1 3

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T E X A S

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CERAMIC ART TRENDS, TOOLS & TECHNIQUES

®

magazine

TIMES

Clay Editor & Publisher: Polly Beach

Regular Columnists: Steve Branfman, Books & Videos David Hendley, Around the Firebox Pete Pinnell, As Far as I Know Vince Pitelka, Tool Times Monona Rossol, Health & Safety Kelly Savino, Around the Firebox Marc Ward, Kilns & Firing Lana Wilson, Beneath the Surface Proofreader: Jon Singer Contributing Writers: Justin Crowe • Dick Lehman Barbara Lydon • Tina McKenzie Rebecca Ravenal ✦ Printed on 100% FSC-certified and 75% post-consumer recycled paper ✦ Published by: CLAY TIMES INC. Post Office Box 100 • Hamilton, VA 20159 TEL 800-356-2529 • FAX 540-338-1765

Toll-free subscription line: 800.356.2529 Clay Times® (ISSN 1087-7614) is published quarterly, four issues per year. Periodicals Postage Paid at Hamilton, VA, and at additional mailing offices. Annual subscriptions are available for $33 in the U.S.; $40 in Canada; $60 elsewhere (must be payable in US$). Digital subscriptions are just $20 worldwide. To subscribe, call toll-free 1-800.356.2529, or visit www.claytimes.com. Freelance editorial and photographic submissions are welcome: Please contact Clay Times or visit our Website at www.claytimes.com for writer’s and photographer’s guidelines.

Trimming

POSTMASTER: Address service requested. Send address changes to: Clay Times, PO Box 100, Hamilton, VA 20159. Copyright © 2013 Clay Times, Inc.

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can be just

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All rights reserved. The material contained herein is derived from various sources and does not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. All technical material is offered as general information only and should not be acted upon without expert supervision. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the publisher.

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GLEN BLAKLEY PHOTO

and bowls in a blue-grey mutton fat glaze, featuring the word “LOVE”. Edith’s Love pots were a ’70s hit, and festivals like the Ann Arbor Art Fair brought her both fame and a bit of fortune. More recently, in a retrospective at the Center for Visual Arts, Edith’s body of work included porcelain, stoneware, raku, oxidation and reduction pots. She made pots as tall as she was: smoke-fired mezuzah, jewelry, functional and sculptural work. Edith’s approach to all things domestic was refreshing: “Don’t do the things you hate,” she said. “In the time it would take you to clean, make pots instead. Sell the pots, and pay someone ELSE to clean!”

Spouting Off I Editor’s Desk

Remembering Edith Franklin, Janet Mansfield, Victor Spinski, and Kathy Koop

Victor Spinksi, trompe l’oeil master Victor Spinski

Raku pot by Edith Franklin

I

GLEN BLAKLEY PHOTO

t’s been a tough year for the clay world. Some of the most talented, influential, and revered clay artists of our generation have passed on. It will be sad not to see them at this year’s annual NCECA conference, but we’ll always remember them for the extraordinary contributions they made to the ceramics community. Edith Franklin Edith Davis Franklin, the petite potter from Toledo, Ohio affectionately referred to by many as the “grandmother of ceramics,” died of pancreatic cancer August 31, 2012 at age 89.

Spinski served for 38 years as Professor of Ceramics at the University of Delaware before retiring seven years ago. According to Patsy Cox, NCECA president, a posthumous award ceremony honoring his achievements will take place at the Houston NCECA Conference in March.

Janet Mansfield Kathy Koop A brilliant Australian potter with keen insight into wood firing and ceramics in general, Janet Mansfield left her legacy through not only the beautiful pots she made, but the inspirational and informative periodicals she founded. For many years, Mansfield produced both Ceramics: Art and Perception and Ceramics: TECHNICAL magazines, doing everything from writing, editing, and layout to proofing, ad sales, and circulation management. Following sale of the publications a few years ago to Elaine Henry, Janet spent her final years making pots, traveling, and teaching workshops. She was truly the “superwoman” of the clay world, and an inspiration to us all.

Widely recognized by NCECA-goers as the smiling blonde often seen at the late Paul Soldner’s side, Kathy Koop recently passed from heart failure, after a stoic battle with cancer. An accomplished potter, teacher, and artisan of handcrafted furniture, Koop served from 1973-2010 as Professor of Art at Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA. She also traveled extensively, serving as Visiting Professor at the Institut Teknologi Mara, in Shah Alam, Malaysia. A light-hearted, free spirit, Kathy was always upbeat and supportive, with a keen ability to lift the spirits of those around her. Sadly, perhaps our loss is now Paul’s gain ... [

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

A dear friend of Clay Times columnist Kelly Savino, Edith was featured in CT on more than one occasion. In her column entitled “The Power of Yes,” Kelly profiled Edith for her spunky enthusiasm, giving us an intimate look into a pottery career stretching all the way back to Edith’s first class during World War II. Years later, when she moved to Toledo’s Old West End, Edith walked to evening ceramics classes at the Toledo Museum of Art, studying under teachers like Harvey Littleton and Norm Schulman. In 1966, while living in an upscale neighborhood, Edith salvaged bricks from a local factory’s defunct furnaces to build herself a catenary arch kiln, right on her upscale patio. The pots that began to earn her money, and became her signature work, were a series of plates

Janet Mansfield, master wood-fire potter and founding editor & publisher of Ceramics: Art and Perception and Ceramics: TECHNICAL.

Just two months shy of NCECA’s plans to officially name him an Honorary Member of the NCECA Council, Victor Spinski died on Monday, January 21. Recognized worldwide as one of the foremost artists of trompe l’oeil ceramics, Spinski created such striking depictions of everyday subjects—like a paint can with brushes, or hammer and nails—it was difficult to believe they were actually made of clay.

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THE BEST IN CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN FUNCTIONAL CERAMICS

2013 CALL FOR ARTISTS

JURORS HALL OF FAME

JIM CONNELL

CLAY 2013

A Tile and A Vessel

A Juried Exhibit

Juror:

Christy Johnson Director of American Museum of Ceramic Art Visit our web site for information

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

readers Share I Glaze Recipes

Funded by Silver City Lodgers’ tax

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August 2–4, 2013 • ClayFestival.com

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Jack Troy Mary Barringer 2012 BEST OF SHOW – PETER SAENGER, NEWARK, DE Bill van Gilder Pete Pinnell Linda Arbuckle ONLINE APPLICATION Applications must be submitted online by Malcolm Davis Tom Coleman June 1, 2013 or by John Glick midnight June 10 with a late fee. Susan Peterson For more information and Wayne Higby the 2013 SFPN application: Jack Troy www.strictlyfunctionalpotterynational.net Linda Christianson Call for further information: 717-560-8816 Ken Ferguson Exhibit is held at Kevin Lehman’s Pottery at Warren MacKenzie 560 S. Prince Street in downtown Lancaster. Cynthia Bringle 2013 EXHIBIT DATES Val Cushing SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14 — Phyllis Blair Clark Chris Staley SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2013 Bill Daley Like us on Facebook Jack Troy © 2013 Strictly Functional Pottery National. All rights reserved.

2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 1995 1994 1993

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Conferences ‰ NCECA 2013, the 47th Annual Conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts, takes place March 20-23, 2013 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas. Local residents, visitors from outside the region, and nearly 5,000 conference attendees will have the chance to visit more than 70 different Houston venues to view more than 100 ceramic art exhibitions related to the conference theme of “Earth/Energy.” Onsite conference registration opens at the Convention Center on Tuesday, March 19. For full details and a complete schedule of conference programming, visit www.nceca.net

‰ “HANDBUILT”: Demonstration, Inspiration, Conversation — A Handbuilding Conference to Benefit the Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF+) takes place Sept. 20-22 at the Montgomery County Community College in suburban Philadelphia, PA. This conference will feature demonstrations by guest artists including Lana Wilson, Vince Pitelka, Chandra DeBuse, and Mitch Lyons, as well as demos by conference organizer Sandi Pierantozzi. For complete information and registration details, visit: www.sandiandneil.com ‰ Join more than 100 potters from the mid-Atlantic region for The 10th Biennial Mid-Atlantic Clay Conference, to take place Oct. 3-6 at the scenic 4-H Conference Center in Front Royal, Virginia. Programming will include demonstrations by Nick Joerling, Joy Tanner, and Jim Sankowski, plus a new array of hands-on workshops and demos. To learn more, e-mail: conference@ theclayconnection.org, or log onto the Website at www.theclayconnection. org

Residencies & Internships ‰ Clay Times Magazine and The Art Spot Gallery & Studio Supply of Hamilton, Virginia (metro DC area) are now accepting applications for ongoing residencies in studio ceramics, plus part- and full-time internships in photography/video production and graphic/web design. Successful candidates will be quick-minded, creative self-starters with strong work ethics and solid commitment to their craft. To apply, e-mail resume, artist statement, 6 to 12 images/ samples of your work, and letter of intent to claytimes@gmail.com

Calls for Entries ‰ The CLAY 2013 International Juried Exhibition will focus on a unique pairing: “A Tile & A Vessel.” The dynamic between these two clay pieces is intriguing. The tile, typically two-dimensional in nature, has the opportunity to express itself even further through the three-dimensionality of the vessel. The vessel, traditionally referring to a container, must exist in unison with the tile. They must relate, play off of each other, and be unified in some element of design. Deadline for Entry: April 30th, 2013. Date of Exhibition: August 2-4, 2013. Location of Exhibition: Silver City, New Mexico. Juror: Christy Johnson, continued on next page

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

‰ The 25th Annual California Conference for the Advancement of Ceramic Art (CCACA) takes place in Davis, CA from April 26-28. The conference features demonstrations, lectures, local gallery exhibitions, and more than 40 college shows focused on ceramic sculpture. For full details and registration information, call 530.756.3938 or visit www.natsoulas.com ‰ The Silver City CLAY Festival takes place August 2-4 in Silver City, New Mexico. This annual celebration of clay, its history, and its cultural impact offers locals and visitors the chance to experience artist workshops and sales,

lectures, demonstrations, films, archaeological tours, and various social activities. The festival intends to foster an entrepreneurial spirit that engages businesses, artists, and the global community in a unified enthusiasm for clay, leading to rural economic sustainability. For complete event details, visit www.clayfestival.com

Hot Stuff I News & Events

--

What’s Hot

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Hot Stuff I News & Events

What’s Hot (continued from previous page) Director of the American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA). AWARDS: First Place: $1,000; Second Place: $750; Third Place: $500. Tile Heritage Prize: $200. The Tile Heritage Prize is awarded to the artist whose tile, in the juror’s opinion, best represents the ceramic tile traditions in America. For more information and

to download the prospectus, please visit www.clayfestival.com ‰ Juror Doug Jeppesen is accepting applications through May 10 for the Kansas City Clay Guild’s Teabowl National, to take place Aug. 23-Sept. 20, 2013. Open to teabowls only, made with any clay, forming method or

firing method; size not to exceed 9"; value not to exceed $200. Prizes and purchase awards will total $1300. For complete details, visit teabowlnational. weebly.com ‰ The National Juried Bowl Show: The Battle of the Bowls is accepting entries through July 15 for its 2013 event, to take place October 4-29 at ACHS in Amherst, Virginia. The exhibition is designed to show contemporary ceramic artists’ best work within the form of the bowl. To learn more, log onto www. thebattleofthebowls.com

Exhibitions

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

‰ NCECA’s National Student Juried Exhibition takes place through Mar. 23 at the Perimeter Gallery of The Glassell School of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Jurors for the show are artists Kevin Snipes and Bonnie Seeman. The exhibition features work from full-time undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate students from throughout the U.S. To find out more, visit www.nceca.net

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‰ The Texas State K12 Juried Student Exhibition, sponsored by ClayHouston, will be on view at the Houston Public Library Central in downtown Houston at 500 McKinney through Apr. 12. Jurors for the exhibition include Nick DeVries, Professor of Fine Arts at the University of Houston-Clear Lake; Dennis Smith, Chair of Ceramics at the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio; and James Watkins, Full Professor at Texas Tech University. Log onto www. nceca.net for details.


‰ The Cedar Key, Florida Arts Center will feature Amy Gernhardt, potter, for a solo exhibit during the month of April, 2013. The show, entitled Woman’s Work, will feature her signature masks and a collection of functional pieces that play upon the title of the show. For details, e-mail cedarkeypottery@ yahoo.com or visit the Website at cedarkeypottery.com

‰ The Arvada, Colorado Center for the Arts and Humanities will host the The Jim and Nan McKinnell Ceramic and Fine Art Estate Sale from Apr. 25-28. This exhibit and sale of Nan and Jim McKinnell’s personal ceramic and art collection encompasses more than 1,000 pieces of ceramics and 2D art. Artists represented, in addition to Jim and Nan McKinnell, include Ken Ferguson, Clary Illian, Seth Cardew, Paul Soldner, Sarah Jaeger, Warren MacKenzie, Rudy Autio, Daniel Rhodes, and many more. For event details, visit www. arvadacenter.org ‰ The Houston Center for Contemporary Craft is hosting the NCECA Biennial through May 5, 2013. The NCECA Biennial is a premier international juried ceramics exhibition, with jurors including Namita Gupta Wiggers, Curator and Director of the Portland Center for Contemporary Crafts, and internationally exhibited artists Cristina Cordova and Richard Notkin. NCECA will produce a color catalog featuring jurors’ statements and work by all participating artists. For details, visit www.nceca.net ‰ The Davis Art Center of Davis, CA will feature Eight from ACGA, an exhibition showing a body of ceramic works by eight members of the Association of Clay & Glass Artists of CA. The show, juried by Lana Wilson, takes place from April 26 through May 25. For details, visit www.acga.net [

To list your events, clay conferences, calls for entries, exhibitions, or ceramic news items in Clay Times®, please e-mail complete details to: claytimes@gmail.com, or click the events link at www.claytimes.com to fill out an online submission form.

