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for heaven's sake, buy the book!/long

updated tue 21 feb 06


JOYCE LEE on mon 20 feb 06

Ellen, bless her, said:
"I would be embarrassed to tell you how many books I own. Pottery books =
for me
are manna from heaven. I even bought Mastering Cone 6 Glazes, and I do
nothing but Cone 10 Gas fire. I learned from it. Every bit of =
information about
clay and chemicals and how they work together is valuable. I also =
bought John
Britt's book, and it is a masterpiece. I'm working my way through it =
for the next perfect glaze that works in my kiln, on my pots. Even tho =
glazes I use have been with me for years, there is always hope of a new
wonderful surface."

Every word of the above applies to me also. I've now read John's and =
book at least three times, not counting the times I flipped through it =
the first few weeks. I do not fire ^6 nor do I fire oxidation except =
bisque. I've given away several copies, not including all the copies =
were given anonymously by others through Clay It Forward. I have =
learned so
from their wonderful book written seemingly for folks at my level. =20

Reading "Mastering ^6 Glazes" prepared me for John Britt's book, as well
as a deep appreciation for Mel's and Joe's incredibly enlightening and
beautiful oxidation work. And Robin Hopper's two-week course on glazes
and colours prepared me for Mastering Glazes etc etc. Nothing =
me for Robin's course since
I'd only been In Clay for maybe 3 months and had no idea what I was =
into........ best education money I ever spent.... and that is =
dollars spent over many years. My task for Robin's course was to test
clear and white/offwhite/creams glazes on pre-prepared test tiles. I =
to the workshop
three or four kinds of clay test tiles..... until then I'd never heard =
of a test
tile.... I didn't understand the various methods I read about forming =
tiles so I more or less selected odd scraps of clays, put a hole in one
end and boxed them up. Compared to the tiles of my workshop-mates,
all of whom
had been In Clay for years and were looking to freshen their pallets,
my lumpy and oddly-shaped tiles were easily discernible from across the =
..... no, from across
the campus......... but not one person poked fun at them! Amazing!
Such gentle souls. At most, they exchanged affectionate glances.
Robin never mentioned their ratty appearance.... at least, not in my
hearing. In fact, all of them only smiled when they saw this out-of-her-
element Retired Lady from California speaking a strange conglomeration =
southern accents, excited about EVERYTHING SHE SAW and spending
nighttime hours at Randy Broadnax's class; truly not enough hours in
the day ..... daily=20
wearing with GREAT PRIDE her=20
latest stunning (to her eyes) test tile on a piece of leather around her =
Shades of being six years old once again!=20

One of my points is that even laboring under such ignorance and a
natural inclination toward messiness and my self-limited clear/white
task....... I managed to produce some 1,568 tests!! At that time, I
felt like a laggard since there were others who tested far more than
I...... now, I'm totally amazed at my efforts.=20

The other point is that I tested ^6 oxidation, since the only kiln I =
was an electric Cress purchased for working with slumped glass. I
only fired two glaze loads at ^6 oxidation EVER ...... but never once
have I considered that time spent working at Robin's any sort of waste!
Nor was it. It changed my life. Hooray and hallelujah!!

The upside is that I began my time In Clay excited about experimenting
with glazes. The downside is the same since, until the recent Cleaning
of Studio, I always had more than 20 buckets of glaze taking up far too
much room and making glazing itself pretty awkward.

Does all this experience mean that I'm knowledgeable about =
hell no........ not even close....... not really even about my own...... =
I'm inching up...... once again........ heck, I may wind up at Alfred =
day myself. I'm no Dave Finkelnburg, but I can try faking it! Well, =
I wouldn't do that to Alfred even if they'd allow me...... but the =
thought is