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  1. Today
  2. Cool... Just for fun I turned to Wikipedia to set me straight on what Christmas, and "the Christmas season" is, is not, might be, or has evolved into. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas Given that Christmas and the season of Christmastide are undeniably and explicitly a Christian affair, however much celebrated by non-Christians throughout the ages, this challenge may become especially....well....challenging. Equally challenging to the thought process (mine, anyway) is the call for the creation of a symbolic piece, which inescapably involves introspection, belief systems, critical thinking, and art and cultural histories, at a minimum. Maybe even Jungian archetypes and the collective unconscious! I expect all manner of fun will be had researching accurate meanings of symbolic, symbol, and symbolism.
  3. PQotW: Week 26

    3-3-4-3 I have lost track---do the correct answers get posted here or somewhere else?
  4. Yesterday
  5. As promised, it's 30 minutes past midnight on 24 September 2017, exactly three months until Christmas Eve, so here is your next community challenge: Wherever you live/work/play, if you're in Europe, the US or an "ex-British-colony/commonwealth country you can't escape christmas. So this challenge is to create a piece of work that symbolises the christmas season for you. Whether it's religious, non-religious, fantasy, ironic. Whatever. As a devout atheist, for me, christmas is the time when too many people get into debt buying gifts for people who don't want or need them, so I'm going to make a money box, filled with IOUs. What will you make? You have until santa starts his deliveries to put your pictures somewhere. (I'll check Joel's original rules and repeat them here later/soon.)
  6. Shimpo wheels, advice needed

    Cavoletto, I think you might have quoted Oly's post, but then deleted his text and added yours. I've thrown a bit more with the RK3E, only around 2KG (4.5lb). Best thing apart from the quietness is how good the pedal is. The splash pan still moves, but that's lessened by tucking in so one's thighs are tight against it. Still annoying for an expensive product, but not insurmountable in daily use.
  7. The BUSINESS of Pottery

    The Wealthy Potter meets The Wealthy Barber. Totally agree, it's a lifestyle and a mindset.
  8. Kiln Install on Deck

    One thing that hasn’t been brought up is the ambient temp of the space you will be using your kiln. You mentioned snow but not how cold the climate is where you live. When the temp goes below freezing the controller can malfunction. It’s fine for the controller to get very cold but before you program in a firing or start the kiln you would need to warm up the controller to above freezing. A space heater a few feet from the controller for an hour or so works. Don’t apologize for this thread causing any issues, you have a valid question. Welcome to the forums
  9. The BUSINESS of Pottery

    I think these days one would have to slowly work at pottery as a sideline and either have another job (for money ) or a supporting partner to get you thru the lean start up years. Having a day job would be key. Also the love of ceramics would also be key as you noted and I would agree that this is far far not an easy way to make money.I feel its got to be more love for clay than desire to make money to make it work. I think risk is in all business and the pottery one has more than usual. I think Mea's point on how you spend money also has huge merits in the equation . Enough on this, this am I have our annual apple juicing day this morning-25 folks show up and we juice all of our and the neighbors apples as well as what folks bring. It usually a half day deal. Last year it was 120 gallons -this year it may be 30 gallons as its a light year. I need to light the bisque kiln as well.
  10. Kiln Install on Deck

    Hi, these have been very helpful. I'll keep an eye on the wood below the kiln but if I raise it a total of 2 feet I'm sure it will be okay, especially since it will only be at this location for a year. I think I'll use bricks because our building is having bricks replaced and there is a large pile of old bricks outside the apartment! In regards to weathering. I am installing tight canvas curtains on the sides of the deck that will let in any snow/rain. Then when I'm not using the kiln it will be tarped. I'm also thinking of making some sort of water proof wooden box to place over the kiln when not in use. I don't want to let any electrical portions of the kiln to get wet. I'm doing the best to extend this kilns life since it's my first expensive equipment purchase post graduation. I'm sorry if this thread has caused any issues! I know it's a controversial issue. The residency I was at this summer had a fire start in their 100 year old buildings roof due to poor maintenance of indoor kilns surrounded by wood. I will be vigilant of the wood and surfaces my kiln is near. Thank you all for the help! Warmly, Kaylee Anderson IG: @kayleeanneanderson
  11. The BUSINESS of Pottery

