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synj00

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About synj00

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  • Birthday March 22

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  1. Baking Soda Eh? That idea is going into my next test batch. I hadn't thought to look into soda firing techniques for usable materials. Got any pics of ware glazed like that? Thanks, Sebastian
  2. synj00

    Competing Styles

    @Stephen thats where I'm at too! I think too much, but I dont think you can overthink your observation for this type of thing. Static plans don't work. Nothing ever works out exactly the way we plan. I"m old enough to have seen enough of my static plans fail. But a good flexible plan with plenty of analysis and observation to get you -towards something - is a good thing. I'm old enough to have seen enough of those work.The more we are aware of, the more able we'll be to spot trends, improve, etc.. and when we come to a crossroads, we'll be better able to make decisions when the time comes. And yes, improving skills is a given. It would be just armchair tactics and dreaming to be talking about it as a real business it if we weren't already putting in the work. I think offering a few different things at the booth wouldn't push people away. There is always the peripheral customer, maybe a woodworker, that comes in to look at your boards, and spots something ceramic, picks it up and takes it home. Or the other way around. I think I read somewhere that 3 diverse but coherent / related products was a good limit to have. I also agree with the buyers supporting the artist almost as much as the wares they sell. I'm a firm believer in that. What I make, part of me goes into that object and will forever reside there. People huff at that concept but for me it's a reality. I put as much of myself into something as I can. Which is a hard thing to let go of once you finish it, but it's a good lesson in being 100% present and honoring what you are doing it, while you are doing it, and then letting it go.
  3. synj00

    Carving into clay

    Zebra tools makes neat little tools for carving. But Neil is right, you dont need them, just use what you got and you can even make your own tools out of bent saw blades and such.
  4. I couldn't resize my pics either ... sorry peeps! :-(
  5. My guess as to the layers is that they actually ARE layers or they are cuts into the clay and ripped away. I'm sure there are dozens and dozens of ways to do it. Akira Satake does it very well. I find that well grogged clay makes for the rough tears and if there is little or no grog then it will tear away almost cleanly with just a light texture. Of course this all depends on the direction of tearing and such and what you want out of the end product Take a small block of clay, cut into it with a wire a dozen or more times and rip that portion of clay off, you get a really nice layered effect. What I don't like, for my personal work anyways, is having the scoring marks where I want to break a piece off but then there is that very slight line of perfection before the rough edge. Maybe I can do something with that specifically but I haven't thought of anything yet. I like the very natural look. Akira likes his work to have the natural AND the straight lines combined for some of his work. But those works are clearly made with that in mind. Such as the vase below. Anyways, just have a good think on it, implement and if it doesnt work, surely more ideas will come from that, and think again, etc.. and have fun with it. All we really do is to play with mud after all. Its very serious, and absolutely not serious, both at the same time. Like Straw Dogs :-)
  6. synj00

