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Everything posted by GEP

  1. GEP

    Most used sieve size?

    I only use 80 mesh, but I have two of them. The full-size five-gallon bucket sieve, and a little one for making test batches.
  2. If I had to choose a “second place” on my list of most important busines tools: a photostand, good camera, and the know-how to use them. Most of the professional art world is closed to anyone without professional quality photos of their work, such as juried art festivals, exhibitions, and publishing, The gatekeepers need to evaluate so many people’s work, and photographs are the only way to do it. And any avenue without gatekeepers probably won’t lead you very far. It’s not as initimidating as it might sound. The only expense is a good camera. (No, I don’t mean the camera in your smart phone. These have come a long way but still don’t give you enough control over things like ISO, depth of field, and distortion,) Photostands can be built for very cheap. Studio photography, where the subject doesn’t move and the lighting is controlled, is the easiest form of photography. Potters are mechanical and scientific, these things are not over our heads. It’s a matter of finding the right training.
  3. First of all, I agree with every word of that article. My most important business tool by far: email marketing. It’s the best way to foster a good connection with people who are likely to buy my work. Knowing that maybe 99% of people who see my work are never going to buy it, email marketing lets me target the 1% who might. For a tiny business like a pottery studio, you really don’t need a large list of customers to make your business thrive. It’s better to go after a small list of likely customers. Email marketing can be done for free for small businesses. The payback is worth the time and effort. I’ve been using MailChimp for free for about 7 years. I now have almost 1800 subscribers, and when I reach 2000 I have to start paying for it. It won’t be cheap, about $400/year. But I know the value of it is worth way more than that. So I’ll just pay them and not complain.
  4. Hi everybody, These are my last few days as a moderator of this forum. I am stepping aside in order to spend more time with my pottery business. About a year ago, I launched a new “division” of my business. Didn’t know if it would go anywhere, but now it has grown to the point where it really needs more of my time and attention. I am not going anywhere, I still plan to be an active forum user. I’m just handing over my moderator duties to a worthy new moderator. I have been a moderator here since the forum’s earliest days in 2010. I love the forum! I’m proud of what has been built here in the first 8 years: a gigantic archive of information, and a solid community culture. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO CONTRIBUTES TO THIS! With gratitude for Jen Harnetty, ACerS, the current mod team, and best wishes to all, Mea
  5. Thanks @Pres! It has been an honor to work with you. If you make it to the Penn State show, my booth is in the same spot as last year.
  6. It’s times like this when I’m glad the forum software now lets us give more than five “likes” per day. Thanks everybody! And really, I will still be hanging out here regularly. I don’t think I could quit the forum if I tried.
  7. On the advice of someone on another artist board, I glued rubber furniture pads to the bottoms of my tent legs and my weights. I used E6000 glue. I did it about a year ago, and so far I’ve had to re-glue two of them. But it really helps keep the feet in place when on pavement.
  8. At a recent show, the artist next to me showed up without any weights at all. When the wind started gusting, she tried to tie her tent to my weights. I explained as politely as possible that my weights were designed to hold down one tent, not two. I think it was her first show, she was unwrapping the packaging from her canopy in the morning. She made it through the day with makeshift solutions and hanging on to her a tent leg. Hopefully she learned about the importance of weights that day. I don’t mean to criticize her too hard (except the part about trying to “borrow” my weights without asking), because in my early days I did a few shows without weights before I understood the importance. I spent a day hanging on to my tent leg too. I’ve been through enough bad weather now to know that weights are an obvious baseline requirement. But I can remember that it’s not obvious to a newcomer.
  9. I use steel bars like Mark described. I got the idea from him on the forum years ago. Nice and slim, space saving, and heavy as [bleep]. I prefer to have mine on the ground, simply because I don’t want to lift them in the air during setup. Too heavy! I recently read a story on another artist board about someone who hung her weights in the air on the advice of another artist. Only to have her cheap tent collapse. I know Neil has a sturdy tent, but if you’re going to dangle your weights, make sure your tent can handle it. And if your weights are dangling, make sure to strap them around the tent legs too, so they cannot swing like a pendulum. A swinging weight can do a lot of damage.
  10. @DirtRoads I’m a believer in the 80:20 principle when it comes to employees. 80% of the work gets done by 20% of the employees. My only advice is to make sure those two good employees know how much you appreciate them. Like @Gabby said, the job market is strong and it will be very hard to replace them with equally productive and reliable people.
  11. GEP