    Tyler makes a good point that should be part of every discussion about running a successful studio. It takes much longer to develop a pottery business than most other small businesses, and you need to have a financial plan for the developmental years. I've said several times on the forum before that I kept my day job for 8 years after I got serious about the pottery business. I recommend this type of plan for everyone who asks. I still see plenty of folks who are impatient and think it can be done more quickly. They get frustrated, or go broke. Mark makes a good point about regions. This is possible in some regions and not in others. I am very fortunate to live where there are many quality venues, within a few hours drive. We have crappy venues too, but they can be avoided. On the subject of profitability, it's not a high income business, but it can be profitable. A lot of this depends on how you manage your personal finances and how much you spend, not on how much you make. I make a modest middle class income but I sock away plenty, invest, and plan to retire early (maybe at age 55, maybe earlier). Technically I could retire now and make it work, but it would be tight financially, and I enjoy what I'm doing too much right now anyways, so not worth it. Anyhow, this means my risk is very low at this point and I would easily survive another recession. For anyone who is scratching their heads at how this is possible, read The Millionaire Next Door. It maps out basically everything I've done with my financial life since my 20s. If you are not willing to live like this, then full time pottery (or being self employed period) is too risky for you. And you don't necessarily have to accept a lifetime of "scraping by" because you want to be a potter.
  12. The BUSINESS of Pottery

    Mark. it was not my intent to diminish your narrative (ie prompt a defense of your experience) but rather to say "it's not always good," and to plan for the worst as well, because those days happen and can ruin you without some forethought. That part of the story was missing here. In fact, the feel of this thread struck me as plan on making loads of pots for 5-10 years to make it--and then loads more. And you're right, that's what success will feel like. But 5-10 years is eons financially, with loads of capital tied up. To the extent that it's better not to consider it a full business until year 8, 9, or 10. Or maybe just plan to keep it paying for itself. Because, put in financial terms, a 5-10 year capital-hungry investment with uncertain returns, is such that someone may as well open a restaurant if the return is what matters. At least, then, you'll know what's what by the end of year one. And so, that comes to my advice: do it because you love it but plan like a business that you could lose. Manage risk and scale accordingly.
  13. The BUSINESS of Pottery

    Tyler I think markets vary so much area to area. They also change over time. I never thought or have said it will be easy . I know from my past few years in various states selling that at least in some parts of the western US the market for handmade goods in improving rapidly. My local outlet yesterday said europeans are buy pottery to take home something that she has never seen in the past 15 years at her shop.I have test to have a down show this year compared to last year and last year was my best ever year. I think in many areas this will not be the case but for us out west thats what I have seen. My friend (another high end potter) has seen some downturn at his shows so all experiences are so different and really each person will experience a different outcome. I like many streams of income from ceramics (wholesale -consignment -direct -and shows are just one form. All shows will change over time they can go away -get better -get worse -or tank. Just their nature. My next show has lots of JUNK in it (always has past 25 years) but handmade still jumps out and sells well there. This will be my next show I drop as I scale back as its 1,000 miles from my house.
  14. The BUSINESS of Pottery

    There are two concepts missing from this discussion, I feel the need to add. Risk management and scale. Pottery is a capital intensive, low profitability business. If you were to do a business school case study, you'd be forces to conclude a pottery is not a good investment. To which you may say, "But Tyler, I make a very good living wage." That's fine, but you're comfortably breaking even--unless you have enough left over for growth. Profit isn't what you take home, it's what's left after you pay yourself and cover expenses. And very few potteries of any scale crack the profit code. This is a historic problem. To the Greeks, the "wealth of a potter" was proverbially fleeting. Michael Cardew failed a few times, and so did the Brantford pottery near me. Even Bernard Leach struggled. Risk is high. No matter how good last month was, a few months of bad shows and you're digging into savings--and with it your potential to be flexible and productive in the future. This makes growth difficult and risky. I know a very talented woodfirer who can't afford to fire her kiln solo. A local charitable organization can't afford to use their gorgeous and quite large gas kilns (or even have them hooked up because their insurance would jump). You can go too big too fast, and then you're sunk. In my locality, the handmade market is drying up. Galleries do wonderfully, but craft shows are dead. And as vendor fees skyrocket, artists/artisans can't afford the risk. Some organizers had to drop their "handmade" standard and let in retailers selling made in China garbage. At the last show I was at, no one who actually made their product sold anything--literally nothing--except one painter who sold a painting of a guitar to one of the music acts. the year before the same show was my best sale ever. So despite a commitment to making as much as possible, possible is limited by sales projections. A plan must be rooted in careful strategy and a realistic assement of risk. When the going's good, throw till your arms fall off, but until then, calculate every step you make.
  15. I have the means and had a studio assistant for over 25 years now -its handles-interior glazing and some help with baby pots as well as most all of the hot dip waxing (I do the liquid wax on footed forms)
  16. one last note Make sure your glaze is the right gravity before adding this as it will make the bucket appear thicker .
  17. Mark & Min- Merci Beaucoup!
  18. Last week
  19. The BUSINESS of Pottery