    Competing Styles

    You get better at what you do the most and the longest. I certainly wont tell you not to keep on doing exactly what you are doing. Out of what you do will come WHAT YOU DO. How could it be any other way? I cant speak from a pottery perspective because I don't even have my own line yet (still working on it, and will be tweaking forever probably haha) but I can speak from a consumer perspective. If you give people too many choices, they generally will not choose. That's been proven by people who get paid waaaaaaaay more than I do, to study consumer habits and what sells and why and what doesn't sell and why. And take into account gas stations and convenience stores. All laid out generally the same. I remember a time when Quick Trip / Racetrack / Wal-Mart / Target, they were there but every store was different, you had to walk around and find things, doable but not ideal. Now I can go to any one of these places, walk directly to what I want, pick it up and go check out. Then also there is the familiarity concept that ties in with that. Humans are creatures of habit, we generally park in the same spots, we generally say hello to those we are familiar with. Sure we may strike up a conversation with a stranger but chances are better with the person we know better. We gravitate towards familiarity. We have jingles that go along with a product to further engrain a name or a slogan so you are more likely to choose it. I find the subject and the psychology behind it absolutely fascinating. Added bonus, when you learn the techniques people use to try to sell you things, or persuade you of something, you get to make more informed choices rather than just because it "feels" some kind of way. There are TED talks on marketing, books, all sorts of strange and fascinating things out there to learn about how our brains work and how we make decisions.
  7. Whew that's a lot of clay!!! Thats a lot of pots !
  8. First off, Thanks @Joseph F !! Yeah its been a while! Second, I would disagree with your wording. You didn't fail, you got results and from the results you adjusted your course and eventually ended up perfectly happy. That's what counts! I see a lot of people who are just absolutely miserable in their lives and professions. Really, I feel for people with that perspective. I don't hate my profession. I actually love the people. I occasionally get some satisfaction from a job well done. It took a looooong and miserable time to get to this point and perspective. Lots of people do things from a purely reactionary perspective. "I hate my job, I love doing _____, let me change it up real quick." I dont have the luxury to be able to do that kind of thing. Maybe when I was younger and working at a fast food joint with no bills and no family to support. I think we all have had the phone call or whatever "Ummm I'm not coming in today, or ever again." at least once in our lives LoL! Its part of the learning experience. So where I'm coming from is the path of trying to make my life and my families life better and be able to do more of the things that we love and want to do. Maybe 1% of people on the planet get to do what they want to do for a living. I have a 1% chance of doing what I want and being able to support myself and my family. If I don't give it a go I have a 0% chance. I am willing to work hard and be extremely patient for what I want. Of course I may come to the same conclusion, that it isn't for me, or that it absolutely will not feed us and I'm really ok with that, I'll change course and pursue the path that brings myself and my family closer to our natural rhythm and happiness. And a HUGE part of that is being DEBT FREE!!! We were debt free for a time and long story short I had to take leave and didn't get paid for months. We eventually did get paid but the damage had already been done because of living off of credit cards. Not enough in savings to cover an extended period of absence. Lesson learned. The hard way. So that will happen and other things will have to happen and line up before I decide that I can or cant make a full jump. That single thing, by itself, is going to open up a lot of avenues that were not available before. As far as the firing method goes, I was smitten from the beginning with the aesthetic of high fired ware, the simple glazes, the history and tradition that goes with them. It's like the car you want when you can finally afford it. Yes the Ferrari has 4 wheels and goes fast but you want the Lambo because you had a poster of it in your room when you were a kid and the Ferrari test drive, while all the potential is there, doesn't really change your mind. And I didnt put this question out here just for myself. I hope this thread helps other people who might come across it with their planning and perspective. (not that I have the correct perspective, it's just my perspective) I'm really enjoying the discussion and reading everyone's thoughts on the matter. So much good advice here from everyone! I cant thank you all enough for your thoughtful input! I owe you each a cup of coffee and breakfast or something!
  9. Fantastic advice GEP, that is where I am at right now. Not quitting anything on a whim, it has to be viable or I just don't get to jump. Not the end of the world and clay will most likley always be part of my life. And I kinda feel like it's the best position to be in, I get to do the work, build something and see if it can work. I really want it to work of course. It is already hard work as I'm spending nights and weekends improving my throwing and out of that will come a line of pots that will be the first standards. From there, like everyone is mentioning, people will like them, or they won't. I can choose to adjust what I make, "some & some", or the plan is on hold until circumstances change or I re-evaluate and decide that it's not the right goal (which is always a possibility) And you are right, I have put a LOT of thought into this for the past few years. I am making sure that the plan is as flexible as possible without changing the core ideals that made me decide to pursue this goal in the first place. If you could be in my brain you'd see whats up lol. The garage is and will be the studio until I sales dictate that I move. That is a right-on fantastic piece of advice. I will be firing in the small homemade gas kiln to start off with (along with my wood fired work twice a year). I really am hearing the advice of being flexible with electric but I cant get past the gut feeling of putting my time and energy into something that I ultimately will most likely abandon in favor of high fire. Lots of this plan is dependant on what each step brings. IF the small gas kiln gets me, on a small scale, to what I want to produce AND people like it, then the next logical step will get taken, with risk measured and noted. Same for investments in facilities and equipment. IF small scale does not work, then no, a 15k investment in a large gas kiln doesn't make a lick of sense. It's kind of like a choose your own adventure story right?
