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About Stephen

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  • Birthday 10/02/1960

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  1. Stephen

    Glazing on already glazed tiles

    check out china paint and overglaze https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_painting
  2. the hold is once it reaches programmed high. I have seen a broad range of ranges quoted but the 20 minute hold on our kilns bends the cone 6 cone half way, programmed to cone 5. When you add a hold the heat work at that top temp continues the cone rise. If you did a cone 5 firing and had it hold for an hour you would likely bend a cone 7. Never tried having it hold at a ramp temp. Some specialized glazes may benefit from that to get a particular appearance. We do it at the end to even out the melt, let the glaze soak so to speak.
  3. ya know I have never brushed although my partner does here and there for some layering effects on more time consuming pieces, so on price can't really comment with a lot of firsthand knowledge. We have a lot of 5 gallon glazes. probably 25+ mixed by a shop in Tacoma and I probably have 8-9 in house recipes I still do, although some we will just use up and we have new ones we want to mix and try. Its been a while since I actually mixed anything but our Val's turquoise (great glaze recepe) Our red is a mass firebrick (amoco?) and a couple of Celadons my partner uses I think are mass produced. Yes it is expensive upfront but we consider glazes (once you have them :-) to be a very cheap part of the process. Ya know we have a couple of kilns with Bartlet controllers and programmed in our ramp, 20 minute hold and controlled cool down years ago, settled on one and have always used it. If a mid fire glaze (commercial or in-house) doesn't work well with our standard glaze program we would just not use it. Some of our glazes we just use for accents for this reason until they are gone. The hold is for a last cone of heat work to even out the melt. We think it helps reduce glaze defeats such as pin holes etc. That 20 minutes gets a half bend on the cone 6 cone in a cone 5 program. The difference here is that we try to move a kiln load or two a week when we're clicking and that leaves less time to fuss with individual glazes and pots. Because of that my advice may be of less use to you. Pres is a retired pottery professor and his advice is golden.
  4. Why not try getting larger quantities of glazes and start dipping and/or spraying? We use 5 gallon buckets from Lowes. On the commercial side these run $60-$90 to fill and prob a quarter of that from recipe. It is a bit of an investment but actually much cheaper per pot so cheaper in the long run. We use commercial and recipes (several from mastering cone 6 book that pres referenced) and I test all of my glazes on our standard cone 5 with 20 minute hold schedule we use on all glazes, commercial and house. Can't imagine trying to having multiple ones as it would get hard to keep track of what gets glazed when. Spoon rest might also be a thought for a good form to test on. They are quick to throw and have a good flat surface as well as walls to see the how/if the glaze breaks.
  5. Stephen

    Well, There's Your Problem!

    Great find, sounds like you scored, congrads! Off topic but I guess I am confused why the kiln wasn't repaired. Seems awfully wasteful to auction off and just buy another and absurd to auction off and kill the program.
  6. hey congratulations, sounds like a fun day! Now you need to replace those 15 pots :-)
  7. Stephen

    Brand new to pottery

    nah, you need to fire all pottery if your using regular clay. He will clue you in on all of this. They do make some air dry stuff but i don't think its that mainstream...
  8. I guess I should probably be clear that I don't think art shows are a bad thing to do. Finding enough art shows that will both sell $7-$8,000 worth of pots and let you come back every year is what I'm balking at as a workable plan if you currently have an average full time job and want to switch over to pottery. I'd look at everything else and just do shows for exposure and some extra dough.
  9. Stephen

