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Chris Campbell

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Everything posted by Chris Campbell

  1. Christmas Ornaments

    Nancylee ... no need to slink away! ... so sorry if I came across wrong ... did not mean to offend. I think it is important to look at market trends and make the best decisions I can from what is happening. Imports as such were not my problem ... people no longer buying my product because they did not see the value in paying more was the key. Face to face I could still sell them but that was not enough volume to make my efforts worthwhile ... it was extremely labor intensive. I think that the tide is somewhat turning in that people ( with enough income ) are returning to handmade and putting value on a face to face experience.
  2. Christmas Ornaments

    China does not have the corner on cheap labor or mass production .... and the ornaments were not crap. If you needed to buy ten or twelve for co-workers or family, they were a good deal. Most were fairly well made. If a Gallery owner could mark them up 200% and still come in under my wholesale price, that is their bills paid and the shop stays open. Most of my Galleries were 'Mom & Pop' level ... some had even mortgaged their homes to stay open. They did what the customers dictated, what they had to do. I have no problem with that.
  3. Whether you are selling pizzas or pottery it is crucial to realize that you are running a business and therefore need to act like it. MAKE A PLAN! Yes, I am yelling. You cannot reach Hawaii by wandering west and not knowing there is an ocean in the way. Please don't just wander around making costly mistakes. READ UP ... Research ... just Google the topic and get advice on how to run a crafts based business which is about the same as running any small business. GO TO A CLASS ... many community colleges have classes on running a small business, the Arts Business Institute has regular weekend workshops that will save you from years of mistakes. Many, many websites or blogs offer excellent advice on running a crafts business. This site offers a ton of advice for those willing to understand that the advice is meant for them ... they are not a special exception to the boring work. Read or listen and learn. Right now is a fabulous time to be making a handmade product if you know what you are doing and marketing yourself properly. As more 'connected' people tire of the lack of personal contact in their daily lives home shows and studio shows are gaining popularity. People want the story ... they want the personal connection ... yes, they want a part of the dream that is "a life of creativity" .... they need items of consequence and to share the story with friends. Other Crafts are recognizing this and feeding the need. Even the foodie world is going to extremes to give them an excellent story to go with their meal. So, take yourself seriously. Do the work. Plan your attack for the long run of 5-8 years building a client base. It will pay off. I invite you to start here with my website, then continue on to others ... http://www.ccpottery.com/marketing_your_work_to_gall.html
  4. Christmas Ornaments

    I agree ... it's a cycle I caught the end of ... I do not blame Galleries for opting into healthier profit margins and I can't blame people for choosing flashier ornaments. I am happy to hear that folks are still buying hand made ones somewhere.
  5. Full disclosure .... I would like to post a piece in the 'Business of Pottery" area of my website offering help on time management. I don't get paid for this at all so hope my asking here is OK. I can write this article from a basic point of view ... I know how to manage my time since I had many years of production work ... but what I am lacking is the current experience of having to balance an active web presence with an active studio presence. I have attended numerous lectures locally and at NCECA in regards to how to use the Internet ... facebook, instagram, tweets, blogs, posts, pinterest, ... and always leave quite baffled on how one can stay this active online and still get any serious production done in the studio. I would opt to choose one or two and do those as well as I could ... but some people claim they can do it all. Also ... how much of this activity results in a consumer's interest that lasts longer than the next click?? Not to sound crass or anything ... but show me the trail to the money$$. How much of this is just noise? Thanks in advance for any input.
  6. Christmas Ornaments

    Lots! I loved being part of so many Holiday and family traditions ... people would start asking in June what the ornament would be this year ... I learned so much about colored clay, pattern making, production, time management, glazes, marketing ... would not trade that experience for anything. This of course was in the olden days before inexpensive imported ornaments. The year before imports I sold over 5,000 ... the year after imports I got orders for about 600 ... the next year under 50.
  7. Christmas Ornaments

    Thanks ... I made over 4,000 ornaments every year for about ten years ... so I did pick up some shortcuts .... eventually.
  8. Christmas Ornaments

    A quick tip when using cookie cutters ... put a sheet of dry cleaner plastic on the clay slab and then cut the shapes through it. This makes sure your clay doesn't stick to the cutter and smoothes the edges of the ornaments so you don't have to clean them.
  9. Throw it back at the students ... challenge them to choose something in their everyday lives then build it with coils. Could be a car, a computer, a chair, a trash can, a television ... you might be amazed at what they will come up with.
  10. How do we call it in English?

