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Mark C.

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Everything posted by Mark C.

  1. The BUSINESS of Pottery

    I think these days one would have to slowly work at pottery as a sideline and either have another job (for money ) or a supporting partner to get you thru the lean start up years. Having a day job would be key. Also the love of ceramics would also be key as you noted and I would agree that this is far far not an easy way to make money.I feel its got to be more love for clay than desire to make money to make it work. I think risk is in all business and the pottery one has more than usual. I think Mea's point on how you spend money also has huge merits in the equation . Enough on this, this am I have our annual apple juicing day this morning-25 folks show up and we juice all of our and the neighbors apples as well as what folks bring. It usually a half day deal. Last year it was 120 gallons -this year it may be 30 gallons as its a light year. I need to light the bisque kiln as well.
  2. The BUSINESS of Pottery

    Tyler I think markets vary so much area to area. They also change over time. I never thought or have said it will be easy . I know from my past few years in various states selling that at least in some parts of the western US the market for handmade goods in improving rapidly. My local outlet yesterday said europeans are buy pottery to take home something that she has never seen in the past 15 years at her shop.I have test to have a down show this year compared to last year and last year was my best ever year. I think in many areas this will not be the case but for us out west thats what I have seen. My friend (another high end potter) has seen some downturn at his shows so all experiences are so different and really each person will experience a different outcome. I like many streams of income from ceramics (wholesale -consignment -direct -and shows are just one form. All shows will change over time they can go away -get better -get worse -or tank. Just their nature. My next show has lots of JUNK in it (always has past 25 years) but handmade still jumps out and sells well there. This will be my next show I drop as I scale back as its 1,000 miles from my house.
  3. I have the means and had a studio assistant for over 25 years now -its handles-interior glazing and some help with baby pots as well as most all of the hot dip waxing (I do the liquid wax on footed forms)
  4. one last note Make sure your glaze is the right gravity before adding this as it will make the bucket appear thicker .
  5. Every week or two I mix glazes ,lots a of glazes. Having the right tools makes this a snap There are basically 3 tools to aid you in getting glaze the right thickness. ˜One is the hydrometer Another is the Graduated ML cylinder-this is filled to 100 ML and weighed The last is the viscosity cup I gave away my cup recently and have yet to buy another They can be had here https://www.amazon.com/TCP-Thickness-Viscosity-Measuring-Viscosimeter/dp/B00IL7DVNW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1495322530&sr=8-2&keywords=viscosity+cup A good electronic scale is also a must Here is one that works fine and is cheap https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004164SRA/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_48?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER this one weighs up to 15#s https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009EUPMFK/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_47?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A37RGE1MLU3I6K I have and use this scale and it works great https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001NE0FU2/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 With all these devices you mix up the glaze well and then use the tools. If you have a hydrometer like the small one on right in photo and the photo with the orange type you will need to go buy another as this type is for making beer and alcohol and is not the right scale. I only included this to show its the WRONG TYPE of hydrometer Speaking of scales I use the one in the close up photo. Many glazes fall into the 1500ish range I have really like the ML cylinder and weighing it as its very quick and less errors. I use it almost weekly on a few glazes. Most of my glazes have a range and do not need the fine-tuning of these tools but a few are very touchy and I use them every time I make them A few other notes mix your glaze and let it sit as it take about 6-12 hours for all the small particles to get wet-then remix and measure. If you have a glaze that settles out do yourself a favor and buy some magma It,s the best product I have ever found that cures settling You can get it here http://www.bigceramicstore.com/tools-supplies/glaze-making-equipment/magma.html
  6. Kiln Install on Deck

    The freeze thaw cycle is what will work on cement board-I think you will get many seasons from it before it fails.Just get the thicker board as it comes in many thicknesses.
  7. The BUSINESS of Pottery

    My advice is to start to throw in series-working up to larger numbers.Most only want to make a few items then drift off to something else.I think discipline is key if this life is for you. Production seems to be a dirty word but thats the name of the game in functional wares .Sure you can make a few pots and ask a lot but that market is very small compared to what people want to use every day in their lives.
  8. A few tips on Magma use-I mix some up and keep in in a sealed container. Its looks and feels like snot.The small amount of copper keeps it from going bad. I make it with HOT water. It mixes in glazes best with warm water.You can add it to say a small amount of hot water then into the cold water in a glaze bucket once it diluted. Just make sure your glaze is already not top thin to add water to. I often heat a little glaze in an old pan and add this to that if the gravity is already right.Then it dissolves well and add that back into larger batch.
  9. The best way to find shows is go look at the show and talk to other potters about the show.This takes time but pays off.
  10. If I recall those instructions are on the big ceramic store web site. If not I can post them
  11. The BUSINESS of Pottery

