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nancylee

Making Pottery Or Metalsmithing

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Hi,

I used to come by a lot when I was making a lot of pottery, but then found jewelry making/Metalsmithing! It's truly my first love! But the gods seem to keep pushing me back to pottery. I applied to two juried shows for Metalsmithing, they asked me to bring pottery, too. I know there is a LOT of jewelry at sales, AND I just had a terrible jewelry show, so I'm going to do what the show directors requested and make some pottery for my upcoming shows.

 

I make the spoon rests that someone here (Mark, maybe?!?) recommended to make to cover the cost of the show, make ring holders to go with my jewelry. I hate making mugs. Sigh. I make custom name mugs, I'm really busy at the holidays, but since I also work full-time, it's hard to time everything with the handles, etc. so I don't knowing want to make mugs to bring. Also, for a 3 day show, how many mugs would you bring?

 

I hoped pottery was going to be me stress-relieving hobby, but it doesn't seem that's going to happen. I want to retire from teaching in two years, so i also need to be practical.

 

Thanks for any help,

Nancy

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Yeah, I got kinda burned out on mugs, because I despise making handles! Hehe, pottery is a great joy, but I think lotsa people underestimate how much work goes into the whole kaboodle. I'd say that spoonrests would be a good start, and maybe cookie/sugar discs, too. Magnets made with cookie-cutters are quick and easy, too. :)

But, if metalsmithing is your truest love, then be a metalsmith! Clay is my truest love, and it hurts me a lot, but it brings me the most joy out of any medium. Oh, I still draw and watercolor, but clay is it!

I've had little shows where I sold ONE piece, but don't let that getcha down! ^_^ You just gotta know your audience and prepare accordingly. Good luck! ♥♥♥

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Some shows have a strict limit in the number of jewelers and applications exceed spaces allowed; by including pottery, you can increase your chances of being accepted.

 

Make a line of pottery work that other potters do not; I willfully concede the mug and bowl market to other potters. But, they do not make the vases, ikebana vessels, and other items that I do bring.

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Thank you for the suggestions. Yes, making pottery makes it much easier to get into most shows than jewelry since so many people make jewelry. And I love making pottery - it's just that I decided that to get good enough to make a living at one form, I had to concentrate and I have an awesome jewelry studio and my pottery is in the smelly basement, so the jewelry was a lot more pleasant to make! I love creating in any form, really.

 

At tis point, I feel I'm better at making jewelry, but I make pet urns as well as mugs, and both are popular. Kind of feels like I'm not steering my own ship because I get more orders for the ceramics.

Nancy

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Why not make your jewelry with clay beads or clay accent pieces? Colored porcelain is great for this. Then you could also make the ring/jewelry holders out of the same colors.

Chris,

Are you coloring your own porcelain? I don't remember how to,do,that, although I used to loves potter who used colored clays.

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Why not make your jewelry with clay beads or clay accent pieces? Colored porcelain is great for this. Then you could also make the ring/jewelry holders out of the same colors.

Chris,

Are you coloring your own porcelain? I don't remember how to,do,that, although I used to loves potter who used colored clays.

Yes, I color my own porcelain and,have a teaching area on my website.

 

http://ccpottery.com/murrinis.html

 

I don't make much jewelry, but many of my students do.

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Chris, I recognized you from you picture on your website! Your work has always fascinated me. I'm also looking for the name of a potter who uses colored clays and has taught a workshop in Italy - I think it is a woman and she has a series of vases with almost spooky landscapes/trees bending over/moons. Loved that work, too!

Thank you, all, for your help!

Nancy

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Nancy I love to buy jewelry that has ceramics incorporated in it.  It's hard to find, if I am at a show or on vacation its' small and easy to carry.  I suppose I could learn to make it myself but it gives me something I can buy from other artist, I also buy mugs for that reason.  Denice

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Nancy,  I think the ceramist you're thinking of is Dorothy Feibleman.  She was a pottery major at RIT when I was a metals major. Dorothy was very interested in coloring clay even then.  I remember her mentioning how the different coloring agents change the clay and and shrinkage rates which have to be taken into account, especially when using more than one color.   Now I'm making pottery, and while I use what I learned making jewelry and holloware every day,  I like the immediacy of clay and, aside from centering, it's easier on my hands.

