Jump to content

Most Liked Content

#76076 Finding Your Own Style...easy To Say

Posted by JBaymore on 24 February 2015 - 01:35 PM



Go online and into the (gasp) library (you know those things called books  ;)  ) and start looking at images.  Then start a "clip book" (digital or physical) of the pieces that you say, "I wish I made that" about.  Amass at least 100 images.


Then from that selection of images narrow it down to about 20 images that you REALLY feel strongly about.  Put the rest away.


Then (yup....writing) write out the commonalities of traits that you see in the remaining 20 objects.  Use the language of the principles of art and design for this as well as and words that stress feelings.  Write at length.  If initially you can't see connections... look deeper..... they WILL be there.


Then spend some time analyzing that set of commonalities you drafted.


Next....................... take one of your physical pieces from the photo you posted above... and set it on the table in front of you and next to the papers with the listings you just came up with.  Ask yourself "What could I do to change THIS piece to reflect some of the common characteristics that I listed"?  Write those thoughts down.  Then get a sketch pad and using the piece in front of you as a "model", draw the "new" piece as you now envision it.  Look at that fuirst sketch and revise it to improce on it.  Do that a few times.


Then once you have a couple of sketches..... go MAKE that piece you drew in the last sketch.


THEN.... (nope not done yet)............... look at the new piece and assess what you feel is working on it, and what could be improved.


Make the same exact piece again.... but making ONLY the changes you just articulated.  Everything that you did NOT say should be changed should look like a Xerox copy of the prior piece.


Repeat this process on THIS object a number of times.


DO this diligently on the first object...and then a few others the same way................ and you'll no longer be asking about how to do this.





#86771 Should I Start Pottery Or Not? Advice Please.....

Posted by JBaymore on 08 June 2015 - 06:06 PM

Welcome to the forum.


As has been said...... start out easy and slowly.  Don't put the cart ahead of the horse.  The view from "inside" might be different than the view from "outside".  After you've take a FEW classes...... then you'll know if the investment of a wheel and kiln makes any sense for your situation.


And by the way.......... asking for "objective" advice here from this group is like walking into a bar full of alcoholics and asking if they thought you should start drinking.  ;)





#77494 Authenticity, My Own Personal Struggle With What It Means

Posted by Tyler Miller on 17 March 2015 - 01:55 AM

This is something I wrote to articulate a struggle I've been having with my own work and to help me resolve my feelings about it.  I thought I'd share because it may help others crystallize their own artistic project.  I will disclaim that the contents may not sit well with you the reader, but it is not meant to be directed outward, this comes from my own perception of myself and no one else.  Please bear that in mind. This is 100% an internal and personal criticism directed at myself, no one else.


I’ve come to the conclusion that my impulses as a potter have come into conflict.  On the one hand, i want to explore and understand EVERY form.  i want to know why Wedgewood is beautiful, why chawan can be perfection and how to get there, how to make the most perfect imitation of a longquan celadon, or get the highest gloss possible on an attic red-figure copy.


But on the other, I can’t help but feel like I’m betraying myself and my own potential for a naturalistic artistic vision if I carry those desires too far.


Horace and Hamada ring in my ears.  I can’t help but think about what Hamada said about the pretentiousness of Japanese potters adding granite to their clay to make it like the prized clays of Shigaraki that naturally had it present, or the excessive effort put into applying hake me brush strokes in a beautiful manner when the Korean potters who came up with the technique were just hoping to cover the red clay of the body.


Indeed, there are many Hamada copyists who miss entirely Hamada’s artistic vision.  Hamada was a brilliant potter who could work in any style and formulate any glaze to fit his purpose, but he chose to be a Mashiko potter and work within the limitations of that folk tradition.  The boldness and revolutionary nature wasn’t his forms, it wasn’t his subject matter, it was that he let those decisions make themselves as he set down roots.  Leach (and Cardew) tried to do something similar, but he found that he couldn’t authentically work in the English country potter tradition as he’d hoped.  Cardew’s attempts especially failed at making slipware commercially viable the way he’d hoped.  After all, it wasn’t too long after Cardew was struggling to make it work that the last old time English country potteries closed.  I suspect potters like Isaac Button would've thought Cardew “daft” for being too precious with “nought but clay.”


