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Everything posted by LeeU

  1. Well, it seems I have a new PT job: learning how to put together my own web site, plus the associated links, buttons, tools, text, etc. etc. that goes with "marketing" via certain selected social media portals. I am learning SEO terminology, copyright law, best practices for e-mail, privacy/security measures, table top product photography, color theory, eye tracking in an "F" pattern), recommended point sizes for text, the use of <H> to leverage which crumbs the spiders might pick up while trolling for Google ranking factors, time-intensive review of a comprehensive array of resources...I could go on...and on...and on. It's a lot of freakin' work! The good news is I find the process and the control of it exciting and satisfying. It suits my nature and I am good at making detailed trackers so I have truly useful running to do lists, spreadsheets for inventory and finances, and I am not buying any software assists. My store is on my site, so I am not using anything like Etsy or Shopify. The bad news is I have limited real-life website development experience and rely solely on resources such as community forums, webinars, free small business advisers, savvy friends, and support techs to progress. SO..............since y'all are part of such a large and expert group of artists, many with robust online presence, I have a few questions: (1) what are a few UNCOMMON (not likely to be readily known from the standard instructions/tips that are out there) things you wish you had known before building your own web site ; (2) what are a few things you did or learned that really HELPED you when building your site, and; (3) what are some CRUCIAL tips from your experience with linking your web site to social media outlets? Also, if you spent any MONEY that you either really regret or are very happy you did, describe that. (I am happy I bought a camera and a simple table top photo set up and stopped trying to gerryrig the whole process of making decent images.) THANKS in advance.
  2. New question: what is your go-to software? I know I've read peoples' feedback on some of these programs for ceramsists , but searches here and all forums produced no results. I am curious about apps/programs that help the most with (1) tracking inventory; (2) keeping a customer list w/pertinent info, and (3) a log for noting clay/glaze info for pieces to be fired (I am only familiar with Pottery Logbook). I am using Excel to list and describe items (inventory), but my cognitive issues prevent me from really using its features. If it is a good/best/simple way to go, I could pay someone to set it up for me. The context for me is anything that seems really useful for a SMALL (very small) business--not complicated databases suitable for a production business or high volume potter. I have a PC and an Android smartphone. As always, thanks in advance.
  3. are these engobes ?

    @Oldlady ... I use a commercial engobe that is just wonderful. Cone 5 Engobe (thinly applied-I did not want a deep/thick black) Leguna MS-203 Ghana Black (Moroccan Sand Series)
  4. Pit firing is a blast....but, depending on your location, you may want to think about your surroundings. I did my first pit firing (as an adult ) in my urban apartment complex's small common wooded area. I was told that was not a welcomed activity, per several neighbors. Something about the smoke and fears of fire. The pieces came out great, tho! One other thing--if you leave pit fired wares outdoors in freezing temps, they may end up cracking from the freeze/thaw stress, as pit firing will not enable the clay to withstand thermal shock.
  5. NCECA 2018 Pittsburgh

    I moved here (NH) after over 25 years of living in Richmond, so I am looking forward to the 2020 event. I have friends to stay with and if they have it at the Coliseum downtown I can just ride the bus...way cheaper than parking. Richmond is a relatively small city and real easy to take. The "winter" is usually 1 day with an inch of snow leading to empty supermarkets, but not often after February. It's 12 degrees now where I am, but almost 50 in Richmond. (And really, not THAT far from Atlanta, which truly is a tangled challenge to navigate.)
  6. It is snowing hard for 2 days in the US NE and more tomorrow.  NH people trying to get to NCECA are facing cancelled and sold out flights--bummer. I'm not going-my good news is I got my computer back.


    1. oldlady


      stay warm, try to convince NCECA organizers to make its meeting later in the year.

    2. Pres


      Oh the weather is frightful, and some are saying that 2020, Richmond Virginia will be so delightful, but I can remember driving to Ashville, NC for the Randolph conference  in March with an inch of pebbly ice on the ground. The cold or the snow is easy to deal with compared to ice. I would love to have an early Spring that year!




