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Everything posted by GEP

  1. GEP

    Studio Photography

    I used the black-to-white fade backdrop for show applications up until this year. This year I used my solid gray fabric / natural light photo stand for my show entries, and the juries seemed to like it (got into the Smithsonian show with these photos). More examples of this photostand's results: http://www.goodelephant.com/recent-work.html
  2. GEP

    Studio Photography

    Here's another view that will hopefully illustrate what I'm talking about better. I cropped a similar piece out of each photo, then resized to 800 pixels wide. Now the DSLR image is at it's full pixel count. The graininess of the iPad photo should be visible now, and that it’s doing a “muddy” job with the darker tones. iPad DSLR
  3. GEP

    Studio Photography

    I agree with this, the number of pixels matters, but the optics of a larger lens in a DSLR are the more important factor.
  4. GEP

    Studio Photography

    I had to downsize both photos to 800px wide, to fit within the forum’s uploading guidelines. The original of the DSLR photo is a whopping 5576 pixels wide, whereas the iPad photo is 2592 pixels wide. At full size, you would see the extra detail. It doesn’t make much difference when viewing them on a screen (because you are limited to the pixels on your screen) but it makes a big difference for other publishing situations, such as printing it on a postcard, or getting published in a magazine. To my eyes, there’s a big difference in lighting between the two photos. The iPad photo is too harsh, the DSLR lighting is softer and more balanced, and fuller range of values.
  5. GEP

    Studio Photography

    Here's a comparison of a photo taken with my iPad, and one taken with a DSLR. Keep in mind this iPad is a few years old, so it's not the most updated smartphone camera. I would use the iPad photo for social media, or to send a quick email to a customer who is interested in seeing the item. I would use the DSLR photo for my website, online store, any other form of publishing, and to apply for shows. The main differences are that I can control the ISO and the f-stop on the DSLR. With no control of the ISO, the iPad camera sometimes chooses a high ISO which results in a very grainy photo, too much contrast, and missing a lot of values in between. And controlling the f-stop means I have full say over the depth of field, which can be used for nice effects. And I agree with @Rex Johnson that the tiny lens on a smartphone makes it hard to take a photo that is not distorted to some extent. The larger diameter and length of the DSLR lens solves a lot of that. iPad DSLR
  6. A few months ago I posted some WIP photos of clock designs that I was experimenting with. Here’s how they are turning out:
  7. The entire phrase I used in class was “The buttress is your enemy. Kill it!” I swear I’m not a violent person, but those buttresses are evil.
  8. GEP

    piping slip

    Ooh thanks Min! The work I was talking about above was by Belleek Pottery, and it was gum arabic not paper clay. Thanks for refreshing my memory.
  9. GEP

    Pricing my work?

    You believe your work is reasonably priced, but this is not enough to justify any price. Lots of artists make this mistake. The truth lies in how the market is responding to your work. If your work is piling up in your studio, then your partner is right. If your work is moving steadily, then you are right. There is no right or wrong here. The right answer is different for every artist. It sounds like your work is moving, and therefore you should stand your ground when someone asks for a discount.
  10. GEP

    piping slip

    I once saw someone making ceramic baskets out of woven strands that were similar in thickness to some of your piped strands. They were using paper clay, and even allowed visitors to handle the greenware just to demonstrate how sturdy the paper clay was. I don’t know what type of paper fiber they were using, I imagine it was something where the paper particles broke down very small. Maybe somebody else here could recommend the right type of paper or fiber?
  11. @shawnhar for someone who is 8 months in, overall your movements look very sound. I have a few suggestions: Center your clay into a “hockey puck.” The proportions can vary from an actual hockey puck, but center your clay into a shape with a flat top and vertical sides. This sets you up to throw a more even walled cylinder. Currently, you are centering into a shape with a domed top, bellied middle, and a large buttress at the bottom. You have to overcome all that uneven distribution in order to throw an even-walled pot. This may not register as extra work on a small pot like a mug, but it will definitely get in your way on larger forms. This doesn’t mean all of your forms need to be cylinders, you can shape them into anything you want after you have gotten your clay up into a cylinder. Speaking of buttresses, pay attention to buttresses and get rid of them! I used to say to my students “the buttress is your enemy.” It prevents your fingers from getting close enough to the base of your wall. On larger forms, it actually sucks clay downward and outward, no matter how hard you are pulling upward and inward. Allowing a buttress to persist and grow is basically ensuring that you will throw a heavy-bottomed pot. On a small pot, just scrape it off with your fingertip whenever you see a buttress forming. On a larger pot, you may need to use an angled tool (wood or metal) to scrape them off. As much as possible, you want the base of your wall to meet the wheelhead at a right angle. On the first mug you threw, you shaped it into a nice shape around the 3 min mark, at which point I thought you were done. Then you continued to shape it into a totally different shape. Why? In all of the work you’ve posted on this forum, I sense a lack of “intentionality,” or that you are unsure or indecisive about shaping. Your video proved me right! At 8 months, this is not something you should have nailed down yet, but it’s something you should work towards. Intentionality is crucial for a pro, ie knowing in advance what form you are aiming for, and going directly to that result. “I”m just going to allow the clay to tell me what shape it wants to take today” is not for pros.
  12. GEP


