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Laura DeBoer

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  1. "busted" Busts

    Thanks, everyone! I will definitely let things dry longer next time.
  2. So... What's Your Loss Leader?

    Mugs have become my loss leader. The time spent trimming them and making handles really adds up, and is fairly dull. However, a mug is an acceptable impulse buy for many people--it can be artsy but still functional, and not too expensive. I sell mugs for $15 each, and taking my time into account, I don't really make any money from them. I can make a $50 piece in about the same time with only a little more clay. BUT, I can sell a $15 piece more easily. This also gets my name out there, and someone who bought a mug in January might come back for that $50 bowl or vase in May when shopping for a wedding present. Another word about mugs: I have learned that people are willing to pay more for a larger mug, even though it took the same amount of time to make as a smaller one with barely a difference in materials used. (The word "duh" comes to mind.) This will (hopefully) help push mugs into profitable territory this season.
  3. "busted" Busts

    My sculpture class made busts based on Philippe Faraut's DVD, and every single one cracked apart in the firing. They were definitely dry--they air-dried for a week, then soaked at 150 degrees in the kiln for 12 hours, vented, before firing slowly (about 21 hours) to Cone 05. What went wrong? I have never really fired any sculptures, just high school art projects and my own functional pottery, never anything as thick as these busts. They took over a week to make--did we work on them too long, perhaps letting them get too dry between work sessions? Does anyone have any advice for what I could do next time?
  4. Upgrading An Electric Kiln

    Thanks for the input! As luck would have it, I found a nearly-new high-temp kiln on Craig's List for half the price of a new one, so that has met my needs.
  5. Pricing Your Work

    I'm a fairly new potter, too, and just started selling my work last year through two local shops on consignment, and also at a few small, local craft shows. So far it has supplemented my income but isn't enough to allow me to quit my day job. The advice in this forum has been really helpful! Some things I already do, and some I will give a try. I just wanted to add that you also need to think about who your target customer is. I make my work for people who are basically like me, and maybe a little better off financially. After I go through steps that others mentioned to find a price (like considering material costs, overhead, and my time), I then ask myself, "Would I buy this? Would my sister buy this? My colleagues? If I saw this in a gallery or at a show for that price, would I consider buying it?" Sometimes that makes me lower or raise my prices, and sometimes I feel that it's spot-on. This has allowed my higher profits on some pieces, but also very little profit on others. I would recommend asking yourself the same questions! Good luck!
  6. I would like to start using a mid-range stoneware rather than a low-fire earthenware. However, the max temp on my kiln is 2000 F. I tried firing it higher to see how high it would go, and it only got to 2011. I would like to know if it's possible to change anything (the elements, etc.) to make the kiln able to fire to a higher temperature. We don't have the budget to buy a new kiln, but could afford some changes. We are using an Amaco Excel Select Fire. Thanks for any suggestions!
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