  7. My dad was a fairly creative person with a deep affinity for excellent craftsmanship. "Lee," he would say, "learn how to do it & do it right." Working in his shop that mantra was often accompanied by "A place for everything and everything in its place." And, "Finish what you start." He could draw, play music, sing, design, make, build and fix all kinds of things, make radios, survive in the woods, enjoy the best museums, discuss most anything (not the Vietnam war, though---stay away from that one) and yet ..... one of the worst arguments we ever had was when I was on break from the School of the Arts at VCU, having just enjoyed presentations by Cristo, hearing the music of Stephen Glass, seeing a dance performed by Twila Tharp, and hearing a talk from Andy the A-hole (who, at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, said to the crowd, in all seriousness, "Where am I?" Anyway, I posited to my dad that the paintings he admired that were done on black velvet were not art. They were tacky kitsch and an appalling excuse for "art" and should not ever be called art, because "that is not art." That started WW III. I pulled out the big guns from my excellent Art History classes and some NYC critics, but he pulled out the big bazooka of creative expression...saying essentially the very same things as Viking Potter (" it didn't matter if anyone else understood the expression, what mattered was the need, the drive, compulsion, whatever to create. And by my way of thinking, every creation, utility or non, that creation should be considered art. " Ever since then I have worked to temper the intellectual approach to "is it art-what is art" with the the spiritual approach (for want of a better term) to self expression/creativity-as-art. But if anyone asks me "What is art?", or "Is it art?" all I can say is "Who the heck knows?"
  8. Gotta tell 'em goodbye. Have enough ghosts in my life without being haunted by dead clay thingees. But wait...if the piece is merely disabled, should I perhaps look upon it as one would a person with certain conditions that are not the most desirable to have? Should I be asking Self, "Is it just "differently-abled"? Does it not have a right to live? Might it not thrive in the right environment, in the right home (maybe with the in-laws)? I look over my table that is full of fired-up "almost-there"s, and ask myself "Who am I to say?" I begin to pull pieces back from the trash, I put Mr. Hammer away, I mutter justifications and rationalizations, I draft text in my head for descriptive esoteric art-speak, I begin a list of the lucky pending recipients of my precious discards. I call that The Quicksand Effect. Sinking---inevitably and pretty fast; struggling hard to get out in time...the more I struggle, the deeper I sink. Best to be avoided in the first place. Best to act like a mafia hit man from Bklyn. and just dispatch the offending problem pieces swiftly and without hesitation. No ghosts, no lingering spirits, no regrets--apply only the ruthless truth. If it don't cut the mustard, it don't cut the mustard. Well, except for that one with the ferocious looking crack and the truly delightful, awesome, gorgeous glaze. Maybe I could use it for...
  9. I am temporarily without my computer. Using the extra time to make a dent in my studio & office chores "to do" list. Not that it is of any interest or relevance to the Forums...I am just whining about cyber withdrawal. 

  10. Feeling good--encouragement is good---I made a comment, with some pics of a greenware vase, on my FB page, that I am going to do "before and after" shots of some pieces and got a bunch of positive feedback in PMs (these are people who know nothing about clay and know me or just like my posts). Made for a nice day.

    • terrim8, Roberta12 and Callie Beller Diesel like this
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  11. Potter---can you say something more specific about how Instagram works for you as a potter? What do you do to find this community? I know almost nothing about Instagram or how to use it. Any info is appreciated.
  12. Don't forget to clean the slip off the hand blender before churning up the soup broth. Don't confuse a heat gun with a hair dryer. Don't ever indicate to a relative that you will be discarding "that piece". Don't try to carry too many pieces in a basket with a weak handle. Don't put the cat on the slowly spinning wheel if there are pots within a 10 foot radius. Don't tell your offspring she isn't getting a new iPad for her birthday like you promised because you spent too much on clay and glaze. Don't wash your greenware to remove dust.
  13. Please---do report back when you have used it for a bit!
  14. Blistering / What Causes it?

    I think it is gorgeous! I would love to get that happening (it's a style thing).
  15. Hard to imagine what you are going for....any pics? My first thought is to go mid-fire using a groggy body as a very thick/stiff slip.
  16. Started out in graphic art: worked in various print shops; box die designers; artist for a Teamsters Union; was a "spotter", using a 000 brush/ink to fill in tiny imperfections on high quality prints work for NYC museum exhibits-got to work on some famous prints by famous photogs-loved it); assistant to my advertising photographer husband (ex); occasional ceramics instructor for summer camp/middle school, and then; art school/ceramics BFA in my late 30's. Veered off into a Master 's degree for treatment of addiction w/ a 20 year career in that field, then 10 in public mental health. The latter 'bout drove me crazy (the gov't culture, not the consumers). The minute I retired I took my winnings and bought everything needed for a small home-based studio, at age 67. Medical issues render me going low and slow, like it takes for good barbeque, but I am going to launch my online store fairly soon and my work is getting better & better, if I do say so myself. Not a potter per se, and very little wheel work (at this time)-mostly hand building clay art and "sculpturally functional" home and office items. My favorite temp jobs along the way included working in the New York Public Library doing secret manual research that enabled Esso/Standard Oil to emerge as Exxon in the early '70s, and working in a big bank's ATM Operations Center, where I was introduced to my best friend ever, the computer. All that aside, my full time profession is just being me, and learning to like it.
  17. Hi--just curious about the traffic for your website--is it generating sales? Do you have any idea "why" or "how" you are getting so much traffic (i.e  well known reputation, strong base of existing customers & interested others, targeted SEO skills, links to you placed on other sites???)  I enjoyed your videos and text & photos of your gorgeous work, by the way.  Lee U

