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Everything posted by GEP

  1. 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.
  2. There are also the “[Something] and Art” Festivals. “Something” can be wine, beer, music, seafood, etc ... Don’t do them!
  3. Pyrometer Usage?

    @neilestrick I’ll try it that way next time. Thanks for the tip!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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?
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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/
  13. I’ve never made surfaces like the ones in OP’s links, but this approach gets my vote. You’ll need a sharp metal tool to cut the smooth planes into leather hard clay, then tear the rest, As for the layered appearance of the rough surfaces in the third link, I haven’t a clue. The description says “Faceted shape and original texture made in very special way.” Which indicates the artist does not wish to share the technique. I’m fine with allowing artists to keep their techniques to themselves if they wish.
  14. Chicken Scratch

    @preeta I am using a Mac, so the click+drag does not work for me, and I don't have a right mouse button. I can double click an image, which gives me a pop-up window that allows me to change the size. On my iPad I cannot adjust a picture size at all. I can only do it from my laptop.
  15. Bailey Pro-X, anyone use one?

    I have a Bailey ST-50 bought in 2002, which is now known as the PRO-50. It's the same as the PRO-X except the PRO-X has a larger wheelhead (13 inches instead of 12). It's a great wheel. Quiet and very reliable for 15 years. Best splashpan design in the industry IMO, especially the gate on the side that trimmings can be pushed out and into a bucket. The only time I had any trouble with it was after a minor earthquake. It started to have minor rattles. But the design is so simple I just looked around and tightened everything, and it has been solid ever since. One-third of retail, as in $300 or so? I would get it.
  16. It will depend on what you’re trying to achieve, and which underglaze you’re using. I thin my underglaze quite a bit for the ruling pen, to the consistency of india ink. I’m using black underglaze and I think it still reads as black.
  17. Kiln Over firing

    It sounds to me like you didn’t need to replace the element, but instead just fix the loose connection. Maybe replace the connector wire if it looked fried. I’m a firm believer in having all of the elements and TCs at the same age. This is even more important with a 1 zone kiln. It only makes sense to replace only one element when they are all new or almost new, and one fails due to an incident, like a glaze spill or a pot explosion. What you’re experiencing now is the reason why your parts should all be the same age. New elements fire hotter with the same amount of juice. Although the older elements aren’t finished yet, I think the best solution is to replace them. And I would also follow Neil’s advice about checking if your new TC needs an offset.
  18. Aha! I’ve gotten it for free out of boxes that contain computer equipment. I wasn’t sure it was the same thing you meant. I buy it in large rolls from uline now.
  19. My rule of thumb: if the water is clear and has no color, it’s probably safe to remove it. If the water is yellow or brown, it contains solubles.
  20. Audrey porcelain

    (I moved this topic to the Clay and Glaze section)
  21. How many days or weeks do you have before the move? If you have a week or so, remove the lids from the buckets now. The winter air will evaporate the excess water in a few days. If you have glazes that don’t contain any soluble components, you can quickly remove the top water with a turkey baster, while disturbing the settled solids as little as possible. For glazes that contain solubles, tipping or turkey-bastering the excess water could change the makeup of the glaze, so evaporation is better for those.
  22. Based on @Rae Reich's suggestion above to put peanuts into plastic bags, I have a new way to pack pots for shipping. I am now packing them between pillows of bagged peanuts, rather than loose peanuts. I am much happier with this, knowing that the peanuts won't go flying around my customers' houses. If you want more information and more photos, I wrote a blog post about this: http://www.goodelephant.com/blog/a-new-peanut-strategy
  23. T S wheel users...

    I remain seated until I can no longer reach into the pot as far as I need to. Then I stand up for the rest. I can throw a 12 inch tall pot while sitting down. Anything taller than that, and I'll need to stand for the later stages.
  24. My two holiday events (Open Studio and online sale) were slightly up from last year. And I feel like I short-changed myself a bit. I only had 11 pots left after my Open Studio. Several people showed up looking for something specific, only to find it sold out. When I listed the remaining pots in my online store, they sold out in four hours. Followed by emails from customers saying “what happened did I miss it?” At the previous year’s Open Studio, I was celebrating my 10th anniversary and giving away free tshirts to eveybody who attended. So I predicted attendance this year wouldn’t be quite as high. I also had a snowy forecast, and thought that would cut down on attendance too. I was wrong on both counts. I’m not complaining, just thinking in hindsight. It would make sense to do one fewer fall show in order to stock up better for the holidays. The customers who will come to my Open Studio are the ones that matter the most. I want to give them a better chance to get what they want. For the entire year, I had my best sales year ever. However, as I mentioned in another thread, I often felt the strain of the production workload. I’d like to cut back a little next year.
  25. T S wheel users...

    Yes, but instead of extending the wheel shaft, try raising the entire wheel by a few inches. Putting bricks under the feet is a quick way to try it. If you have a long torso with short arms, the top half of your arms need to reach all the way down to hip height, before the bottom half of your arms can reach forward to the wheel. That’s gotta be uncomfortable. Raising the splashpan rim will help your arms (and your back). I am average height (5’5”) and I find that my lower back gets very tired when I throw on a hip-height wheel. Possibly because my arms are short so I need to hunch in order to have my elbows at hip height. A belly-button height wheel is far better for me all around. I built leg extenders out of PVC pipe parts, so I could make them the exact right height.

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