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FAQs for Ceramics

Where is/are the…

Rulers – in the top drawer under the flag

Rolling pins – in the bottom drawer under the flag

Wax – usually in the glaze room, if not, I don’t know someone has moved it so look around. If it is empty, I will fill it as requested when I have time.

Note sheets – in the front of the room in the paper holder under the small white board

Tape – should be in my locker #70 – but usually it is on the table

Stain – in locker #67 – please return whatever you use!!

Cookie cutters, templates and roll in patters – should be on the table or locker #64

Stamps - locker #64

Bisque cart – this is a grey cart on the right side of the kiln room. Don’t over stack things there or they will break.

Bisque Shelf – in the glaze room. Things are sorted by period number, each class has two shelves

Reject shelf – on the shelf on the floor – things here have been glazed wrong (there is glaze on the bottom or too much that will drip) and/or it does not have your period number on it, it will not be fired until it is fixed.

The hall pass- Tell Ms. Heideman. Located above VCR player, below TV.

HOW DO I…

Turn in a project – bring your finished notes with the paragraph on the back to Ms. Heideman after she has started class and we will grade the project. You keep the notes until the quarter when you will turn them in as a packet. Your project is graded numerically on a scale of 1 – 10 where 10 = 100%

Write a paragraph – please see the instructions on my website in the documents section – it is also in the ‘how to’ red binder up front.

Glaze – see the instruction on my website or the yellow binder in the glaze room or the instructions on the cupboards

Wash my hands – first use the bucket in the sink to get off any clay then use the soap and water. We do not want to clog the sinks!!!!!

Wash tools, rings and buckets – much of your clean up can be done at the wheel with your bucket and sponge. Anything else should first be done in the large ‘cans’ of water and clay. Even in murky water using a sponge you can get things clean. Tools, buckets and bats should not be washed under running water in the sink. If you want to get them spotless use a bucket of clean water and dump the water in the ditch outside.

Empty my clay water from the wheel – if there is room in the large clay ‘cans’ in the room put the water in there – otherwise pour it in the clay ditch outside – don’t get locked out! Make sure you have put your tools away first!!

Grind off the excess glaze – do not do this – ask a TA or advanced student – always check with me first.

Wash my clothes with clay on them – clay will not hurt your home washing machine – the clay particles are very fine and will not clog your machine – (unless you put pounds of it in!)

Use cement- Long handled bristle brushes and if cement is dry you may need to add a little water. Put an even coat over the entire crack. If it goes through, do it on both sides.

What is the …  

Purpose of the notes … they help you and I keep track of your projects in a room used by many people. They help you learn to be organized. They help you see what happens when a project is fired. They give you an opportunity to write a paragraph and analyze what you made. They serve as your ‘receipt’ of the grades you received in case of computer error.

In case something goes missing they can help find the project or get the project excused.

Reject shelf – things here cannot be fired – often there is glaze on the base, glaze between the lid and base, too much or too little glaze, no glaze inside the project or no name/period number. DO NOT just put it back on the glaze shelf. Ask me or a TA what you should do to make it better.

Bisque kiln – this is the first firing to get rid of the water – I can use either of the electric kilns – it takes a minimum of two days.

Glaze kiln – this is the second firing where we apply the glaze or glass coating – it takes one day and can be done in either electric kiln or in the gas kiln.

Slab roller – using pulleys this machine will flatten clay. It is a simple machine, however the cables can break if it is used improperly – DO NOT play with it!!! You break it – you pay for it!! Always use paper both underneath and above the clay. Always roll the clay with a rolling pin the opposite direction that it has been flattened before you use the slab to construct a project.

Plaster table(s) – the tables are good for wedging because the plaster will absorb excess water from the clay. We also use them to dry out clay from the ‘cans’ in the process called ‘sluding’ in this way we can recycle the clay. Be careful what you put in the clay buckets or ‘cans’!!

Clay mixer – just as it sounds this is a powerful machine to mix clay. It has sharp blades so always turn it off when you get clay and never reach down deeply near the blades. It works like a very big screw to turn the clay and mix it. Always make sure the handle is pushed toward the wall when it is on. When it is off the handle is parallel to the wall.

Wheels – we have more than one kind of wheel, but they all work. The newer ones, the ‘whisper’ wheels change direction easily with one switch on the top and have many different speeds. They all take a bat. The older ones are more difficult to control the direction on. You must let it stop completely – you can hear the motor turn off – before you change directions on it. They must be turned off at the end of your wheel session!

ALL WHEELS MUST BE CLEANED WHEN YOU ARE DONE – IF TOO MUCH CLAY GETS IN THE SWITCHES OR WHERE THE FOOT CONTROL MEETS THE BODY THE WHEEL WILL NOT WORK!!! THEY ARE EPENSIVE!!!!!!!!

WHAT DO I DO IF…

I have a cut finger…. Get a bandage- I have some, and wear a surgical glove – I have some

I broke/sprained an arm, leg, hand, wrist …. You will have to do simple hand projects – they can be done with one hand!

I’ve been absent … read the blog so you are not behind on lessons – you can make up work after school most days until three

I can’t find a tool or my tool box… this is an on-going problem – please be considerate and put your tools away for the next class – if you need something I will lend it to you. If you can’t find the box – look in the wheel area – it is almost always there.

I didn’t write my name and it’s fired- At this point you can still put your name on it-use the brown pencil, they’re in the front by my computer.

I can’t find my project- Get out notes, make sure they are complete. Have a picture drawn. Know where you put it last.

WHY IS MY PORJECT…

On the reject shelf – it has a glaze fault see above in the reject shelf topic – or it has no name & pd. # on it.

Not in the bisque kiln – it was probably not dry enough or it was too thick or too uneven in the width of the walls

HOW DO I KNOW IF…

It’s dry enough for the bisque kiln – it is a very light grey, all the same color and not cold to the touch

The gaze is right – it is not peeling, you cannot see the grain of the clay, all parts are covered – except the base and where the lid hits the base – small bubbles are okay. Your glaze should sit on the project about the thickness of 1/32” Clear glaze should be thinner and will not sit on top of another glaze – except a stain or where the glaze is only in the cracks. You can put another gaze on top of clear. Shadow green needs to be stopped about an inch from the base since it runs!!

The parts are joined correctly – you will have scored it with the toothed rib, applied slip, pressed it, whomped it and let it dry slowly. Firm slabs also need a tiny coil in the join on the inside and coils need to be smooth on the inside.

GENERAL STATEMENTS…

Clay has 4 stages – wet clay where we mold it, leather soft where we can join and carve, leather hard – detail carving, and bone dry/ green-ware where it is all light grey and ready to fire. After that it is bisque-ware and then glaze-ware.

When your project is bisqued it will be on your class period’s shelf in the glaze room. When it is out of the glaze kiln it will be on a cart in classroom or in a bin with your class number on it on the shelf in the front.

Are my projects microwave, dishwasher and oven safe? Yes, they are microwave and dishwasher safe. They are oven safe but ONLY up to about 250 degrees!

WHAT IS THIS?

PLEASE KNOW THE NAMES OF THE TOOLS

STICK TOOL

PIN TOOL

SMALL LOOP TOOL

LARGE LOOP TOOL

RUBBER RIB TOOL

WOODEN RIB TOOL

TOOTHED RIB TOOL

BAMBOO BRUSHES – for glaze

BRISTLE BRUSH – for cement

PLASTIC WAX BRUSH

 BAT & SPLASH RING – on wheel