HANDBUILT September 20-22, 2013 Demonstration Inspiration Conversation

A Down to Earth Event to Benefit the Craft Emergency Relief Fund Demonstrators

Lana Wilson Vince Pitelka Chandra DeBuse Mitch Lyons Sandi Pierantozzi Also Featuring: • Exhibition “Philadelphia Clay” •Techniques, tips & advice •Tools, community, new friendships Montgomery County Community College in suburban Philadelphia Organized by Sandi Pierantozzi

handbuiltevent@gmail.com Information and Registration:

www.sandiandneil.com

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

‰ Glen Echo Pottery of Glen Echo, Maryland will present 2013: From the Fire, an exhibition of work by Glen Echo Pottery’s instructors and advanced students, from April 6 through May 5. The show will be open Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 6 pm. An artists’ reception is slated for April 6 from 5 to 7 pm. For complete details, log onto the Website at www.glenecho pottery.com

Hot Stuff I News & Events

‰ The Three Faces of Steve takes place through March 30 at the SMAart Gallery & Studio in San Francisco, CA. This exhibition of ceramic sculpture, pottery, and painting reveals Steven Allen’s ever-changing body of work. Following this exhibition, the gallery will present Clayton Thiel: SEED from Apr. 2-27. This exhibit chronicles the natural evolution of the seed of an idea. Beginning with the figure in a meditative or dreamlike state, an idea germinates and the story develops, coming to life on the surface and through sculptural elements. For event details, e-mail: steve@smaartgallery. com or visit the Website at www. smaartgallery.com

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Pictured: Heeeeeere Fishy-Fishy by Dick Lehman. 3½" tall, 3½" diameter. Wheelthrown porcelain. Thrown, stamped, and expanded; glazed with a strontium-blue

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

glaze. Fired to cone 9 in reduction.

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h c t a C h s Fre from the

A

Kiln

fter selling my production/retail studio several years ago, I moved to my home studio. It is equipped with a tiny “super-high-fire-soda-kiln” — a test kiln dubbed the “Pocket Rocket” — and a Bailey 18-C gas kiln fired with natural gas. For the first time in my life, I have given myself permission to make only the things that I enjoy making. It’s not that I deeply disliked any of the works I made in my previous production studio. But with the obligation of supporting myself and an average of three employees, our product line had

eventually expanded to more than 100 different products. Inevitably, I enjoyed making some more than others. Having now side-stepped overhead (a.k.a., The Slave Driver), I now have more flexibility to explore and experiment, and more time to teach workshops and write. I also have more motivation to chart my headings back toward the ‘beginner’s mind,’ in hopes of expanding my visual literacy in unexpected ways; and renewed hopes of ending each day exhausted with pleasure.

BY DICK LEHMAN

continued on next page

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

Thanks, Annett. Bowl is 6" diameter. High-iron clay body with porcelain slip, glazed with the ‘Lehman Revision’ of Annett Floren’s “Blue Celadontype Glaze” (recipe appears on page 17). Fired to cone 9 in reduction.

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Currently I am exploring some new (for me) lateralfaceting approaches to altering pots on the wheel. I’m also making stamps of plants, animals, and insects that I use to alter pots’ surfaces. And I’m returning to some old glaze favorites, while exploring some new glazes. All of the pots pictured in this issue were fired in one recent kiln load. Life is good! [

To learn more about Dick Lehman and the techniques he uses for his ceramic art, visit the highly informative and inspirational Website at www.dicklehman.com. Take a virtual look at his Elkhart, Indiana studio and learn about his lifelong journey as a potter. You’ll also find generous access to a treasure trove of about 50 articles Lehman has authored for various ceramics publications. They provide a glimpse of his working methods and techniques, his inspiration, and areas of inquiry. The articles highlight his growth, development and evolution, as well as the effects of international travel (especially Japanese ceramics) upon his work.

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

Portion-Controlled Cup with Wild Grape Leaves, Vines, and Tendrils. Porcelain clay body; thrown, stamped and expanded. Surface decorated with three overlapping glazes, including a microcrystalline iron glaze, a ‘fake-ash’ glaze, and a strontium-blue glaze. Fired to cone 9 in reduction.

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Www.dicklehman.com also features a “Ceramics for Sale” page, providing options for online purchase of Lehman’s fine exhibition-quality work, including his most recent gas-fired stoneware and porcelain. Additionally, the “Ceramics For Sale” link features the best of his wood-fired, saggar-fired (fastfossils), and side-fired clay art. It’s a fantastic example of what every clay artist can achieve with his or her Website!

Ahhh Shino ... You’ve Been Away for Such a Long Time ... Welcome Back. Bowls are 6" diameter; high-iron clay body with porcelain slip, glazed with Malcolm Davis Shino recipe; fired to cone 9 in reduction.


Glaze Recipes BLUE CELADON REVISED Cone 9 Reduction Original from Annett Floren; Formula Revised by Dick Lehman Custer Feldspar 55.0% Silica 17.0 Whiting 8.0 6-Tile Kaolin 5.0 Strontium Carbonate 15.0 TOTAL: 100.0% add Iron Oxide 1.5%

B-SPECIAL REVISION Cone 9 Reduction Nepheline Syenite 38.0% Silica 36.0 Dolomite 12.0 Whiting 8.0 Strontium Carbonate 6.0 TOTAL: 100.0% add Rutile 5.0% Bentonite 3.0% Red Iron Oxide 2.5% Detail view of cover image. Porcelain with 3-glaze overlap, cone 9 reduction.

HORSEMAN TEMMOKU Cone 9 Reduction

Coffee-Bean Espresso Cups. Tallest is 3” in height. Thrown, stamped, and expanded porcelain; glazed with Horseman Temmoku (recipe at right).

Recipes above are listed in parts by weight, and should be tested before regular studio use. [

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

G-200 Feldspar 65.0% Whiting 12.5 Silica 12.5 Zinc Oxide 10.0 TOTAL: 100.0% add Red Iron Oxide 10.0% Rutile 2.0%

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CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013


Art and Life Artists don’t just get jobs ... ... they make them

A

rt students have been in the news a lot over the past few years. Numerous articles on careers have pointed out that only students in architecture and art history have a harder time finding jobs in their fields. Universities are increasingly looking at job placement when evaluating programs and deciding where to put resources. This has been accompanied within academia by some valuable discussions about the definition of “education” as opposed to “job training.”

records, paying taxes, and other practical necessities of life. Students are creating their own Websites (essential for young artists today) and students themselves seem more savvy than their professors about the possibilities of online sales. However, these are issues that exist at the periphery of an education in art. The main question is more basic than that: Why would anyone want to spend four or five years of undergraduate education learning how to make art?

All of this is colored by changes in how we (as individuals) tend to view employment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average worker stays in a job for about 4.4 years, but the so-called millennials (those born between the late ’70s and the late ’90s) are tending to stay in jobs for a much shorter length of time than their older colleagues did at that same age. The conclusion that’s often being drawn is that members of previous generations were more interested in finding one good job and settling down, while this generation is more restless and ambitious.

I’ve written before in this column that I believe making aesthetic choices is as intrinsic to being a human as sleeping, eating, and sex. All humans make aesthetic decisions, even if these only involve such mundane questions as what color shirt to wear. People who identify themselves as artists aren’t fundamentally different from other human beings except that they are much more interested in creating aesthetically-driven objects or events. Yes, they may have a natural aptitude, but those who make art will tell you that it’s more than just the ability: people become artists because they are driven to do so. Some will even say that they have little choice in the matter. Art making is something that brings them joy and satisfaction; it makes them “whole.” For many artists, life wouldn’t be complete if they weren’t making something.

All of this has educators questioning what we teach and how we teach it. We’re certainly trying to provide our students with more career information than we used to. For art students, this can include such practicalities as documenting and promoting one’s artwork, understand contracts, working with galleries, keeping

Fundamental Questions for Art Majors Once a person decides to study art, there are still fundamental questions to face. Does studying art imply that you intend to make your living from making and selling artwork? Can art be your life without being your livelihood? These are questions that students in many undergraduate majors are unlikely to face. I can’t imagine that

many accounting majors are studying the federal tax codes for the sheer joy of it and are willing to take just any job to get by so they can spend their leisure hours producing spreadsheets. Artists make art because it brings them joy and satisfaction, so it doesn’t necessarily follow that they should turn art-making into a job (though it’s always nice if a job brings joy and satisfaction in addition to a healthy income). At the risk of being overly colorful, sex also brings people joy and satisfaction (and students seem to spend a lot of time researching it), but we don’t assume that they will all make a living at it. I’m being facetious, of course, but we do need to acknowledge that not every activity we love is necessarily a suitable source of income, and sometimes turning something you love into a job is the best way to make you hate it. My former students and advisees have moved into a lot of different jobs. Some have studied graphic design and ended up working for a design or advertising firm. Several have taken up commercial photography and have their own successful businesses. One went out to Hollywood and has a very successful career as a special effects artist. Many take jobs as teachers. While having a K-12 certification doesn’t guarantee a job, a great many artists end up teaching K-12 art. Some teach at community colleges, art schools, colleges, or universities. A number of my students have ended up at community art centers, either as teachers or administrators. Some have gone into museum work. Some work at (or own) galleries. One has a “paint your own pottery” business. One former graduate student is now a very successful art department chair, while another is a college dean. continued on page 20

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

I’m skeptical of these conclusions, given that this age group is relatively new to the workforce and they’re starting their careers at a rather unsettled point in history. One change I’ve witnessed is that today’s students are thinking about practicalities a lot sooner in life than my generation did. I don’t think I’m alone when I confess that I studied both music and art with little thought for how I would end up making a living.

BY PETE PINNELL

Perspectives I As Far As I Know

Career Paths for Art Majors

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Perspectives I As Far As I Know

Art and Life (from (from page page 19) 19)

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“Artists don’t get jobs: artists make jobs,” or so goes the old saying. A surprising number (to me) of my former students are actually making artwork and making at least part of a living from selling it. These are among the most talented and driven of my students—people who would be successful in any field. These people tend to struggle financially, especially in a difficult economy. They take part-time teaching jobs and often put off starting a family due to the unpredictability of their income. Yes, it’s possible to make a living being an independent artist, but it’s not easy and I deeply admire those who attempt it.

gather information, brainstorm, draw “thumbnails,” sketch, build maquettes, and in other ways find and develop their ideas. This period of ideation (generating, developing, and communicating ideas) is essential to the creative process. Besides ideation, completing assignments often involves mastering new skills and always involves developing the schedule necessary to meet the deadline. Most of these things aren’t unique to art, but they are things that art majors practice over and over again, semester after semester.

There’s a large group of former students I haven’t mentioned: those who leave school and earn a living doing something outside of art. This probably describes most of my undergraduate students and I’ve wondered, at times, if we are providing them with a useful education. I used to assume that we weren’t, but members of this very group are beginning to convince me otherwise.

A surprising amount of the work that occurs in art requires collaboration, sometimes on the creative side and sometimes just to get work done. Loading, firing, and unloading kilns, for instance, requires that students work in teams, and each team member must share responsibility or the entire event can be a catastrophic failure. From buying materials to hanging exhibitions, students work together to set up schedules, divide responsibilities, assign tasks, and doublecheck each other’s work. At various times, everyone is expected to take a leadership role. Each student is responsible for completing his or her class work, but students will rarely reach their individual goals without working cooperatively and collaboratively with their peers.

