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Soren

Finding Local Material Supplier?

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Does anyone have recommendations for finding local bulk suppliers for materials? (Edit: I want to find a supplier with bulk quantities where I can buy materials by the pound, not by the ton or other large bulk)
Online orders work fine for most things, as availability is high, but shipping costs can be inhibiting when the cost is about $1 per pound.

How do I determine what materials a store has before travelling there?
Do you recommend certain store chains?  How do I even research local stores that are not chains?

I know this is a very broad question that I may be able to answer for myself with enough research.
I live in central Illinois, about a half an hour from Peoria, if this helps with specific recommendations.

Edited by Soren

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31 minutes ago, Stephen said:

what are you trying to buy exactly in bulk

I do not know specifically right now, and not everything do I want to buy in large bulk.  The main items I am interested in right now are Standard 100 clay and dry glaze ingredients such as Frit 3195, EPK (Kaolin), dolomite, Gerstley Borate, calcium carbonate, etc.  Clay would be purchased in larger lots, but I would like to buy some of the glaze materials in portions measured from a bulk supply.

14 minutes ago, lgusten said:

Have you done a google search for the bulk item you are looking for and your state?  That usually provides a good starting point.

No, I was searching for ceramics suppliers or bulk materials stores rather than the specific items.  I will try searching for the specific items in my location and see what I come up with.

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You need a ceramic supply store-they are spread out through the nation.Bulk buys depend on quainites like price breaks on say 500#s of clay or 1000#s or a 1 ton break-same is true with materials in 50#s bags-

Again a ceramic supply store is what you need.-there must be several within a 200 miles of of you.

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22 minutes ago, Mark C. said:

You need a ceramic supply store-they are spread out through the nation.Bulk buys depend on quainites like price breaks on say 500#s of clay or 1000#s or a 1 ton break-same is true with materials in 50#s bags-

Again a ceramic supply store is what you need.-there must be several within a 200 miles of of you.

Apparently I was not clear enough in my title and original post (which have been slightly edited).
I do not want to buy "in bulk", but rather would like to find a local supplier that has bulk and redistributes materials.  My interest is in 50-pound boxes of clay and 50-pound bags or less of select dry materials such as in the above list.
Thanks for the response, Mark.  I have tried to search for ceramic supply stores, but I am having trouble distinguishing what stores would actually have bulk supply that is portioned in quantities near my interest as a hobby ceramicist.

It would seem from the searching that the likeliest spot to find a store would be Chicago, which is 2-3 hours away from my home.  If that is the case, shipping cost is actually cheaper than the cost of gas as well as time spent travelling.

After considering, I know an obvious route to take to find what I am looking for: talking to the other ceramicists at my local market.  They would probably know the best suppliers, as they are professional ceramicists.  This should have been the obvious first route for my questions...

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I would also look for any colleges or schools that teach pottery making and see where they supplies come from.  I travel about 2 1/2 hours to Asheville, NC for my supplies.  My last trip, I did stock up on a lot of materials to get the studio going.   It's a great destination...so not such a bad trip to take.  

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53 minutes ago, lgusten said:

I would also look for any colleges or schools that teach pottery making and see where they supplies come from.  I travel about 2 1/2 hours to Asheville, NC for my supplies.  My last trip, I did stock up on a lot of materials to get the studio going.   It's a great destination...so not such a bad trip to take.  

Thans, lgusten.  I could check at my local community college.  I was studying engineering which left no time to take art classes, but I would dream of ceramics when I passed the basement studio on my way to a lecture hall.  As a hobbyist, my order list is rarely large enough to make a distanced trip cost effective over just paying the shipping cost.

9 minutes ago, Mark C. said:

Is there a potters co-op near you ???? as they often order in bulk quantities .

I will have to check into this, Mark.  These considerations never came to me before as a small hobbyist, but I should check with the other ceramicists at my local market.  They would likely be able to help point me in the right direction for local in-person education and materials.  My commitment level to ceramic work is increasing, as are my expenditures there, but I do not plan to quit my engineering job to work ceramics full-time.

Local ceramicists should have been my initial go-to, even before I posted this question here.

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For me I buy materials for 4-5 local potters- once a year-That is I collect the oder and place the order and float the bill for a few guys and gals .It was usually its near a full truck load which is 42,000 #sMy share is 12,000+

The past few years a few potters have passed away and its next to impossible to fill the truck-last order was around 18 tons or 36,000#s.And 11 1/2tons was mine.