    Making an Urn, Help

    The larger one starts with 5 lbs of clay, and I build it to be 12 inches tall. After drying and firing, the final piece is about 10.75 inches tall. I know 5 lbs sounds like a lot, the walls of the piece are fairly thick and heavy. They need to be in order for the clay to support itself as a tube when it is being rolled horizontally. I like to challenge myself to make the walls as thin as possible without collapsing. At least a heavy vase is less likely to tip over when in use. The smaller one starts with 3.5 lbs of clay, and I build it to 10 inches tall. When fired, it’s just under 9 inches. Edit to add one more note: as you roll out the tube, the clay will develop a lot of small cracks on the outside. At least it does for me. After I attach the floor to the vase, I spend a lot of time with a soft rib (red Sherrill rib) smooting out the cracks.
  12. GEP

    Making an Urn, Help

    Have you ever tried what I call a “dowel tube?” I’m sure there’s a better term for it. Start with a large coil of clay. I use pugs straight out of the pugmill. Insert a dowel through the middle of the clay lengthwise. Lay it down on a table and start rolling it like a rolling pin. The dowel will open up the clay from the inside, creating a hollow tube of clay. Then attach a floor, neck, lid, etc, however you want to finish it. It’s a (relatively) easy way to make a large vessel. I make these large vases with this method.
  13. Here’s a blog post about my flexible throwing gauge, that @Rex Johnson mentioned above. Made for free from a broken gooseneck table lamp. http://www.goodelephant.com/blog/throwing-multiples-without-losing-your-mind
  14. GEP

    Best Tent For Craft Show?

    My canopy weights are steel bars with loops welded to the tops. The bottoms of the crossbracing straps are clipped onto that loop. The only thing stopping the legs from moving inward are the weights. I have one on each leg, a tight strap attaches them to the top corner of the canopy, plus velcros straps wrapped tightly around the leg. Sometimes in high gusty situations I’ll notice the legs have moved a few inches, but that’s the worst I’ve seen. It happens a lot less ever since I added the crossbrace straps. Something rigid like stabars would probably be safer, but I haven’t felt the need for them yet.
  15. Maybe you could keep the plaster damp while shaving with a surform? The shavings would stay on the table rather than flying into the air. I also like @JohnnyK‘s idea.
  16. The phrase I learned in college is “energy breeds energy.” This is along the lines of what Magnolia and Callie are saying. Such a short phrase but it made a huge difference for me going forward out of college. I still say it to myself all the time. Creative work requires an immense amount of energy. So many acts of initiative. Many people underestimate that, thinking something so “fun” shouldn’t require effort. Putting energy into any task creates momentum that makes it easier to generate energy the next day. Putting practice into skills makes those skills easier, which then require less energy, giving you free energy to spend on new initiatives. It multiplies over time. On the other hand, sitting around doing nothing leads to more sitting around doing nothing. This also multiplies over time. I guess the important crux of “energy breeds energy” is that the fuel needs to come from yourself, and shows you how to generate fuel.
  17. @Wyndham Can you not ask the Japanese potter on the FB group for a translation? Or, if the photo/description of the glaze was supplied by a third party and you don’t know how to contact the original potter, can you post a photo of the glaze so we can try to figure it out that way? (Keep in mind, if the image is copyrighted and you’re not sure the original potter wants to share it, it cannot be posted here. However, if it is already being shared on social media by the original potter, then permission to share it can be assumed. )
  18. Here’s a thread from a couple of years ago. A lot of forum members shared their Instagram handles and recommended others to follow:
  19. I had a show this past weekend. For the very first time, I did not swipe a single credit card. All of the cards had chips. And for the very first time, people wanted to pay me with Apple Pay. One guy even did it with his watch. Mind blown. The times they are a-changin’.
  20. GEP

    Posting equipment pics

    (I am moving this topic to the Equipment section) Linda just follow the exact same steps you did to post this topic. The process to attach photos are right underneath the field where you type your comment.
  21. I honestly think that “narrowing it down” is a much larger and more important subject than “making money.” It is about your growth and refinement as a human being. It’s a worthy goal to aim for. The fact that a well-defined line of work is easier to sell is a collateral benefit to the gains in your self-awareness and comfort level with yourself.
  22. The secret is to map out and understand your own value system, regarding aesthetics and purpose. For some people this is easy, while others will never figure this out. The central question is “who am I?” The works you make reflect that question. Don’t think of it as a choice, you are not “picking” a style or genre. That’s a shallow approach that will lead you nowhere. This is about figuring out your own mind and letting those values guide you.
  23. ( I am moving this topic to Studio Operations)
  24. GEP

    ^5 clay

    I’m moving this topic to the Studio Operations section.
  25. Welcome to the forum @Ahumphrey. I am moving this topic to the Studio Operations and Making Work section.

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