Lily Krakowski on fri 22 aug 03
Would you be angel lambs and step into my office a moment?
Sit down. Let's talk a minute. Have some iced tea....
You have in the past few days had several questions on CLAYART which show
two things all too clearly. You are madly in love with clay, you are
totally sincere about wanting to pot, AND/BUT you know zip, nada,
nothing,possibly less than that about it, and have as of yet made no effort
to inform yourself outside of CLAYART.
We all welcome newcomers. We are old cats and we do like kittens. The
problems come when the kittens start climbing the curtains instead of
purring quietly and thinking deep thoughts.
One asks about frits. Last week under Are Frits like Soup Cubes I talked
about frits, and the redoubtable and terrifically informed Ivor Lewis
(Iandol) responded with an even better definition.
About the same time, maybe a week earlier, there was a discussion of the
merits of Pottery Making Illustrated's yearly Potters Guide issue. I, among
others, pointed out that new potters, potters moving to new places, potters
whose local supplier goes out of business, etc find it IMMENSELY useful.
Do you see where I am heading with this?
What you need to do is take several deep breaths and pay attention.
You have some reading to do. The Library can get you some books, but I
think that you might as well invest in basic books you will be using.
1. Harry Fraser, Glazes for the Craft Potter.
2. Ron Roy, John Hesselberth Mastering Cone 6 Glazes IF YOU PLAN TO FIRE
AROUND C. 6.
3. Either Tony Birks'or Michael Casson's book on pottery
4. Get a subscription to Pottery Making Illustrated and Clay Times. If you
have the $ Ceramics Monthly as well, but it is a bit beyond you right now.
Also the Ceramics Monthly handbooks--you can find them listed in CM ads and
also in The Potters Shop catalog.
The Potters Shop is at 781-449-7687 in Needham MA.
Fax 781 449-9098 Owned by Steve Branfman of Raku fame, it is the best
possible place not only to buy clay books, but to get advice about clay
books, plus a discount.
Ok? And for the record I am not related to any of these gents, have no
commercial interest, patati patata. In fact I have very few relatives, and
from the above you can intuit, few friends.
To put it another way. Most of us old timers like to answer questions.
Which is not the same as yelling down a well.
All good wishes. Honest.
P.O. Box #1
(315) 942-5916/ 397-2389
Be of good courage....
wayneinkeywest on sat 23 aug 03
----- Original Message -----
From: "Lily Krakowski"
Sent: Friday, August 22, 2003 7:57 PM
Subject: Newbies: your slips are showing.
> Would you be angel lambs and step into my office a moment?
> Sit down. Let's talk a minute. Have some iced tea....
> You have in the past few days had several questions on CLAYART which show
> two things all too clearly. You are madly in love with clay, you are
> totally sincere about wanting to pot, AND/BUT you know zip, nada,
> nothing,possibly less than that about it, and have as of yet made no
> to inform yourself outside of CLAYART.
> We all welcome newcomers. We are old cats and we do like kittens. The
> problems come when the kittens start climbing the curtains instead of
> purring quietly and thinking deep thoughts.
snip for space
> To put it another way. Most of us old timers like to answer questions.
> Which is not the same as yelling down a well.
> All good wishes. Honest.
Point taken Lily. But also, this is how we learn. From our elders,
and from our betters.
I read voraciously. I devour 2-3 books a week. I have for years, and will
continue until my eyes give out....please god never!
For the first few years, the books prompted more questions than they
answered. Thankfully, there was someone in my area with more
patience than even I required. And I learned, and was grateful.
And I am still learning, and still grateful, though most of it comes now
from those same books which i could not understand then, and from my
own experience, and years of practiceX3. And I still ask questions, and
And you clay Gods have (all of you!) been so kind, and so generous with
information and your experience. i am a better potter for having known you.
Do by all means suggest the texts when the answers are plainly there to be
But don't deny the questions, or the questioner. It takes a lot of moxie
to go to a clay God and ask. Not only do we show our ignorance,
but also our inexperience. Sometimes we do not even know the
answers or the authors or the books exist.
Wayne in Key West
who will come off the curtains and sit quietly now
Diana Primiterra on sat 23 aug 03
Point well taken. However I find whenever I read
something, I have even more questions then I had
originally. I also find that when I have a problem of
any kind (with things other then pottery) whatever my
problem is, is not listed in the trouble shooting
I also find when I first want to learn about
something, I go out and flood my knowledge with books,
and the Internet, that I am intimidated by it all.
There are so many ways to do ONE thing, I don't even
know where or how to start. I can say that sometimes,
ignorance is bliss, since you really know no better.
Sometimes when people know alot about something, they
fail to mention tiny details that they assume a newbie
should know. It is usually the stupid tiny things,
that are embarrassing to ask about in the first place.
I spend tons of time in the clayart archives, and
still am trying to make sense of it all. I sure
realize that throwing is the least of my hurdles.
Sometimes the info I find is so intimidating or
confusing, I need to ask.
I do thank you for your time in answering my
questions, and I do try to find out answers on my own.
Once in awhile I need some gentle encouragement to
help me through. When I asked about my inexperience in
throwing tons of fabulous people came forward and told
me what I could do. I have since gotten past that
hurdle and am progressing once again. I am actually
considering what kind of surface decoration to get
into now. So far, I like the terra sig (bought the
stuff to make it today, but don't know when I will
make it), Raku, all pit firing and saggar firing.
Now I will keep busy sifting through all of that as
Thank Gawd for all you people!
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