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About GEP

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    full time potter / past forum moderator

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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. GEP


    Aha, I misunderstood your comment and thought that question was for me. I’m pretty sure this question is for me, and the answer is tripod and self-timer. Real camera, not smart phone. These days I’m also shooting a lot of videos so the camera and tripod are always around.
  2. GEP


    The location of my hands in relation to my body depends on the width and height of the pot, but I keep them as close to me as possible. And make sure that my elbows/forearms are braced. I also lean forward a lot so the weight of my back helps to steady the tool. Here's a photo of the chatter-killing death grip:
  3. GEP

    Carbon Trap Shino

    FWIW, I own a small Malcolm Davis teapot that is as black as OP’s photo. It was priced literally half as much as his other teapots of the same size. I’m guessing Mr. Davis did not intend it to look this way. But hey I think it’s beautiful.
  4. GEP


    When I experience chattering, it’s because the pot is too soft for trimming. The best solution is to set it aside and wait for it to become firmer. If I don’t have time to wait, my solution is a two-fisted death grip on my trimming tool, with both elbows braced somewhere. I concentrate on not pressing the tool against the pot, instead holding the tool still and independent of the pot. I hold the tool where it will shave off the highest points of the chattered surface, and slowly work down to the lowest points. At that point the pot will be smooth again, and I can relax and resume trimming normally. If the chattering returns, I go back to the two-fisted death grip.
  5. You could try making your stencils out of Tyvek instead of paper. Go to the office supply store and buy some Tyvek envelopes. It behaves like paper against a pot, and it doesn’t wrinkle when it gets wet. You can invest some time cutting out your stencil, knowing the Tyvek will basically last forever.
  6. You can still offer your work for sale to US customers. Your overseas admirers will understand. I know this experience is a bummer, but you can still achieve all of your goals. Like I said earlier, you still have unimpeded access to the largest customer base for handmade pottery.
  7. A businessperson is much better off when they realize they aren’t required to please everyone. Lots of people have failed at being self-employed because they tried to please everyone, rather than treating their own time and resources carefully. A busy potter’s studio time is worth $100 to $200/hour. I cannot imagine surcharging $100 for a $40 mug, to account for the time spent in communications and packing. This is way outside the boundaries of common sense to me.
  8. GEP

    Copper spot effect

    Are you firing oxidation or reduction, or do you have access to both? The answer to the “will it work” question regarding your first photo starts with a reduction atmosphere. It sounds like you are asking if you can create reduction for this effect by using a silicon carbide wash, rather than a reduction kiln. Do I have that right? If so, the answer is a very common answer to many ceramics questions: there’s only one way to find out, try it! However, I suspect you won’t get that same effect. Silicon carbide applied to a pot creates tiny local pockets of reduction, and gives results like your second photo, not the first. I suspect the first pot needs to be completely surrounded by a reduction atmosphere, in order to create the fuming/spreading of red color. To answer another of your original questions, copper oxide looks black but it’s actually super concentrated green. Copper carbonate should look green as a raw material. Double check which one you have. Green is the natural color of copper in an oxidized state, so when fired in oxidation it remains green. When fired in reduction, the green is removed and the copper returns to a red color. Purple is the “half-reduced” state, mixture of green and red.
  9. Here’s a photo of one of my online sales. We are talking about two different things. My box sizes are not as uniform and predictable as what you are describing. This took me an entire day, about 20 boxes. Again, what you’re talking about could apply to someone who has designed a line of pots meant for uniform shipping.
  10. That sounds very efficient, but pottery is not all the same size and shape. Each box needs individual attention. I can’t picture packing it in an assembly line fashion. That is, unless someone designs a line of pottery that is geared towards streamlined shipping. That’s a different story altogether.
  11. Ok, that sounds pretty fragile. I don’t know what the supply chain is like for that sort of thing, but if a potter is packing say a 100 boxes per week, they would not have time to make pots. It takes me a long work day to pack 20 boxes.
  12. But was it pottery, or something that isn’t as fragile and can be shipped without as much packing materials, time and labor?
  13. The difference between these two formats is volume. I can unload 150 to 200 pots in a three day show. It’s not feasible to pack and ship this amount of pots in three days. No matter how good you are at online marketing, there is a fairly low ceiling of volume, defined by the packing and shipping. Doing shows is a lot of labor but the ceiling is much higher.
  14. By the time this happened to me, I had already figured out that packing/shipping is a terribly inefficient way to sell pottery. Compared to handing the pot to a customer who is agreeing to transport the pot home themselves. I was looking for reasons to limit my online availability. It wasn’t just the extra cost to the customer, it also involves a trip to the post office and extra paperwork for me. My other online sales are picked up at my house by UPS. It was a no brainer to decide “US shipments only.”
  15. Joseph, I went through the exact same experience a few years ago. This first time I shipped something to Canada, I was shocked at how much the customer needed to pay to receive the item. Lucky for me, the customer was expecting it. But it left a bad taste in my mouth, I felt like I didn't provide a good value. That's when I stopped shipping outside the US. Of course, things progressed to where I don't ship at all, except for on a very limited basis around the holidays, because the cost of shipping and shipping materials is amounting to a "bad value" too. Lucky for us in the US, we have the largest potential customer base here in our own borders. Taxes suck but that's life.

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