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About GEP

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    Moderator / full time potter ^6 stoneware

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  • Gender
    Not Telling
  • Location
    Silver Spring, MD
  • Interests
    biking, jogging, cooking and eating, veggie gardening, baseball (Orioles)

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  1. Backpack recommendations?

    If it’s covered in clay dust, it shouldn’t be washed in a home laundry machine anyways. Household drains aren’t necessarily built for clay. Ask me how I know :-) I would hose it off outside as needed.
  2. Clean Footrings

    It’s possible. If you’re keeping the pot warm, the wax may not be setting completely. I would try it on a room temp pot and see if it makes a difference. Edit to add: a warm pot will also contribute to the patchy glaze application, because the glaze is drying too fast.
  3. Clean Footrings

    How did you melt and apply the wax? When melting parrafin it’s possible to create a surface that is bumpy and porous which doesn’t repel well. It needs to be melted all the way to a liquid state, then applied quickly. Melting the the wax in a flat pan (like an electric skillet, available at thrift stores for cheap), then dipping the foot ring in the hot wax is the best way to do it. The wax goes on evenly and dries with a smooth hard surface. If you are applying melted wax with a brush, it is probably cooling/hardening before it even hits the pot, thus creating a bumpy and porous surface. Another option is to try cold wax, which is liquid a room remperature, and applies smoothly with a brush.
  4. It’s a great article, Mark! This issue features another one of our forum friends, @Callie Beller Diesel. She wrote a piece on the dos and don’ts of influencer marketing. Another great article! Congrats Mark and Callie!
  5. I don't think of you as elderly. You are still working and being very active. I do see you as happy. For me, elderly is when I have completely stopped doing anything active, because my physical condition doesn't allow it anymore. And I plan to be happy as a clam.
  6. There are also the “[Something] and Art” Festivals. “Something” can be wine, beer, music, seafood, etc ... Don’t do them!
  7. Pyrometer Usage?

    @neilestrick I’ll try it that way next time. Thanks for the tip!
  8. Dragons think pop up shows are good!

    In my area, the “pop up” shows are very small, maybe 10 exhibitors or less, may or may not have a fixed location, between 3 and 5 hours long. They look like fun, but also like small potatoes. The only one I was ever interested in trying took place in the lobby of NPR headquarters, and was called “All Crafts Considered.” However, the application process was unclear and/or disorganized. I couldn’t figure it out, took that as a red flag, so I gave up on it.
  9. Dragons think pop up shows are good!

    @Stephen the name of the show is mentioned in the article. It looks like a fairly large indoor event. I would call that a bona fide craft show. Not the same as what we call pop-up shows in the US.
  10. Pyrometer Usage?

    Well shoot, are you saying I’ve wasted a bunch of time trying to get those fussy little spacers to line up? And I can just throw them out instead?
  11. I have one singular goal in life, which will be the measure of my success: to be a happy old person. There are several components to this. 1) to look back on my years and feel good about how I spent my time, with no regrets about things I did or didn’t do. 2) to have meaningful and interesting ways to spend my time as an elderly person. 3) to set myself up with a secure financial situation. Everything I do is with these things in mind. I’ve seen enough people getting older and feeling miserable about it. My last years will be spent celebrating, not miserating. A few times, I have met elderly people who were clearly having a ball. Those people are spreading joy, and I’m going to be one of them.
  12. Competing Styles

    These are not good decision-making processes. Doing shows is enough work already. Don’t it make more work for yourself just to feel like you deserve more reward. That doesn’t reap any rewards. Making your display busier and busier will absolutely hurt your sales. Focus on things that really matter (improving your pots, building a customer base, getting into better shows), and on making the process easier not harder.
  13. Competing Styles

    LIke Chris said, it’s not something you do because you have to. You do it because it’s who you are. Figuring out who you are is a good life’s goal. The fact that it sells well is a secondary benefit.
  14. I don’t see this as impossible. Obviously @synj00 has an aesthetic in mind, or else he would not be so commited to high-fire right now. He can start out by trying to recreate a similar aesthetic in an electric kiln. Down the road when he’s ready to “go big time” with a gas kiln, his existing customers will follow, and they’ll cheer him on. They’ll brag that they knew him in his “garage days.” Pottery customers are not typical retail customers. It’s more like a fan club. As others are saying, there is so much you can do in oxidation these days! This transition is possible. It’s also entirely possible that you’ll grow to love oxidation, for all of its advantages, and stick wih it.
  15. My advice is to not quit your day job, and your wife shouldn’t either, until after the pottery business is providing an income that covers your living expenses. Don’t underestimate how long that will take. Don’t underestimate the value of a steady income during those years of development. Yes it will feel like you are working two jobs for a while, but if this is really what you want then the sacrifice will be worth it. Your first priority right now should be to eliminate your debt. Once you’ve done that, your next priority should be learning how to live within your means. A pottery business will never catch up to a lifestyle of debt. You must keep your lifestyle underneath your income at all times. That doesn’t mean you can’t live well eventually, but it will take time and patience. You must keep your business expenses underneath your income as well. It is never worth going into debt for the pottery business. And never necessary either. If you still have a day job, you can finance your pottery business with it, in order to avoid more debt (another reason to keep the day job). It makes sense to invest money in your business when you are trying to keep up with demand. It makes no sense to sink money into the business in order to get it off the ground. Getting off the ground can and should be done as cheaply as possible. In other words, keep the garage studio! I know a couple who makes a full time income from their garage studio. Regarding mid-fire vs high-fire reduction, if that’s your goal, you can have a gas kiln when your pottery bank account can afford it. But in the meantime, be open to getting there through a mid-fire path. If not, it’s very possible this will be your downfall. Reduction kilns are incredibly expensive these days, including the cost of the space it takes to fire them. If you are just starting out, Etsy is not a full plan. You will need to spend way too much time trying to get your work noticed there, only to have their search algorithms shift beneath you. Those who have conquered the Etsy world also built a name and a following for themselves outside of Etsy, which they use to drive customers to their Etsy page. Overall, it sounds like you have put a lot more thought into this than most aspiring potters. I think you have a better chance to make it than many others who do not think about it hard enough.

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