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Callie Beller Diesel

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About Callie Beller Diesel

  • Rank
    Moderator
  • Birthday 11/14/1976

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  • Website URL
    http://www.dieselclay.weebly.com

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Female
  • Location
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • Interests
    Soda fire, all things reduction, and a little bit of glass.

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  1. Callie Beller Diesel

    Studio Photography

    This is my snazzy photo setup. East facing window that’s sheltered by the house next door gives diffuse light, and if it’s a brighter day, I’ll tape white tissue paper over the window. Two storage bins stacked on a chair, topped with one of my show tablecloths and my cutting board for a neutral backdrop with subtle visual texture. To the left of the item is a white foam core reflector to fill in the light on that side. My camera for most purposes is an iPhone 6, and I typically run my images through the Snapseed app to touch up the white balance and spot brighten things if they’re a bit dark. If I’m doing more styled shots on the kitchen table, I will sometimes use the lens blur effect to simulate a shallower depth of field effect. If I need shots on a seamless white background, I built a photo box out of a cardboard box, some tissue paper and a piece of poster board. I’ll take that outside in the shade, or just in the open on an overcast day. I do possess a dslr, but it gets used much less frequently. I don’t often need photos of that resolution.
  2. If you're looking to compare value (as opposed to cost), consider also Etsy's recent move to encourage its sellers to move towards offering free shipping on as many things as possible. They have started charging commission on postage fees as well as on the item being sold, and they're actively penalizing people in the search algorithms if they don't offer free shipping or other similar discounts. They are heavily encouraging sellers to incorporate some or all of the shipping costs into the sale price of the item, citing that buyers have said that they'd rather pay for a $40 item with free shipping than a $25 item with $15 shipping. If you choose to embrace an online business model in whole or in part, shipping is an expense that is more than logical to include in your base cost of making and selling an item. And if you're looking at international markets, you also have to take into account exchange rate. If you purchase a mug from me in person at a sale, I charge $40 CAD. I am not the most expensive person in my market, but I'm not on the low end either. I am currently changing my online online price for the same mug to ship in Canada to $60 with free shipping (it's the $18 or so business rate plus $2 for the packing supplies). I offer a coupon code for local pickup that takes the price back down to $40. We'll see how this works. To ship to the US, the same $60 CAD plus an additional $10 CAD to cover the additional post (based on shipping from Calgary to somewhere in Texas, as far away as I could get) works out to about $45 USD plus $7.50 USD. At that point, the shipping costs are more in line with what a US customer might expect, and because of the exchange rate, my prices appear pretty reasonable if I'm comparing to artists making work in a similar vein.
  3. I have the Canada Post business card, and you can just sign up for it if you have something as small as an etsy account. They don't ask for any credentials other than your business name to sign up for one. I don't know at what point the volume discount kicks in, but I usually only send a handful of packages a year. I tend to use an 8x8x8 box, as its in the same category as the 6by and allows for more cushioning. They do allow a minimal $100 basic merchandise insurance rate, and that's included in the Tracked Package option, which is available to business customers and not the general public. The business rate I get is about $3 cheaper than what Min quotes at all points, and within Canada is usually delivered within 5 business days. We have a very physically large country and a relatively small population. It means there's a lot of infrastructure and not as many people to pay for it, so the price per item goes up. And no one uses dog sleds: those are for the tourists. The Arctic posties use snowmobiles and centralized pickup.
  4. Callie Beller Diesel

    cracks in cake plates

    Another thing that might be helpful is to surround the rim of the piece evenly with other, smaller items like small cups or test tiles, or even kiln posts.This will help create a heat sink around the rim, which can even the temperature out and help the piece cool more slowly.
  5. Callie Beller Diesel

    How Cold is Too Cold?

    You're fine to fire at those temperatures. If you have a cone sitter/manual shutoff like mine, you can succesfully fire at -30 C, which is as low as I've ever had the misfortune to need to bisque at. The computer controllers do have a point where you need to bring the room temperature to in order for them to start. Usually people just use a space heater while loading to achieve this. The kiln will generate enough ambient heat once it gets going that you don't need to run the space heater. @Min could tell you the temperature you need to have the room at for the computer controlled kilns to start at.
  6. I let it freeze a couple of times in the years before an indoor studio, but it's a lot of work to have to rewedge everything in the spring. It's time spent not making.
  7. Callie Beller Diesel

    Pricing my work?