    Is it the wrong video? Looks like underglaze painting on bisque. With colored clay slips you can paint on fabric and transfer it to greenware.
  11. Making sugar savers question

    My best guess would be that you could use any unglazed clay body ... I would probably just bisque fire it so the surface would be porous.
  12. Personally, I have no problem with being called talented. Smile and say thank you to the gene pool. I know lots of people more creative than I am ... more talented than I am ... more original than I am ... more educated than I am ... more experienced than I am ... smarter than I am ... better connected than I am ... just all around more artistic than I am . I also know many will not take that next step ... the one that promises total success or abject failure. F A I L U R E on a visible stage. So ... take a deep bow if a hideous kiln load did not stop you ... if a bad glaze just challenged you ... if an ancient technique intrigued you ... if a hideous craft show did not end you .., if a horrible day of throwing did not make you quit ... if a customers whining did not defeat you ... if your student's entitlement did not get the best of you. Our talent might just be brutish persistence.
  13. crazy quiz

    1 - (a) ... but only if I can also talk on my cell phone, eat my meals and maybe look down my nose at the crowd. 2 - (c) ... duh, obviously I am the best qualified person to hog other artists time, chase paying customer from their booths and comment on what a terrible show it is ... as loudly as I can. 3 - None of the above. So obviously a trick question. If I made my entry fee back it was a good show.
  14. colouring large batches of porcelain

    I use a commercial size Hobart dough mixer, but these might be more expensive than a pug mill. One way to make your job easier is to saturate your clay with stain. By that I mean ... if you want 5% mix your batch at 10 or 15% ... it is very easy to knead in the right amount of white clay to bring the % down ... less clay to store and less times you have to make it.
  15. colouring large batches of porcelain

    My reply would be two questions ... How often do you think you would be doing this? A pug mill is a big investment if all you want to do is color some clay once or twice and I am really not convinced it is the best tool for the job. How many colors? ... Multiple colors means totally cleaning out the mill between each batch ... ugh!
  16. How about potters braving a 'Hurricane workshop'? Last week I taught a workshop in Atlanta ... believe me, we all had our eyes on the weather channel. Monday ... potters were the only ones who did not even consider cancelling their class ... all the other workshops did. ( Yeah potters!!!) We had to bail at three o'clock because debris was starting to fly in most areas of Atlanta and opinions were that we should go home. Some took their colored clay back to their hotels. Tuesday ... power is off at The Spruill Center for the Arts but the doors were open, Ken was welcoming us in ... we raise all the blinds in the room to let in max light ... and we are off. Power came back on around one and all was fine for the rest of the week.
  17. Signing Your Work, What Is Your Method?

    I just bought some work from a potter who uses decorative decals on the work but also has decals for her name ... in several sizes. So her name is very easy to read on the bottom of all the work. Such a simple solution.
  18. >And I think as a cousin to those face jugs, if one more person asks me if I can make them one of those yarn bowls where it's a face, >and the yarn gets threaded out the nostril, I'm gonna scream! Grossgrossgrossgrossgross!! Some potter used to make an egg separator like that ... the whites dripped out the nose. Ick
  19. They were originally made by slaves in North and South Carolina, but became popular again in the 70s hippy culture.
  20. Yes, I admit to a HUGE dislike ... face jugs and pots. They totally creep me out. If you see historical ones you can feel the anger radiating off them. Ugh and double ugh. When I had to do a face pot for class, I chose the face of a watch.
  21. Totality=One Lucky Guy

    From the sublime to the ridiculous ... well, my iphone. Coolest images watching the eclipse cross my yard and my deck ...
  22. Great question ... because at the time you are actually getting the advice, it's impossible to tell whether it is garbage or gold. Ok .. so some is obvious in that others are coming from their perceptions, their ideas. Good for them, but not universal truths. Others are the worst because of 'Who They Are' ... you think they know what they are talking about ... but ... they too are only talking from their own viewpoint of what works for them. The best are those elusive diamonds you pull from a long time of listening ... someone says something that connects. Something that rings so true. They often do not even know they are sharing this intense moment of connection and people around you don't even notice.
  23. There was a presentation about this at the Alabama Clay Conference several years ago. They were supplying plates for the high end restaurant in a Vegas Casino. As I recall they ended up buying sveral ram presses to keep up with the volume needed as breakage was high. Passing the health inspection was grueling too. She made the glaze the same color as the clay so any small chips would not show ... a small chip noticed by the Health inspector is not a good thing. Making a plate that survives hard use and industrial dishwashing is a challenge ... the owners bought the plates after one of them purposely dropped a plate from waist level to the floor and it did not break.