I’ve met a lot of people in my professional life, both in my long-term role as a professor and in my current role as chair of my department. I’m surprised how often the managers / supervisors / executives of businesses (and other organizations) turn out to be former art majors. They hear I’m a professor (or chair) in art and proudly tell me that they also studied art. I’ve asked some of them how they became the one in charge, and I hear the same story over and over: they were hired at the bottom, then moved up the ladder. “I was just good at organizing things” is an explanation I’ve often heard. This has helped me realize that one of the values of an art degree isn’t in what we teach, but in how we teach it. On its face, art is taught like any other subject, with the professor giving assignments and then awarding a grade based on the quality of the student product. However, there are four things different about art, at least to some degree: the open-ended nature of the assignments, the creativity required for success, the expectation that students will collaborate, and the interactive group critiques that occur at the end of each assignment. Art assignments are open-ended: there is usually an infinite variety of products that can result, rather than just one correct solution. The successful student doesn’t just jump into making something. Students work alone and in groups to

Collaborative Benefits

At the end of every assignment is a critique, and most undergraduate critiques are group events. For those of you who haven’t taken part in a group critique, I’ll describe the process. Each student’s work is put before the members of the class. Looking at one piece at a time, the students analyze the objects to discern the artist’s goals, describe the artist’s efforts, and then identify and define the strengths and shortcomings of the work. This isn’t easy and usually requires a lot of deliberation, with opinions floated and discussed and then altered or abandoned. Having identified the problems, the group is asked to put forward potential solutions. In my classes I let the group do most of the talking, while I moderate the proceedings and keep discussions on track. It’s my responsibility to ask questions they’re not addressing, and to goad them when their discussion falls short. Sometimes I have to practically hold them prisoner, saying things like, “There’s more to this piece that you haven’t identified and we’re not moving on until you find it.” The process can be long and (occasionally) boring. It


Translating our intuition into a series of rational conclusions is a difficult process and one that students struggle to master. There’s nothing like practice, however, and students do get better at it every year they’re in school. In any mixed-level class, the seniors always stand out during critiques, both for their perception and their ability to elucidate their thoughts. These capabilities (creativity, the ability to work independently, a collaborative spirit, the competence to provide analytical critique, and a willingness to accept critique) are essential to becoming a successful artist. However, once mastered, these capabilities can be used to meet a wide range of goals that have nothing to do with making art or being an artist. Speaking for myself, I would never try to recruit a young person to become an art major: that’s a life choice that students need to make on their own. Once they’ve made that choice, it’s my job to see that we challenge and support them in the ways that will help them find success in life. [ Peter Pinnell is Hixson-Lied Professor of Art at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. You can reach him at ppinnell1@unl.edu or through his Facebook page at www.facebook.com. philippe faraut clay SculptiNG materialS

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Perspectives I As Far As I Know

takes great concentration to stay focused on the objects and engage in the careful parsing necessary to provide a good critique.

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tiles. The children applied underglazes carefully to their greenware pieces, and I clear-glazed and fired them to cone 05.

An Elementary Mosaic Tile Project CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

BY REBECCA RAVENAL

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H

ere’s the challenge I was given when I agreed to be the artist-in-residence for an elementary school: devise a hands-on mosaic project which involves every student from Nursery age through 3rd grade; can be completed during weekly art classes; and illustrates the five core values of the school: Play, Community,

Respect, Character, and Knowledge. We decided to make five window borders, each done by one grade. To make the project easy and safe for young children, I incorporated handmade tiles into our mosaic, since even 3-year-olds can stamp designs into clay and apply underglazes.

I rolled large slabs in my studio and brought them to school, stacked in plastic bins. Each child used templates to cut shapes from the slab, then applied pattern with stamps. The older children also relief sculpted their tiles for more complex face and leaf designs. For efficiency, we single-fired the white earthenware

In addition to handmade tiles, we used mirrors, glass gems, vinyl letters, plates, and commercial tiles. I scoured thrift shops for brightly colored tableware, and asked home improvement stores for damaged tiles for free or discount. Parents donated leftover tiles from renovations. Each child helped break tiles until we had many bins of different colored “tesserae,” the small pieces that comprise a mosaic. I made full-sized drawings of each design to guide in laying the mosaic. Backer boards, the surface onto which the tiles are adhered, were cut from sheets of fiber cement. Holes for mounting the panels were pre-drilled and taped off to prevent being covered with mosaic or grout. The children glued down their handmade tiles on the backer boards, then glued down pieces of the broken tiles around them

(the youngest children did not handle broken tiles or grout.) We used Weldbond® glue, which is very strong, but non-toxic and easy to apply. The children placed blobs of glue onto the board with popsicle sticks, then pressed their tiles into it. We worked in small groups so I could monitor and make adjustments before the glue dried. After the glue was set, we started grouting. With protective gloves, we placed handfuls of grout onto the mosaic and worked it into gaps between the tesserae with a small sponge. Before the grout hardened, we removed the excess and polished the mosaic with a soft cloth. Everyone was thrilled to see the bright and colorful designs emerge from the gritty haze of grout! To install the mosaics, we first applied construction adhesive to the back of each panel. For extra strength, we also screwed them into the wall, using the predrilled holes. These holes were covered with tesserae and grouted, along with the seams between panels.


Helpful Hints Detailed information on making mosaics can be found online. Use an appropriate adhesive and installation method for your project.

▲ This project can be done on any scale, as a class project or a communitywide effort. ▲ Use a “clean-up” bucket to wash hands and tools after grouting (do not wash grout down the sink!

Pictured, far left to right, top to bottom: ▲ Be flexible! Adjust based on available materials. Resist the urge to “correct” children’s work, unless it’s structurally unsound. The charm of a school project is that it reflects the students who helped to create it. ▲ We cut the backer boards into smaller sections so we could move them easily, even when they were weighted down with tiles. I laid out the boards

as needed during each particular class, storing panels for other classes under the table, stacked in long plastic bins.

▲ To create words, I applied vinyl letters to colored card stock. I cut these out and glued them, face-up, to the back of clear glass “gems”. If your mosaic is in direct sun, letters may fade in time.

▲ My safe method for breaking plates and tiles: place several into a shallow cardboard box and slip the box into a large clear plastic bag, like the kind that bedding comes in. With safety glasses on, and the hammer held inside the plastic covering to keep shards from flying, smash away. [

One of five finished window borders; adult pitches in with power tools; tile is broken beneath plastic to keep shards from flying; colored shards, made from old or damaged tiles and plates; tiles are carefully positioned before the glue is dry; sketches for “respect” window.

CLAYTIMES·COM n AUTUMN 2012

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Perspectives I Beneath the Surface

Paper Clay YES!

BY LANA WILSON

Cretaceous Bowl in Copper by Angela Mellor. Paperclay.

Make Your Own Paperclay 1 Take shredded paper and soak in plenty of hot water, then blend until pulped. (You can get a square yard of cellulose at Home Depot for about $12.) 2 Remove excess water with a sieve and a sponge. 3 Mix 1/3 pulp with 2/3 clay slip by volume. 4 Pour the porridge-like mixture onto a plaster slab. 5 Keep some paperclay slip aside in a plastic squeeze bottle for use as “glue.” 6 Break or cut dry paperclay slabs into desired shapes before building. Stick together with “glue.”

8 A few drops of detergent helps prevent the paperclay mixture from getting moldy. 9 When working and building with dry clay, you should wear a filter mask.

This is the first of two articles. In this part I will explain the antecedents to modern paperclay, discuss the nature of paperclay, and give formulas for sculptural paperclay. The second article will explain successful steps used by different artists to make their paperclay pieces. The second article will also suggest several articles of interest that appear on Graham Hay’s Website. First, some history. Paperclay is not totally new. Many of us have seen historic or new adobe houses that are produced by mixing straw (unprocessed cellulose fiber) into clay to reinforce the clay. This started in pre-Christian Egypt. In pre-history India, a papier-mâché clay was used. Pre-Columbian potters put cattail fuzz in their clay. Modern paperclay depends upon removing the water-repellent lignin and mechanically separating individual cellulose fibers before or while they are added to clay. When the individual fibers are separated, there is an even dispersion of cellulose fibers in the clay body that amazingly increases the tensile strength of dry clay. Bone-dry paperclay projects

are about twice as strong as bone-dry conventional clay. An example of this was when a student dropped a 9"-wide paperclay bowl three feet ... and it did not break! One of the simplest explanations of the properties of cellulose and how it works in clay was given in an article entitled, “Mix WHAT with CLAY?” by Brian Gartside. In the article,found on Graham Hay’s Website, Gartside states, “Cellulose fibre is a hollow, tube-like structure which is an essential part of all plants and trees. It plays an important part in photosynthesis and osmosis. It has an amazing ability to siphon moisture into itself, acting like a sponge. Different sources give a variety of fibres, the length and size of which depend on the type of tree or plant producing them. “An easy source of fibre for the potter can be found in any man-made paper. This can be torn into shreds and soaked in hot water, usually all that’s necessary to break it down ... but for extra speed, an electric drill fitted with a mixing blade is useful. Shorter fibres, which form the basis of tissue, blotting paper, and newsprint, are excellent. So is computer and photocopier paper. All these break down easily in hot water. If you can afford it, pure cotton and linen papers used by artists are best, as they have a marked absence of lignin, a cell wall stiffener. Lignin is water-resistant and can affect the amount of water needed to soak the paper.” Gartside’s helpful explanation offers insight as to why paperclay acts as

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

7 Recycle dry scraps by placing them in warm water, leaving for one hour, then pouring off excess water.

I

was becoming the ‘Queen of Cracks’ as I made my new handbuilt functional pieces. My new process involved four layers of colored slip that had to dry a bit between layers, but the clay became too stiff to easily form into bowls, cups, and other objects. I later attended the 2010 Laguna Beach paperclay conference, organized by Linda Saville. I was hopeful that paperclay might solve my seam cracking problems. Thankfully, it did!

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Perspectives I Beneath the Surface

though it has useful tiny pieces of rebar in it. Handbuilt pieces that would crack during drying if they were made with regular clay are held together by these fibers. It also helps explain why you can successfully work with very thick or very thin pieces of paperclay, or even use both together. Much of this article depends on the impressive volume of information available on Graham Hay’s Website. One posted 1995 article by Deb Ellery, “Profile: Graham Hay— Sold on Paperclay” also appeared in Pottery in Australia magazine. In this article, Hay, who lives in Australia, gave details for making his own sculptural paperclay (see box on previous page). Hay said he switched to working exclusively in paperclay about 20 years ago because, “I can do everything I can do with conventional clay, plus a whole lot more.” Hay further explained, “What I enjoy most is the ability to create pieces in soft paperclay, dry them out completely so they are very rigid/strong, and then use them in combination with other dry paperclay (‘dipstick’ or dry-to-dry joins) or soft paperclay (dry-to-wet joins). “I do not score,” Hay added. “I just spray the bone-dry clay parts with water, use plenty of paperclay slip, and brush it on both bone-dry parts. The joined pieces will hold together. Of course I can still do conventional soft clay joins and leather-hard joins. The video http://grahamhay.com.au/paperclayvideos.html demonstrates a little of one way I work.” Do watch this video and you’ll see there is no scoring, many thin bone-dry pieces are put together with plenty of paperclay slip, and it works. It works because the completely dry pieces are so thin that Hay only needed to spray water on them, generously add paperclay slip and easily attach all the pieces together. And there are a lot of pieces!

Hints for Working with Paperclay

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

• If you make a bowl and let it get to bone-dry, you can days or weeks later make a foot and let it dry completely, then attach it to the bowl by scoring or thoroughly wetting both pieces and using plenty of paperclay slip.

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• Unlike regular clay bodies, you can fill a crack with wet paperclay after a piece is bisque-fired — and you don’t need to re-bisque! • You can also embed bisqued paperclay into a new paperclay project. If you make a box with a drawer and complicated layers, you don’t need to baby it by covering to slow the drying time. Feel free to let it air dry quickly. • if you think the lip or any other parts of the piece are a bit too big, just sand them down! Remember to wear a dust mask.

The delicate tentacles and legs depicted in the work above, by Jane Mercier, exemplify the strength of paperclay. Hay emphasizes that for thicker, completely dry paperclay pieces, much more water needs to be added before adding slip and joining to other dry or soft paperclay. In fact, for students wishing to continue building a large coil pot that has completely dried out, Hay gets them to turn the piece upside down and soak it in water for up to 15 minutes. The dry edges need to become soft (students check them by pushing a fingernail into them), and one should wait until the paperclay starts to turn into a slip or slurry. Then students can quickly turn their pots right side up and continue building soft coils on the top. Hay added that this even worked with a student who had made a piece with paperclay nine years before, brought it back to class, soaked it, joined pieces to it, and fired it successfully— with no cracks! Hay added that the more fiber in the clay, the stronger the completely dry paperclay. However, the more paper in the clay, the weaker the resulting fired/finished ceramic paperclay piece will be compared to the same thickness of a pot made with conventional clay. If you are making functional work, you need paperclay that vitrifies and does not sweat liquids out. This clay is usually different from sculptural clay in that it will vitrify to be functional and not seep water, and it will have less cellulose added to the clay than sculptural paperclay. I use functional porcelain cone 5 paperclay called P’Clay (Rosette Gault’s formula available from Aardvark Clay in Santa Ana, CA) and fire it to cone 5 or 6. Other companies make a functional paperclay, but do double-check and do fire a test cup to see if it leaks at all when you put water in it overnight. If you are doing sculptural work, you can have more paper in your paperclay. Paperclay comes in different cone firing levels, so be sure you use the appropriate body for your desired firing temperature. One drawback: you will need to deal with the black mold of paperclay to protect your

health. Jeff Zamek recommends taking the bag of clay outside, scraping off all the mold, throwing that contaminated clay away (but not in a wastebasket in your studio), and proceeding with confidence. You can also avoid mold by buying a box or two at a time, and using it up before black mold develops. You can throw pots on the wheel with paperclay, but not everyone likes it. At Watershed one summer, a potter from Israel was wedging in different kinds of paper and then throwing. We were all interested in the unusual surfaces he achieved upon firing his work. Paperclay can be fired with various surface treatments, as can sculptural clay. Some school teachers who don’t have access to kilns have students paint their work with tempera, then seal it with acrylic. Students can also use colored acrylic paints to seal their work. Other teachers use a clear sealant, or dip student work in a linseed oil bath for a few minutes and then let the oil harden for a final surface. Other teachers use watered-down Elmer’s waterproof yellow wood glue before the acrylic color painting to harden the surface even more. But not all artists fire their paperclay work. Installation work is being done with combinations of fired and unfired paperclay. The best way to find out if paperclay would be good for some or all of your work is to buy one bag (yes, it is more expensive than regular clay, but you won’t lose work due to cracks) and make different pieces to test it out. It does have a slightly lumpy surface quality that bothered me at first, but after working with it for a while I’ve learned how to deal with it easily. [ Thanks to Virginia Cartwright, Monica Dunham, Rosette Gault, Graham Hay, Angela Mellor, Rejane Mercier, Cory Olewnick, and Linda Saville. Check out Rosette Gault’s paperclay Website at: www.paperclayart.com/ Columnist Lana Wilson may be reached via her Website at www.lanawilson.com.