We buy in huge Quanities to keep costs low.I only deal with larger volumes as its a pain to sort out small orders and the paperwork is no fun for me to say the least..We also have a local ceramics store which opened about 12 years ago-which is blink in my past 45 years.Up until then all the closets material supplier is 12 hour drive.You learn all the work arounds when you live in the boonies-I did not think central Illinois had any boonies?

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As we were "in the neighborhood" a few months ago - just another 38 miles - I went to Aardvark Clay in Santa Ana to pick up my first big order in person ("big" for me was just over 1200 lbs of clay, glaze materials, and a few other things). The gentleman said it'd be perhaps $140 to ship the same order to our driveway; next time, probably do that. The wife says for sure we ship next time!

I tried to go with "sack" size (50 lbs) for the stuff that gets used a lot, epk, whiting, wallonstonite, silica, neph sye, first or second "break" (10 or 20 lbs) on stuff I didn't want a whole sack of yet, and a half pound or pound of a few colours. The seven glaze recipes I chose drove the shopping list.

Aardvark bagged up the requested lots of each, had it all boxed and ready to load up when we arrived. I'm sure Laguna and Clay Planet - any supplier - would do the same. It was quick, forklift and two guys, boom.

Edited by Hulk
errr, 1200 lbs, not 2100

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Hulk I see you live near one of my outlets-Harmony Pottery carries some of my work as well as many other potters from around the western states-check them out in Downtown Harmony.

That joke  is for those who do not know that Harmony has a population of 10 on Highway one.

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Soren-

Below is a listing of Illinois ceramic suppliers that carry raw materials. Sourced from: The Ceramic Arts 2018
Yearbook and Annual Buyers Guide - A Supplement to Ceramics Monthly and Pottery Making Illustrated.

I am not sure how close these are to you, but it is a start.

Great Lakes Clay & Supply (Elgin)       www.greatclay.com
Ceramic Supply Chicago (Elk Grove)       www.ceramicsupplychicago.com
Blick Art Materials (Galesburg)      www.dickblick.com
Art Clay World, USA (Oak Lawn)       www.artclayworld.com
U.S. Pigment Corp. (S. Elgin)       www.uspigment.com

 

I'm also not sure if there are other suppliers in neighboring states which might be closer.

The URL to source a PDF copy of the Ceramic Arts 2018 Yearbook is: https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/toc/ceramics-monthly-ceramic-arts-yearbook-2018/

Regards,

Fred

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Often U.S. Pigment Corp. will have the best price on colorants-they also have a great deal on shipping over 70#s

They use the flat rate USPS boxes for 30# of whatever as well.

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15 hours ago, Mark C. said:

You learn all the work arounds when you live in the boonies-I did not think central Illinois had any boonies?

Ha, not really.  I am only about 20 miles from Peoria, and I ought to be able to find what I am looking for somewhere there.  I just do not know store names.  Local potters will probably help here.

14 hours ago, Hulk said:

perhaps $140 to ship the same order to our driveway; next time, probably do that

This is exactly my predicament.   As a hobby clay worker, my orders may never be big enough to justify the time and cost of travelling to the store, even if shipping seems expensive.  For the time being, I will probably just pay for shipping until I have a studio set up and might consider true bulk orders.  Right now, I just work in the end of a shed at home.

12 hours ago, Mark C. said:

I suggest you PM Neilestrick on suppliers as he is in the thick of it as well and he's in your area (200 mile circle)...

...check them out in Downtown Harmony...

Thanks, Mark.  I will ask Neil.
If my work becomes successful enough, I may consider opening a shop in my nearest downtown: Speer, population 25, about 10 houses plus a bank, population doubles when the bank is open!

10 hours ago, Fred Sweet said:

Great Lakes Clay & Supply (Elgin)       www.greatclay.com
Ceramic Supply Chicago (Elk Grove)       www.ceramicsupplychicago.com
Blick Art Materials (Galesburg)      www.dickblick.com
Art Clay World, USA (Oak Lawn)       www.artclayworld.com
U.S. Pigment Corp. (S. Elgin)       www.uspigment.com

Thanks for these references, Fred.  Most of these stores are about 2.5 hours from me, as they are in or near Chicago.
I saw the Blick store in Galesburg when I went there recently to buy a used kiln.  This store may be a pretty good option, especially if they would happen to carry raw glaze ingredients like frit and kaolin.
Also, thanks for the link to the yearbook.  This may be a great source of information for me.

