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Slipperman

Storage full of slip cast molds, is it too risky? Still a market for them?

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Wondering if it is worth a shot to purchase the molds and attempt to sell the items produced? Many of the molds are dated around the year 2000. There are Scioto, doc holiday, atlantic molds to name a few. There must be 400 -500 in all and I can get them for around 1000 $ american. Don't know much about all of this but I do have kilns and have slip cast before. Any thoughts regarding experiences with this sort of thing?

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Usually old molds are pretty cheap-In our area they do not sell. Selling the wares from them will be a tough sell.

I would not buy them even if they where free -Commercial Mold work is slowly going away-Or at least in this country-it still has some hold out areas depending on where in the US you are. The paint your own craze is fading fast 

Edited by Mark C.

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Whenever I see slipcast stuff from commercial molds I always think made in China, just looks hokey and cheap.  I've seen some nice mugs that people have made from masters, but I don't think you'd be getting your hands on any of that... Probably mostly nativity and dragons.

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I purchased an egg shaped mold for making psanki but that’s as far as it goes. I’m also not planning to use it for slip. Just enjoying my polish heritage. I have been offered molds plenty of times and have refused. They are a dying hobby IMO 

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Thank you to all that have taken a moment of thier time to respond. I really felt it would be a very risky endeavor although the monetary expense is not too heavy if things did not workout. . I felt like i might be able to have a little success if i were to cast the mold products in concrete and market them locally but I am not feeling very certain of that presently.  Again, thank you for your help my friends.

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Also, moulds have a life-span of around 30 casts before they deteriorate and need re-making.  So, depending how much use they have already had.............

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22 hours ago, Slipperman said:

Thank you to all that have taken a moment of thier time to respond. I really felt it would be a very risky endeavor although the monetary expense is not too heavy if things did not workout. . I felt like i might be able to have a little success if i were to cast the mold products in concrete and market them locally but I am not feeling very certain of that presently.  Again, thank you for your help my friends.

Plaster molds do not work for concrete-are these plaster molds or another material?

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On 3/4/2019 at 12:02 PM, Mark C. said:

Usually old molds are pretty cheap-In our area they do not sell. Selling the wares from them will be a tough sell.

I would not buy them even if they where free -Commercial Mold work is slowly going away-Or at least in this country-it still has some hold out areas depending on where in the US you are. The paint your own craze is fading fast 

Just out of curiosity, why is the paint-your-own craze fading, do you think? The reason I ask is that it has been around so very long, I would have thought there would always be a niche.

I remember when I was a little kid in the 50s and early 60s, it was a common thing for kids to mix plaster of paris and make a statuette from a mold and paint it. I remember making Yogi Bear, for example, but it was common and the sets came with primary colors of paints. Related, there were lots of paint by number things.

When my kids were little, twenty five years ago, there were, and still are, paint your own pottery places.  I have a stack of plates on which my kids painted their pleasure at the time. 

Once the kids were no longer little that activity was over for us, but it seems today's little kids would still like to do it.

At my local Blick's they have some white plastic figures, I don't know what they are called, that are sold with markers for people to draw on.  So the decorate your own pre-made thing still seems to be a thing.

And Michael's craft store, last I was in one not so many years ago, still had blanks of various kinds for people to paint with hobby paints.

These were always, in my experience, kid activities rather than adult activities. 

 

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2 minutes ago, Gabby said:

Just out of curiosity, why is the paint-your-own craze fading, do you think? The reason I ask is that it has been around so very long, I would have thought there would always be a niche.

I think to some small degree it will be around for children more than adults .

Just looking at the number of shops-in SF in the 90s the trend was almost one every 15 blocks(exaggerated for sure) now they are rare.

Here in my three small town area they used to have at least 5 of them now its barely one alive-the rest are gone-they hold kid events-which keeps the doors open.

As with many niche things they can fade-the slip shops where big in the 50-60's and slowly disappeared in the 70s now we have none-used to be 4 of them.

I cannot evern guess on the why. But will try -its maybe like the craft building movement which has been hit hard-now there is a movement called keep craft alive-its craftpersons who make things like wood working -rock wall masonry -cabniets makers-fine wood workers-these skilled workers are disapearing and the movement is try to get younger folks involved.For me its true as a potter who sees very few replacement folks filling my shoes.I do not see many at shows or even filling the stores or galleries with work-its trade that is  not reoplacing itself well. why-many reasons I think.

