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handling dried mugs

updated tue 11 nov 03


lili krakowski on mon 10 nov 03

A dear potter friend was heard addressing her howling baby with the =
memorable words: "Get a grip! Get over it!"=20

Graven in my mind. Forever.

You spent an hour maybe working on them thar mugs.

And they dried too fast.

Now you are thinking of investing time in: rehydrating them (paper =
towels or cloth, plastic hood, etc.) checking them every 1/2 hour to =
make sure they are ok, finally scoring them, both at top and bottom of =
prospective handle, mixing magic water, or spooze or some concoction of =
karo syrup, vinegar, nylon and Godknowswhat. Applying this nasty smelly =
stuff, and then pulling and attaching handles. And rewrapping and =
rechecking, and about 1/4 of the handles won't "take" and another 1/4 =
will crack off in bisquing. You now have invested something like six =
hours in maybe 6 mugs?

I never try to save anything that got too dry. Just a pain in the &^%&* =
and frequently a failure. I can fail with less effort.

I URGE YOU to chalk it up to experience, either keep these as tumblers =
or reclaim the clay, and remember to wrap things better next time.

Again I recommend old styrofoam coolers, or home made styrofoam cloches =
(insulation board and duct tape) to keep things nice and evenly moist =
to dry to leather hard. Esp. in winter when there is heat in the =
studio...dear little dampboxes, work like a charm (so do the styrofoam =
boxes grapes and fish come in (NOT together! NOT at my grocer's!) if =
you seal the openings with plastic.

Lee Love on tue 11 nov 03

----- Original Message -----
From: "lili krakowski"

> You now have invested something like six hours in maybe 6 mugs?

What? It takes 2 minutes to wet a towel, wring it and put it on a
board of pots. You don't have to check them frequently.

>I never try to save anything that got too dry. Just a pain in the &^%&*
and >frequently a failure. I can fail with less effort.

It all depends on the clay. I've taken bone dry Grolleg, and
rehydrated them, with little difficulty.

My shigiraki clay needs to be very soft to trim or when I use a
cheese cutter and stamps to texture the surface for inlay. I can't let
them get as dry as my other clay, because the rocks in the clay keep you
from trimming properly.

At my teacher's workshop, the pots had to be the proper softness to
do jomon/rope impression on them.

I've always found it best to err on the side of caution and cover
things up even if I think they might not dry too much, if there is any
chance of this happening. If I have a lot of work and I can't get to
all of it right away, I'll completely incircle the pots in plastic: I
put the plastic sheet on the board and then the pots on the plastic and then
wrap the plastic completely around the pots. This keeps moisture from
going into the ware boards.

Lee In Mashiko, Japan
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