Leach’s true success was his marketing.  The studio potter was his invention and I’m not quite sure I properly know what being a studio potter is all about.  Maybe you do.  But the concept eludes me.


What bothers me, however, is how many Hamada and Leach copyists exist out there.  How many little brown jugs and pitchers exist, how many tea bowls are thrown, only to be an awkward way to drink Earl Grey or a latté, or how many anagamas are built in North America and Europe.  It may all be a part of the natural progression of studio potters—the artist’s indulgence in the process seems to be part of the process, and that’s fine.  But to what extent are we really just adding granite to our finely levigated clay?  To what extent are we just lingering too long over how we’re going to apply our slip with a rough brush, when maybe we should be thinking about how best to do justice to our art as a continuation of ourselves?


It’s too easy to don masks and pretend we’re one thing or another.  Playing at pretend is almost a right in the western world.  We’ve allowed ourselves the luxury of saying “well, I’m pagan, but I really like buddhist meditation, and I wear a rosary to honour my great aunt, who was a nun—I can still feel her spirit with me.”  To me, as I get older, this kind of pastiche of cultural appropriation seems to miss the point entirely.  We can dissemble ourselves into oblivion, when the point of it all is to seek and express truth.  Can a westerner truly grasp wabi-sabi?  Maybe academically, but I think we only have limited choices before us when it comes to approaching another culture, we can step into it through a contextualized “window” of study,  we can compartmentalize its attributes into our own, preexisting culture, or we can let it wash over us and envelope us and change us, but even then, we’re never quite authentically a part of it.  Disagree?  Examine how you feel about immigrants who come to where you live, do they ever really become a part of your culture in your eyes?  Is the person with an accent ever really American/Canadian/Mexican/British/French/Swiss/or Japanese?  I want them to feel like they are, but they know as well as I do that’s not an identity they get. Their children and their children’s children get that, but never them.


So too, I feel it is with culture.  We will always have a cultural “accent” when we work within an artistic context other than our own.  I’m getting pretty good at throwing Hellenic forms and I make a decent chawan, but they’re not real, my Canadian accent is too thick for me to speak proper Greek (οὐκ ὀρθως ἑλληνίζω).  And while it’s a good and acculturating experience for me to try and expose myself to different cultures and ideas, at some point it becomes an exercise in hiding from oneself.  At some point that in-between space between cultures becomes an insulation.  Something like:  I cannot identify with my own culture, so I adopt another to act as a mask among my own people, a means of explaining myself through other peoples and hiding myself the same way.  Maybe the artist has a right to do this, but I’ve never been comfortable with that kind of conceptual art.  It seems too much like the Animé fan girls who obsess over Japanese culture and pine over its superiority in order to compensate for their own struggle to fit in.  Or a friend of mine who constantly travels, with no roots anywhere.  When things get “too real” in any one place, he moves on, and finds a new set of friends and a new culture.


But all this begs the question?  What do I do as an artist to be authentic to myself and my work?  I think Horace’s Ars Poetica has a venerable answer.  A painter cannot legitimately paint a horse’s neck with a human head and all manner of feathers and features down below.  At least, not without proper context.  A writer sounds ridiculous writing a day’s events in purple prose.  There’s a proper register and justice to be done to everything.  A proper way to work with clay.  Indeed, i think that’s what the Japanese are talking about when they talk about the “flavour” of the clay.  It’s like a wine’s terroir.  A certain kind of climate does the best justice to a certain kind of grape.  And so too, I think a certain land produces a certain kind of clay, a certain culture a certain set of vessels, and a certain person a certain kind of approach.  There’s little place for obfuscation in this, I think.  No real reason to try to appropriate another culture, at least, for any length of time.  The culture you grew out of is culture enough.  And really, the best artists I know, seem to shoot at something above it anyway, they look too deeply inward.  Their imitators, however, seem all too superficial by comparison.

