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Ceramics -anyone with practical experience or knowledge of ceramic artists?

(6 Posts)
BettySpaghetti Mon 27-Aug-07 17:59:46

If so, could you point me in the direction of an "Idiots Guide" type website or two please. I've googled but can't a good, general but basic site.

I need to know some basics about the process of making and firing stuff and also a little about ceramic artists/the history of ceramics.

Thanks smile

BettySpaghetti Mon 27-Aug-07 19:53:08


fizzbuzz Mon 27-Aug-07 20:40:36

Hmmm what do you need to know? I'm an Art teacher so know a (little) bit, but not really my specialism. Don't know anything about famous ceramicists except Clariss Cliffe (was she a ceramicist?)

Do know a bit about clay, firing, slips glazing etc. So ask away

BettySpaghetti Mon 27-Aug-07 20:49:50

hi there fizzbuzz

The thing is I've seen a job advertised for ceramics technician in a school -the ad says "experience desirable but not essential as training given". I will probably apply as it fits in well with the DC etc

Half of my degree was in art but have never done ceramics. I was just hoping to find out the basics (so if I get an interview I won't come across as a complete numpty wink)

Since my OP I've found this which probably covers the basics do you think?

As for famous ceramacists I could only think of Grayson Perry.

fizzbuzz Mon 27-Aug-07 21:14:47

Yeah most of it is in there. Our technician mainly stacks the kiln for firing, but does carry out repair jobs as well.

Basically you use red clay or grey. Red is softer. When making models, bits are stuck on by scoring and slipping (slip is very runny clay, which our techie mixes up). If this isn't done properly then bits fall off, and have to be repaired when fired, with pva glue. Ours make little clay figures and often don't do this properly. The kiln looks like the aftermath of the French Revolution, with lots of little heads everywhere...

Never ever let plaster near clay or it will blow up in kiln. All items unless very small, must have a hole inside them as heat causes clay to expand, and they will blow up in the kiln.

Clay must be totally dry before being fired into biscuitware.

Glazes are painted on after biscuit firing, and then fired again. Some glazes are pinted on, and some you dip the item into

Most important thing is to NEVER fire anything with out a name on, as they are completely unidentifiable.

The kiln is stacked in shelves that are supported on little cylinder things. I think this is done to let air circulate.

Clay is a H&S issue. Clay dust must be wet wiped as it is an allergan and can cause asthma. Also some glazes and slips have H&S issues, but are not really used in schools. Also it can cause or irritate eczema.

HTH good luck! Feel free to ask anything else
Also, all sinks should be fitted with clay traps or it will block sink

You will have to do something called "pugging", which is recycling dried clay. When clay is being used it should be kept damp.Any left over is left to dry, then soaked in water and recyled or pugged. Some places have a damp and dry cupboard, but most don't

BettySpaghetti Mon 27-Aug-07 21:24:14

Thanks for taking the time to type that fizzbuzz, its much appreciated -some handy tips there (especially about things blowing up and bits dropping off!!)

I'm hoping that the post involves quite a bit of pupil interaction too (wording of ad suggests it does but I'll find out more when I get the info through the post).

Its only part-time but of course has the bonus of being term-time only. It could be OK as my first step back into the world of employment .

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