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to Fran Legman

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From: barbara marder (marder3_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Nov 18 2002 - 01:57:24 PST


Hi Fran,
I started a ceramics program last year-grades K-8. My school was rebuilt,
and I did not select the kiln. In fact I do not like the kiln. It's huge-a
top load and I am short and cannot reach the bottom. There was ahuge
problem-for whatever reason the kiln shelves did nogt arrive or got lost so
I could not begin until the middle of the year. This year is going better.
I ordered all my clay from Amherst Potters (Massachusetts) I ordered only
white low fire (cone 06) and I love the clay. I ordered assorted overglazes
made by Amaco. Frankly I hate the overglazes-the colors are unpredicatable.
They settle and either underfire or overfire so there is weak color.
A professional ceramicist who teachers in a neighboring town told me he uses
only underglazes.
This year I wised up and ordered only clear overglazes. I also orederd red,
black and blue engobes. (Powders that you mix for decorating. I love what
the kids are making. The engobes are really only colored clay so the
olderkids can paint designs and patterns with a small brush for the bisque
firing. then they use the clear overglaze and I do the glaze firing.
Make sure you apply kiln wash to one side of the kiln shelves for the glaze
firing. I use a cermic pencil to label the shelves glaze and bisque. Turn
them over-one side for glaze, one for bisque.
Some of my projects this year:
-pinch pots with bases-some stduents combined two pinch pots-attaching them
at the bases
-pots draped over a rock
soap dishes-clay was shaped with small balls inside these oval styrofoam
food dishes
-candle sticks-kids piled balls of clay and then push a wood dowel (same
size as candle) to make opening
funny people-make slab-squeeze person out of it-first squeeze neck-then slit
legs with popsicle stick-same with arms. I amke them sitting on the edge of
a table-use garlic press to squeeze out hair.
-hot plate trivets-slab-students step on it to make texture like the bottom
of their sneaker
-ornaments-use cookie cutters and slabs
Read directions that come with kiln for firing
Make sure you have enough kiln furniture-posts, shelves, and star stilts
Hope tyhis helps,
Barbara

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