#70289 Overcoming Insecurity

Posted by LeeU on 20 November 2014 - 10:45 AM

OK, Ms. Guinea "furry critter" potter............this is from MY experience, so try not to personalize or view as targeted criticism...that is not where I am coming from  :wub:


When I was a student at the School of the Arts (Crafts Department, VCU) several instructors gave me painful "pull-ups". Pull-ups are blunt, sometimes harsh, reality checks that are used in an old-school drug treatment modality called Therapeutic Community. Screw up, and you'll find yourself scrubbing baseboards with a toothbrush or sitting on the Hot Seat to receive scorching feedback, or getting onerous pull-ups from the community.


Well, I had an instructor who was forever giving me pull-ups. And I really got my feelings hurt and got very discouraged and was about to quit school. He'd say things like "Art is not therapy...it you need emotional help, get out of my class and go see a social worker."  This type of comment might be delivered after I had to defend my lopsided vessel by disclosing that it was "off' because my hands were shaking when I centered because I was upset about "something". 


The day I was going to quit I ran into another art instructor, and I was crying at the time. She asked what was wrong, sat on the steps with me, listened while I moaned about this instructor, and then said "Don't you dare quit. You just do your best and come see me if anyone gives you any ######." I lived to fight another day, and earned my degree.  


(What neither of them knew was that I was in the shape I was in because I had been severely beaten by someone who knew how to not leave bruises where they show, that I was in a shelter with my toddler, that the batterer had totally destroyed my portfolio the night before the final critique, and that voc rehab was only very reluctantly paying for my school because I refused to work at McD's where they tried to place me. I insisted...with threat of legal action, since I had/have disabilities...that I could do something about and with my life if I could just go to art school.) 


Long story long: I had to get off the pity-pot, stop awfulizing and cease  whining about my sorry state of affairs, stop victimizing self, (participating in the killing of my own spirit by staying stuck), cop a positive attitude, and otherwise get a grip and make tough choices and tough changes to get myself out of the morass.   Making a daily Gratitude List, as much as I hated it, also helped. I had so little gratitude that I had to start by listing my ten fingers and ten toes, I kid you not. Oh, and I did avail myself of some therapy.   :wacko:


Eventually I came to see that the comments on my work that Mr. No Sensitivity provided were just as valuable, in terms of improving my skills, as the pep-talks from Ms. Nice-guy. Today, I have to own the fact that, by virtue of being a student, I ASKED FOR feedback on my work, and thus can't complain that I got it! LOL  :rolleyes:    

#77134 What Do You Get Out Of This Forum Interaction?

Posted by oldlady on 11 March 2015 - 09:29 AM

i will never write a book, i have nobody to leave my studio and equipment, i will not have made an impression on the clay world when i am gone.  maybe something i have said will matter to someone here.  those little "likes" are nice to see.

#87939 Members With Etsy Stores?

Posted by Grype on 28 June 2015 - 04:15 PM

I have a friend who makes his entire living off selling jewelry on etsy. Makes 6 figures from home. Took him over 3 years of hard work to get there, but the main thing he said is that you need to list items. The more items you list the better off you are. Then as you start selling you will know what to make more of and what to make less of. Keep adapting and modifying pricing until you get the sweet spot where you get the amount of work your comfortable with. He didn't start hitting a lot of sales until he had over 200 items in his shop. Now he sales 30-40 pieces a day. Of course he makes jewelry with a machine that does 95% of the work, and the hand made part is his designs that he came up with. Etsy has changed its policies a lot lately on these things. The stock prices have been falling quickly because of the market place becoming machine made things that resemble hand made.


He said the main thing you need to do is streamline the process for the things your going to be listing. So find shapes that fit into the same size boxes, find out how much it cost to ship those boxes and start only with those shapes so that the shipping stuff doesn't become the kink in your operation. After you get that down you can expand onto other shapes, but it is expensive in the beginning to stock different sized boxes and things for different shaped objects. He also said make sure your packaging is nice. It is nice to open a nice box into a nice thing. Will make people happier.


His recommendation to me was to make anything that would fit into a box that would hold a single 16oz mug. So small bowls, small vases, spoon rest, sponge holders or anything else that would fit into that size box. Then once you have the materials and are selling those products to add another size box and all the things that go with it. His advice was the move into a box that would hold 4 mug boxes, so you could ship sets of 4 and what ever would go into that box. Big mixing bowls, platters etc etc.


