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About GEP

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    full time potter / past forum moderator

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

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  1. @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.
  2. 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.
  3. GEP

    first craft fair WWYD?

    My favorite boxes for transporting pots to a show are plastic bins with hinged flip-top lids. When full, you can stack them on top of each other. When empty, they nest together and take up very little space to store them in my booth. Plus, I like not having to search for the lids,
  4. You can also try using a twisted cutoff wire, or a wiggle wire. These will put tiny pockets of air between your pot and the clay that’s left on the batt.
  5. GEP

    Leaving Teaching

    My advice is that no matter how much you dislike teaching, don’t quit a salary/benefits job cold turkey in order to launch a pottery business. It will take years before a new pottery business will generate an income, let alone an income that will support you financially. The best way to get there is to keep the full-time job, and start the pottery business as a side business. When the pottery business has grown big enough, then you can quit the teaching. Yes, that means you have a full-time job plus a part-time job for several years. If you can’t handle this workload than you might not be able to handle the workload of full-pottery, so it’s good training on work ethic anyways. I kept my desk job for 8 years while building the pottery business, until I was able to quit the desk job. I am much happier now as a potter even though I work a lot harder now. Those 8 years were a sacrifice but I would do it again.
  6. GEP

    first craft fair WWYD?

    When I do a “table show” and the show provides the table, all of the rest of my display and my pots can fit on one cart load. In other words, you don’t need much! Keep it simple. I agree with the advice to create some various height levels on your table, with shelves or risers. You work has a lot of neutral colors (which is nice) so make sure your table cloth is quieter than your pots. No bright colors or loud patterns. A white tablecloth is never a bad choice. Make boxed corners with your table cloth rather than letting the extra fabric drag on the ground (search youtube for “boxed corner tablecloth” instructions). Honestly, I would leave Ms. Naked at home. She will distract from the functional pottery and make some people uncomfortable. Save that piece for a different type of event. Your list of existing items looks good. Keep making things along those lines, ie small giftable items. Other items to consider are small dishes, small bowls, soap dishes, tea light holders.
  7. In my region, and tent is usually required, to shield from both rain and sun. For one-day shows, if the forecast is decent, you can do it without a tent. For any event that lasts for more than one day, you need a way to close down your space at night. If you are in California, your weather is drier and more consistent, a tent might not be necessary.
  8. GEP

    Wood kiln types - Pros and cons

    @VladCruceanu, I agree with @neilestrick here. Reading about wood kilns is a good start, but the only way to pick the right kiln for yourself is to fire the different styles of kilns. Look around for workshops where you can bring pots and participate in the labor. Look for art centers and colleges with wood kilns. There are wood kiln owners who are not offering workshops per se, but if you write to them and express a sincere and humble desire to work and learn, they might allow you onto their crew (but be prepared to take no for an answer without thinking he potter is ungenerous, wood kilns are a very personal space). Your preferences will emerge: long firings, short firings, big crew, small crew, type of wood, etc. Be willing to travel in order to experience the variety. Wood kilns are an expensive venture overall, be prepared with capital to invest.
  9. I used to tell my students “if it works for you, it’s not wrong.” My “bad habit” is to skip foot rings on all pots that I am producing in high volumes. Foot rings are very time consuming. I still like to trim them on things I make in lower volumes. But for mugs and small bowls, no way! I’ve heard potters say dogmatic things like “all good pots have foot rings,” but I'm like “nah.”
  10. GEP

    New Wheel: Bailey or Skutt?

    I have both a Bailey and an old Thomas Stuart, which are now made by Skutt. I don’t need the drain hole in the Bailey either, but I know plenty of my former pottery students would need it, because they throw with a lot more water and the splashpan can’t be removed to empty it. I do like the gate that allows you to push trimmings out, The TS doesn’t have that and it is much more work to get trimmings out. The splashpan on the Bailey is more comfortable to lean my forearms on for bracing. On the TS, I need to add foam cushions to the splashpan rim or else it is way too uncomfortable to lean on it. The Bailey is quieter. The TS is overall heavier and sturdier. It’s an old second hand wheel and it has never needed repairs. The Bailey sometimes flexes and feels less sturdy. Though I wouldn’t call it “flimsy.” (Unlike a Pacifica which definitely has some flimsy parts.) Once it developed a wobble, but the repair was very simple. Once I had to tighten the bolts on the pedal, or else the wheel would turn on by itself. Again, the repair was very simple.
  11. 2019 Smithsonian Craft Show, here I come! 

  12. GEP

    Giffin grip

    @Nicky S The giffin grip will not prevent your pot from flying off the wheel any better than clay wads. They both work just as well for that function. The benefit of the giffin grip is that it saves time when getting your pot on and off the wheel for trimming. If you are producing low volumes of pots, then it is not worth the price. If you are producing high volumes, it is well worth the price. @kristinanoel, I’ve never had my giffin grip holders go out of center either.
  13. 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.
  14. 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:
  15. 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.

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