    I follIow a lot of small business groups online and in real life, and one thing that I notice is that everyone has a family member who thinks they know how retail works. This loving, well-meaning family member is often quite vocal about how you should run your business. Invariably, you are doing it wrong, and you'd sell waaaaay more stuff if only you'd listen to them about how, where and to whom you should sell your work to. Usually this person does not and never has worked retail in a managerial position, and doesn't own a business themselves, let alone one that relates to art or luxury goods sales. Taking business advice from this person is like getting tax advice from a baker: They might know something about the subject, but there are professionals that know about some important nuances in the field that don't apply to every case. These nuances can make or break you. First thing I wonder: do you want to sell more volume? If you're prolific and need the space, then a fire sale may be in order. If you work methodically, then you likely don't want to move thousands of pieces a year, in which case the higher price point is what you want to aim for. When you're selling art, and raku falls into the art rather than functional category, if you discount your work it can be seen as a devaluation. This is not a good thing for this particular business model. There are other ways to treat repeat or larger ticket customers well other than by giving discounts. If you wish to show gratitude, why not offer some sort of small extra with a purchase instead? Can you offer gift wrapping or shipping/delivery or other service? How about sending them something on their birthday? Instead of thinking "less money," try thinking about adding value. People like to feel looked after, and will spend more for that feeling, and will return if they feel like they've been seen and heard. We all want devoted fans of our work that come back year after year and buy more. If a customer wants a discount, they can go to a big box store. That's what their business model is good at, and again, they rely on volume. No one goes to Walmart thinking they're going to buy a potential family heirloom, but it's a good possibility with art that you might. Perceieved value is definitely linked to price. If you're basing your prices off of 5 years of experience with your customer base, then trust your experience. As everyone has already wisely said, if your pieces are moving, don't argue with your customers.
  8. Callie Beller Diesel

    Instagram

    I really do want to add some more thoughts to this thread, but the soonest I’ll be able to is probably Saturday. I’m out of town at a show, and the first two days are long ones. Just briefly, you should always do you. If you’re not comfortable on social media, it will show. There are loads of other ways to market yourself, both on and off line. Instagram does have some drawbacks to it, most notably the fact that you don’t own your list of followers. If someone claims you’ve violated terms and conditions of the community, they can shut down your account, and then you’re s.o.l. Instagram can definitely be a spectacular black hole of a time suck if you let it. If you’re working with something like an email list, you can communicate directly with people who want information about you, and unless you do something spectacularly illegal, your email list is always yours. That said, I personally kind of like Instagram because I love shiny pictures. It can be a fast, easy way to give yourself a quick internet presence and if you do it right, a bit of an online portfolio. It can bring opportunities. For instance, I spent a chunk of my summer helping 4 other people curate an invitational mug show of Canadian artists from across the country that will be one of the featured exhibitions at NCECA in 2019. Our choices were based in no small part on the pictures people posted on the internet somehow. I know for a fact that there were some truly deserving people we were obliged to exclude because they had no internet presence or method of contacting them online. The people we chose are some of the best working, in my opinion, and they all had one or more of: a social media presence, a website or at least a link on the Canadian Clay Directory.
  9. Callie Beller Diesel

    Cleaning glaze off bisqued ware?

    I agree that in many cases it's probably easier or less work just to make other one. If, for some reason you must try and rescue a mis-glazed piece, you might try scraping as much of the glaze as you can off the bisque first with some sort of plastic rib, like one of the yellow ones from Mud Tools. Follow up with a thorough wash. It could be that some residue remained from the previous glaze that didn't react well with the subsequent one.
  10. Callie Beller Diesel

    Cleaning glaze off bisqued ware?

    Agreed that the bisque was probably still damp, then. If you're pressed for time, or the atmosphere is just not cooperating, you could try putting the washed piece in a "dead" oven (one that's been turned off after being heated up and used), or just on the plate warmer setting for a few hours. I've heard of people using their barbecues, but I don't have any direct experience with that one.
  11. Callie Beller Diesel

    Cleaning glaze off bisqued ware?

    Normally just washing off and drying sufficently before reapplying should work. When you say you got poor results, what specifically happened? Do you live in a humid area?
  12. +1 for talking to your supplier. Even if they have to special order them, they get price breaks and shipping discounts because they’re ordering their supplies in bulk, unlike you.
  13. Callie Beller Diesel

    Hardening of glaze

    Calcium boron crystals are definitely a thing that happens in a glaze bucket that's been sitting a while. They show up as flat sand-like grit in a glaze sieve. They come from ingredients like whiting and Gerstley borate, or even some Frits reacting with each other because they're in soloution. Calcium and boron are both common ingredients in many glazes at cone 6 and below. I recal from another thread that you said your were firing in earthenware ranges I think? Rather than breaking the crystals down by grinding, re-dissolve them in a little boiling water and add them back to the glaze bucket.
  14. Callie Beller Diesel

    Peeling slip

    I know for a fact Martina Lantin uses deflocculated white slip as a cover. Sat in on a workshop with her last year.
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