Pictures are everything. You need to have a picture that shows the item nicely, another that displays it in its natural environment, one that shows the size compared to objects that it will be around, and one that shows the detail of the piece. Some of this can be done with a single picture depending on the object one is selling.


Beyond that he said its just finding out what people want to buy. The best price range is the 25 dollar price range. He said if you can get a product that you can sell for a good profit at 20-25 dollars that will be your best earner, but will require a lot of manual labor for pottery.


I have done my own research at the bigger pottery stores on etsy, there are a few who have a lot of sales. 


The number one things I have found that sell are: sponge holders, mugs, cereal bowls, spoon rest, bud vases, and yarn bowls. All of those things vary greatly in prices from 10 to 50 dollars depending on the amount of detail in the pot. 


Another thing he said was to make sure the first people buying from you are happy. Eventually Etsy will allow them to leave reviews on your shop on the item they purchased, you want those 5 stars. His other thing was 100% satisfaction guarantee. You don't want people giving you anything but 5 stars. No review is better than 4 stars he said. So make sure that if they are unhappy they know they can ship the item back and just lose the shipping cost and you refund their money. He said it was vital to his business. He has like 3K reviews almost all 5 stars.


So all in all, it is a lot of work. But until you start getting sales, its just taking pictures and creating a listing, so I guess its not too much work until you start getting sales. If you can stream line your pictures to listing process and have some general templates built that you use for listing products it is pretty simple. I help my mother in law sell dog dresses on etsy. She has made over 7k selling dog dresses in 2 years. But she sells high end 80-90 dollar dog dresses. People are crazy.

#81038 Community Challenge #2

Posted by Biglou13 on 07 May 2015 - 09:48 PM

plant pot that has been influenced from your research into the season of spring.


i have 3 potentials ...

a plant pot  to me ...includes vase.... vase like vessels

now to research  plant or plant like forms and their spring like relationship to vessels..... i wish there are ikebana people closer to north florida


ill break the ice with

 work in progress



Attached File  gallery_25544_653_219195.jpg   94.06KB   0 downloads

#80870 Space Plates

Posted by Mark C. on 05 May 2015 - 08:48 PM

I had no idea when shooting those fish folks would comment on the space plate on end of table. These two came out of separate kilns one day apart. Both are cone 10 reduction fired on porcelain and are about 10 inch. Each has three glazes with a slight overlap.

Glazes where poured (with a funnel pitcher) and a ear syringe is how I applied my white glaze

These glazes like it a bit cool and unreduced to work best so I put them in my cold spots.

I have been doing these for a very long time on certain forms

I'm in deep space most of the time so they seem a nice fit for me. 




Attached Files

#80140 Community Challenge #1

Posted by Mark C. on 26 April 2015 - 08:31 PM

I had no plans of taking the time for another project -that said my (landscape with clouds square plate) that came out of last glaze kiln fits the bill


sorry about the poor photo.


Attached Files

#76010 *gasp* Handle Sacrilege!

Posted by Benzine on 23 February 2015 - 08:12 PM

you can almost describe pulling as linear throwing.


That's essentially how I explain it to my students.


Also, another reason I enjoy pulled handles, is because I get to demonstrate it straight-faced, to a group of teenagers, while watching them try to not laugh...

#67454 Well Said

Posted by Min on 08 October 2014 - 11:39 AM

I came across the little anonymous blurb below on Bailey's facebook page...



#64331 New Hampshire Institute Of Art Anagama Build - Images

Posted by JBaymore on 11 August 2014 - 10:28 PM

Some people asked me to keep some updates here on out progress.  So...... here are a couple of shots of the first two days of the build:


Day One


Attached File  GettingStarted-8-11.jpg   302.88KB   3 downloads



Attached File  RoasterArea-8-11.jpg   362.4KB   1 downloads


Day Two


Attached File  SecondDay-8-11.jpg   368.16KB   3 downloads



Attached File  SecondDay-2-8-11.jpg   334.55KB   2 downloads




More to come in this thread.  Check back every day or so if you are interested.





