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GEP

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Everything posted by GEP

  1. You did a great job! Yes, you learned the hard way what it’s like to be next to the music stage. Next time you can request a quieter spot.
  2. GEP

    Brand new to pottery

    Every wheel thrower needs to teach themselves their own techniques to a large extent. However, you will save yourself a lot of time and lower your learning curve if you have someone teach you some basics. Such as, how to position and brace your body, arms, and hands. How to center. Basic knowledge of different claybodies. Basic tool knowledge. Beyond that you can personalize your approach as much as you want.
  3. I have a ware cart that is very similar, made by Laguna. https://www.axner.com/laguna-warecart.aspx
  4. I've never seen your work, so I'm just taking a stab here. This is what you should be focusing on, rather than trying different business models. You recently tried to enter the wholesale market, and it didn't pan out for you. Those buyers are experts and you should trust the feedback you got. Which is that your pots do not meet their standards. Maybe you should invest in some honest and expert feedback on the appeal value of your work. @DirtRoads does consulting on this. Or you could take @shawnhar's brave example and post your work here so your forum friends can pick it apart.
  5. There is a big wholesale-retail show in my region. I still do the retail part, but haven't done wholesale for a few years. My former wholesale buyers will visit me in my retail booth (hoping I will change my mind). They are depressed by what they see in the wholesale show. They can't find new artists because the new ones are charging too much for work that isn't sellable anyways. There are a lot of naive voices out there telling young artists to overprice their work. And not enough voices telling them to figure out the real market value, or if it's marketable at all. And for some of them, the fact that they cannot produce their work fast enough for wholesaling makes them price their work higher! NO! That doesn't mean your work is worth more. For anyone who is starting out, I think the most common mistake is to think they can leap frog to the top. Anyone who is at the top knows it didn't happen that way. It was a slow climb up a mountain, one step at a time.
  6. @Stephen, don't forget that @DirtRoads had many years of experience running successful retail operations before she opened her successful pottery retail store. It's another one of those things that takes years to learn the ropes. It's not automatically a "better alternative" to fairs. Dirtroads runs her business on private property where the local regulations allow her to do so. Most retail shop owners need to sign a commercial lease, which is far more expensive than art fair booth fees. You will probably need to sell a lot more pots before you break even. I know a potter near me who was doing well at art fairs, but opened a brick and mortar gallery in order to stabilize his income and lessen the labor. He closed the gallery after about a year. It turned out to be more work, and less profitable. He's back to doing shows only, and doing great.
  7. A 30 lb dumbbell on each leg sounds like a good plan. Good luck and enjoy yourself! The first show I did by myself was a wine festival. There were lots of people, spending money on wine not art. I did not even own a canopy yet. It rained some and the venue was muddy. The pots got wet but they were fine. I net profited $350 and was very proud of myself. Based on what I know now, I am aware that I knew nothing then, and it turned out ok. Trust yourself.
  8. What’s the weather forecast for Saturday? And what are your plans for weighting down your canopy legs?
  9. GEP

    Send me to the store

    If you are firing to cone 6, here’s a reliable base recipe for making glossy glazes. Glossy Base 23 EPK 29 Silica 46 Gerstley Borate 2 Soda Ash Only four ingredients, all of which will come in handy for other recipes. Melts reliably from cone 5 to 7, and has a very durable finish. Slightly runny which I like, but don’t apply too thick. You can add colorants or opacifiers as you wish. Copper carb for green, cobalt carb for blue, mason stains, tin oxide for opacity, etc.
  10. I am currently going through the process of Konmari (https://www.amazon.com/Life-Changing-Magic-Tidying-Decluttering-Organizing/dp/1607747308) in my house. This means I have recently thrown out and donated many boxes of pottery from my kitchen. Most of the departed pots were purchased many years ago, before I understood my tastes and values. My pottery cupboard is half-empty, and only contains things I love. I have room to acquire more, but I have also gained the insight to know what I should buy and shouldn’t buy. Therefore, I don’t want others to give me pottery. I want to choose it myself.
  11. Upside down orbital sander sounds like the right choice to me. It’s the gentlest of all the power sanders, and I like the idea that you can hold the pot with both hands while sanding. If you’re doing 1000 pots per year, make sure to wear a real respirator!
  12. GEP

    Websites And Sales

    Maybe it’s because I’ve already switched careers once. Walking away again doesn’t seem unthinkable. I will regard the pottery studio as my best and most challenging accomplishment. At the same time, it’s an all-consuming life. I have other other interests I’d like to explore. And frankly I’d like to lead a less labor-intensive life at some point.
  13. GEP

    Websites And Sales

    I've been using Weebly since 2010. Back then the idea of drag-and-drop, cloud-based website builders was very new. Weebly has met my needs, and at this point my blog is so lengthy that switching platforms would be a big hassle. If I was starting out right now, I would consider Weebly and Wix to be equivalent. Squarespace is more upscale. Unlike Weebly and WIx, Squarespace does not have a free tier, though their cheapest plan is reasonably priced. Squarespace does a much better job with design templates, so their sites have a modern and designerly look. From a designer standpoint, Weebly templates range from bad to mildly annoying. I am using the one I found least annoying. Having said that, I am currently building a second website on Weebly, and found one of their new templates to be less annoying (but still not crazy about it). I may try to switch my existing website to this new template. Switching templates on Weebly is possible, but sometimes results in a jumbled mess. It may or may not work. I don't do any e-commerce from my Weebly site. I sell online very infrequently, and only use the Weebly site as a portal to my BigCartel site. BigCartel is perfect for an infrequent e-commercer. Their lowest tier is free, and it can be upgraded for more capacity on a month-at-a-time basis. BigCartel's shopping cart and money handling capabilities are terrific. I am also now offering instructional videos, but again I am not using the Weebly site for commerce. It's just a portal to my Vimeo site. I don't think Weebly could handle what Vimeo does. Way down the road in the future, I am considering launching a new business after I've retired from full-time pottery. This one will be better suited for both wholesale and e-commerce. For that I will probably choose Squarespace (or its equivalent), because in that situation I'll need stronger e-commerce functions, and the modern and designerly look will have a real value.
  14. As if I needed more reasons to NOT sell online. The “no physical presence” rule has been repealed, and states can now set their own sales tax rules for online sellers. It’s possible we will need to learn 50 different sets of rules, and file 50 different sales tax returns. Madness! High Court: Online shoppers can be forced to pay sales tax
  15. Need to dry out and launder my entire display, after a rain-soaked weekend show.

