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Everything posted by GEP

  1. 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."
  2. Here's an interesting article. I agree with most of it. Bottom line, people will take you and your art as seriously as you take yourself. http://skinnyartist.com/9-warning-signs-of-an-amateur-artist/
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. @dAO Because you made me think about my ruling pen, I decided to use it today.
  8. 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.
  9. 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
  10. 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!
  11. 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.
  12. This is a tough choice. When I bought my giffin grip it was over $100, so it's out of contention. I love my Shimpo banding wheel too. But I've decided that the one thing I would be the most heartbroken over, if I lost it and it couldn't be replaced, is a simple mouth-blown glaze sprayer.
  13. Me - Teach a Class??!

    Agree with everything Chilly said. Figure out a clear definition for the class, what it is and what it is not, and market it as clearly as possible. Start thinking about the course title and course description. The snippet I quoted from you above would make a terrific class, as long as you attract the right students who are looking for exactly this.
  14. Bloaty Mc-Bloatface

    From someone who taught myself glazemaking from books, these are the two books that helped me the most: Mastering Cone 6 Glazes, by John Hesselberth and Ron Roy. It's out of print, but you can buy digital copies online. The Ceramic Glaze Handbook, by Mark Burleson. I've heard good things about John Britt's latest book on mid-range glazes, but I don't personally own it.
  15. Bloaty Mc-Bloatface

    I'm not saying it's impossible, just saying that in all of my years in working with this forum, I've seen countless questions regarding the problems that happen at the top end of the glaze firing (bloating and pinholing), and I have never once seen the problem solved with a different bisque schedule. I have often seen the problem solved by pinpointing the correct temperature for the top of the glaze firing. I experienced a similar problem myself a few years ago when I switched claybodies. The new clay made one of my glazes pinhole. Someone suggested that I extend my bisque firing to "burn out the impurities" and it didn't make any difference. The solution to my problem was to reduce my firing temp from cone 6 to cone 5.75. In other words, 0.25 cone can make a difference! So the difference between cone 5 and cone 6 is technically huge. The problem here is very simple, cone 6 is too hot for this clay. You are bumping into the limit of what you can do with commercial glazes. Your glaze wants cone 6 and your clay wants cone 5, and you can't alter either. You have three choices: (1) find a new glaze that works at cone 5, (2) find a new clay that fires to cone 6, or (3) enter into the world of making your own glazes, where you can learn how to tweak a recipe to meet your needs. I recommend 3. It is a huge subject with a long and high learning curve, but worth it! Edit to add: I just noticed your idea to try firing this clay/glaze combo to cone 5 with an extended hold. Yes you can try that, and it might work to mature the glaze without bloating the clay. Try holding up to an hour. But still, be prepared to let go of this clay/glaze combo if it doesn't work.
  16. The Starter Wheel

    Congrats Briana! $750 for the whole package is a great deal. I agree that you should toss the warped bats, but you are going to need a few bats before too long, when you want to try larger and wider forms. There is lots of info about bats on this forum. Everyone has their favorite types of bats but it depends on your needs. I would start by searching the forum for "bats" but you can start a new thread if you have specific questions.
  17. Thanks for the feedback Pres! I would argue that this was in the context of an art festival. Where most of the other booths are screaming for attention in various ways. Mine is one of the few booths that is not doing that, and therefore it stands out by being quiet. Edit to add: You could say that I am managing heirarchy in this situation too. I WANT you to see all of the other booths first. Then you'll notice mine and feel the relief of not being bombarded by so much visual activity. Several times per day at shows, someone will tell me "it's so quiet/zen/peaceful in here" and I can see the relief on their face. In the context of seeing one of my pots all by itself, you will see the form first. Imagine one of my pots glazed in bright red. What would you see first?
  18. The Starter Wheel

    There's no difference between a beginner's wheel and an expert's wheel. I think what is marketed as "starter wheel" should really be called "kids wheels." Adult potters all need the same thing. Of the three options you listed, the Amaco appears to be an older model with only two speeds. That won't work, you need a variable speed wheel. The Artista is a tabletop model. I would skip that one too, too small to be your primary wheel. $400 for a Pacifica is a good price. Check it out first as oldlady recommends. My experience with Pacifica is that the splashpans are flimsy, easy to crack. But otherwise it's a solid wheel, and nice and quiet.
  19. First of all, symmetrical balance is a good solution. (Or in the case of pottery, a round pot.) People often dismiss symmetry as "too simple" but simplicity isn't a bad thing. The voice that says "too simple" is an insecure voice. I personally think heirarchy is more important than balance. Whether your design is simple or complex, make your viewers see the design elements in the right order. I want you to notice this first, followed by this, followed by this, etc. When your heirarchy is clear the final result will all work together. When your design elements are competing with each other, the result looks out of whack. This is why my pots are gray. I want everyone to see the forms first.
  20. Pitting and pinholing

    Just to add to what Neil and Pres suggested, are you loading your kiln to ensure evening firing throughout the kiln? Are you inadvertently making cool zones in your kiln?
  21. Highwater clay users

    I wouldn't want to wedge 500 lbs either! I would try Neil's suggestion first ... slice it up and let the slices sit out overnight.
  22. Pitting and pinholing

    @kenthenricksen I would start by always rubbing out the bubbles that form after dipping. I taught my students to do this for every glaze no matter what. It's a good habit. I would also get a hydrometer or start measuring specific gravity with a graduated cylinder and scale (search this forum for more info). Make sure you are always using the glaze at the same consistency. Pinholes are more likely if the glaze it applied too thick. Dipping technique also affects how thickly the glaze is applied. I'm wondering if you glaze the insides of your pots with a different technique than the outside, which results in the glaze being thicker on the outside? The longer the pot is submerged, the thicker the glaze layer. For some glazes the difference is very sensitive. One second too long and the glaze might be too thick. Pay attention to technique and be consistent. I also agree with Neil that a 16 minute hold is an oddly specific number. It might indicate that they know the glaze is fussy.
  23. Highwater clay users

    Up until yesterday, I've still been having problems with humidity. It's been unusually warm and rainy in our region. My studio humidity gauge was still reading 60%. I'm used to things drying slowly in the summer, but it's November now and this is ridiculous. The weather finally feels like fall today, and the gauge reads 40%. Today I was trimming and was like "finally some normal pots to trim!"
  24. Pitting and pinholing

    This is normal. If you are rubbing the bubbles out before firing, it shouldn't affect the final outcome. However, if you are not rubbing them smooth, lots of glazes do not flow enough to smooth themselves out. Some will, some won't.
  25. Pitting and pinholing

    (I moved this topic to the Clay and Glaze section of the forum. )