 

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I think it's because it experienced a big bubble, franchises appeared, made it cheap and easy, and then something else came along that offered instant gratification.  Those wine and paint places kinda took up the slack for adults, you got to drink with your friends, all paint a van Gogh and take it home. 

That's my guess anyway, no one around here is interested in going but there are still a few of the paint-a-pot places left.  If you didn't have to wait 2 weeks and lose your piece half the time I bet they'd be more popular!

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2 hours ago, Mark C. said:

 

I cannot evern guess on the why. But will try -its maybe like the craft building movement which has been hit hard-now there is a movement called keep craft alive-its craftpersons who make things like wood working -rock wall masonry -cabniets makers-fine wood workers-these skilled workers are disapearing and the movement is try to get younger folks involved.For me its true as a potter who sees very few replacement folks filling my shoes.I do not see many at shows or even filling the stores or galleries with work-its trade that is  not reoplacing itself well. why-many reasons I think.

 


 Unrelated to pottery, but the Homebuilders just did a survey in 2017.. For every ten people retiring from the trades, only three are getting in.  Our local skilled labor pool is down by almost half. Labor prices have gone up 50% in the last two years! and I suspect they will double in another year or so. The youngest person in the trades that I know is 35. A friend of mine in HVAC just ran a help wanted ad: starting pay $20 hour, no experience, plus health ins-  zero applicants. Another year, if that long I will watch from the sidelines.

pottery wise: the only bisq paint your own shop in my area closed in the mid 80's

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@Mark C. have you looked for replacement folks?  I'd love to do a stint with a production potter, there just doesn't seem to be the option.  Is it because young people aren't interested or because the old people are too busy making pots to deal with teaching the next generation?  I see ads in places like North Carolina or New Mexico for apprenticeships, never see them in my area. Probably because it's too pricey here on the west coast to be paying apprentices, eh?

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10 hours ago, glazenerd said:


 Unrelated to pottery, but the Homebuilders just did a survey in 2017.. For every ten people retiring from the trades, only three are getting in.  Our local skilled labor pool is down by almost half. Labor prices have gone up 50% in the last two years! and I suspect they will double in another year or so. The youngest person in the trades that I know is 35. A friend of mine in HVAC just ran a help wanted ad: starting pay $20 hour, no experience, plus health ins-  zero applicants. Another year, if that long I will watch from the sidelines.

pottery wise: the only bisq paint your own shop in my area closed in the mid 80's

My brother, who up until very recently, was a realtor, started a Skilled Trades group, that is part of the Home Builders Association.  So, he goes around promoting all things related to; welding, electrical, plumbing, general contracting, etc. 

He's very passionate about it.  There are trade schools, in his area, that work with local public schools, where students can learn those trades, and get a school credit.  We need more things like that.

He has commented that public schools, tend to push kids into college, even if those students may not really want to go, and might benefit from a trade school and career.  As an educator, I somewhat agree, I do think we should promote ALL the options, and not try and act like college is the only answer.  At the same time, the reason we do push college, as much as we do, is because there are less jobs out there, for people without a college degree.  This would be less of the Skilled Trades, and more like assembly line, manufacturing jobs. 

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The numbers (rural northern California, i.e. all north o' Sacramento) used to be about 6% of high school grads have a post secondary degree in hand within seven years of high school graduation - that's grads, not counting those who didn't finish high school. And yet, walk into any high school classroom and ask for a show o'hands, who's going to college? ...eight of ten hands go up. Want some cool aid with that? Our institutions reflect our community, so the pundits claim - I agree, mostly - hence, the mission to prep for post secondary reflects the community's wishes/hopes instead o' th' reality? ...idk! I'm so glad I had an opportunity to work with young people for so many decades, also glad I left work in public education, went back to school and worked in industry - else I wouldn't be retired, would I (or alive?)?

Edited by Hulk
corrrr rrr ection

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Benz:

i did well in chemistry and decided to go to junior college to pursue chemistry. I opted for jr. College because I was not certain I wanted to pursue chemistry. I walked out after two weeks realizing I did not want to spend my life inside a building. Being a farm boy, I prefer to be outside. Most of our schools and junior colleges dropped construction trades nearly two decades ago- and it is showing up now.