    Handmade is on the rise for sure. Unless you got some "mad" pottery skills and people digging your stuff and willing to pay for the effort in making show stoppers you will most likely not flourish. Make some strong forms and have a good glaze fit consistently. Develop a line of work that is economical for you to produce. Listen to what people/customers are saying and buying and adjusting accordingly. Apprenticing with someone may be very helpful. Then you might have a chance. But I would not plan on that trip to Borneo for a good many years. "I would rather make a hundred $10 mugs as opposed to twenty $50 mugs" one of my mentors said this a few years ago. "Take my advice; I'm not using it." is what another mentor told me many years ago.
  20. I'm going to share some numbers because the "how much SHOULD I be making" question I think plagues a lot of people, myself included. If you're bummed about your sales on a given day, it can be a real head job to watch your friends who make jewelry or barn wood signs clear thousands of dollars on the same day you did $200. (keep in mind, that jeweller spent a whole lot more money making her stock than you did. She's out cash money, you're out time. Our materials are incredibly cheap by comparison.) I'll start with a high-overhead show that I did at Christmas for the last 2 years. (I won't be going back to it this year.) 2015: gross take, $2540. My net, I'd have to do a bunch of digging through receipts, but if it was similar to the following year, I would have kept about 1200 before taxes (which I didn't earn enough money in the year to have to pay.) 2016: gross take, $1279. Net, $200. There were a large number of extenuating circumstances on this one, and I was not the only vendor who had markedly lower numbers over the previous year. These included an economy that was through the floor last year, with a 10% unemployment rate in the province. There were other organizational issues with this show that I found troublesome, and they seem to be persisting. I won't be going back to this show, unless they get them sorted out. The high overhead show involved out of town travel (4 hour drive) for 3 nights, which I offset by staying with family instead of in a hotel, and travelling back immediately after the show was done. I work alone, unless I can bribe a family member into spotting me off for an hour or so to go get food. This show was expensive not just because of the booth fee ($1000 for a 10x10), but because it required a lighting setup that I didn't own previously and a more sophisticated look than my outdoor booth. Both took a few tries to get right. It required a business license for a different city (it's the only city in my province that requires it) By contrast, one of my lowest overhead shows is a farmer's market I do throughout the summer. Booth fee is $48/day, they set up the table, I bring my tent, weights, stock and table dressings. One hour drive one way, 7:30 am setup and 2 pm tear down. I allow myself to buy lunch occasionally, but generally I brown bag it because I can. Average expenses per day, including booth, lunch, square fees and gas are about $65. 2015: 5 days worked total over the summer, gross $775. (Daily average $155) 2016: 9 days worked total, gross $2052 ( Daily average $228) 2017: 12 days worked total, gross $4480. (Daily average $373) 2017 also saw me with a lot of orders that came out of being at this market, some of which are included in the gross total because they were picked up at the market. I give a rough estimate of $1000 worth of work, including a wholesale order for 30 mugs, that I got from putting in face time every Saturday morning, that isn't included in this total. So sorry about the essay, but there really are a lot of factors that affect one's numbers, but if you track yourself against yourself, it's very satisfying to see when and where growth happens. My numbers are nowhere near what Mark's or Mea's are, but both of those two have been in business *a lot* longer than I have, even though I think Mea and I have made pottery for a similar amount of time. I'm putting mine out there as a business beginner, even though I'm kind of embarrassed by some of them, because I see a lot of other people having the same questions. I spent a lot of time in the last 3 years being very frustrated with my numbers, until I really stopped looking at my friends' businesses, and tracked my own numbers against themselves. No, it isn't happening as fast as I want it to, but it is happening .
  21. Kiln Install on Deck

    The freeze thaw cycle is what will work on cement board-I think you will get many seasons from it before it fails.Just get the thicker board as it comes in many thicknesses.
  22. The BUSINESS of Pottery

    My advice is to start to throw in series-working up to larger numbers.Most only want to make a few items then drift off to something else.I think discipline is key if this life is for you. Production seems to be a dirty word but thats the name of the game in functional wares .Sure you can make a few pots and ask a lot but that market is very small compared to what people want to use every day in their lives.
  23. Kiln Install on Deck

    Durock cement board is described as mold and water resistant . . . and there's a difference between water resistant and water-proof. Cement board is generally used as a backing, not an exposed surface.
  24. 2017 work

  25. The BUSINESS of Pottery

    I came to pottery from a painting background so I was more comfortable showing work in a gallery setting. I am starting to push myself to make more work and show more places. This post was a great reminder to me to keep pushing. Thank you!
  26. Kiln Install on Deck

    I know it can hold up to water just fine, but I would expect that it would tend to spall from freeze-thaw. I don't think it would totally fall apart, since there are fibers helping hold it together.
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