    This is the true -about as condensed as you can get it.Its spot on. (It is easy to be successful at ceramics. All it takes is a lot of really hard work, some serious persistence keeping at it despite a lot of setbacks, and a decent plan to guide you thru those setbacks. Then, in a bunch of years,.... you'll see that it is "simple". )
  12. The BUSINESS of Pottery

    Chris is right Never been a better time to have a quality handmade product to sell.The business of functional wares has never been better. My sales are all up the past years. Very few folks making an effort to fill my shoes so the market has space for many others. The planning is key. I also say take a class -U-tube is not a class. In ceramics the personal learning -asking questions and hands on education is key Plan on it taking at least 5 -10 years to gain traction.
  13. Kiln brick question

    The thing about determining common fireplace bricks is they are not named stamped on sides and are more irregular in dimension and are much lower duty temp wise and should only be used in cooler chimney areas-they are also a bit more porous looking.You can see them at lumber and building material supply stores.
  14. They do not but the public often participates in the parades as we sponsor workshops for mask and animal costume making.
  15. What if there was a show where people came to listen to music or dance or be in a parade or buy hand made goods or just hang to have a good time-Where there was a celebration of life with all creatures with an all species day parade. Where the next day was a Samba parade with dancers and drums. You could get good food or just sit on the grass. Where the entertainment was non-stop and the energy was on high. How about a show that’s fits that description and has been going on for 44 years and is a big part of this community where I happen to live. This gathering is what is known as the North Country Fair and just happened last weekend in Arcata Ca. This year’s event was spectacular. Of course I have a tainted view as I’m on the board that puts this on and have sold my wares there for 44 years. If you are lucky enough to be in this area on the 3rd full weekend in September come to the north country fair as you will not see an event like this anywhere else on this planet. (Remember me to one who lives there) Bob Dylan http://www.madriverunion.com/the-hum-the-north-country-fair/
  16. Hump and Slump Molds

    Thanks Neil for that clarifacation as thats is what I meant by that soap comment.
  17. Hump and Slump Molds

    If you go to the trouble to make molds use 1# pottery plaster-mold soap can act as a release as well. Cement will have its own drawbacks and the cost is not much different than quality plaster . Never used cement as a mold surface-its great to wedge on. Its more weight than dried plaster and will hold water longer. This maybe reinvent the wheel stuff and I have yet to see square wheels work better than round ones. Let us know how the cement works-it could be the next new thing?
  18. Wedging Table Design...

    Up against a wall-the best
  19. wet sponge and wipe wheel is all I have ever done in the last 45 years-Its always worked. Never seen black oxide on a wheel head-alumunum will for an oxide coating over time but its not black. Any wheel -all wheels are made to get wet and be sponged off.
  20. I'm least fond of the paperwork side of the business-getting it all down on the books and ready for my accountant.Tracking and paying sales tax for my state-royal pain second is booking hotels. I used to spend two months away now it's down to 15-16 days for 3 shows Glazing and firing is what I like best-I'm a fire potter not a mudder like most. second is a tie between selling pots to 250 people a day that are very happy to get the work and the feeling I have leaving a city in my van after a great show with large bag of money and feeling I have the tiger by the tail.I cannot express that great feeling of being king until daily life kicks me in the head.
  21. Kiln brick question

    When you are moving those bricks-please post some of the stamped names on them for me. Since most of my bricks are from the west coast I would like to learn some east coast -or midwest names. I have some classics like Jaybfine-empire-stockton
  22. Kiln brick question

    Rebekah Go buy those bricks I enlarged your photo and they have stamped names on them -meaning they are high fire bricks -buy them ALL. There are a few different stamps from that photo but its all good -go get them NOW-call the dude back and say they are sold you are com ing to get them. Mark
  23. I have never noticed this vibration on my wood floor with my 5 Brent wheels I just had new bearing pressed in to one of my brents and It does not vibrate like your s did. The shimpo is very smooth but lacks high end torque (I have used these as demo wheels while giving workshops)it also very quiet.