    1. Up in Smoke Pottery

      Up in Smoke Pottery

      Lee U, sorry for the delay , at the current time, I do not sell from the website, I really don't think the photos do the pieces justice and do not show the depth of the coloring and patterns.   I did set a store up for the workshop, but decided to invoice them instead.  It would not be hard to activate it for the pottery pieces if I decide to go that route.

      I am not a huge techie, just got lucky with the use of meta keywords which helped me show up in searches.  Now as I understand it, the more clicks I get, the higher ranking I receive from internet searches, which helps keep me there.  I do a little social media, mainly on FB that links back to the site and vice versa.  Everything I did was done by following help files and reading a couple books on website building/design.

      Thanks for your kind words about our site and work.  Ha...the videos are cheesy, but get watched and shared  a lot.  I do need to do an updated Obvara one, got to talk one of my boys into being the camera guy again.




    2. Up in Smoke Pottery

      Up in Smoke Pottery

      Lee U, also it doesn't hurt to have @Marcia Selsor mention you and your website in the latest article she is featured in. :D  We do get several hits from Europe.  Thanks Marcia!

  18. Not just da blues, but da down & dirty wet and slippery blues-the best kind. Hmmm...wonder how Glass would sound plucking out da blues for a change?
  19. PQotW: Week 41

    I never hedge my bets by reading (using) other people's answers but it makes me feel good when it looks like I am on the same page, even when just guessing. So-- I am going with 3-2-1 and 2 & 3 Of course question #4 bothers me, because if 2 (anagama) is correct, then the sentence should begin with "An" , not "A".
  20. Just sent out my first "web site is live" notice. Maybe should not have, since the store is not active yet, but everything else is done and I figured I best begin to get it "out there". Feels good! Lot of work, but i did it all myself.


    1. Roberta12


      I am going right there now......I also want to know what you are doing about shipping.....that's my next hurdle.


    2. LeeU


      I am shipping at cost (pre-added into the prices) through the USPO, as I mostly have small pieces. I use repurposed materials to pack and send, not the pricey flat rate boxes. 


  21. Oh trust me, I can throw a rectangle on a wheel. Not sayin' that's a good thing.
  22. Phooey...I neglected to bring my kiln shelves in for the worst of the winter and after the last snow/ice storm they are frozen to each other and to the floor. They are inside a porch that is only sealed with heavy-duty vinyl-no glass, no heat. Temps are still in single/low double digits and will be for a while. Do I let them eventually thaw naturally on the porch or do I move them inside to thaw? Regular shelving (not Advancers or other material). Thanks in advance-LeeU
  23. Hi-Please either post the link to your Pinterest board or send it to me. I do not work in those areas, but am interested on seeing what there is to see. Thanks.
  24. Finally, I got 8 items up in my website Shop. That means I now know how to do the next 100--all the behind-the-scenes integrated detail work involved, since no, you don't "just" upload a picture and slap a price on it!  

    1. High Bridge Pottery

      High Bridge Pottery

      I always hated trying to do that bit... Nice work :D

    2. terrim8


      Way to go! It's all so much to learn.


  25. Yee Haw!!! That little gizmo has made picking consistent colors a breeze. Thanks Stephen. It is exciting to have everything done on my website--or close enough for now--except the "live" store. That is tedious but I am making progress and I love the SEO feature. People are beginning to check out my site and I'm getting good feedback/compliments on how it looks and how it is organized. My next question on this topic is does anyone have any advice as to how frequently would one change out various photos so people don't get bored over time? My site will be low traffic and so new that the "analytics" or click counts or whatever probably won't tell me much for a while. Exceptions to changing out photos would be the Shop and the New Fire pics-those would stay put until there are new results.

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