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Safely transport works in progress.

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Copyright 2013 Artistic Ceramics Inc.

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

Our heavy duty studio boards are the perfect way to move, stack and store artwork.

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LEAD S


Shop Talk I Firing

Secrets to Port Size BY MARC WARD

I

t is far better to err on the side of too big rather than on the side of too small. It’s not true with all things, but it is with these. We sell more replacement burners, burner heads, and thermocouples because of this miscalculation than any one thing. It is burner port size. A burner port’s size should always be a function of the burner’s size and the amount of secondary air that the kiln needs, but lots of kiln builders view burner port size as a function of brick dimensions and use advice they have taken as universal truths. The industrial world uses many types of ‘closed-port’ burner systems. Closed port means that the burner is sealed into the side of the kiln or furnace. You don’t see any flames and all the necessary air is provided by blowers or compressed air streams. So, why don’t potters use these? There are several reasons. The safety systems of a closed-port burner are more expensive and involve some sort of spark ignition system. If you can’t see the burner head from the outside, how are you going to light it with a match or torch? One of the main reasons clay artists don’t use closed ports is because of the backpressure associated with reduction. Reduction would prove problematic to closed-port systems, as would other fun habits such as salt and soda injections. So, we potters have almost universally used ‘open-port’ burners. The port is open and you can see the flame entering the kiln. In these types of systems, some of the necessary combustion air needs to be entrained around the head of the burner. Venturi burners usually only get about 50% of the air they need for complete combustion through the back of the burner. The rest needs to come from air around the burner head (secondary air). This secondary air serves several purposes.

So, what’s the secret to burner port size? The dimension of your burner head and pilot determine your port size. Say you have a burner head that is 3.5" around and a pilot that hangs down another 1.5". The profile of this head is 3.5" x 5". Your burner port should be 1 inch bigger all around, so this means you need a burner port that is 4.5" x 6". So you’ve built your kiln with bricks that are 2.5" thick. Make your burner port 7.5" tall instead of 5" tall. More air is always better. The smaller port will cause extreme turbulence, shortened head life, and more frequent thermocouple failures. Here’s another heads-up: if you’re over a mile in elevation, increase the margin by 50%. That is, you’ll want to have a burner port measuring 1.5" larger than the burner head in each direction. There is one more placement issue that needs to be considered in this dance, and that’s where to place the burner in relation to the port. It should not be flush with the port in an open-port system. For horizontal burners, the rule of thumb is an offset of ½ inch per inch of flame tube diameter (not head diameter, but flame tube diameter. Say you have a burner made from a 2" pipe, or a Venturi that has a 2" Venturi tube (widest point excluding head). Then, your set-back would be 1". Smaller burners can be closer; bigger burners will be farther back. For soda kilns and especially salt kilns, I would move the burners back farther still, maybe an additional ½" or ¾", just to keep some of the grunge from attacking them. Burners entering from underneath and shooting up can be a bit closer. Remember, a kiln is almost like a living creature. It needs to breathe. The burner ports are where it inhales. Let it take a deep breath! Marc Ward is owner and operator of Ward Burner Systems, PO Box 1086, Dandridge, Tennessee 37725. He invites you to sign up for his free newsletter, and can be reached by phone at 865.397.2914 or through the online catalog and Website at: www. wardburner.com.

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

Not only does the secondary air provide the rest of the main combustion air needed with Venturi burners, it helps keep the head of the burner relatively cool. Even forced-air burners that have blowers need this cooling effect from the secondary airflow around the burner heads. Because most potters who use thermocouple-based safety systems—if they use safety systems at all—benefit from this secondary air flow, thermocouples need their tips to be in blue flame continuously. Yet 3" or so back from that tip is the cold junction of the thermocouple. It needs to stay relatively cool to produce its signal. Too much backpressure and you fry the cold junction. If you fry the cold junction and the

burner shuts down at cone 8, it probably does so at 10 pm, just three days before you leave for a show. We’ve all been there. This last-minute, late-night hassle is usually caused by poor burner placement and poor port sizing. Getting all this stuff right when building a kiln will keep you sane (well, maybe ‘saner,’ as we all know about the universal questioning of potters’ sanity).

29


Iron Red Bottle by Roger Porter.

ENDLESS

Possibilities 30

STORY BY TINA MCKENZIE • PHOTOS BY MARGARET NORTON


Roger Porter

is a remarkable ceramic glaze engineer and teacher who has been a major influence

in

Southern

California’s

ceramic community for decades. A brilliant, generous, and largely unsung man, his depth and breadth of knowledge about ceramic glazes constantly amazes everyone who knows him. Porter’s glaze knowledge is equally matched by his enthusiasm on the subject. He originally became fascinated by what he calls “the seemingly endless variations of glazes” when he took his first ceramics course from Roger Corsaw at the University of Oklahoma more than 40 years ago. He continued his studies at New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred, the University of Arizona, California State University at Long Beach, and received his B.A. with honors from the University of Texas at Austin and his M.F.A. from the University of Arizona at Tucson. He then began his career at Franciscan Ceramics, the iconic California pottery company, where he worked for 15 years developing and researching glazes.

Roger Porter in the Helen and Roger Porter Ceramic Reference Library, American Museum of Ceramic Art. Photo courtesy AMOCA.

When he started working as a laboratory technician at California’s Glendale Community College in 1986, the men who interviewed him for that job were so blown away by his background as a glaze engineer that they turned to each other and said, “We’ve got to get him to create a class.” Three years later, Porter began sharing his vast knowledge and love of glazes when he started teaching glaze calculation at Glendale. He continued to teach that class for 21 years and developed the method of teaching the subject that he continues to use today. Porter’s easygoing nature set the relaxed tone of the class, although it was tacitly understood that the subject matter demands close attention. His lectures were peppered with enthusiasm, and during each term, he was clearly excited about what he and the students would be learning from their tests of new cone 10 oxidation and reduction glazes. Porter says that literally thousands of new glazes were produced each time the class was taught.

A triaxial is a blend between three glazes or three colors of the same base glaze. All of the tiles are labeled alphabetically, so that the tiles at the three points of the triangle are labeled A, P, and U. The dry ingredients are mixed together (or “batched”), water is added, and the blends are then made between A and P, A and U, and P and U. The remaining interior tiles are blends of all three (see photos at right).

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

How did they achieve their classroom success? First, each student was assigned a different base glaze, which they would test using multiple concentrations of the eight elements that color most cone 10 glazes: chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, nickel, titanium/rutile, and vanadium. The fired test samples would be compared side-byside. From these, the students would choose three of the resulting colors to test further, in a triaxial blend using 21 tiles.

Triaxial Blend glaze tests, fired to cone 10 in oxidation (above) and reduction (below).

31


CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

Yellow Bottle (above) and Shino Vase (below) by Roger Porter.

32

Above (left): Temmoku Bottle by Roger Porter. Glaze formula appears on opposite page 33, with Porter’s Oil Spot Plate and Ito Red Cup images.


Roger Porter (continued from page 31) A triaxial is an easy way to obtain a lot of information. Triaxial blends are useful in studying changes in a base glaze, in adjusting a favorite color, or for exploring color combinations. Porter always hoped each student would find several glazes from the large number of samples produced that would become favorites for continued use in the future. This was always the case for the students as well as their guests, when they came to view the final display of the thousands of glazes developed each term. One of the glazes resulting from the Glendale class is a popular copper red now widely used in Southern California, which student Kei Ito developed as part of her triaxial. With proper reduction “Ito Red” produces a gorgeous, bright red. Porter has handed the responsibility of teaching the glaze calculation class he created at Glendale to the gifted artist and teacher Richard McColl. Porter continues to work in the Glendale College ceramics department in other capacities. He also shares his knowledge with students at Xiem Clay Center in Pasadena, where he has taught glass classes ever since the center opened in 2003. Porter’s Xiem glaze class follows the general outline of the Glendale class, including the triaxial blend. The classes are held every other week for 12 weeks, with a cozy group of three to ten students. Glaze basics and materials are covered in detail by lecture, through hand-outs, and in group discussions. A large number of samples are produced in reduction firings,

and students are encouraged to augment the assignments with their own tests. Each student receives a print-out of every base glaze used, showing the recipe and the chemical formulations: unity molecular formula, mole percent, and oxide weight percent. These chemical formulations are useful and can be plugged into in any glaze calculation software. Even after thousands of glazes and the many students over all the years, Porter continues to study glazes on his own. “I was interested in glazes from the very start. I’ve done research at various temperatures over a long period of time, and have always learned new things. Lately, I’ve been developing and adjusting a base glaze for testing various additives at cone 10. Over the years I’ve acquired a number of unusual and scarce materials that I want to test, both singly and in combination. The most promising of the rare earths—neodymium, praseodymium and erbium—have been well investigated, but a few of the others—holmium, for example—may prove interesting. And I have a good supply of neodymium titanate that should be fun to test.” Porter continues to be fascinated by the fact that a change in any one of the variables opens a whole new world of glaze possibilities. The colorants and their concentration, the materials in the base glaze, the firing temperature and atmosphere, and the clay body under the glaze all matter ... resulting, as Roger says, in “variations without end.” It seems that the possibilities really are endless ... [

Great Glazes ROGER’S TEMMOKU Cone 10 Reduction Developed by Roger Porter Soda Feldspar (NC-4) 50.1% Talc 5.1 Wollastonite 11.5 Zinc Oxide 2.0 Bentonite 2.6 OM-4 Ball Clay 8.6 Titanium Dioxide 2.1 Silica 18.0 TOTAL 100.0% add Red Iron Oxide 5.5%

ITO RED Cone 6 Reduction Developed by Kei Ito at Glendale Community College (used on Roger Porter bowl, above)

Recipes above are listed in parts by weight, and should always be tested before regular studio use. [

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

Custer Feldspar 50.0% Ferro Frit 3134 5.0 Dolomite 5.0 Whiting 8.0 Barium Carbonate 5.0 Zinc Oxide 2.0 Imsil A-25 Silica 25.0 TOTAL 100.0% add Macaloid 1.0% Tin Oxide 2.0% Copper Carbonate 0.5%

33


Readers Share I Art Works

The Gallery

Untitled by Scott Stockdale, 9100 Sulkirk Drive, Raleigh, NC 27619. E-mail: tstockdale@yahoo.com

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

Big Red. 19" tall. Thrown and altered, with glass shards placed on seven pulled handles. Fired to cone 5 in oxidation. Maggie Jones, Turtle Island Pottery, Old Fort, NC. E-mail: TIpottery@gmail.com; Website: turtleislandpottery.com

34

Zig Zag. 13" x 6½". Wheel-thrown Soldate 60 decorated with stained clear glazes, raku-fired. Irene Stephens, 1971 Hamilton Lane, Grants Pass, OR 97527. E-mail: irene@terragon.com; Website: FiredEarthEtc.com

Memoriala. 3½" x 3" x 3". Wheel-thrown and altered porcelain decorated with Velvet white underglaze and black underglaze pencil. C.J. Niehaus, 209 South Brook Lane, Carbondale, IL 62901. E-mail: cjniehauspots@yahoo.com


Tumbler #15. 7" x 3". Wheel-thrown earthenware with terra sigillata, underglazes, raw stains, raw frit. Soda-fired to cone 02. Richard W. James, 1130 N. Union Ct., Bloomington, IN 47408. E-mail: claymeddler@gmail.com; Web: claymeddler.com

Readers Share I Art Works

The Gallery

Fertility Object. 10" tall. Faye Schoolcraft,17800 Champion Rd., Nevada City, CA 95959. E-mail: 11pink@sbcglobal.net; Website: fayeschoolcraft.com

Submit images of your claywork to The Gallery! Send your high-quality color print, slide, or 1050-x-1500-pixel (minimum) digital image to: The Gallery, Clay Times, P.O. Box 100, Hamilton, VA 20159. Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, Website and/or e-mail address, type of clay and glaze, firing method, and dimensions of the work. (Enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope for photo/slide return.)

CLAYTIMES WINTER // SPRING SPRING 2013 2013 CLAYTIMES··COM COM n n WINTER

Pair of Double-Walled Cups. Taller is 4" x 5" x 4½". Cone 12 porcelain with shino-glazed interior; wood-fired in an anagama. Jake Johnson, Potters Mills, PA. E-mail: jakesclayart@gmail.com; Website: www.jakesclayart.com

35


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BY VINCE PITELKA

Euclid’s throwing gauge.