 

I find your post interesting.  It seems a lot of the shows and fairs I go to are full of potters and not so full of jewelers.  I live in South Jersey in a suburb of Philadelphia.

 

Cynthia

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I have been doing mixed media ( clay/metal/wood) pieces and they have gotten a good reception. People really like the the concept of blacksmithed metal bases on ceramic vessels.

 

I have really gotten big lately with an eight foot anthropomorphic clay and metal outdoor sculpture..

 

There are not a lot of people out there doing this type of thing, so it gives you a pretty good market nich, if you can combine both.

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post-45594-0-82004800-1438879577_thumb.jpg

post-45594-0-74562600-1438879606_thumb.jpg

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I have been doing mixed media ( clay/metal/wood) pieces and they have gotten a good reception. People really like the the concept of blacksmithed metal bases on ceramic vessels.

 

I have really gotten big lately with an eight foot anthropomorphic clay and metal outdoor sculpture..

 

There are not a lot of people out there doing this type of thing, so it gives you a pretty good market nich, if you can combine both.

Whoa! Cool stuff! I love it! I think I need a bigger torch!

Nancy

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whatever u guys do, do not mix glass and pottery. I have seen several instruction sheets on it and I contacted THE major art glass company and they made it clear that it will not work no matter what others say. Their glass is not compatible with pottery and just because it appears to work in time it will likely fail. Not, it may fail but it will likely fail. They said they have tried to get the word out but the folks that are pushing it will not stop. One of the biggest concerns is that someone will put it in something like a bowl and glass will shiver off into someone's food but glass separating from pottery in any form during use or display could be a huge problem. 

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whatever u guys do, do not mix glass and pottery

Yes, the COE is way off. the glass will crack if is fuses to the clay. I would still like to have a try at it with for a purely sculptural piece

 

In theory,  you might pull it off by creating a glazed ceramic piece as sort of a frame. The inside part of the frame would be left unglazed and have a undercut in the center

 

kind of like    {--------- glass -----------}  

 

The inside edge is then painted with non sticking kiln wash and dried. Seems like if you cut a thick piece of glass to just fit and then fired the whole thing at slump temperature the glass might flow into the frame and just form a mechanical fit rather than fuse. Then after annealing it and cooling it, you could clean off the kiln wash and the glass would stay in place.

 

As Stephen said though, you would definitely not want to do this where people might doing anything other than looking at it.

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 I hate making mugs. Sigh. I make custom name mugs, I'm really busy at the holidays, but since I also work full-time, it's hard to time everything with the handles,

Thanks for any help,

Nancy

 

Not a huge fan of making handles either, but Scott Creek clay extruder makes quick work of them :-)  you can crank out dozens of handles in minutes. My best investment yet

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 I hate making mugs. Sigh. I make custom name mugs, I'm really busy at the holidays, but since I also work full-time, it's hard to time everything with the handles,

Thanks for any help,

Nancy

 

Not a huge fan of making handles either, but Scott Creek clay extruder makes quick work of them :-)  you can crank out dozens of handles in minutes. My best investment yet

 

 

What shape die do you use?  I too hate making handles.  I've got a couple of slip-cast handle moulds, but they don't suit the shape/size of mugs I make.

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I have the handheld extruder, not the tiny one, but the one about 18 inches long. My issue was that I was using B mix, and I found it so temperamental as far as when to attach the handle to the mug. They would continually fall off during the bisque fire. I switched to another whitish clay with more grog, can't remember, it's been a while, and that did seem to work a bit.

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 I hate making mugs. Sigh. I make custom name mugs, I'm really busy at the holidays, but since I also work full-time, it's hard to time everything with the handles,

Thanks for any help,

Nancy

 

Not a huge fan of making handles either, but Scott Creek clay extruder makes quick work of them :-)  you can crank out dozens of handles in minutes. My best investment yet

 

 

What shape die do you use?  I too hate making handles.  I've got a couple of slip-cast handle moulds, but they don't suit the shape/size of mugs I make.

 

 

@Chilly, I have been using a fat wide 1/4 moon shape for my really large mugs and use a variety of shapes based on the what I am throwing. That's another thing I like about the extruder, lots of options as well as you can easily make your own unique dies.. 

 

I have been using the B-Mix as well and have not had any problems with handles ( probably Jinxing myself ), just make sure the handles and mugs are at the same moisture stage.

