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posting for england section please/novice at everything

updated wed 24 apr 02


Janet Kaiser on wed 24 apr 02

Don't know how many are still around on Clayart from England, except
regular contributors: Steve Mills in Bath, Richard Jeffery in
Bournemouth, Jenny Lewis in London. Are Chris Cox in Cumbria, Ivor in
Macclesfield, Steven Parry-Thomas, Pierre Brayford, Ronan O'Rourke
still out there? Avril, Jacqui and I don't count... We are the Clayart
Taffia, here in WALES!

However, I do not think it is necessary to have a UK list... The
knowledge and experience of potters around the world is at you
fingertips on Clayart. Potters and clay artists from Brazil to British
Columbia, South Africa to South Dakota, New Zealand to New Foundland
take part. What more can you ask for?

The only additional advice I would have (which is really applicable
wherever you are): find your local Potter's Association. Depends where
you live, but there are some very active associations such as Kent
Potters, London Potters, Northern Potters. etc. in England, North and
South Wales Potters (who also have members from over the border in
England) and Scottish Potters... They have meetings, workshops and all
sorts of events which will be of support as you learn. Making friends
with members (amateur and professional) is the best way of finding
local expertise and hands-on help in times of trouble. Here on the
internet we can only offer virtual support, no physical hand-holding!

As you have obviously already learned from night-classes, most of what
you learn is by trail and error. There is little input from teachers
in such situations. Even full-time education is now very short on the
teaching of skills. So just go ahead and learn-by-doing in your own
home... Clayarters will be only to willing to help on problems as they
arise and reading the daily mails you are interested in will help your
learning curve. Just do not try to read each and every post!

The reason there is no active UK-only list? Not many full-time potters
are on-line and of those who are able, few are willing to spend time
writing. At least that is the conclusion I have come to, because they
rarely answer direct e-mails, so they are hardly likely to "talk"
here! There is also in all probability no institution with the funding
available to host a UK-based list. Other academic areas and subjects
are also handicapped in this respect. However, by its very nature, the
internet is going to be international, so it does not matter where it
is physically based. The subject matter and language are the only
constraints. The willingness to share is the most important
prerequisite... Sadly the main reason there is no German language

Second post: Gas firing for beginners.

I qualify what I said above after reading your second post of the day.
There are some things you do need help with, before you attempt the
do-it or teach-yourself method. If you have not fired a kiln before,
it would be best to find someone with a kiln similar to yours and ask
them to instruct you, especially using propane gas. You can offer to
help with loading and firing a biscuit load and then the glaze firing.
It is not like shoving buns into an oven and there is a lot to learn.
I personally learned by first assisting the technician at college (had
to INSIST on that) then firing "under supervision" and only then did I
feel confident enough to fire... Indeed, I was only allowed to after
passing proficiency tests by my tutor as well as the all-powerful

It would help, if you could state the make and size of your kiln, the
temperature you are firing to and exactly how much experience you
have. I won't be able to help, but there are many here who could once
they know what you are using.

Janet Kaiser
The Chapel of Art / Capel Celfyddyd
Home of The International Potters' Path
8 Marine Crescent : Criccieth : GB-Wales