Sometimes an ID degree, combined with whatever random interests you have, can lead to unusual career paths. In the '90s, Kevin Xiem Nguyen graduated from Art Center with a degree in Industrial Design. But after six years working at two consultancies, Hauser Inc. and BMW's Designworks/USA, Nguyen's passions got the better of him. He quit ID to found the Xiem Clay Center, a facility that offers ceramics education, studio space and community for ceramicists in the Pasadena area.
Nguyen ran the Xiem Clay Center with co-founder Brian Fees, but after a decade, the ID bug came back. In 2014 Nguyen started designing his own specialty clay tools, used his ID know-how to set up production, and founded Xiem Tools USA to distribute them.
I don't know much about pottery tools, but it's always fun/edifying to look at tools designed for a specialty outside of your own. Here are some examples of what Nguyen sells:
This retractable scoring tool is used to mark up the joints of clay slabs that are to be joined. These typically have static tines, like a fork, but Nguyen made his retractable for safety.
This telescoping X-Sponge tool is for when you need to remove water from the inside of a deep turned vessel with a narrow neck, like a vase. Replacement sponge heads are available.
This flexible silicone rubber Potter's Wand is essentially an extra-long "throwing stick," a tool potters use to shape the inside of narrow-necked forms being thrown on a wheel.
I couldn't find a video of this particular one in use, but I did find this short demo of a traditional throwing stick so you can see how it's used:
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This X-Bevel tool provides a quick way to cut precise bevels at 30, 45 and 60 degrees.
This 13" cutting wire offers more-ergonomic-than-usual handles and comes with a storage case to prevent the wire from getting tangled when thrown in a toolbox.
This Teapot Spout Maker is used by wrapping a clay slab around one of the tapers and joining the seams. The spout is then cut and joined to the pot. Comes in two sizes.
This is just a snippet of what Nguyen offers. There's more to see here.
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