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About GEP

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    Moderator / full time potter ^6 stoneware

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    Silver Spring, MD
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    biking, jogging, cooking and eating, veggie gardening, baseball (Orioles)

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  1. Mold will grow anywhere that has moisture and something for the mold to eat, including in houses with no pottery studio. And it won't grow when those two things aren't present. So the mold in your studio doesn't automatically cause mold to grow elsewhere in your house. You should be more vigilant about not spreading dust into your living space. Dust will easily travel without you trying. There should be a door between your pottery space and your living space. And use dedicated studio shoes, that you put on and take off inside your studio. My studio is in my basement, and I leave the shoes at the bottom of the stairs. Dust and the summer mold never reaches the first floor. Even when the mold gets smelly I don't smell it from the first floor.
  2. One more thing I just thought of, which comes in handy often. Sometimes it's easy to guess that the person in your booth is also a potter, based on how they inspect your pots or something they say. "You must be a potter" is a great conversation starter, and I genuinely like hearing them talk about their work and their path. Other potters are great customers!
  3. I haven't had mold like that on the bottoms of my pots, but I do get moldy smells in my throwing water and recycling bucket during the summer months. Mold is generally not considered a big deal in a pottery studio. Hard to avoid with all the moist materials. 36 hours to leatherhard means your environment in very humid, so the mold is not surprising. I wouldn't worry about it!
  4. Stick blender for making slip. I use a silicone spatula for scraping out my bucket of throwing water and sludge into the recycle bucket. I use a bamboo rice paddle to scoop the recycled clay slop out of the recycle bucket and onto plaster batts for drying out.
  5. This is the counterpart to my last suggested QoTW. Describe a day from your ceramics life that left you thinking "that was a bad day." We've all had them. Here's your chance to vent. Or confess. And others can commiserate, or forgive.
  6. I spend most of my booth time sitting, but I use a high stool so I am still close to eye level with most customers. I have problem feet which probably wouldn't tolerate standing all day. I just bought a cushion my chair, so now my backside will be comfortable too. Combining decorative and functional in one booth is tricky business. I wouldn't do it. What sells the best is a cohesive body of work that you really love to make. In all of my years of art fairs, I've never seen a mixed booth having good sales. Imperfect pieces are saved for my annual Open Studio. They don't come with me to shows. I meet lots of new people at every show, and I want to make a good first impression. My Open Studio guests are people who already know me and my work. They deserve to get the bargains, and in that context they're not going to wonder if I understand the word "quality."
  7. I wrote a blog post about my approach to salesmanship. http://www.goodelephant.com/blog/the-art-festival-plan-part-4 If you don't want to read the whole thing, it can be summed up as this: Make every person who enters your booth feel like they are welcome to stay as long as they want without buying anything. Also consider that salesmanship is not your problem. There are so many factors that determine sales. You might be prcing your work incorrectly, or you might be choosing bad shows.
  8. I used cone packs in every firing when my kilns were new. Three per kiln load, bottom, middle, and top. Once I got to know how the kiln fires, and how to load it correctly, I found the digital controller alone to be very reliable. These days I only use cone packs right after I've changed the elements and thermocouples, just to make sure the new parts are working and I didn't screw anything up. If the cone packs in that first firing turn out as expected, I go back to relying on the controller.
  9. That exact description doesn't ring a bell. Here are some posts about pricing from the FAQ thread. Maybe it's in one of these? The current issue of Pottery Making Illustrated (Nov/Dec 2017) contains an article on pricing, written by yours truly. If you don't subscribe to the magazine, you can find the complete article on my blog: http://www.goodelephant.com/blog/pricing-work-in-pottery-making-illustrated
  10. As long as you have whatever solvent is used with shellac on hand, you should be fine. One nice thing about ruling pens is how easy they are clean. No videos of myself, but you can search youtube for ruling pen videos.
  11. @dAO Because you made me think about my ruling pen, I decided to use it today.
  12. Table Top Slab Roller

    I have an 18 inch Northstar. Not the portable one, mine is bolted to a table, but otherwise it's the same. I love it and would buy it again. Very reliable workhorse. It's a very simple machine compared to many other slab rollers I've seen, that's why I can't imagine it breaking down.
  13. You might want to try a Ruling Pen. It's an old graphic designers tool that works kind of like a fountain pen. You can adjust it to any width and use it with any liquid, including underglaze. The learning curve is to mix the underglaze with the right amount of water to match the consistency to the width of the line. It takes some practice. But there's no squeezing involved! I use this when personalizing wedding gift platters, to write the names of the couple and the wedding date. https://www.amazon.com/PRO-ART-40415-Pro-Ruling/dp/B004XL1D26
  14. I've never used straight stains over glaze, but that sounds like a good approach for adding depth. I have only 5 glazes total in my stuido, and some are just slight variations of others. So really only three base recipes. I find that a small amount of layering and soft edges make a huge difference in terms of depth. That's why I'd be so sad if I lost my sprayer!
  15. I bought mine from Chinese Clay Art more than 15 years ago. (https://chineseclayart.com/Store/ProductVariant?pf_id=200) The one they sell now is not quite as good, but still better than the more widely available Van Gilder model. The Chinese Clay Art model is better because the tube that extends down into the glaze is wider. The tube on the Van Gilder model is too thin, it requires too much breath power to use it. The 15 yr old one is on the left. The current version is on the right. Notice how the top tube is now attached with straps rather than being welded on. Lots of my students bought these, but sometimes the ends of the two tubes did not align correct. So we attacked the straps with small pliers and other small tools until the tubes lines up correctly. The current version also doesn't include the plastic extender tube for the mouth end. This tube makes the sprayer a lot more comfortable, because you don't have to hold your face so close to the pot. I think it would be easy enough to buy and length of plastic tube and add it on yourself (aquarium store?) Edit to add: I don't glaze entire pots with the sprayer. I do most of my glazing by dipping and pouring, then apply accents of glaze with the sprayer. It's about 30 minutes of work out of a 5 hour glazing session. If I wanted to spray glaze entire pots, I would get a compressor-driven spray gun.