The microcomputer revolution has made a wonderful tool available to the clayworker
for all the myriad technical calculations and bookkeeping operations which seem to
go hand-in-hand with studio ceramics.
Currently produced micros are well suited for these uses, and soon 3-D imaging and
solid modeling systems will also be cost effective. The needs are current and the
technology is current but in doing workshops and teaching classes I have found that
clayworkers have yet to embrace this great new tool. We lag well behind other professionals
in this respect. The largest barrier a potter who wants to learn about using computers
faces is the fact that so few potters use computers.
It is quite reasonable, with current technology, for any potter with a microcomputer
and a modem to access a large data-base on a mainframe machine which is connected
to the phone lines. This would allow searching for glaze formulas, exhibition opportunities,
craft fairs, kiln designs, and other types of information at any hour of the day
or night. Complex searches for information are easily accomplished such as: all
cone 04 glazes which are
red, matt, leadless, and contain petalite. Such a service could also offer diagnostic
services on kilns and firing, not to mention the possibility of electronic mail.
What it will take to get this kind of service operational revolves mostly around
interest. With enough support, both in economics and in programming and data, there
will be the reason and the means for us to set up
this “Potter’s Information Center ” network.
This system would take advantage of the wonderful information processing capabilities
of computers, and would facilitate widespread exchange of ceramics knowledge.
While it is possible to spend as much as the cost of a new kiln, most potters would
benefit from even the most inexpensive computer systems. Even the smallest system
can speed up time-consuming jobs. Having had some computer science while in college,
I knew what could be done with a million dollar mainframe machine. But in order
to benefit clayworkers, I wanted to find out what could be done on the least expensive