Terrific Trimming Tools Phil Poburka’s line of Bison Studios tungsten carbide trimming tools now includes new double-ended tools combining some of his most popular loop cutters, as seen in the image directly at right. Every Bison tool is a work of art, each hand-fashioned by Phil in Las Vegas, Nevada. Anyone who has used Bisons knows how they fit the hand and the task. There are no finer trimming tools on the market, and they can be found at www. bisonstudios.com. One of the most popular trimming tools in Canada is the Williams Tool. This doubleended trimmer (pictured at right) was made domestically by Al Williams until his retirement in 2007, and now Euclid has outsourced production overseas to maintain the low price. This is a very basic, no-nonsense tool, and that’s the whole point. It’s just an aluminum tube with two very thin carbon steel cutting loops crimped in place, available in several shapes at www. euclids.com/EuclidTools.htm.

Trim tools of various shapes and materials are now offered for practically any application.

Whenever someone comes up with a good idea, others are inevitably going to create their own spin-offs. Kevin Nguyen has designed a Xiem Studio Tools version of tungsten-carbide trimming tools with a rubber handle and removable tip, manufactured in China. They don’t have the fine handmade artisanal quality of Bisons, but they do the job. You can see them at www.xiemclaycenter.com. Another new item in the trimming category is Bailey’s Quick-Trim II, an innovative trimming bat available from Bailey and other suppliers. I tested the first version of the Quick-Trim with its system of moveable magnetic holders and found that it works well for low shapes but is less effective with taller forms. Bailey now offers a set of 3"-high magnetic holders that will help, but the new Quick-Trim II (pictured in ad on page 24) seems far more versatile. This

is a completely different system featuring four grooves radiating from the center and four soft bumpers adjusted and tightened individually with thumb screws. Anyone familiar with machine shops knows that a three-jaw lathe chuck (like the Giffin Grip on page 8) features jaws that adjust simultaneously for very quick and efficient processing of symmetrical forms but will not accommodate asymmetrical forms. A four-jaw chuck (like the Quick-Trim II) has individually adjustable jaws that are more time-consuming to adjust, but will accommodate any shape. The Quick-Trim II is available in 15.5” and 23.5” diameters, plus a 12.5” model specifically for the Aspire. Optional interchangeable holders in 2", 3", 4", and 6" heights accommodate taller forms. To see a video of the Quick-Trim II in action go to YouTube and enter “EPlPYCN9YNo”. continued on next page

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

Dolan Tools offers a vast selection of carbon steel cutting and trimming tools, as pictured in the ad on page 38. Dolan tools are available from many suppliers, and you can see them on the Dolan Website at www.ceramictools. com. It is important to realize that Susan and her mom Maureen make every one of these tools by hand, and Susan showed me the calluses as proof! It is apparent that she inherited the uncompromising standards of design, quality, and craftsmanship maintained by her father Bob Dolan for twenty years. I am always looking for suitable tools for doing sgraffito at different stages of hardness. Some people prefer a pointed or rounded tool that simply plows away the clay, but for the cleanest lines it is best to use subtractive cutting tools. I can tell that my new M-30 loop tool from the “Miniature Sculpting series” is going to be a favorite for subtractive sgraffito in mediumleather-hard clay.

Shop Talk I Tool Times

New Tool Favorites

37


Shop Talk I Tool Times

The

Fulwood Measure

TM

Rubber-cushioned, stainless needle tools.

Micro Carving/Modeling Tools

The perfect tool for same-size production pottery. Unique hinged pointer measures height and diameter of the pot and moves out of the way when not in use. With the Fulwood Measure, you can get it right every time. Handcrafted in beautiful hardwood and made in the USA.

Kissimmee River Pottery

One 8th Street #11 Frenchtown, New Jersey 08825 908.996.3555 riverpots @ earthlink.net www.kissimmeeriverpottery.com

Recycled dental tools started finding their way into my studio tool collection over 40 years ago. With the popularity of highly detailed carving and modeling in studio ceramics, a wide range of micro carving and modeling tools inspired by dental tools is now available. Euclid’s assortment includes some especially useful ones. Four different stainless steel double-ended ballstylus tools have ball-ends from 1mm to 4mm in diameter. I mentioned the Dolan M-30 tool for sgraffito when you wish carve away the clay. For those who prefer to wait until hard-leather-hard, and displace the clay with a round-ended tool, these ballstyluses are ideal. You can see them at www.euclids.com/EuclidTools.htm. Below the ball-styluses on the same page, note the “Saw-Tooth Texture Tool.” I envision lots of uses for this tool, with six different gauges of teeth to chose from. While Euclid’s may not have foreseen the following, for years I have been hoping someone would offer a scoring tool that can reach down inside openings where the standard serrated rib will not fit. This is it.

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

Xiem Studio Tools offers an impressive range of stainless steel double-ended carving and modeling tools with comfortable rubber-cushion grips. For working in hard-to-reach areas, the “Scoring and Joint-Smoothing Tool” is not as versatile as Euclid’s “Saw-Tooth Texture Tool,” but it’s nice to see several tools on the market appropriate for this application.

38

Xiem has come up with two new designs that elevate the lowly needle tool. As you can see in the image at the top of this page, one features a very fine, thin needle intended to be minimally invasive. The other has a thicker shaft tapering to a fine point, and the greater thickness is intended to provide more separation and less tendency for the clay to re-join, as is often the case when trimming clay from the rim of a vessel on the potter’s wheel.

As much as I like to support domesticallymade tools, we inevitably see a lot of worthwhile tools imported from elsewhere, and my objective is to find the most useful, well-made tools. Xiem Studio Tools are designed domestically and outsourced to China, and Kevin Nguyen rigorously controls quality and finish. I have not seen needle tools like these elsewhere. You can find Xiem Studio Tools at www.xiemclaycenter.com.

Measuring Tools For anyone making dinnerware or other matching items, Euclid’s offers a practical and efficient throwing gauge. As seen in the photo at the opening of this column (top of page 37) it has two fully adjustable arms to establish different reference points — for example, the rim and the base diameter of a bowl. I have used similar units, and this one has all the right features. You can find it at www.euclids.com/EuclidTools.htm. Anyone who has made complex stiff slab forms in precise geometric shapes knows the challenge of cutting exact angles. Larry Elardo has invented an ingenious device called the “AccuAngle” (pictured below), featuring a substantial 16" plastic ruler with a track along one edge accommodating a moveable holder with eleven ports that accept your needle tool at angles from

The Accu-Angle yields precise, angled slab cuts.


The most useful tools often arise from a repeated need in the studio. Students and staff at Xiem Clay Center were frustrated by deteriorating plaster wedging surfaces, so Kevin Nguyen came up with a dozen portable wedging boards that were a hit in the studio. Now Xiem Studio Tools offers the “X-Board,” a portable wedging-working board available in 18" x 24" and 24" x 32" sizes, each with a carrying handle on one edge. Anyone can staple canvas onto a hunk of plywood, but this unit is beautifully finished and features a durable rubber nonskid surface on the bottom. Check it out at www.xiemclaycenter.com. [

®

Shop Talk I Tool Times

30 to 75 degrees to the surface plane, plus an additional port at 90 degrees. This device allows very precise angle cuts along the edge of a slab section. The cuts must be made while the clay is soft enough to be divided with a needle tool, so if you want crisp geometry you’ll need to stiffen the pieces to leather hard before assembly. This tool will allow you to cut exact angles for a wide variety of multi-sided slab forms. The AccuAngle is available from many suppliers, and you can find information at www.accuangle.com.

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CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

39


Resources I Classified Marketplace

Classified Marketplace Classes

Events, cont.

Opportunities

• Elizabeth GLz Designs presents: A Creative Journey with Ceramics and Mixed Media — Online Course. Two modules with step-by-step instructions and videos. Module 1 has 12+ ceramic projects made with clay slabs. Learn to reproduce in less time with less cost, and sell them to stores. Information: http://elizabethglz.com/register

• FUNCTIONAL CERAMICS WORKSHOP — April 18–20, 2013. Wayne Center for the Arts, Wooster, OH. Three dynamic presenters: Linda Christianson, William Brouillard, and Michael Hunt. For further details and to register, see www.functionalworkshop.com or telephone 614.486.4402.

• Opportunity for highly experienced production potter partner in established stoneware pottery, Cape Cod. Thirty-year customer base. Established store and original glazes and art in place. Hand-painted, high-fired decals. Ram Press, slipcasting, throwing. Existing partnership dissolving. Great opportunity for right person. Investment necessary. Contact brumbyrunfarm@ hotmail.com, tel. 508.221.1833.

• Summer Day Camp 2013 — The Pottery and Creative Center in Clermont, Florida. Country location. Morning pottery, afternoon art projects for children ages 8 to 12. Contact Katie.Roser@yahoo.com, tel. 321.947.7667. • Playing with Fire: Clay from Start to Finish — Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, NM, July 8-14, 2013. Participants will become familiar with many forms of handbuilding, along with some wheel-throwing techniques that augment their hand-formed pieces. $380 + meals and lodging. www.ghostranch.org • Wood Firing Kiln — Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, NM, July 15-21, 2013. This program will encompass pottery building techniques as well as specialized glazes for high-temperature wood firing. $390 + lodging and meals. www. ghostranch.org • It’s Elemental: Creating with Clay, Fire, & Sunshine — Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, NM, July 29-August 4. Participants will learn to prospect for clay, form it to your will, and fire it in a way that can be done in your own backyard. $375 + lodging and meals. www.ghostranch.org

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

Southwest Traditions — Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, NM, August 5-11. Basic handbuilding techniques of pinch, coil, and slab will be covered. Intimate focus on polishing techniques. Individual interests will be supported. Class will conclude with outdoor primitive firing. $375 + lodging and meals. www.ghostranch.org

40

Events • Peter King and Xinia Marin Architectural Ceramics Workshop, Spring 2013 — April 8-13, Pensacola, Florida. For details, visit www.peterkingceramics.com or friend us on Facebook @King Marin. You can e-mail us anytime: peterkingceramics@gmail. com, or call us at 850.725.5996. To place your classified ad, call 800.356.2529 or log onto: www.claytimes.com/classifieds.html

• 21st Annual St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour and Sale — May 10-12, 2013. A national destination known for exceptional pottery and the opportunity to meet outstanding potters. 50 invited potters from 15 States (and one from Scotland) at 7 studios within easy driving distance. Visit www.minnesotapotters.com for info. and map. • “HANDBUILT” for CERF+, Philadelphia, PA, September 2022, 2013 — Demonstration, Inspiration, Conversation. A handbuilding conference to benefit the Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF+). Demonstrators: Lana Wilson, Vince Pitelka, Chandra DeBuse, Mitch Lyons, Sandi Pierantozzi. Featured exhibition: “Philadelphia Clay.” Organized by Sandi Pierantozzi. Info. and registration: www.sandiandneil.com

For Sale • Ceramics Studio, 480 sq. ft., — Skutt Production Kiln 1227PK, Envirovent 2, Brent Wheel, other studio equipment, clays, and glaze materials. Ceiling fans, utility sink, built-in shelving and cabinets, large work surfaces, two extra heavy-duty work tables … and Home, 2 BR, 2 BA, 1500 sq. ft. cedar contemporary secluded on 1.84 acres, heart pine floors and transitional lighting throughout, new appliances and new baths, located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. $242,000. E-mail: jackb313@aol.com or call 919.259.5662. Retired potter selling equipment — 30-ton Press, 24 Molds & Masters training included, Mold Lift, Slab Roller, Gas Car Kiln, fifty 12" x 24" Shelves, hundreds of Kiln Furniture pieces, Oxiprobe, Olympic Kiln with Electronic Controller, Show Equipment, much more. Call 305.664.0013 or e-mail: johnk1110@hotmail.com

Tools for Potters • WIZIWIG PROFILE RIBS — Shape consistent profiles into your clay. Throw a cylinder, use a WiziWig Rib, and “instantly” have a mug, beer stein, wine goblet, and more! Great for sets! WIZIWIG CAVITY STICKS go into unimaginable places at many different angles. WiziWig Sticks provide tools with small points and unique shapes. WiziWig Sticks allow potters to get into the “nooks and crannies” and shape the clay where their fingers can’t reach. See www.WiziWigTools.com • Strong Arm Centering and Opening Tool — Potters, stop causing injury to your wrists, thumbs, and shoulders. Center and open clay in seconds! This is the greatest tool for production potters, studio potters, and schools. Get past the drudgery of centering and opening clay so you can focus on the real art and craft of making better pots! Watch the video at www. marcspotterytools.com

Travel • Pottery retreat in coastal SW Florida — Located in historic Bonita Springs. The Gulf-access villa includes a ceramic studio and kayaks to use while your pots are drying. Rents weekly or monthly with seasonal rates. www.ThisSideRetreat.com

Wanted: Ruth Perdew Pots • Wanted: Studio Pottery by Ruth Perdew — E-mail tom.turnquist@comcast.net or call 303.988.0442. Ruth Perdew was a great Denver potter in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s. [

865.397-2914 info@wardburner.com

www.wardburner.com


Step-by-step Handbuilding Project

A Funky Textured Tripod Mug BY BARBARA LYDON

I

’ve always enjoyed funky pottery that is also functional. When I first started creating these mugs, I realized how the pinched feet really help make them appear less ‘heavy’ than a traditional slab vessel with no feet. Also, the shape, the rolled handle, and the pattern all work together to create a unique drinking mug. I always get a chuckle first thing in the morning when I fill up my cup of coffee. I first start by rolling out a rectangular slab between ¼" and 3/8" thick. I then add texture using stamps, found objects, or patterned rollers. I often use my own unique rollers that I’ve created by rolling out a slab and texturing it with various stamps or tools (Fig. 1). I then cut the patterned clay into a rectangular shape. Each end is beveled in the same direction, then I place the slab on end to match up the beveled ends.

