search  current discussion  categories  teaching 

post for new potter

updated wed 15 sep 04


mel jacobson on tue 14 sep 04

Hey Mel, could you post this for me... I've tried to three time
already to no avail... Thanks....

Hi! This is my first post here=85 I'm a newbie potter from Puerto
Rico, only been working with clay for three months =85 I took my last
savings and bought a used Duncan Teacher Pro at a store=85 This is the
second time I use it. Both times I've seen some fire sparkles on the
kiln sitter during the first par of the firing when the elements are
turned on and of periodically. Is that normal? Also there is one of
the elements that turns bright red a lot more than the others. The
others take a lot longer and turn to a duller red at high temps=85 The
guy at the store said that that's because it new=85 Am I going to have
to change the rest of the elements soon? I'm kind of scared of
kilns=85 Are there any articles online I can read so I feel better
about using them? I have this irrational fear it might set that
house on fire! The guy at the store told me to just start it before
I go to sleep and I just can't go to sleep while that thing is on=85.
I hope in time I can move to a rural area in the future and build a
wood fire kiln=85

Does anyone have any experience with this model? If it is automatic
what is dial that says off, overglace, ceramics and high fire for?

Also I'm building a kickwheel and it's almost done. I'm waiting for
the machineshop to be done with the head. It's a kinda small standup
with 23" 75lbs +/- cement flywheel. I think it's going to spin
slightly off when it's done `cause right now I'm using a provisional
wood head to play around with it and it's maybe 1cm off=85 Weird
enough I can throw small pieces on it as is=85 I still need to cut the
shaft another 7"-9" to get it to where I want it to be so I'm
hopping the wobbling is almost none existent=85

Anyhow, I really like the kickwheel better than the electric wheels
but I don't have the space or the money to buy a "real" size one=85
Here you have to air ship most things `cause its an island and costs
about $150 for an electric so you can imagine how much it would be
for kickwheel=85 Store here have too much of a markup with prices (ei
$880 for obviously demoed Clayboss or $1000 for a Shimpo) so that
route isn't really an option anyway=85 even if I had the money which I
don't=85 Potter's wheels aren't too popular here so in three months I
haven't seen a used one for sale=85

I really think I could do pottery for a living=85 I always thought I
was going to be a musician but I don't like the lifestyle (staying
up late surrounded by drunken people=85.). Pottery is perfect since I
could work at home and I seemed to be able to translate the
dexterity need to play musical instruments to working on the wheel=85
People really seem to like the things I've done so far=85 I already
even got the government permit to work as an artisan and was told I
might be invited a really big arts fair. I need to get things going
fast if I want to make enough pieces for it=85

Here's my dilemma=85 I don't know what I should do about the wheel=85 If
it turns to be off a little I wouldn't really mind but would need a
trimming wheel. Also, since the flywheel on it it's not that big I
don't know if the effort needed to work "mass" production on it it's
going to be worth it. I've been thinking for a couple of weeks know
and I pretty much narrowed my options to three.

1) Buying an Artista portable wheel `cause is the only wheel I can
afford right now (without using a credit card or taking a loan) and
shipping is half that of a regular wheel. It's portable which is
nice `cause I'm probably going to be moving to a small apartment

2) Buying a York kickwheel to trim pieces and to take to places as
an amenity=85.

3) Stick to only using the one I'm building and keep looking for
creative ways to make foots to the pieces. So far I've come up with
a few ways=85 but they take more time than just trimming them on the
wheel=85 which is fine for the one of kind pieces but maybe not a
viable option for cheap $5-$15 pieces tourist want to buy these
days=85 The problem I see with this option is that I kinda feel I need
more time on a "traditional" way of doing vases before I fully
venture off to find my personal voice=85 `cause I might not get
enough "vocabulary" otherwise=85

What do you people think? Any advice is greatly appreciated=85. and
sorry for cramming all these questions in one post!

BTW, this is a great place! I've been reading all sorts of
interesting stuff for the last month in the archives=85 and I don't
think I'm halfway through!

thanks in advance


Minnetonka, Minnesota, U.S.A.
web site:
or try: