I had a problem with my wheel that had been growing for a few months. My wheel is a Bailey ST-50 that I bought in 2002 (now sold as the Bailey PRO-50R), which had been a wonderful problem-free workhorse until then. It wasn't spinning smoothly, it would start with a "jump." At one point I realized I could wobble the wheelhead. So I dug out the long-handled allen wrench that came with the wheel, which is designed to reach the set screw under the wheelhead that secures it to the wheel shaft. The set screw was a little loose, and after tightening it up, the wobble was solved. I thought I was good to go. Not so fast. The "jump" was improved but it was still there. Over the next few months, the "jump" grew into a "lurch." The wheel began making a knocking sound. Then one day I realized, to my horror, that all of my pots had a high spot on the rim, that would hit my fingers exactly when the knock would hit my ears. Every week or so, I would reach under the wheelhead with the long-handled allen wrench and try to tighten the set screw some more. I finally admitted that wasn't the answer. So yesterday, I turned the wheel upside-down and removed its plastic housing. The problem was immediately apparent ... there is another set screw under there that secures the wheel shaft to the belt system. And sure enough, that little S.O.B. was loose. The long-handled allen wrench did not fit this set screw. But I was not afraid. I have so much furniture from IKEA, I knew I would have the right allen wrench. Now my wheel is spinning smoothly and solidly again. Relief! I fixed the problem for free. I'm also feeling good about my decision to buy a Bailey wheel, since it turned out to be so easy to open it up, diagnose and fix this problem. Now I am only left to wonder, did this problem start because of the earthquake we had last August?
I'm happy to report that my neighborhood now has a nice art festival! This past weekend was the 2nd Annual Downtown Silver Spring Fine Art Festival. I avoid any show whose name starts with "1st Annual" and the reports I heard from other artists last year ranged from "I lost money" to "surprisingly good." I thought the art in last year's show was of good quality, even though the sales were not good for everybody. That's the one thing that would have stopped me from applying ... if there was junk or cheesy crap in the show. Given it's location within walking distance from my house, and my current push to do more art festivals and preferably local, I decided it was worth a shot. This area of Silver Spring is packed with pedestrian traffic on any weekend, and there are special events here two or three times a month. So I knew there would be lots of people, but were they interested in pottery? Whenever I do a show for the first time, I try not to have any expectations for sales. But I did have a benchmark for a sales amount that would trigger me to apply for the show again next year, which I surpassed by almost $500. Hooray for my hometown!
Mea Rhee (mee-uh ree),
American Craft Council Baltimore
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