Archive for March, 2010

From left, Kevin Kowalski, ceramics teacher; Kelly Fritz, art fundamentals teacher; Marsha Linsley, visual arts department chair; Sandee Van Oyen, Creative Arts Awards/Reflections chair.

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I poured a plaster table about a month ago and wanted to share the internal structure and procedures. I used a 2×4 wood frame and inserted 1/2 inch steel rebar about every 8-10 inches. I placed a plastic bag under the mold and added a coil of clay around the wood frame and the plastic bag to prevent leaking during the pour. I poured the plaster table top upside down so that the plaster would be smooth and flat on the top after I flipped it over. Use a level to make sure the table is level so your plaster will flow evenly. I mixed up about 120 pds of plaster. Check the bag or manufactures website for exact measurements. Here is a link for Aardvarks instructions.  I used an electric glaze mixer to mix the plaster in a large trash can and then I poured it into the mold in two batches. Make sure to have a bucket of clean water to wash of any tools or your hands. Plaster should never be poured down the sink. It will harden in your pipes and cause a large problem.

Some tools you will need:

Dust mask for everyone helping
Scale for weighing the water and plaster
Electric mixer
Bucket of clean water
Paper towels for clean up

This table has made the studio flow smoothly and keeps our recycled clay flowing.
Mr. Kowalski

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Project Cycles

During the past 5 weeks I have tried something new with the students. We are working in cycles. There are three cycles; a hand sculpture, a clay mask and story and the potters wheel. After three weeks the groups change; Hand to Wheel, Wheel to Mask and Mask to Hand. This has been challenging for me as a teacher to keep everyone on task and try to manage three lectures in one class period. I use handouts and worksheets to guide them through most of the set up for the Hand and Mask and then work with the wheel group up front. Here are some examples of the projects.

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Class Kilns

Here are the three Kilns that we use throughout the Year. We use a Geil Gas Kiln, Skutt Electric Kiln and an Olympic raku Kiln.

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I have about 165 artist in our studio each day and we are always recycling clay. I have put together a plaster wedging/recycling table that my wonderful TA’s use to recycle clay. We place any dry clay in the plastic buckets of water below the plaster wedging table for about two days. The small buckets have holes for draining the water and then the clay is placed on the table for drying and wedging.  I have also devised a way for our plastic bats to stay high and dry, using plywood and a 2×4. Enjoy

Mr. K

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Frugal Tools

In our class we tend to loose or break tools weekly. It is always good to have a back up plan when tools go missing so i have devised a quick way of replacing the string tools. I have used a long 1/4 inch  wood dowel and some craft wire. First i cut the dowel to about 3 inches long and drill a hole in the center for the wire. Than I cut about 12 inches of craft wire (fishing wire can also be used) feed it through the hole in the dowel and double wrap the dowel and twist tie the wire. I hope to find more resourceful tool alternatives.

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