1

3

2

4

While supporting the outside textured part, I weld the inside of the cylinder by rolling out a small coil and welding it into the seam for extra support. I don’t reinforce the exterior so as not to disturb the textured pattern. I dry this roller slowly, then bisque fire only so that it remains porous and the wet clay won’t stick to it during use.

* At this point, I cover the remaining clay with a piece of plastic, saving the leftovers for the belly of the mug. continued on next page

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

After the clay has been decorated, I use a fettling knife to cut out a rectangle approximately 13" long x 4½" wide (Fig. 2)*. Just like the textured roller, each end is beveled in the same direction, placed on end, and matched up (Fig. 3). I support the outside textured wall, weld the inside seam of the cylinder, and support by welding a small coil into that connection. It’s important to focus specifically on welding the middle to the top part of the seam, then carefully flip the cylinder over and weld the rest of the seam.

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Tripod Mug Project (continued from previous page)

5

8

11

6

9

12

7

10

13

Making the Feet

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

Gently squeeze the sides of your cylinder, bringing the walls together in thirds. Do not pinch the clay to make it thinner; your objective here is to shape it into a nice, solid foot. When you are done manipulating the feet, there will be a space in the center of the bottom (Fig. 5). This will be filled in with another small slab (Fig. 6). Lightly weld the folded clay on each leg, then smooth lightly with a sponge.

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Carefully turn your cylinder right-side-up so that it now sits on its feet, and place on a non-stick surface such as newspaper (Fig. 7). If the base is uneven or wobbly, gently press down on the top rim with a bat so that each foot has a flat surface. With your remaining textured slab, cut out a triangular shape that will cover up the whole base, and place over the hole (Fig. 8). Place the textured side face-down. Weld this piece into the bottom and sides of your mug, keeping your other hand under

the base for support so the feet are not distorted. Afterward, roll out three balls of clay and weld into the corners of the mug. Don’t forget to continue supporting the bottom! Make sure you work the clay really well into the corners—you don’t want to create pockets of air. After welding, smooth the inside with a sponge. A final plain slab at the top of the mug makes for a nice finish (Fig. 9). This piece of clay should be a little thinner than the original slab (approx. 3/8") and will be welded to the mug on the inside. Support the outside, textured wall with your hand as you apply pressure on the inside with your welding tool. Add a decorative coil where the smooth slab meets the textured slab if you wish; smooth with sponge (Fig. 10). The Handle For the handle, I recommend rolling out a new slab of clay. It’s best to use soft clay

so that won’t crack when you bend it. After texturing your new clay, cut out a slightly tapered rectangle, roughly 2" wide at the top and 1½" on the bottom, and about 7" or 8" long (Fig. 11). Bevel each long side in the same direction with a fettling knife and carefully roll the sides with two hands so they match up (Fig. 12). If the clay is moist enough, it should stick well, and requires minimal welding on the outside. Gently bend it into a handle shape and cut off the excess clay. Make sure your handle is where you want it to be before you secure it to the mug. Double check to make sure it feels good in your fingers—not too thick or too thin around. Score, slip, and weld the top and bottom of the handle onto the mug (Fig. 13). Poke a small hole on the inside so the air can escape. Finish your mug with glazes that will highlight your texture. Be sure to use glaze that is food-safe. Now use the finished mug to start your day off on the right foot! [


Many readers have asked for help in translating material safety data sheets (MSDSs) into usable English. I have hesitated, because I knew big changes on MSDSs were about to occur. Now this change is coming into effect — and we need to talk!

O

n March 26, 2012, The Department of Labor published a final rule to modify the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard. The new rule requires manufacturers and employers to conform to the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) and to a new MSDS format. The rule has been in effect since May 15 of 2012, and the rest of the schedule of implementation is as follows: • December 1, 2013: Employers are required to train employees on the new labels and material safety data sheet (MSDS) formats. This means if you use ceramic chemicals on the job, your employer must provide training for you on the new MSDSs and label symbols.

employers must write up these changes in their OSHA hazard communication program, and update the training of their employees with any new information about hazards of their materials.

INDUSTRY ACCEPTS THE NEW REGULATION? Doesn’t it seem odd that OSHA has what is essentially a new regulation without any talkback from industry? Usually, when OSHA proposes a rule change, industry and OSHA engage in a battle for a few years. Most often OSHA’s new regulation is killed, which explains why we still have 1971 air quality standards.

• June 1, 2016: Employers must update all employees on the alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication programs, and provide additional employee training for newly identified physical or health hazards. This means

The new rule means that those almost useless and confusing MSDSs should be improved. For example, our MSDSs commonly use the phrase “not listed as a carcinogen” when what should really be said is the substance “has never been

The rest of the world does not accept our assumption that untested chemicals are nontoxic. Instead, most countries base their worker and consumer safety laws on the Precautionary Principle which says in the absence of actual data, chemicals cannot be assumed to be safe. U.S. manufacturers and OSHA are not quite ready to give up our crazy system of misinforming workers and consumers. By comparing the original United Nations version of the MSDS with OSHA’s, you will see how they do this.

ORIGINAL SDS REQUIREMENTS The MSDS version used by most of the rest of the world requires that actual test data for toxic effects, if known, be reported in Section 11, as follows: A4.3.11 SECTION 11 — Toxicological information Under GHS classification, the relevant hazards for which data should be provided are:

(a) acute toxicity; (b) skin corrosion/irritation; (c) serious eye damage/ irritation; (d) respiratory or skin sensitization; (e) germ cell mutagenicity; (f) carcinogenicity; (g) reproductive toxicity; (h) specific target organ systemic toxicity — single exposure; (i) specific target organ systemic toxicity — repeated exposure; and (j) aspiration hazard. If data for any of these hazards is not available, they should still be listed on the MSDS with a statement that data is not available.* The most important line is the one I’ve made bold at the end of the section. This requires the manufacturer to inform users when the tests have not been done. For example, line (f) for carcinogenicity would either tell you the results of animal cancer tests, or the blank must say “no data available.” This means anyone can glance down the list and see whether or not the substance has been tested for cancer.

OSHA’S REQUIREMENTS Now let’s compare that with the OSHA description of Section 11: continued on next page

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

• December 15, 2015: GHS labels must be on all containers that are shipped by chemical manufacturers or importers. This means the makers of our glazes, glaze chemicals, clays, and other products will have to change the labels soon.

Yet this change produced no backlash. The reason: either these changes are made, or our manufacturers must give up the idea of exporting our products. The new labels and MSDS have already been instituted in most of the rest of the world including the European Union, Japan, and China. As usual, the U.S. lags behind most countries in chemical safety.

tested or evaluated for cancer effect.”! Worse, many manufacturers choose to label untested chemicals as “nontoxic”, simply because they have not yet been shown to be toxic!

Studio I Health & Safety

BY MONONA ROSSOL

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Studio I Health & Safety

New Material Safety Data Sheets (from page 43) 11. Toxicological Information — Description of the various toxicological (health) effects and the available data sued to identify those hazards, including: (a) information on the likely routes of exposure (inhalation, ingestion, skin and eye contact); (b) symptoms related to the physical, chemical, and toxicological characteristics; (c) delayed and immediate effects and also chronic effects from short- and long-term exposures; (d) numerical measures of toxicity (such as acute toxicity estimates); (e) whether the hazardous chemical is listed in the National Toxicology Program (NTP) Report on Carcinogens (latest edition) or has been found to be a potential carcinogen in the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Monographs (latest edition), or by OSHA.**

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

This means that manufacturers will still be able to hand-pick the information they present and when there is no test data, they do not have to tell you. For example, the cancer data required by (e) above is limited to reporting of results from three agencies: the NTP***, IARC*** and OSHA. But if there is no test data for those agencies to evaluate, of course they have not listed it!

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By stating that the chemical is “not listed as a carcinogen,” manufacturers mislead consumers who assume “not listed” means it is not a carcinogen. If they go a step further and exercise their option to also label such untested chemicals as “nontoxic,” the deception is even greater. HOW TO WIN THIS GAME The two different forms mean we can now find out if our chemical suppliers and labelers are misleading us. We can use the Internet to find a proper MSDS on the

same chemical, look at Section 11, and we will know whether the ingredient has been studied for various toxic effects or not. If you do this, you will find out that many of the ceramic chemicals we clay artists use have not been studied for long-term effects. The manufacturers of our glazes and chemicals, nice as they may be in person, actually don’t know the long-term hazards of most of the chemicals they sell. It’s not their fault—no one knows. Once you really understand this, you will no longer rely on misleading claims of product safety, especially on a “nontoxic” label. Experience has taught me that once artists and craftspeople get this, they practice more common sense and cleanliness in the studio. Remember, the chemical has to get into your body to be toxic. In the next column, we will look at the new label pictograms that must be on all products soon. You may already see these small, diamond-shaped pictures on some products. It’s time we found out what they mean (if you have a job in ceramics, your employer or supervisor may want to read the column) ... * Google: GHS Purple Book 4th ed UNECE. There are several sources of this massive file. Go to Annex 4, Guidance on the Preparation of Safety Data Sheets. See Section 11. ** See the Federal Register, 77 FR 17574-17896, especially page 17885 for OSHA minimum SDS requirements for Section 11. *** The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP). [ Monona Rossol is an industrial hygienist/chemist with an M.F.A. in ceramics/class. E-mail her at: ACTSNYC@cs.com.

The Slurry Bucket Recycling Fancy Shopping Bags

I recently decided to recycle a collection of shopping bags that had nice rope handles, and this required me to remove all the rope handles before I could recycle the bags. But what to do with all those nice rope handles? Use them as ties for bags of clay. I think we all hate those horrible wire twisty wraps that come with new bags of clay, so as soon as I bring home the clay I remove the wires and put on my nice rope ties. That way I only have to go through the pain of untwisting those wire ties once! — Carol Granas, Monte Sereno, CA

Preventing Hand Cramps I am an avid burnisher and was experiencing hand cramps from holding the “burnishing stone.” I use a glass blob (from my stained glass work) instead of a stone for my burnishing. A friend suggested that I attach the “stone” to a ring blank from the local craft store. I glued the flat part of the glass blob to the flat of the ring blank so that it looks like a very large ring. I now roll the ring around on my middle finger so that the “stone” is on the inside, at the palm. It allows me to gently hold the stone and know that it will not fall from my grip. No more hand cramps! — Diana McClain, via e-mail [

Submit your clever studio tip to The Slurry Bucket and you could earn a free T-shirt if it’s published! E-mail your tip, photo (if you have one), contact information, and T-shirt size to: claytimes@ gmail.com, or send to PO Box 100, Hamilton, VA 20159.


Check out these listings to find local programs for wheel-throwing, handbuilding, sculptural techniques, & more … Classes are listed alphabetically by state

ARIZONA

FLORIDA, cont.

MAINE

Tucson Clay Co-op — 3326 North Dodge Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85711; 520.792.6263; www. tucsonclayco-op.com; tucsonclaycoop@yahoo.com. Fully equipped, sunny studio offering all level classes, rentals, clay gallery, parties, specialty workshops and more. Wheelthrowing, handbuilding, electric firing, gas firing, raku firing, sculpture, mosaics, classes for adults and children. Friday night clay parties for adults, teen parties on Saturdays.

St. Petersburg Clay Company — 420 22nd St. South, St. Petersburg, FL 33712; 727.8962529; www.stpeteclay.com; stpeteclay@stpeteclay.com. Electric firing, gas firing, raku firing, wood firing, guest artist workshops, soda firing and salt firing. Please call or e-mail us to ask about membership availability and gallery openings.

The Red Door Pottery Studio — 44 Government St., Kittery, ME 03904; 207.439.5671; exfpottery@yahoo.com; www.reddoorpottery.com. Year-round classes, all skill levels, monthly workshops, private lessons, retail gallery, shows. Wheel-throwing, handbuilding, electric firing, guest artist workshops, classes for adults and children.

COLORADO

Callanwolde Fine Arts Center — 980 Briarcliff Rd., Atlanta, GA 30306; 404.874.9351; www. callanwolde.org; gdair@callanwolde.org. Located in Midtown Atlanta, Callanwolde offers basic and intermediate wheel and handbuilding classes for adults, as well as electric, gas, raku, and soda firing, plus guest artist workshops.