T

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I think the paint-your-own places are popular as an activity, but people aren't that interested in buying slip-cast ceramics any more. It's seen as a thing of the past (grandma had those!). You may be able to sell functional cast pieces- plates, mugs, etc- if your glazing makes them unique, but you'll have a really difficult time trying to sell figurines and knick-knacks.

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I think there are two different interesting questions evolving here. Thank you, Mark.

The first is why painting-your-own places are going out of favor. The second is whether or why younger people are not drawn to crafts careers as they might have been, say, a half century ago.

On the first subject, I always thought that this activity was for children, or for parents who love the idea of the child making something Grandma would love to use and show off.  For adults the expense of these paint-your-own pottery places might have become impossible after all the belt-tightening in 2008. Meanwhile the inexplicable but much less expensive pastime of adult coloring books has taken hold. 

In terms of young people, tech has become such an enormous draw in terms of career aspiration that it obliterates most other areas. It is flashy, often lucrative, and in some niches fast to learn. People don't need to be entrepreneurial  or really creative to have a reasonable income stream in tech.

Matthew Crawford, a car mechanic and PhD in philosophy in his first book Shopcraft as Soulcraft makes the case that young people in school get sold on the idea that those with cognitive gifts and interests belong on an entirely academic track and those without should go the trade route. He follows with an exposition of how the crafts and trades are actually more cognitively demanding by far than the typical employment paths attained through traditional academic pathways.

 For those of us who grew up in the 60s, there was a counter-cultural value of rejecting the jobs within the "military-industrial complex" to work with hands. Kids dropped out of college to embark on making leather goods and such. I wonder what proportion of people stuck with craft work.

Now I think there are loads of people who would love to build careers in the creative arts but probably think it is too risky for them, that there are way more people interested in being artists and fine craftspeople than there are customers who will buy their work.  Having to sell rather than getting a paycheck from someone else's marketing would also be off-putting to many. Easier to work for someone else.

Construction is the textbook example of cyclical work, a feast or famine sort of occupation. Right now it is feast but it can often be famine.

 

Edited by Gabby

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11 hours ago, liambesaw said:

@Mark C. have you looked for replacement folks?  I'd love to do a stint with a production potter, there just doesn't seem to be the option.  Is it because young people aren't interested or because the old people are too busy making pots to deal with teaching the next generation?  I see ads in places like North Carolina or New Mexico for apprenticeships, never see them in my area. Probably because it's too pricey here on the west coast to be paying apprentices, eh?

I have had a few younger folks work for me over the decades -they all but one decied that it was to much work for them to pursue. I used to tap the local University clay dept. for a helper I soon learned this was not a good idea-I had to reteach them the ways of clay on the real world(Mea touched on this) I then hired from the schools general work pool with way better results. Most of the clay folks only wanted to sell a few get rich pots idea and they found out that was not going to work well for them. My best candidate on my advice went to flight school and now is a pilot for the big boys-but has the $ and time to pursue clay but is not doing it.

I have had the same studio assistant for over 25 years now-she was a gradute of arts degreeb person who as me loved clay work.

I pay her well and she is part time-does  lots of the handling- some waxing(hot dip) and interior glazing.a s well as other chores.

I do all the cleaning-having the right person is the hardest thing-having an assistant makes more work for you-that sounds conter intuitive but is true

I am helping a younger potter in our area as is another old timer potter but we both think he will give it up in the next few years.The deal is you have to excell in business as wella s the clat part -you have to adapt to the market you have to make what sells-if you are weak in any of thos areas its going to be tough to get thru it.

That all takes time and is harder than most realize starting out-heck I did not have a clue back then-my secret if you will is pure stubbornness -I loved making pots and worked on all the rest as I went along-I came from a time when this type of thought was with many of us.It was a back to the land movement-a rejection of polotics and lifestyles from our parents-a social movement-I moved out of home at 15 -brefly back at 17-18 to finish High school -then away to collage never to return to that part of the state.

Clay has to be your passion I feel for it to work out for living.If its just a job then its a really hard one. If its in your blood its not work at all.

The fact is younger folks are not picking up the trades -in all the fields-the why well thats a harder question.

Most of us love working with our hands and at least for me my smart phone is just like my drill or my hammer a tool  , not a lifestyle. I am more like Tom, I like being outside-I spent years in buildings to learn my trade not knowing that was what I was doing other than sucking up knowledge-I just wanted to know as much as I could about ceramics-it turned into the rest of my life without a plan or thought process.I'm one of the lucky ones I feel.