#85901 Chattered Bowl..

Posted by Crusty on 01 June 2015 - 10:11 PM

 I like how this one turned out.. Catching it at the rite time to chatter took me some practice.. a lot of fun ...


between work, our wedding and buying a house, we have not had much time to do much clay work.. Ugh.


Hope everyone is doing well.

Attached Files

#84719 Community Challenge #2

Posted by ChenowethArts on 31 May 2015 - 06:40 PM

I suppose one might call this getting back on the horse...


Here is version 2 (EF-2) of the tornado planter...all ready for a nice long drying session.  Thanks all for the encouragement!

F2 - One More Time

#81467 Community Challenge #2

Posted by ChenowethArts on 13 May 2015 - 06:45 AM

I couldn't wait...so I fired one of these monsters because I really wanted a tall pot to transplant an Anthurium.  It looks a little too commercial for me, but since it is for me (and the plant) I'll chalk it up to its functional, get over it :)  From the comments here about my previous posts, I think I have an entry to the challenge all sketched-out that I'm a little more excited about.  This is not my final entry, but I am definitely a proponent of putting a plant in the pot...from the movie Jerry MaGuire, "You complete me"...said the pot to the flower (not really...just a little poetic license).

Anthurium Couldn't Wait

#80753 Ceramic Fish Fresh Caught Today

Posted by Mark C. on 04 May 2015 - 09:21 PM

I unloaded some fish today

I took some junker photos with I-phone as someone wished to see them.

I string them with stainless 19 gauge wire on backs

The 4th photo shows the hanger holes-I put on the backs-If i'm insecure with the hangers I add glaze to attachment as sen with black glaze in 4th photo

All fish are curved somewhat which is hard to see in photos-that way you can place the hangers and they look more real-I use newspaper and it burns out as well as clay supports like on that Angler fish

My reds came out great today as you can see on some functional forms

These fish are schooling for a 3 day show in a few days-they hang on some pro-panels

Halibut -trigger fish -long nose butterfly-seahorse-orca-clownfish-angel fish-great white shark- deep water angler fish

I have been lucky enough to see most of these live underwater while scuba diving of from my boat. I have photos all underwater of most all except the deepwater angler who lives very deep

I have only seen Orca from boats and shore. 

I used to make them as realistic as possiable -now i just have fun glazing them wild

I only take them to shows I know they sell at which is not everywhere (like in AZ.)

All are saltwater species as I'm a saltwater guy.These will go with my tuna and a few others I have already. I have yet to make a freshwater fish

Last photo is from  old 2004 booth in Washington state-shows how I display them 



Attached Files

#80129 Community Challenge #1

Posted by Chris Campbell on 26 April 2015 - 04:09 PM

Final Entry

"Tornado Watch" bowls

Attached Files

#79112 Dressing Up The Display

Posted by GEP on 11 April 2015 - 06:00 PM

I cut and sewed my tablecloths to fit my tables exactly, with the hems hovering right above the ground. I fold the sides around to make boxed sides, then pin them in place with upholstery pins. They are cheap, and fast to set up and take down. I'm not a great seamstress, but I can sew a straight line.



Attached Files

#74635 Community Challenge #1

Posted by GEP on 01 February 2015 - 11:25 AM



I'll go first! This is a design I make on a regular basis, therefore my entry is ready to go.


"Serving Bowl with Clouds" 11 inches across.


Attached File  clouds-bowl600px.jpg   241.72KB   30 downloads

#71965 What Was Your Greatest Leap Forward This Year?

Posted by GEP on 16 December 2014 - 10:33 AM

My biggest leap forward this year was the result of leaving my teaching job at the end of 2013. I do miss the classroom environment and seeing my students/friends every week. But having all of my time devoted to studio work resulted in giant leaps forward in productivity, design of new pieces, more shows, and a whopping 40% increase in sales (not exaggerating ... I'm still trying to wrap my head around this number). I also never felt strung-out exhausted this fall, which had been the norm in previous years. Somewhere along the way this year, my work crossed over another threshold. After several years of applying, I was juried into the 2015 Smithsonian Craft Show, so next year is already looking bright.