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About Stephen

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  • Birthday 10/02/1960

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  1. Stephen

    first craft fair WWYD?

    Please don't misread my post. I am not trying to discourage you or curb your enthusiasm. The only reason I am bringing it up is that you mentioned that you were doing this to try and get beyond just earning booth fees and a LOT of small x-mas shows, particularly civic or school based, will be very low turnout and slow events. I've seen vendors all just sitting in large rooms with a few folks milling around after the first few hours on the first day. I think the problem is that the job of getting the word out is all volunteer AND a huge reluctance to turn lose of any of the vendor table fees. They eye those fees as the net gain to the organization's fundraising effort and often allow lots of non handmade vendors slip in to increase that take. What often happens is that a few homemade signs get dotted on the closest main road and a donated ad or article in the local community newspaper, nothing paid and nothing far reaching. Turns out a few folks and the organizers, friends and family of the vendors and organization may make the first day or at least first few hours busy but then it drops off, a lot. This time of year there is a huge competition to get the attention of shoppers and they are all busy trying to buy the couple of dozen gifts they have to buy this year so these volunteer efforts just don't do much to move the needle. I would try and use any time you can spare this season to go to as many shows in your area as you can find so if this years lineup misses the mark, next year you will know of some more to sign up for. Good luck and don't get discouraged if you still just make booth fee at some or all of these. There are shows out there, lots of them, that you can consistently sell $1000-$2000 of pottery over the weekend and several potters here talk of 8-$12,000 shows.
  2. Stephen

    Seeking Advice

    Ya know other potters here might hate this suggestion but there are often physical reasons that centering is a problem. Me I have a screw in my shoulder and repetitive centering, particularly larger pieces, is an issue. For a class that regularly has older students there could be potentially a one or two folks in every class that has some type of issue . I added a centering tool: https://www.strongarmpotterytools.com/shop/ to my wheel and it is a necessity for throwing sessions beyond a few pots. I can center just fine and always do the first few pots without the arm to make sure I don't lose the ability but I switch over after a few pots and my shoulder now never has any issues where before this addition I had to wonder if I could even continue pottery without risking serious injury to my shoulder. In addition to the person like this gentlemen who still continues to come even though he can't make it past centering, there may be others who simply drop out feeling helpless to go any further in pottery. Maybe outfitting a couple of wheels with something similar will allow someone to continue forward. They swing out of the way so certainly do not need to be used so it does not take any wheels out of use and it's a shame for someone to miss out on all the other thrills of pottery because they can't get past this part either due to lack of being able to do it or because of a phy issue making it not possible. I know from experience that many folks as they advance in age just will absolutely refuse to acknowledge a limitation at all. Watching my mom age, a lady who ran large county wide departments of hundreds of personnel and extremely bright and fit, struggles with many everyday phy and mental things in life now, I see her flash that inner pride and need to be independent and capable. Anything we can do to help them means so much in their daily struggle to remain relevant and happy. Good luck, hope it all works out!
  3. Stephen

    Advice on Kiln I Found

    and email them and ask that they take that pile of shelves off the top
  4. Ya know I really think it boils down to what your're doing, not the pot. If my representation is displayed and/or sold as a pot made by an artist native to the the culture that inspired the pot then I am engaging in a deceptive way and I think could be rightfully accused of cultural theft. If I made an inspired pot and sell it as a pot made by me, honestly represented, then it's just fine. I honestly feel that what the statue above in regards to Indian Arts and craft is not regarding interpreting the style and rendering something similar, it is trying to hijack the back story that goes with a cultural piece and sell it as authentically made by an artist of that culture, that's dishonest. People by art often with as much the intent to support the artist as opposed to just wanting that pot and if your trying to fool someone who wants to by a piece of Native American pottery made by a native american then your guilty. I do think possibly a notation close to the work acknowledging the work as 'inspired by' might be in good form it you have a bunch of pots in a show that were inspired by a particular culture. Just so there is no misunderstanding.
  5. Stephen

    Studio Floorplan design

    If this is the forever setup I would do two studios with a catwalk and nice decking between the 2 and an outdoor storage. That's where we were going with ours in the NW on an acre property. I built a 300 ft studio (12x26) for everything but glaze and would make it 14 wide if doing again, it had 2 wheels lots of shelving, recirculating Cink, slab roller and bisque kiln. We used the garage for all glazing and glaze firing. I was going to build another building with a catwalk between them and more decking. Having the kilns out of the work area was great so I recommend considering that. You can also really spread out with glazing and have that area always ready to go.
  6. Stephen