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chilly, if you make a number of handles and store them in one of the plastic boxes with an inch of plaster in the bottom, you can keep them for years.  just moisten the plaster.

 

someone showed me how to make handles more easily by using a thicker extrusion and flattening one end on a table or such and then tapering and pulling the rest.  it does make it easier.  i still have a box of handles i made using someone else's extruder one afternoon in 2013.

 

(can you tell i avoid making handles?)

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chilly, if you make a number of handles and store them in one of the plastic boxes with an inch of plaster in the bottom, you can keep them for years.  just moisten the plaster.

 

someone showed me how to make handles more easily by using a thicker extrusion and flattening one end on a table or such and then tapering and pulling the rest.  it does make it easier.  i still have a box of handles i made using someone else's extruder one afternoon in 2013.

 

(can you tell i avoid making handles?)

Just looked up a YouTube on the damp box. Definitely making one or a couple :-)  of the those. Thanks

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I think you should figure out your goals for your retirement from teaching. If you aim to be a full time potter who makes their living making and selling pottery then be prepared to make a lot of things that you dont really want to. A full time potter myself I know that at least 40 of the 60 utilitarian items I make I could care less about, however they are marketable items which most of the common public can access emotionally and financially. If your goal is for pottery to be a stress relieving hobby then make what you want and hope to make some money. As some have already mentioned above, most dont realize the expenses of making pottery full time. Over the last three years I have spent close to $100k on tools, equipment, vehicles, tents, display..............etc. That doesnt even bring to mind all the booth fees, application fees, operating costs, licenses, etc. It sounds like what you want to do is make jewelry and some pots for fun so do that. If you want to make a career out of it, buck up! Its a long hard road and no longer a hobby, it is a job like any other with its ups and downs. Sorry if that is too honest of an opinion but its better to figure it out now that later after much expense and headache.

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I found this thread I had started, and decided to add to it, rather than start another one. I can retire in one year, with a crappy pension. My husband has a good pension, but if he dies before me, it goes with him and I eat cat food. I have to be practical, but I also have to take a good look at my lifestyle, the time I now have to make things and my health.

 

I took a year sabbatical two years ago: I was happy and healthy, lost 20 pounds and was busy every day making stuff. Since going back to work, I only create on the weekends and breaks. I leave my house in the dark, around 6:30, and get home around 5PM in the dark this time of year. Ugh. I have no energy to go to either my art or jewelry studio. 

 

I do understand what hitchmss said: to make up the money between my salary and what my pension will be I will have to make a lot of stuff I don't care about. Even production work, which is why I asked about how to keep it interesting last week. But when I think of getting up every morning, into my car, to live by the school bell (and I'm on a break now, taxpayers, so don't worry!) and then compare that to making some things each day that I'm not crazy about, it seems to be an easy choice. 

 

I will have health insurance for life at the price I pay for it now if I retire next year, so that is a plus. I love to teach, so I can see myself teaching eventually, except for three things: I live in a very unpopulated area, there is already an excellent pottery teacher in our area (my teacher!) and I would need several more years of doing this every day to be good enough to teach. (I do plan to move to a more civilized area when I sell my home.) I do know I can teach, as I have taught for 25 years and have taught my daughter and her friends both jewelry making and how to throw on a wheel and was surprised by how similar it is to teaching anything else. 

 

How would you go about making a plan?? How much to make, what to make, where to sell it, shows, etc? I do realize much of this is individual and trial and error, but any knowledge you may have gleaned about essentials to make this work would be much appreciated! 

 

Thanks,

Nancy

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Yeah, I got kinda burned out on mugs, because I despise making handles! Hehe, pottery is a great joy, but I think lotsa people underestimate how much work goes into the whole kaboodle. I'd say that spoonrests would be a good start, and maybe cookie/sugar discs, too. Magnets made with cookie-cutters are quick and easy, too. :)

But, if metalsmithing is your truest love, then be a metalsmith! Clay is my truest love, and it hurts me a lot, but it brings me the most joy out of any medium. Oh, I still draw and watercolor, but clay is it!

I've had little shows where I sold ONE piece, but don't let that getcha down! ^_^ You just gotta know your audience and prepare accordingly. Good luck! ♥♥♥

 

We must be kindred spirits. Me and mugs have a love/hate relationship too. So, I just don't do many of them. I guess I should just do a 100 of them to find the rhythm but I might be tough live with during the process. ;)

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