    @Gabby I have only been using instagram for 2 years, so I’m not the best expert. From what I have observed, the point at which instagram usage translates into sales is when you top about 30k followers. Some potters have 50k or 100k followers or more. These folks can post “online sale opens tomorrow” and sell out maybe 50 pots in a few hours. So amongst their giant insta-fan base, only a tiny percentage are actual customers. In order to build such a fan base, it requires posting “beauty shots” consistently all the time. You need to have an interesting writing voice for your captions. And you need to follow and like other people A LOT, because that helps to spread your instagram presence. It’s a lot of work. I have almost zero interest in selling pots online, so the reason I started using instagram is for my instructional videos business. That’s a product that I sell online, therefore I wanted to grow my online presence. I don’t often post “beauty shots” because I don’t want people to try to buy my work long distance. Instead I try to show actual scenes from a full-time pottery studio, mostly depicting the volume involved. This is an extension of my blog, where my mission is to teach and encourage others to start craft businesses too. The “I make a living with my pottery business” message is good for selling videos. I think it attracts the right type of student. So I am not chasing the largest possible following, just trying to send the right message. I never feel insecure or anxious from looking at the beauty shots, or about the size of other potters’ fan bases. I recently participated in a cup show, where a gallery sold my mugs for me online. My five mugs sold out in less than 10 minutes. I know that two of those customers were instagram followers. I also promoted the show on facebook and by email, not sure where the other three came from. But anyways, having some amount of online presence definitely helped. It was fun for me, but honestly the net profit was really low! If I do this show again, it will be because I have extra mugs and enough time to pack/ship them to the gallery. It’s not something I’d persue ahead of my usual art fairs and craft shows. In other words, if it weren’t for the instructional videos, I probably wouldn’t be on instagram at all. Because art fairs, combined with an email list, are way more effective for sales. Real life is still much better than social media.
  13. GEP

    removing e6000?

    Wow, good to know!
  14. I agree wih Arnold. These organizations need the right person in a leadership role, the type who sparks initiative, follows through, and inspires others to raise their energy level too. Without leadership you get entropy. I also recommend a process where the top person serves for a finite term, so their commitment is not permanent and they don’t get burned out. Regularly scheduled change keeps people on their toes. Also, if most members join for access to shows and kilns, that is not wrong. Make sure not to hold his against anyone. In fact, if this is the organization’s strongest offerings, then promote them as much as you can. If you want participation beyond that, your other programs must provide the same kind of value.
  15. It wouldn’t hurt the pots if you started now. But again, you’re trying to figure out the timing of a normal firing, so wait until the kiln is back at room temp and start from there.
  16. Nah, nothing like that will happen in those low temperature phases. Fire away!
  17. The pots would probably be fine if you did, but the reason why you need to repeat the slower schedule is because you need to time exactly how long the firing will take. This way, you’ll know what to expect for future firings. Bisques firings do smell a little, and cracking a window is normal.
  18. My local supplier, which I consider excellent overall, doesn’t carry plate setters either. (They also don’t carry Core-Lite shelves so I had to buy those online too. The shipping was $$ but again, the product still paid for itself. ) I’m pretty sure Bailey only wants to direct sell with their own products. I don’t think you can get a discount through a distributor (I could be wrong). So check out the options, but if buying direct is the only option, I would still get them.
  19. I use the rectangular ones, which are a perfect fit for my plates. Yes, the shipping is going to be expensive. Kiln furniture is heavy and breakable. Anytime you buy it long distance you can expect high packing and shipping costs. For me, they have earned their keep and then some!
  20. I like this style from Bailey Pottery: https://www.baileypottery.com/Store/Kiln-Furniture-and-Accessories-Plate-Tile-Setters Mine have been through 10 years of heavy use, and are still reliably flat. I make plates without foot rings, and I believe these plate setters play a big role in producing flat bottoms.
  21. Yes, you got some bad advice. Yes, you can refire this bisque load and it will probably be fine. Bisque firings do not need to be as accurate as glaze firings. When I fired with a kiln sitter, my bisque program was low for 2 hrs, med for 3 hrs, high for ?? until kiln shuts off. Usually around 9 hours total. For your refiring, turn the timer all the way up to 12 or more. You’re not really going to use it this time. Instead, you’re going to hang out with the kiln during the high phase, and note exactly when the bent cone shuts off the kiln. Once you know how long this firing actually takes, you can use the timer as intended from then on, by setting it to about an hour longer than the kiln needs.
  22. My studio is in a basement, so it is mostly underground and very well insulated. The pipes that feed the hot water radiators in the rest of the house run across the ceiling of the basement, which provide a decent amount of heat. Also, when the kilns are firing, the room is toasty warm. At worst, the temp in the basement might go down to the low 60s. I can put on some extra layers and a hat and still work. Or I might plug in an electric radiator and sit right next to it. I struggle with the very low humidity in winter, trying hard to keep the pots from drying too fast. But temperature is not really a problem. I can’t really take a break for winter. Once the holidays are over, I need to start making pots for the big ACC show in February.
  23. @shawnhar I haven’t been following all the details of your experiements, so this may have already been covered. I recall you said the group studio uses no vent and keeps all of their peep holes closed. I don’t recommend copying that, because it doesn’t sound healthy for the elements. But if you are using an undermounted vent, your cool down is much faster than theirs. This could explain the differences from your kiln vs. theirs. I would suggest a much longer hold than 10 minutes. Maybe 30 minutes or even an hour would simulate what’s happening in the studio’s kiln.
  24. GEP

    Favourite craft show tools and tricks

    Lots of good tips above already. I’ll add another, which is to place a lot of importance on your shoes. All of your preparations are for naught if your feet hurt. There’s a balancing act, I want to dress nicely and look polished, but not at the expense of my feet. When I am facing a whole weekend on a concrete floor or pavement, I will put a small rubber mat in the spot where I stand the most. It helps a lot.

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