    Leaving Teaching

    Dito on GEP's advice. Besides there is no need to quit. You said you are forming your pottery business, perfect. Just finish setting up and establish your production time and start selling on weekends/holidays and next summer full time. Sounds like you have the perfect job for transitioning to pottery. I would recommend treating it like a business and having set part time hours, production schedules and when you have a full show inventory (at least a hundred quality pots) start doing shows where ever you find them and work to get your inventory to 300-400 good pots. That's no small feat. None of this early process requires you quit your job and you may find that you like it as a side business/hobby and if you do decide to grow your business to a full time job a transition will give it the very best chance to survive. As a full time job this business is a lifestyle/lifetime business so a slow steady runway is really the best approach. take it slow, build both your business and pottery skills and just shed the full time job when the timing is right. As a teacher you not only have a great schedule for your business but you have another secret weapon, as the pottery revenue increases you could switch to being a substitute and and then just taper off one as the other grows. Good luck! Be smart. It takes a lot of careful planning to do this and at the end of the day you need to be comfortably paying your expenses or the whole effort will be for naught. I speak from experience. I jumped to quickly, flamed out and now back at my day job. Life is good but a full time potter I am not.
  7. Stephen

    Slip reclaim

    Mark, I just want to point out that you just cost me hours of time that I now have to spend surfing on straw house construction and watching endless YouTube video's. You really should be more careful about mentioning things like that on a creative board.
  8. Stephen

    first craft fair WWYD?

    gottcha and I'm sure in your area in a shaded area they might be fine to even use for real. Good luck with your show!
  9. Stephen

    first craft fair WWYD?

    curious on the birdhouses. In Texas we couldn't have pottery birdhouses because of the heat (would turn into an oven) are they intended to be for show?
  10. Stephen

    Looking to buy a pottery wheel for a beginner

    We have a couple of Shimpo whispers and love them. I also used a clay boss on loan for six months and thought it was fine and at $600 new is a bargain. A lot f studios I think use them for students: http://www.clay-king.com/pottery_wheels/speedball_pottery_wheels/speedball_clay_boss_pottery_wheel.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMInpzZoY_A3gIViYWzCh2vSAHHEAQYBCABEgK7ovD_BwE
  11. took 6 months of getting up at 4:30 and throwing a couple of hours before work every day and mostly cutting everything in half before I would say I could throw a decent pot. Couple of years ago tried my hand at doing full time shows for a living and the sudden influx of non-stop daily throwing that had to happen to have twice a month show racks full certainly made a HUGE difference, not just in throwing but every aspect of making. My take away from the experience is not how long did it take but how many concentrated hours did it take. I think for most, throwing regularly around a full time job and life for 10 or even 20 years will not even remotely compare to someone who throws hours and hours every day for even a few years.
  12. Stephen

    New Potter

    definitely buy your own equipment once you decide you really want to do pottery. Classes are great and hours of practice will get you there. It's hard to really rack up any serious practice hours in someone else's studio and when you are starting out that is what puts you over the top. It doesn't have to break the bank. A used 6-7cf electric kiln, a good starter wheel ($600 clay BOSS I think is a fine starter) and some buckets and hand tools will get you started. If you've got the dough a slab roller will make hand built work a lot easier. Pottery is a great hobby and tons of fun, just dive in! Don't know what kind of day job you have but putting on some tunes and throwing some pots in the off hours is a great way to unwind.
  13. Stephen

    First Employee

    whoops forgot us old potters, yeah ya can't not hire us either
  14. Stephen

    First Employee

    Maybe check local colleges for art students.
  15. Stephen

    Giffin grip

    Ya know I was really attached to my GG but then kind of moved away from it. I didn't see anyone complain about it but I found that sometimes the pressure from the GG would make my round openings slightly off, not in a big way but off. Took me a while to nail it down and it ruined a number of pots if the opening was not a perfect circle. I do realize it was user error but became pretty gun shy about using it much. Figured it was bad throwing initially. I used to mostly trim to shape and to a certain extent weight and I trimmed ALOT, with trimming often taking longer than throwing and way too much handling at leather hard, Now I really try to keep trimming to just a quick once over to clean up a bit and try to throw to weight and shape. This has meant my supper large foam bat became my go to. I used a black felt marker and made a bunch of rings from outside to center and it works really nice for light trimming and sharp tools and light pressure holds it in place. ...and the opening to my pots stopped having any issues so I really think it was the way I was using the GG.

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