Potters & Sculptors - Making Rock from Mud
Tony Hansen, owner of the Digitalfire Corporation contacted me after my announcement went out that we were about to develop an online glaze database. He is on the verge of releasing a much more robust online glaze database than anything we were contemplating. We have been in discussions and are starting to work out details of how the interested members of the cone6pots network can participate in testing and using Insight Live for cataloging, finding, testing, and documenting glaze recipes. Insight Live will allow us to post recipes singly or in batches from the existing glaze software such as Matrix, Glazemaster, Hyperglaze, Glazechem, or Insight, as well as singly from emails or entered manually. We should be able to add pictures and notes to existing recipes, showing how our results differ from previous ones with different firing, clay bodies, batches of raw materials, etc. -- Thus a glaze record could display a variety of results rather than one or two.
There will be no charge initially, but after the testing phase ends, we will need to purchase a site license. Based on initial talks, the license should not necessitate an annual fee for our members greater than the $5-10 that we have already mentioned in the glaze database discussion forum. One of the really interesting possibilities for us as a group, is setting up project glazes where we collaborate in a very organized way to develop new glazes or improve existing ones.
We have a golden opportunity to get in on the ground floor of what is likely to be the most useful and valuable glaze database on earth. I urge each and every one of you who mix your own glazes to become part of this massive undertaking which will open up to colleges, universities, businesses, and ceramic artists world-wide.
Tony is finishing up a couple introductory videos and we can expect to see his Web application come up on a restricted basis for us very soon.
I ran a survey to asses interest in this and related educational opportunities. It was answered by 209 members and provides much information for us as we ponder the way forward for the cone6pots network. View the survey results
I just received the first bid of $999 to do the development work.
This sounds very interesting. I am looking at GlazeMaster as a present to myself as I'm interested in getting more involved in glaze development. I love the experimenting. To have a place on this site where we could all share our experiences and recipes seems a logical next step. I'll be interested to hear what others think of this.
I would be happy to pay the annual fee, this website has brought so much to me. Thank you
Great idea, George. Either fee for membership or fee for access to the database seems fine to me. However, if it is a fee for access to the database, and people go ahead and share the recipes on the "free" discussions, it kinda' defeats the purpose, no? Then again, I think fewer people would sign up to participate in the site if they had to pay, even a small amount, to be a member. But, the seriously-minded would, I'm sure.
I would be happy to pay an annual fee. So much good information and well worth $5-10/year.
Count me in for paying a fee for such a service!
I have some feedback on this.
I have built an online glaze db and found some of the quirks.
When discussing this with the developer I recommend you're very clear about how to handle two types of duplicates, duplicate names and duplicate recipes.
Any glaze db will have many different glazes named "Clear" or "White" or "Crackle". Be sure to make the developer aware of this. Someone not familiar with glazes *may* assume names are unique. They are not. If the code assumes unique names the db will only allow one clear, one white, etc.
Additionally a single recipe may have more than one name. There is an iron red I use that I have seen called 3 distinct names. A good db design will display one recipe but three different names.
In addition to handling duplicates the db will need to be able to handle ingredients. How many different ways are there to spell Neph Syn? Ny db had about 2,000 recipes and I saw about 20 different ways to spell Neph Syn. Same with EPK. Or should I say E. P. K., or Edgars Plastic Kaolin. You get my point. If no mapping is done for ingredients the ingredient table will contain many hundreds of ingredients.
How will recipes be added to the db? Manually? Will a batch upload function be built in? Lots of folks have glaze software that allows exporting of recipes. It would be nice if the db accepted those files.
One last design consideration - should the db normalize the recipe? We're all used to normalized recipes and I know I prefer working with them. But should that be enforced in the code? If so - how?
As a software guy I can tell you the clearer we are with the requirements the better the final product will be.
Thinking about this some more and have some more input.
Another thing to think about is the hosting. Most of the freelance developers I know will unless instructed otherwise host the web app themselves (usually through their hosting service and they receive a commission). This is a totally legit way for the developer to make more money from the project.
If we plan on keeping this up we should think about where it is hosted. There are a lot of options. And whoever bids on the project may have a host in mind. But we should have a hosting plan before we put our money on the table.
Lastly, thanks George! Great idea!
I appreciate your thoughts, Zoo, and am prepared to go as basic or as sophisticated as member interest and willingness to invest in the project will allow. I was actually thinking of a multi-phased project that would start very basic and be upgraded as usage, demand, and finances allow.
I'm thinking for Phase 1 the glaze entry form will be the only recipe entry mechanism for our members. In the actual ingredient entry portion of the form the material field for each ingredient would have an auto-fill-in dropdown list of about 120 of the most commonly used raw materials. The user will select one rather than typing in their offbeat personal abbreviation. If a material is not on the list, then they could type in a material.
I would think that a database of up to 10,000 recipes would fall in the realm of being quite small as databases go. If each new recipe being entered is assigned a primary key glazeID, then it shouldn't be too critical that the database recognize that the recipe might pre-exist under a different name. Nor should it matter if a number of different recipes have the same name, as long as a search query will select all of them for a user to compare.
Attached is an excel list of materials I was thinking of using to populate the drop-downs and a PDF form I was working on to explore how the form might be structured.
I didn't come to this site because it has been free. Would be more than happy to donate and pay ongoing costs. Far as i can tell, giving some money to make something i already like better is no loss.
Reminder, sites either grow or die. So sign me up and tell me what to do.
As a newer member to this forum, I appreciate all the thought George and Zoo have put into the discussion - I would be happy to pay $5-10 per year to support this effort. Not really experienced in programming itself but the victim(?) of double work, it would be sensible to structure the multiphases theoretically from the beginning with code set up so expansion doesn't require reworking the framework. Manually consolidating duplicates can be a pain. But if there isn't the funding then perhaps there could be a mechanism for resolving duplicates, and including all names in the title so someone who remembers one of the names used can refind it. I prefer normalized recipes but if people also have another format (e.g., teaspoons) maybe there can be a comment section for that). This is a wonderful project!
The Glaze Recipe Database Survey has one written response that I want to share with all.
"It would be important to have pertinent details like the firing schedule, and the clay used for testing included, in order to enhance the usefulness of the website."
Insight-Live Recipe database has space for both of these as well as associating multiple pictures and notes on how different people got different results. We will be able to see more of the range that a single glaze is capable of producing.