7 hours ago, Mark C. said:

Often U.S. Pigment Corp. will have the best price on colorants-they also have a great deal on shipping over 70#s

They use the flat rate USPS boxes for 30# of whatever as well.

 I have ordered some cobalt carbonate from U.S Pigment Corp.  I never realized they were so relatively local for me.  When I am looking to purchase more colorants, I will keep them in mind.

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Harmony is up to eighteen (per the sign)! I ride through there almost every Sunday; for sure will stop and check it out.

US Pigment's price on cobalt carb more than covered the shipping, and they also had the Mason stain (specified in Selsor's faux celadon) - which Aardvark doesn't carry. Quick, accurate, no fuss.

Any road, hope the OP finds a supplier. Per my prior post, my experience (with Aardvark Clay) indicates that ceramic suppliers work with small orders all the time. Indeed, while we were there (last month), about a dozen other folks popped in to pick up smaller orders, and two others orders about the same size as ours. We didn't see any freight orders going out, but several were on pallets to be picked up. Check the price breaks on your raw mats against your storage space and anticipated needs (an' say "meh" - for likely you'll be wrong here an' there, lol) and go!

Might as well read reviews as well... 

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Well, after checking out the website for US Pigment Corporation, my search is probably over.  They have everything I could imagine needing and are only about 150 miles from home.  I do not know what they would charge for shipping, but this is probably the best and most local supplier I have found yet.  Unless I can buy materials from the local community college or from another ceramicist or small studio in Peoria, the US Pigment Corporation seems like the nearest supplier with all needed ingredients.

Thanks for all the help!

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On 8/24/2018 at 10:35 AM, Soren said:

Well, after checking out the website for US Pigment Corporation, my search is probably over.  They have everything I could imagine needing and are only about 150 miles from home.  I do not know what they would charge for shipping, but this is probably the best and most local supplier I have found yet.  Unless I can buy materials from the local community college or from another ceramicist or small studio in Peoria, the US Pigment Corporation seems like the nearest supplier with all needed ingredients.

Thanks for all the help!

If you want to buy clay, too, then go to Ceramic Supply Chicago instead. It won't be any further a drive than US Pigment. Ceramic Supply is a sister company of Standard Ceramics, and stock most of their clay bodies, as well as raw materials. That's where I get all of my clay and glaze supplies. Just give them a call with your order so they can get it ready before you arrive.

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13 hours ago, neilestrick said:

If you want to buy clay, too, then go to Ceramic Supply Chicago instead. It won't be any further a drive than US Pigment. Ceramic Supply is a sister company of Standard Ceramics, and stock most of their clay bodies, as well as raw materials. That's where I get all of my clay and glaze supplies. Just give them a call with your order so they can get it ready before you arrive.

Thanks for the recommendation, Neil.  Ceramic Supply Chicago does look like a good option for me when ordering clay.  I do not have a studio set up yet and am just working out of the end of our workshop at home, so it is probably worth the extra cost for me to buy clay in 50-pound boxes and pay for shipping.  When I am set up, though, this will be the place to go for bulk clay.

Is there a website that I can view products and prices at Ceramic Supply Chicago?  As I find it now, the website says that the webstore is "Coming Soon".  I assume they would have anything I would be looking for and that they would likely have a good price, but I would like to be able to compare.  As a hobby ceramicist, I like to plan my expenses well.

I never noticed before that you are only about 3 hours from me, Neil.

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23 minutes ago, Soren said:

Thanks for the recommendation, Neil.  Ceramic Supply Chicago does look like a good option for me when ordering clay.  I do not have a studio set up yet and am just working out of the end of our workshop at home, so it is probably worth the extra cost for me to buy clay in 50-pound boxes and pay for shipping.  When I am set up, though, this will be the place to go for bulk clay.

Is there a website that I can view products and prices at Ceramic Supply Chicago?  As I find it now, the website says that the webstore is "Coming Soon".  I assume they would have anything I would be looking for and that they would likely have a good price, but I would like to be able to compare.  As a hobby ceramicist, I like to plan my expenses well.

I never noticed before that you are only about 3 hours from me, Neil.

Their prices are similar to US Pigment. Their Online Store has said 'coming soon' for a couple of years. They used to have their catalog online but I see they don't even have that now. They carry just about everything, though, and the staff is great. If you're making a run for materials, it would be worth getting clay at the same time. Shipping a box of clay can double the cost of the clay.

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