Thursday, January 21, 2010

cuttin' steel, stackin' brick.

Another week of teaching has gone by...and I'll be chasing plastic with a couple boards of pots tomorrow that have been waiting since sunday. We're heading out of town this weekend to see some friends and I'm a little bummed to lose the studio time but Saybra says that I need to be more social...blogging isn't enough? Geez...

We're ahead of schedule in my kiln building class and I'll be cutting some steel tomorrow for the car(car kiln, not the toyota.) I want them to participate in everything but the car needs to be precise and structurally sound so I'll be doing most of that on my own but finish it up with them. The car is not the place for them to learn to cut steel and weld! I've talked quite a bit about the different kinds of kilns potters use, how they're built, etc. but that's a lot of information to absorb with just drawings and diagrams so we took a drive around town today looking at various kilns so they could see something tangible and hopefully visually understand what we're talking about. I even had them try to troubleshoot a problematic kiln in front of a group but they were a bit like deer in headlights so I lead them through it.

These are the wheels for the car...v-groove, 6", rollin' like butter.

This is the kiln we'll be tearing down next week and eventually it'll have a salt kiln in its place and to the left is where the car kiln will be. We moved 4 pallets of brick and cleaned this area out on tuesday, I told them that sometimes building kilns involves more time moving bricks than actually building the dang thing. It's hard to tell from the photo but this overhang is only about 8 feet deep and offers very little protection from the elements. In fact about an inch of this kiln sits out and the door stack is right out in the open. Any rain and it's impossible to do just about anything. We're going to turn them 90 degrees so that they'll be situated entirely under the overhang.

This is a pitcher that is a modification of the ones I was doing in the previous posts. I was trying to explain the relationship between handles and pots to some students and this was a good guy to do it. Tying things together visually is a hard thing to teach as it is mostly subjective. "Continue the line" is something I preach all the time. The bulge where the handles starts for example, is a perfect place for that handle because the line on the pot flows right into that handle; and the landing point...sassy woman with her hand on her hip, that's always a good bet.

Well, dinner time...I'm thinking chinese.


Ron said...

Hey Brandon, I know it's a ton of work but I envy what you're doing with your teaching. Keep up the good work.

Corbin Webster said...

That's awesome that you are doing a kiln building class and really teaching your students how kilns work, you wouldn't believe how many people i have met that say they know a lot about firing and yet have no clue on how dampers and passive dampers work. Best of luck to you

Lori Buff said...

At least you have an entire class of energetic college students to move the brick. I wonder if they wouldn't glean a lot of knowledge from watching you cut the steel etc.

Linda Starr said...

I am in awe of your kiln building class, and a car kiln no less, wish I was in that class.

brandon phillips said...

thanks guys...i do believe that knowing how kilns are built, how they work, how to repair them and troubleshoot them are every bit as important as making clayworks, unfortunately at a small school like this it's a class that can only be offered every 8-10 years.

lori-the students will be doing all the steel framework, cutting, welding, etc. so they will get plenty of experience with that. they do have the option to come and watch/help me with the car outside of class, it's up to them though. cutting all the parts for the car has to be precise and is fairly tedious and i'd hate to waste a whole class period with them just watching me cut. so fear not, they will be learning a bit of steelwork too!