  10. This is why I decided to put it out here, I dont want a bunch of confirmation bias. I needed some diverse opinions and input and you guys delivered. Thank you for the thoughtful comments. The input here helps to round things out and gives me lots to chew on and add to my plan. The comment about "if it cant work part time it probably won't work full time". That's exactly where I'm at. I'm under no spell, thinking that this is going to be some kind of easy feat. That is why its a multi year project. So if I cant get this up and running to the point where I can make a jump, then I won't. I'll scale it back and it will be that which feeds the soul and then I'll keep the job that feeds the family. I'm in a good place where I can give it my all to do it, if it doesn't work out then, I'll keep doing it, it just won't be my full time gig. I also appreciate the midfire comments, it's just not my thing, I guess it seems like I'm being inflexible. I get that comment all the time and it will surely play into how the plan turns out. I'm just the type of person that if I want to do something specific, I'm going to put all my effort and energy to do THAT THING or I'm not going to do it at all. I'm weird that way :-) I do hold a mortgage, not renting my home currently. We do not have sufficient space to build another structure. We won't be at this house forever and sometime down the road if we move the extra space will definitely be a consideration. I have read back through the threads here and elsewhere and a gas kiln in a residential garage overwhelmingly seems to be a no-go. I have a converted electric kiln and burner and I will use that for the time being to get my atmospheric skills up to par (which I will do before I invest ANY kind of money in another kiln. Money isn't cheap you know! ;-) Oh I should put it out there, that I don't JUST want to make money by doing pottery. That's not the goal at all. I'll make this extra hard on myself - I want to make what I want to make AND make a living doing it! Other people do it, just not many. So statistically speaking, I'm almost sure to fail, but it wouldn't be fun without the odds right?!
  11. Well folks! I've been off and on here for a while now and I thought I would ask the community what they thought of my 5 year plan (now 4 years). I've never in my life been so motivated to create something like this. If anyone has stories they want to share or advice about making the jump from one career to another it would be greatly appreciated. First a little background on my situation - I work a full time job and am compensated fairly well. Its just not something I want to do the rest of my life. We have debt that we need to pay off that should be done in 2 years if all goes well. I have accepted that this venture might fail, or that we might not make enough for us to survive on. But that is not stopping me from going full steam ahead and will not be used as an excuse to let things slide or for any type of failure. Accepting that things don't always work out frees up mental energy so I can focus on the things that need to be done. I have to work my day gig 40+ hours a week. Nights and weekends are dedicated to improving my throwing, building some standard shapes and pieces and general scheming and dreaming. We've procured and LLC and a CPA (have not gotten a Sales Tax ID or a Tax Exempt ID because we are not officially selling as a business yet) A business loan and credit cards are pretty much out of the picture. My wife is working full time and is currently on course for a degree in business administration so that is helping out a lot too! We have a business plan in place and are researching our customers and demographic and where and when to sell (this is a continual investigation but Etsy will probably be our first sales platform as we have used it before) I know a lot of that depends on what we are making as a studio - Functional Ware / Cups / bowls / Plates / Serving Dishes / Vases / Lidded Vessels / all in various sizes to create my own line (while like every other potter - experimenting and improving along the way) We are building our social network presence slowly but surely. We are calculating our current personal expenses, time, operating expenses, capital, etc... (again since it's an ever changing thing its ongoing and we'll get dialed in the more data the further we move along) Currently we are working out of the garage with two wheels and an electric Kiln which is being used as a bisque kiln and a test fire kiln. I have a spot where I can woodfire twice a year. This is my sticking point. I am not interested in mid-fire at all. Woodfiring twice a year does not give me enough feedback or testing or experience to line up within this timeframe. Woodfiring is a 10 year goal. Getting up and running in my own studio is my 5 year goal so high fire with gas makes sense. I will be investing in some large propane tanks and I already have a burner and a converted electric kiln so I can do experiments and small amounts of work fired in that for the time being. A decent size gas kiln will be a considerable investment and the heart of the studio. I don't think it is possible to run a good size gas kiln in my garage studio. Someone correct me if I'm wrong. I think renting a building and installing a gas kiln does not make sense at this point but at some point I will have to get up and going at full scale. For those of you that own studios when did you consider renting and installing a kiln? Thanks for any input / experience you want to share.
  12. Interesting topic here! I’ll add my take as well. I started with the kit tools that everyone ends up with. The roundish trim blade on one side and a triangular blade on the other. Serves most jobs well. I went out and got a Sherill Do All trim tool (because I like to get away with using the least amount of tools possible for whatever reason) and then discovered “chattering” quite by accident. It was annoying. It teaches you to be very deliberate in your movements and to brace the tool as well as you can. I think that the tools you use, at least in the beginning, kind of influence the types of curves and angles you make. It did for me anyways but I was still very much in my “let’s just try it and see” phase. I have come to love a good semi sharp wooden knife for just about everything - as a long rib, burnishing tool, trim tool, decoration, whatever. It comes down to what you use and end up liking, which can and probably will change over time.
  13. I’m going to teach myself spiral wedging sometime, which prompted a question about wedging in general. I throw clockwise on the wheel, I usually just do a quick rams head wedging to prep my clay. I have not really paid attention to the direction of the wedge once I work it into a ball and put it on the wheel. But is it better to wedge in the same direction as your wheel or the opposite? My gut tells me it should be in the same direction but I don’t know why. Any input? Thanks!!
  14. It just occurred to me that we did an experiment with raku a year or so ago with some soft brick that I have since gotten rid of. I didnt have a temperature gauge or anything but do you think that with a big enough tank and enough soft brick to build something conducive for airflow would it reach cone 10 in a few hours? This would allow me to experiment with glazes, build different configurations, reduction and all that kick@%% stuff :-) Tell me good news! Thanks All!! Sebastian
  15. Grype! Great to see youre still at it! I had to take a break for personal reasons but I've picked up where I left off. I came to post the question "Does cooling have an affect on Tenmoku (Temmoku)?" and here I find some great information as you are already treading this territory. Here is my testing its at cone 8 oxidation with quite a hold time. The leach 4/3/2/1 recipe and it works but its not anything like temmoku at all in oxidation even with a long ramp down in cooling. It looks cool but its not what I'm after. Its the journey not the destination right? :-)
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