Spinning Star Studio — 427 East Colorado Ave., Studio 129, Colorado Springs, CO 80903; http:// www.spinningstarstudio.com; jennifer@spinningstarstudio. com. Wheel-throwing, handbuilding, electric firing, raku firing, classes for adults; wheelchair accessible wheel available. Open studio is available as well as electric kiln rental for firing up to cone 6.

FLORIDA Craft Gallery & Dixie Art Loft — 5911 South Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach, FL 33405; 561.585.7744; www.thecraftgallery.net; potteryme@ comcast.net. Gallery, studio & kiln rental. Glazes, clay, glass, tools, books, equipment, and art. Classes in glass fusion, enameling, silver clay, wheel-throwing, handbuilding, and architectural sculpture. Workshops by guest artists.

LIST YOUR CLASSES HERE ... A full one-year listing of community pottery classes print & online magazines + FLORIDAin ,CT's cont. Website is available at just $129! For details, visit www.claytimes.com/classes.html

GEORGIA

Hudgens Center for the Arts — 6400 Sugarloaf Pkwy, Bldg. 300, Duluth, GA 30097; 770.623.6002; Fax 770.623.3555; info@thehudgens. org; www.thehudgens.org. The Hudgens is located north of Atlanta and offers year-round fine art classes. Wheelthrowing, handbuilding, electric firing, gas firing, raku firing, classes for adults and children, open studio for students. Johns Creek Arts Center — 6290 Abbotts Bridge Rd., Building 700, Johns Creek, GA 30097; 770.623.8448; Fax 770.623.6995; jcacinfo@bellsouth. net; http://www.johnscreekarts.org. Located in Johns Creek, GA, the Johns Creek Art Center provides ceramics instruction for adults and youth with wheel-throwing, handbuilding, summer camps, cone 06-6 electric firing, and guest artist workshops.

MARYLAND Renaissance Art Center — 9250 Gaither Rd., Gaithersburg, MD 20877; 301.987.0377; www.rcarts.com; info@rcarts.com. Pottery classes for all ages, teaching wheel throwing, handbuilding, and glazing techniques. Electric firing. Our new studio features 12 wheels and over 2000 s.f. of studio space!

MASSACHUSETTS Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill — 10 Meetinghouse Road, Truro, MA 02666, 508.349.7511; www.castlehill.org; info@castlehill.org. Throwing & handbuilding by some of the best potters in the country: Jim Brunelle, Linda Christianson, Kevin Crowe, Marty Fielding, Silvie Granatelli, Linden Gray, Randy Johnston, Matt Katz, Hannah Niswonger, Mark Shapiro, Gay Smith, Kayla Stein, Guy Wolff, Joe Woodford, Mikhail Zakin – something for everyone.

MISSISSIPPI LOUISIANA Pottery Alley — 205½ W. Vermilion St., Lafayette, LA 70501; 337.267.4453; www.potteryalley.com; info@ potteryalley.com. Pottery Alley offers classes, workshops and open studio in a relaxed, creative atmosphere. All levels welcome! Wheel-throwing, handbuilding, electric firing, raku firing, classes for adults and children, guest artist workshops, monthly clay dates.

Bodine Pottery & Art Studio — New location: 432 West Frontage Dr., Wiggins, MS 39577; 601.928.4718; www.bodinepottery.com; hukmut@ bodinepottery.com. Wheel-throwing, handbuilding, kiln building, PMC (precious metal clay), week-long clay camps for adults and summer clay camps for kids. Also a clay supplier and gallery, featuring the work of ten Mississippi artists. continued on next page

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

Morean Center for Clay — 420 22nd St. South, St. Petersburg, FL 33712; 727.821.0516; www.MoreanArtsCenter.org; valerie.scott.knaust@ moreanartscenter.org. Wheel-throwing, handbuilding, electric firing, gas firing, raku firing, wood firing, guest artist workshops, classes for adults and children. Children summer camps and week-long adult camps.

Resources I Classes

Community Pottery Classes

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Resources I Classes

MISSOURI 323 Clay — 323 West Maple Avenue, Independence, MO 64068; 816.254.7552; http://www.323Clay.com; kimberly@323clay.com. Wheel-throwing, handbuilding, electric firing, gas firing, raku firing, guest artist workshops, classes for adults, classes for children.

NEW JERSEY Laplaca Pottery Works — 1002A Trenton Ave., Point Pleasant, NJ 08742; 732.861.2276; www.laplacapottery.com; greglaplaca@aol.com. Large, modern studio with great lighting and all-new equipment. Wheel-throwing, electric firing, guest artist workshops, classes for adults and children.

NEW YORK Artworks at West Side YMCA — 5 West 63rd St., New York, NY 10023; 212.912.2368; ymcanyc. org/westside; kmissett@ymcanyc.org We are a friendly, supportive studio on Manhattan’s Upper West Side offering classes and open studio time in the visual arts. Wheelthrowing, handbuilding, electric firing, wood firing, guest artist workshops, stained glass, watercolor, drawing, and beading. Classes for adults and children. Banner Hill School of Fine Arts & Woodworking — 741 Mill St., P.O. Box 607, Windham, NY 12423; 518.929.7821; bannerhillwindham@ mac.com; www.bannerhillLLC.com; wheel-throwing, handbuilding, electric & raku firing, guest artist workshops, classes for adults & children; intensive one-day to twoweek courses in ceramics for beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. BrickHouse Ceramic Art Center — 10-34 44th Drive 1st Floor, Long Island City, NY 11101; 718.784.4907; ellen.day@brickhouseny.com; http://www. brickhouseny.com. Spacious, fully-equipped studio, yearround adult classes, ceramic artist rental shelves, pottery for sale.Wheel-throwing, handbuilding, electric firing, guest artist workshops, private parties.

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

Clay Art Center — 40 Beech Street, Port Chester, NY 10573; 914.937.2047; www.clayartcenter.org; leigh@ clayartcenter.org. Clay Art Center kindles a passion for the ceramic arts and provides a community for that passion to flourish. Wheel-throwing, handbuilding, electric firing, gas firing, raku firing, guest artist workshops, classes for adults and children, community arts programming.

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Clayworks on Columbia Inc. — 195 Columbia St., Brooklyn, NY 11231; 917.428.3128; ddmcdermott@rcn.com; www.clayworksoncolumbia.org. A not-for-profit clay studio now in its 16th year. Classes for adults & children in wheel-throwing, handbuilding, and sculpture; featuring electric firing plus rental space and gallery for students and members. The JCC in Manhattan — 334 Amsterdam Ave., 76th St., Brooklyn, NY 10023; 646.505.5715; sorr@ jccmanhattan.org; www.jccmanhattan.org/artstudios. The

Upper West Side’s community ceramics center with classes for everyone at every level! Wheel-throwing, handbuilding, electric firing, guest artist workshops, classes for adults and children. We also offer classes for children with Special Needs, private lessons, birthday parties, and bench time for registered students. The Painted Pot — 339 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231; 718.222.0334; www.paintedpot.com; mail@ paintedpot.com; wheel-throwing, handbuilding, sculpture. Supermud Pottery Studio — 2744 Broadway (between 105th and 106th St.), New York City, NY 10025. Year-round classes for adults and children of all skill levels on the Upper West Side. Call 212.865.9190 or visit us at supermudpotterystudio.com. Wheel-throwing, handbulding, electric firing, wood firing, private lessons, private parties, studio space rental with 7-day access, gallery space.

NORTH CAROLINA Dan Finch Pottery — 5526 Nursery Lane, Bailey, NC 27807-9492; 252.235.4664; http://www.danfinch. com; dan.finch@earthlink.net. Wheel-throwing, handbuilding, electric firing, gas firing, raku firing, wood firing, guest artist workshops, classes for adults. Demonstrations and workshops for groups (school, church, civic). Quarterly day and evening classes available in a collaborative and nurturing environment at Finch Farm. Rising Sun Pottery — 209 South Academy Street, Lincolnton, NC 28092-2714; 704.735.5820; http://www.RisingSunPottery.com; RisingSunPottery@ Bellsouth.net. Wheel-throwing, handbuilding, electric firing, gas firing, raku firing, guest artist workshops, classes for adults, special summer-only children’s classes.

TEXAS Eric Orr Clay — 22 Blackjack Lane, Lewisville,TX 75077; 940.241.1242; ericorrclay.com; ericmuddorr@ yahoo.com. A complete teaching studio for lovers of clay and glass. Wheel-throwing, handbuilding, electric firing, gas firing, raku firing, glass fusing and slumping, classes for adults and children. I work with you individually and endeavor to take you where you want to go on your clay/glass journey! SUNIN Clay Studio — 13473 Wetmore Road, San Antonio, TX 78247; 210.494.9100; suninpottery@ sbcglobal.net; suninclaystudio.com. A teaching and working pottery studio offering classes, equipment, supplies, gallery/ shows and creative encouragement. Wheel-throwing, handbuilding, electric firing, raku firing, guest artist workshops, classes for adults and children, sculpting classes and retail products.

VIRGINIA, cont. Group, Private. Wheel-throwing, handbuilding, electric firing, classes for adults and children. Scouts, Cancer Survivors, Special Needs. Sculpture, Specialty workshops: "Wine, Cheese, Pottery!"; "Parent & Child!" ALL LEVELS. The Art Spot — 52 W. Colonial Hwy., Hamilton, VA 20158; 540.338.4249; theartspotllc@gmail.com; www. theartspot.co. Full-service clay studio, supply, & gallery. Materials, equipment, tools, and supplies, plus classes, workshops, studio rental, special events. Wheel-throwing, handbuilding, electric firing for adults and children. Manassas Clay & Tin Barn Pottery Supply — 9122 Center Street, Manassas, VA 20110; 703.330.1040; www.manassasclay.com; manassasclay@aol.com; wheelthrowing, handbuilding, sculpture, glazing, raku. Nan Rothwell Studio Pottery — 221 Pottery Lane, Faber, VA 22938 (near Wintergreen); 434.263.4023; www.nanrothwellpottery.com; wheel-throwing, handbuilding, glazing, firing for ages 16 & up. Round Hill Arts Center — 35246 Harry Byrd Highway, Round Hill, VA 20142; 540.338.5022; info@ roundhillartscenter.org; www.roundhillartscenter.org; wheelthrowing, handbuilding, electric firing, classes for adults and children, summer camps, also classes for all art mediums. Mention Clay Times for a 10% discount on your first class! Open studios for students. Workhouse Arts Center - Ceramics Program — 9504 Workhouse Way, Bldg. 8, Lorton, VA 22079; 703.584.2982; www.workhousearts.org or www.workhouseceramicsarts.org; dalemarhanka@lortonarts. org. A collective and highly dynamic environment with the goal of promoting ceramic art through research, education, and outreach. Resident artist program and classes for adults (ages 16 & up) and children (5-15 years old) in wheel-throwing, handbuilding, ceramic sculpture, tile making, electric firing, gas firing, raku firing, visiting artist workshops, corporate retreats, and workshops for Girl /Cub Scout troops.

WISCONSIN Adamah Clay Studios of Bethel Horizons— 4651 County Highway ZZ, Dodgeville, WI 53533; 608.574.8100; e-mail: artventures@bethelhorizons.org; www.bethelhorizons-artventures.org. Wheel-throwing, handbuilding, wood firing, classes for adults and children. Weekly pottery classes, affordable summer intensive weeklong workshops, beautiful views, & university credits.

WYOMING VIRGINIA Art Pottery Studio — 4810 Tabard Pl., Annandale, VA 22003; 703.978.1480; artpottery@earthlink.net; www. potteryart.biz. Year-round classes, Summer Clay Camp,

Potters Depot LLC — 75 East Benteen St., Buffalo, WY 82834; pottersdepot@msn.com; www.pottersdepot. com. We have a beautiful gallery and offer pottery classes for adults, teens, and kids. Wheel-throwing, handbuilding, electric firing, gas firing, raku firing, guest artist workshops. [


REVIEW BY STEVEN BRANFMAN

I

rarely offer a review of a potter’s monograph, portfolio, catalog, or whatever you might call it. Though illustrations and images are usually plentiful, they are usually works of vanity with little to offer in the way of insight, analysis, technical details, or personality. So when the publisher asked me if I’d like him to send me a copy of this book for my perusal, I did what any potter and book lover would do. I replied with a resounding “Yes!” And despite my knowing Phil and having been a fan of his work and his writing (Ash Glazes, Salt Glazing, Throwing Pots) for many years, I was lacking high expectations. Well, let me tell you ...

a salt-glazed jug by Richard Batterham. Chapters 3-5 offers a selection of Rogers’ work fired in oil, salt, and wood kilns. Accompanying the rich photos is text in which Rogers offers his personal comments, technical details, and historical connections.

Phil Rogers: A Portfolio by Phil Rogers, with contributions by David Whiting, Sebastian Blackie, Angela Fina, Sherman Hall. Goldmark Books, $40.

Phil Rogers: A Potter’s Portfolio is a gem of a book. A lovely hardcover, it is built of heavy, bright-white, satin-finished pages with high-quality color photos throughout. Each of the 112 pages is generous in its clean background, allowing the visual impact of the text and more than 100 images to shine. The dedication of the bookmaker’s craft is very important to me, and this book passes my test with flying colors.