    1. Show previous comments  4 more
    2. Pres

      Pres

      Yeah, that is why I am doing more of the wholesale. My wife is not up to doing markets anymore, and I don't know as I do either. Penn State was fun, but in the long run not really worth it for me back then. Paper work of sales taxes, and other income tax was problematic also. So now, I am not having to do the sales tax and as long as I keep my W-9's and others in order along with my earnings, my tax man is happy.

       

    3. Gabby

      Gabby

      This brings back so many drenched camping memories.

    4. Pres

      Pres

      Ha first camping trip I took my new wife on was to Acadia ME. It rained all most the entire trip, Had an old canvas tent of my grand parents! We got soaked, but she wanted to go again the next year, and every year after. First thing we got before leaving the next year was a new tent!

       

      best,

       

      Pres

  16. I’ve never taken the time to figure out cost-per-bucket of glaze. I only look at it as cost-per-year in glaze materials. I only spend about $300/year on glaze materials, and half of that is spent on tin oxide! $300 to glaze 2000 pots is so cheap, I don’t feel the need to analyze further.
  17. I use terry cloth towels. Mostly hand towels while throwing. I wash my hands in the throwing water bucket, dry off with a throwing towel. Then finish washing my hands in the sink, drying off on a “clean” towel next to the sink. When glazing, I wrap a bath towel around my waist. Because like @LeeU I cannot resist wiping my hands on my pants. Glazing seems to require much more hand wiping than anything else. When pulling handles, I wear a terry cloth wrist band to stop water dripping down to my elbow. I tried @Callie Beller Diesel‘s method but it didn’t help. For me, the water doesn’t drip down my arm during the pulling phase. It drips during the phase when I shape the handle and attach the bottom end. Because for that move I hold the mug up at eye level > arms now angled upward > water runs down arm rather than off the hands into bucket. All of my studio towels and wristbands get taken down to a neighborhood laundromat, rather than my home laundry machines. It’s one of those big ones that is open 24/7. I figure their drains can handle a lot more than my house can.
  18. GEP

    Why make functional ware?

    Eva Zeisel (Hungarian-American, not German)
  19. GEP

    Why make functional ware?

    A good response to this, if you are feeling cheeky enough and if the person is sufficiently deserving: “Haha! That joke is always funny.” This also works when someone makes a crack about the movie Ghost.
  20. GEP

    Why make functional ware?

    I disagree on this one point. Even if we set aside the aesthetic debate, many mid-range and high-fired stoneware and porcelain pots are more durable than mass produced ceramics. Of course every potter’s work falls somewhere different on the durability scale, but many of us are ahead of industry. “Your stuff really lasts. Even my kids can’t break it.” I hear this feedback a lot.
  21. GEP

    Why make functional ware?

    I just had this conversation with a customer this weekend. She has one handmade mug, and loves using it daily. Her husband cannot fathom why she spent $38 on a mug. His favorite mugs are the ones he stole from a restaurant, therefore they were free. He sees them a purely utilitarian. I told her that buying handmade pottery is definitely a subculture. Most people don't get it, but some people do. So the reason to make it is for the small subculture of people who value this sort of thing. I'm finding it hard to imagine that anyone involved in art making (eg the tilemaker) can't understand that different people have different values.
  22. In the photo of my hands, you can see in the lower right corner, the coffee grinder that my iPad was perched atop.
  23. GEP

    Glaze Bilsters...

    Yes, a too-thick glaze application can contribute to the problem. If gasses are escaping from the clay and glaze (which is normal), a too-thick glaze is producing more gasses, which need to penetrate out through a thicker glaze layer. Some of those bubbles don’t make it all the way out in time for the holes to heal over. This is just one possibility. Callie mentioned “boiling” earlier and I also think your blisters look like boiled glaze. This is more related to overfiring. Just like all things in ceramics, there are many factors that need to be put in balance. Just to emphasize, the larger problem with applying glazes too thick is the runnyness. Kiln shelves are expensive. If I were in your shoes, I would take Pres’s advice to make test tiles and fire this clay/glaze combo at varying temps, with varying thicknesses, with witness cones next to each tile. That’s the fastest way to test all the factors that need to be put in balance.
  24. GEP

    Glaze Bilsters...

    @Gokul You might simply be firing your kiln too hot. Running glazes and blisters are a common outcome of overfiring. Are you using witness cones to measure that you are actually firing to cone 6? If you already know you are hitting cone 6, you can try firing without the soak, or lowering target temperature. I refer to my glazes as “cone 6” glazes, but at one point I switched claybodies and started getting pinholes in one of my glazes. Through trial and error I solved the problem by changing my firing program to cone 5.75 instead of 6. Edit to add: I also think you have applied your glazes too thickly. This can also contribute to both running and blistering.
  25. Ok here are my hands. They are dirty this morning from yardwork, not pottery. Gnarly cuticles, bulging veins, and I’m always nursing some cuts and scrapes.
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