Monday, April 16, 2007

Repairing Mr. Brent

Suppliers Keramikon just delivered 250kg porcelain [and another 50 for Sydney and Gunn] and took away my wheel,which for some time has reached that state known to Brent owners [and maybe others] where you can have either a reasonable wheel-speed or get the wheel to stop,but not both. In the old days of customer service you could write to Brent and they would send a bag full of interesting parts and voluminous instructions,often for free,and you would fix your wheel by yourself. Now there is a guy called Dudi,and they take your wheel away,and who knows when you'll see it again [and in what state]. I have accumulated three wheels over the years [apart from the home-built Leach-style cranked kickwheel upon which I launched my career]- two Brents and a Shimpo. The Shimpo was old when I got it 25 years ago,never needs fixing,makes quite a noise and is like driving a tractor. I always tend to think of the Brents as ballet dancers- light,skillful,quiet,but prone to injury.I use the smaller of the two- a Brent B- finding it powerful enough for nearly all throwing,and much preferring its smaller wheel-head- much easier to clean around! But I've never felt "Wow! this is a great wheel!"- They all go round in a similar fashion,and none of them guarantees a good pot.Same goes for clay- the clays I use on a regular basis are interesting,O.K.,reliable,challenging- but never dynamite,and good work is always hard work. The only exception was a white English stoneware for salt of which I had a couple of bags 5 or 6 years ago,which was noticeably responsive on the wheel,and fired to a great shade,and then went out of production. I am comforted by Hamada's remark that his local Mashiko clay was also nothing special...lehavdil,as we say.


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