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24 minutes ago, Mark C. said:

I have had a few younger folks work for me over the decades -they all but one decied that it was to much work for them to pursue. I used to tap the local University clay dept. for a helper I soon learned this was not a good idea-I had to reteach them the ways of clay on the real world(Mea touched on this) I then hired from the schools general work pool with way better results. Most of the clay folks only wanted to sell a few get rich pots idea and they found out that was not going to work well for them. My best candidate on my advice went to flight school and now is a pilot for the big boys-but has the $ and time to pursue clay but is not doing it.

I have had the same studio assistant for over 25 years now-she was a gradute of arts degreeb person who as me loved clay work.

I pay her well and she is part time-does  lots of the handling- some waxing(hot dip) and interior glazing.a s well as other chores.

I do all the cleaning-having the right person is the hardest thing-having an assistant makes more work for you-that sounds conter intuitive but is true

I am helping a younger potter in our area as is another old timer potter but we both think he will give it up in the next few years.The deal is you have to excell in business as wella s the clat part -you have to adapt to the market you have to make what sells-if you are weak in any of thos areas its going to be tough to get thru it.

That all takes time and is harder than most realize starting out-heck I did not have a clue back then-my secret if you will is pure stubbornness -I loved making pots and worked on all the rest as I went along-I came from a time when this type of thought was with many of us.It was a back to the land movement-a rejection of polotics and lifestyles from our parents-a social movement-I moved out of home at 15 -brefly back at 17-18 to finish High school -then away to collage never to return to that part of the state.

Clay has to be your passion I feel for it to work out for living.If its just a job then its a really hard one. If its in your blood its not work at all.

The fact is younger folks are not picking up the trades -in all the fields-the why well thats a harder question.

Most of us love working with our hands and at least for me my smart phone is just like my drill or my hammer a tool  , not a lifestyle. I am more like Tom, I like being outside-I spent years in buildings to learn my trade not knowing that was what I was doing other than sucking up knowledge-I just wanted to know as much as I could about ceramics-it turned into the rest of my life without a plan or thought process.I'm one of the lucky ones I feel.

Well if it's any consolation, I draw a lot of inspiration from you and other production potters.  Wish I was 20 years younger and had someone like you around to guide me into a career doing it.  It's probably too late for me now, but I love doing it and wish I knew it was an option before.  

Even when I was taking ceramics in college 20 years ago there was no talk of it being a steady job, more focus on making art pieces, less on useful functional items.  But that was the era of Walmart and ikea providing all the dinnerware you could want.  Oh what I wouldn't do for a time machine haha

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1 hour ago, liambesaw said:

To me, school is about learning how to learn and having fun.  Its not about preparing you for a career.  Would have been nice to know it was a viable option though

 

You're not wrong.

One of the last classes, I had in the Education Department, was called "Schools in American Society".  As with nearly any college class, the content varied, depending on the instructor.  I happened to have a great instructor.  We began the course, with  an honest discussion of the purpose of schools.  A couple of the purposes we talked about was for socialization, and another was "Child Rearing" aka basically, we are a cheap daycare for some parents/ families. 

 

But yeah, schools are to teach kids how to think and learn.  The content, is less important, it's just the skills on how to problem solve, organize, etc.

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5 hours ago, Mark C. said:

Most collages  today are still heavy into art pieces not funtional wares

SIU-Edwardsville is having a big "art" open house later this month. Most all the pieces are "art", including those made of clay. Received an invitation, thought perhaps I would go to see what the new generation is up to.

T

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There does seem to be, at least to some extent, a revival in handmade items, of many types.  Maybe potters/ ceramicists, just need a P.R. campaign of sorts.  "Forged in Fire" helped stoke (pun intended) interest in black smithing and blade-making, maybe potters just need a TV show.  I realize there was one in Britain, but a US version is desperately  needed, mainly so I can watch it.

 

I honestly think the biggest issue that Crafts persons, of all type, have is that those skilled in a trade, demand a higher price for their work.  And we live in a society that has become increasingly more accustomed to things being temporary, or disposable.  We have amazing, do-all super computers, that we carry around with us all day, and take for granted.  They are the pinnacle of our technology, though we toss them aside, when something slightly newer and more shiny is available.  

I'm not sure how we move away from that?

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