    Brand new to pottery

    Hey welcome to the board! This is a great place to come for advice and everyone is very friendly and helpful. Hey only you know if and when you want to take classes. Me, I think buying a wheel and getting your friend that has 30 years of pottery to get you started with the basics is a great place to start. Put on some tunes and enjoy. I assume you are going to add a kiln to the mix, be sure and check out the archives when making your decisions. I have ordered a couple of kilns from clayking and they have them drop shipped. I would recommend looking at a 4+ CF kiln so it will hold a decent number of pots when you fire. I hope you have a blast!
  10. Ya know I guess you can discount what I'm saying that way and better work is what I will always work toward. No I didn't really try to break into the wholesale market. Just before I failed at finding any of these great shows, I sent a letter out to about 80 random gift shops in the Dallas area and no the response was not enough for me to continue without a day job. I do doubt very seriously if anyone with any particular pottery knowledge even saw my letter. But it was a shot I do respect your work and get that you make a living selling it at shows. My post isn't about my work though it's about my opinion on a good route to selling pottery in enough numbers to make a living. I don't think either your path or Marks will work for me and I seriously doubt it will work for very many people. My work aside, I just don't think making pottery and putting it in boxes while you hunt around for 9-10, 7-8k shows is a reasonable approach to making a living in pottery if you currently have a full time job and that even includes if you think 10-15 years is enough time to do so. Now if you have someone else paying the bills, have money or have a job or business with tremendous flexibility, maybe. I will also say that if you have crappy pottery then probably none of the routes will work out very well.
  11. Hi GEP, ya know I can't argue that you and others make your living with shows. No doubt its largely due to your skill as a potter and your patience in developing your show line up. I personally have never ever seen a booth that was remotely running at a thousands of dollars pace. I've seen some busy booths but not that busy. I know they are there, you and mark and others attest to them but I am convinced that it is absolutely wishful thinking that MY path to making a living in this business is in that direction at least in any reasonable time frame. I have no idea if area of the country matters but Mark has shows from CA that are thousands of miles drive so he must have had to swing his net wide and do a lot of crap shows to end up so far away from home to make his line up work. It's a catch 22, to repeat that feat and find 10 shows that do 7-8 grand a pop, you can't have a full time job and do shows that far away, other than maybe a vacation week here and there and then even if you locate a couple that work for you its not like you can quit your job on the basis of to net 5k shows. I guess you could then not do those two great shows you found and try some others. Also even when you find these great 8k shows absolutely no guarantee you will get back in consistently. Mark talks of many years of starving and you have mentioned you had a business that you ran parallel to pottery. Foe me and people like me I just don't see the show route as anything other than some extra dough here and there. They are a blast to do but that isn't how I will make it in this business. All business models are complicated and retail is no different but ya know pottery won't be in boxes 98% of the time so there's that ;-) Now better pots will help no matter what route I take.
  12. great post above. I am giving up on trying pottery from boxes approach. I know GEP and Mark (and plenty of others here I'm sure) have made it work but I just don't see it for most folks in the areas I've been in (NW, South). It's not just me, it really seems like all the pottery booths I interact with do light sales at all the shows I've done. We sell pots but once you back out expenses its just no where near enough for even a meager living. Mark said early on he struggled to find the right mix of shows and shops. He made it work but by his own account it took many many years. Average/low-end local shows just don't produce anywhere near the sales you need and high end road shows are so hard to string together and the fees are so high that the risk is huge and you need 9-10 5k+ profit shows to make a living. With $6-700 booth fees and road cost you can be into a show a fifteen hundred/two grand. First 50-60 pots are just to cover being there. If you're established then its the cost of doing business but on the way up a couple of misses and you're screwed. Its not just the money your out but the time of doing 2 three shows like that. I know the old pros will say patience and it will gradually increase but I just think for the average Joe you are just going to resign yourself to just being a struggling hobbyist with no real chance of success. I think a retail location is the better approach.
  13. One thing I would add is that pottery definitely becomes a passion and if you battle depression it might really be a great thing in your life regardless of whether you do it for a living or not. The deeper you get you will realize that there are just a ton of directions to explore and they are all both fun and involved.
  14. You and half this board You don't mention how you are set financially. If you mean start making pots and eeking out a living right away, I would guess wishful thinking unless you really don't need much money for a few years. May be wrong, but not many do that. It really does take a long time to be able to make nice pots that people will buy in any quantity and mostly its $20-$100 pots so you have to sell a bunch to add up to a living. I think the most worn path is treat it like a second full/part time job and go at it. It will all work itself out if you are both any good at it and remain passionate about it. This board, the web and tons of books, workshops etc will provide all the help you need as you go. I think my best advice would be to spend as much time as possible actually making pots. Learn to throw, slab building and study design. Figure out your own studio as quickly as you can because dabbing at it a few times a week at someone else's will put the process in slow mo and you will spend more time dreaming than doing. A studio can be put together with an old kiln, old wheel, dough pin and a few hundred bucks of tools, bats and such for cheap or decked out with 15-20k of brand new everything. The pots are the important thing. You're new and need a few thousand hours of work just to get to square one as a pro. think of anyone you know in a band, takes a lot of practice to get past just being OK.. I do wish you luck! I am twice your age and then some. I have been at it for going on a decade (with a long break the past year while moving to a new home/studio), quit the day job for a couple of years and tried, failed and now back to part time. Like you I want to get there eventually and will just keep at it. And even if you never go pro its a fun hobby.
  15. Stephen

    Troubleshooting Paragon Kiln

    I am a little confused, the kiln repair guy came out checked a few things and basically said 'sucks to be you' and left? Did he charge you? This sounds like it would be an awfully common issue that a kiln repair guy would get called on.

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