Sound familiar? Rogers goes on to tell us of his first teaching experiences, setting up his first pottery studio, his first pottery sales, and the establishment of his first legitimate

In Chapter 2, “Sources of Inspiration,” the author shares a collection of ceramic vessels—historic, recent, and contemporary—that are, in his own words, “… food to nourish the creative spirit.” Among them are a medieval apothecary jar, Korean honey jar, Hamada chawan, and

Chapter 6 contains essays by the four contributing authors. Collectively they offer perspectives, observations, analyses, opinions, and suggestions. Each of the writers brings a different bias, an alternate view, and a unique personality to bear on Phil Rogers’ work and its significance as they have experienced and witnessed themselves.

In Chapter 7, “A Few Technical Details,” Rogers offers some insights into his glazes, clay bodies, and firing methods. (A how-tomake-Phil-Rogers-pots, it is not! That would be careless and would only serve to trivialize a lifelong pursuit of a clay career.) Instead he gives us some explanations, recipes, coaching, and suggestions about how to incorporate his processes into our own. While the subject of Phil Rogers: A Potter’s Portfolio is the pottery of Phil Rogers, the theme of the book is sharing—sharing a life filled with creativity, expression, struggle, effort, relentlessness, and triumph. This is no vanity project. This is the public presentation of a personal journey. It is a privileged view into another person’s life. It is an inspiring chronicle worthy of your attention. [

Steven Branfman is a an accomplished potter and teacher of pottery and ceramics at Thayer Academy in Braintree, Massachusetts, and proprietor of The Potters Shop and School. He may be reached by phone at 781.449.7687 or via e-mail at sbranfpots@ aol.com.

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

Seven chapters make up Phil Rogers: A Potter’s Portfolio. It begins with “A Little History,” in which Rogers shares his ceramic autobiography starting with his introduction to clay at Swansea Art College in 1970, as a painting student pursuing a teaching certificate. His attraction to the potter’s art was not unlike that of many of us: “… pottery was a compulsory element of a multi-disciplined course. I had originally gone to college thinking I was going to be a painter, but as soon as I touched the clay, I instinctively knew that here was something I felt comfortable with and could, perhaps, become good at with time and practice.”

pottery in his family’s ancestral town of Rhayader in Mid Wales. His life story continues with a generosity of sharing both major and minor accomplishments, developments, realizations, and milestones. Among other things, Rogers talks about his love of pottery, the making of work, and the distinction between his emotional motivations and inspirations versus the commerce of supporting oneself as an artist. Throughout his written words, Rogers’ commitment to teaching and the rewards gained is both apparent and comforting to me as a reader, fellow potter, and teacher. I hesitate to divulge much more, as my descriptions can only serve to dilute the character and personality of Rogers’ own words. Suffice it to say that there is much more to learn about Rogers’ life and the journey that has taken him to the present point in his career.

Resources I Books & Videos

Phil Rogers Portfolio

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MEME The World BY JUSTIN CROWE

Funds for the project are raised via Kickstarter.com

The mug travels far and wide: from Valley City, ND ...

... overseas to London, England.

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

Project instructions appear on the bottom.

How far will it go? Tune in to www.MemeTheWorld.com!

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T

he role of the ceramic cup is more than just ‘an object;’ it is a vault for memories, ideas, and experiences. We all know the delightful feeling of drinking a hot beverage from our favorite mug. Our favorite mug often becomes an icon for a specific person, place, or time. It allows us to re-live memories and often sets the tone for the day. The artist plays a crucial role in creating a mug’s identity by designating its structure, function, and decoration. The user then contributes to the mug’s identity by surrounding it with a set of personal and intimate experiences. It seems a shame to deprive the rest of the world of all the associations which that one mug eventually comes to stand for. I wondered if there was a way to allow the user of the mug to create the experience, and enable a community of people to access the ‘vault’ of continually growing, collective ideas.

1. Use Cup 2. Photograph your experience 3. Upload your photo to www.MemeTheWorld.com 4. Pass the cup to a new person My goal is to collect hundreds of photos documenting people’s experiences, environments, and ideas—all in one place where everyone is connected by a common experience. A contributor can follow the path of his/ her mug using its unique ‘Cup ID’ tag. During its ‘test mode,’ there was incredible participation by the early recipients of the MEME The World mugs. The blog reveals just the beginning of an online collection of images documenting each participant’s experience. There are pictures of pets, friends, events, and landmarks, all describing the extraordinary identity of each individual. These experiences, in turn, create a colorful history for each unique mug.

Webster’s Dictionary defines a meme [meem] as “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.” An example of a meme is the ’60s peace sign, or more recently, the Internet phenomenon ‘planking’ (see photo, p. 6). The ‘meme’ was popularized through the viral nature of online social networks, and has since become household lingo for those under the age of 25. A pottery mug carries the same type of content that a meme does, but because it generally stays eternally loyal to one single user, it lacks the ability to ‘spread from person to person.’

Through Kickstarter.com, a popular crowd-funding platform, I have launched a project to sign up the first contributors of the MEME The World event. On Kickstarter you will find a video that shows how I make each mug, as well as a description of different ways in which you can become involved.

My latest art piece is an event called ‘MEME The World’ which creates shared experiences through the continual receiving and passing of ceramic mugs. Fired onto each cup are instructions that read:

Editor’s note: The MEME project was officially launched two days prior to press time, and had already reached 13% of its funding, with online recognition by The Huffington Post. Check out the article at http://ow.ly/ivZUS

I believe in the cultural value of shared experience; this project aims to spread those ideas. To help support this project and launch an MTW mug into your community, visit www. MemeTheWorld.com, and click on the ‘Kickstarter’ icon. [


BY DAVID HENDLEY

It’s hard to just say ‘no.’ No, I’m not referring to the old but still referenced anti-drug campaign championed by First Lady Nancy Reagan in the 1980s, but to those requests a potter gets for custom-made, and/or customerdesigned pots. If you are an artist-potter making things by hand, these requests are inevitable, and knowing how to deal with them is tough. Even as a 30-year studio potter veteran, I sometimes find myself on the wrong side of the bargain, regretting that I agreed to take on a time-wasting or frustrating project. There are several reasons it’s hard to say no. First, of course, is that it’s great to make a sale. Besides bringing in always-needed cash, a custom order is an affirmation that you are doing good work that people admire and are willing to buy. If only it were that simple. For previous customers, my general rule is if it is at all possible, I will try to make something that goes with what they have already bought from me, no matter how unusual the request.

Then again, sometimes I agree to a project because somebody sincerely wants a particular item and can’t find it anywhere else. There are not many people who work with clay in my area, so, just to be helpful, I have made some unusual items. A few years back I made a heavy round clay disk, to be used in pickle-making to hold the cucumbers down in a vat of vinegar. The strangest request was to make a machine part that served as a positive for making a mold for casting the part in metal. The customer looked on as I refined the shape on the wheel. If my professors from the university art department could see what life is really like for a working potter! Last fall a woman contacted me about making a set of cobalt blue canisters. She said she had been to lots of stores and couldn’t find any. Great, I can do this, I thought to myself; cobalt blue glazes don’t vary and are always dependable. I asked her what other colors or decoration she would like on the jars and she said just blue, top to bottom, inside and out. That’s when the red, er, blue flag should have alerted me that what she really wanted was a set of factory made canisters, but would settle for hand made if that was the only option. I didn’t realize that I was

jumping into a bad situation by not taking the time to understand what she was actually asking for. Of course I hated those jars when they emerged from the glaze firing. That unbroken dark blue did nothing for the shape and actually made the forms look small and tentative. The worst part, which I hadn’t taken into consideration since I rarely glaze a pot in a single stark glaze, is that in a large field of shiny dark glaze even a minuscule glaze imperfection is very noticeable and objectionable. Any blemish in the clay, such as a bit of organic matter that burned out or a larger particle of iron, telegraphs right through to the glaze, and my glaze showed lots of specks and spots. In addition, since I had poured the glaze on the bisqued pots, variations in glaze thickness made for areas of slightly lighter and slightly darker cobalt blue. When she came to look at the canisters, as I worried might happen, my customer was not happy. She didn’t like the variation in glaze color, the visible impurities in the clay and glaze, or the unglazed foot ring. In short, she didn’t like any of the attributes typically expected and even desired in handmade pottery. There’s no denying that by ceramic industry standards my canisters would be classified as “seconds.” I remember learning about strict ceramic industry standards a year or two after I started making pottery. I had returned to my childhood home to visit family and was in the bathroom. For the first time, I noticed that every single tile in the bathroom had a glaze flaw, and there were hundreds of tiles. I had lived in that house for 20 years and, until I started firing kilns, had never realized that the bathroom was tiled entirely with seconds! The builder had obvious gotten a deal on those tiles and was hoping no one would continued on next page

CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2013

New customers, however, need to be evaluated. Do they own some handmade pottery and understand that all colors, dimensions, and designs are approximate and not guaranteed? Do they know that anything can go wrong and time estimates may fall by the wayside because of technical problems? Or that glazes change from batch to batch over time, and each firing is unique?

I try to keep an open mind and say yes to some odd-sounding requests, thinking of them as learning opportunities. As a studio potter it’s easy to get stuck in a rut, making the same things over and over, with little variation. When someone asks for something new and different, it forces the potter to solve new design problems and try new techniques. Often a new technique, once tried, can be applied to other items one makes, and occasionally that special order is so successful that it can become a part of a regularly-made line of work.

Opinion I Around the Firebox

Of THE Cobalt Blues

49


Opinion I Around the Firebox

The Cobalt Blues (from page 49) notice the imperfections. My parents, who had lived in the house for 30 years, had no idea and I wasn’t about to tell them. Well, I returned my customer’s deposit since a sale is not so important to me that I will make someone buy something they don’t like. But now I was stuck with four large cobalt blue jars. I decided to re-glaze them. I set them on top of my electric kiln during a bisque firing, so they would be nice and warm, and then poured on accents of my copper red and yellow salt glazes, thickened to better adhere to the already-glazed surface. They turned out not half-bad. I still can’t say I like them, but at least I’m not ashamed to put them out for sale, and I sold one at a craft fair not long ago. The funniest part of the cobalt blue fiasco is that I wrote and recorded a song called “The Cobalt Blues” a few years ago. It is actually a tongue-in-cheek song, written just for fun. Little did I know I would one day be experiencing the real cobalt blues! Feel free to listen to it and download the mp3 via the page at my Website, www.farmpots.com/ claytimes.htm [

Index to Advertisers Arrowmont School........................... 10 The Art Spot Gallery & Supply........... 4 Artistic Line Resist........................... 27 Bailey Pottery Equipment................ 24 Carolina Clay Connection................ 21 Cedar Heights Clay/Resco.............. 39 Clay Times Products.................. 20, 36 Clayworks Supplies......................... 40 Continental Clay............................... 27 Coyote Clay..................................... 12 Dolan Tools...................................... 38 Euclid’s Elements............................. 51 Evenheat Kilns................................. 20 Fulwood Measure............................ 38 Giffin Tec............................................ 8 Graber’s Pottery, Inc........................ 39 Great Lakes Clay & Supply Co........ 21 Handbuilt Clay Conference.............. 13 Herring Designs............................... 39 Highwater Clays............................... 10

Japan Pottery Tools......................... 39 The Kiln Dr........................................ 21 L & L Kilns.......................................... 2 Laguna Clay Co................................. 3 Larkin Refractory Solutions............. 36 MKM Pottery Tools.......................... 36 Muddy Elbow Mfg./Soldner Mixers.18 NCECA............................................... 7 Olympic Kilns .................................. 50 Paragon Industries........................... 21 PCF Studios..................................... 21 Peter Pugger.................................... 28 Sierra Nevada College..................... 13 Silver City Arts Festival.................... 10 Skutt Ceramic Products.................. 52 Smith-Sharpe Fire Brick Supply........ 7 Spectrum Glazes............................. 27 Strictly Functional Pottery National.10 Ward Burner Systems...................... 40

Unique, one-of-a-kind kilns – just like YOU! Custom-designed kilns for your unique, custom-designed ware.

Olympic designed Matt’s front-loading kiln inside dimensions of 16” wide x 16” deep x 20” high with a Bartlett Instruments digital controller (V6-CF), 3-zone control and maximum firing range cone 10/2350°F.

CLAYTIMES CLAYTIMES··COM COM n nWINTER WINTER // SPRING SPRING 2013 2013

The kiln provides ample space to fire larger items yet can set on a tabletop surface.

50

See what Olympic Kilns can do for you!

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(800) 241-4400 • (770) 967-4009 fax (770) 967-1196 email info@greatkilns.com or solutions@greatkilns.com

Matt Ellison, artist and designer of the GurglePot™ uses his Olympic custom front loader to fire prototypes of new designs and glazes. To learn more about Matt and his work, email matt@gurglepot.com.


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Clay Times Magazine Volume 19 • Issue 95  

• Dick Lehman: Innovative Surfaces • Can Paperclay Change the Way You Work? • Career Paths for Art Majors • A Classroom Mosaic Project • Tri...

Clay Times Magazine Volume 19 • Issue 95  

• Dick Lehman: Innovative Surfaces • Can Paperclay Change the Way You Work? • Career Paths for Art Majors • A Classroom Mosaic Project • Tri...

Profile for claytimes