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#1 Stephen

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 10:22 AM

I was reading through some older post and came across one from Oct which stated :

one of my students recently spent some time working in just such a setting (production, presumably throwing) ........ making 300 + pieces a day. Day after day.

This is in line with what I have seen in other forums and articles and I am trying to understand this number. This would mean one person adding 6600 pieces in a 22 work day month. I do realize that the rest of the process, and people must kick in but I am curious how many potteries get this kind of production from single throwers and if ones with several throwers are really moving 20,000 pieces of pottery every month and where? I guess the B part of my question is what do folks that can throw 6000-7000 pieces of pottery a month earn on the average?

#2 bciskepottery

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 06:49 PM

The standard by which we can all aspire . . . Issac Button, country potter. One ton per day throwing.

#3 TJR

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 08:29 AM

I was at at a pottery in England once called Branham's. [visiting, not working]. The potter could throw a planter every two minutes. He had a "ball boy", who wedged up his clay and brought it to him.He did not do any glazing, decorating or trimming. These were earthenware planters, up to 5 lbs in weight. I also visited Bendigo Pottery in Australia. They used to throw 30 gallon acid jars at 100 a day. The potters would hide some extras around the studio in case they couldn't make their quota. I think each salt glazed jar was 30 lbs of clay. I have worked at a couple of production potteries. You are going for quantity, not quality. I don't want to work that hard, thanks.
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#4 nancylee

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 08:59 AM

The standard by which we can all aspire . . . Issac Button, country potter. One ton per day throwing. http://www.youtube.c...h?v=l4qdGTFBRJ4



Wow!! This guy throws a bowl in seconds, and every single one of them looks exactly the same!! I am amazed at his accuracy and speed!!!
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#5 Stephen

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 10:02 AM

The standard by which we can all aspire . . . Issac Button, country potter. One ton per day throwing. http://www.youtube.c...h?v=l4qdGTFBRJ4




That was completely uncalled for, you cost me at almost an hour on youtube, Posted Image



It is fun watching accomplished potters work though.

#6 Brian Reed

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 12:46 PM

I must have watched that Isaac Button video a dozen times over the past 6 months. I have even tried to do a little web research on the Soil Hill pottery. Every time I watch the section where it states he throws a ton a clay a day I am amazed. I have wanted to replicate his chicken feeders they look perfect, perhaps I will get some more stoneware and give it a try. I have been exclusively throwing porcelain over the past few weeks.
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#7 spring

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 04:25 AM

The standard by which we can all aspire . . . Issac Button, country potter. One ton per day throwing.




Great link, never seen it. He's such an old school bad ass. Pipe and all!

#8 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 06:35 AM

I have a photo in Don Davis' book, Wheel Thrown Pottery, where Jose Molla is throwing "morteros" for mortar and pestles. He threw 1100 in one day. His assistants bring the clay and take away the boards full of bowls.
The kilns in Agost were firing about 11,000 botijos (water coolers) / month per pottery. They exported all over the country and to North Africa. The kilns were 3 stories and wood fired. Gypsies were used to carry the pots into the kiln. The pots were stacked by the retired potters, and the kilns were fired by the clay maker. All this division of labor made for a very efficient production pottery.
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#9 Chris Campbell

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 11:26 AM

We get a warped idea of an experienced potters speed since we only watch them in their teaching mode, which is slowed down in order for us to see what they are doing. If you ask them to throw a pot at their normal speed, its done in under a minute. The Chinese thrower at the NC Potters Conference threw a ton of clay during the afternoon ... if you looked away for a couple minutes another ware board was full. It's a sweet spot where it all runs on muscle memory.

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#10 OffCenter

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 04:35 PM

The standard by which we can all aspire . . . Issac Button, country potter. One ton per day throwing.


I don't think so! There is nothing wrong with being a production potter. I made a fairly good living as one in Denver in the 70's but then one day as I'm putting handle number 89 on mug 89 I realized I may as well be working on an assembly line in a factory, so I quit and took 35 years off knowing that one day I'd probably pot again but it wouldn't be production pottery (or, at least, not mainly production pottery). I'd much rather work all day and throw it all away except for one mug that makes me want to dance than see shelves full of pots that are okay but nothing special. Unfortunately, I do still have to do some production pottery to support my real ceramic work but try to keep it down to about 1 week out of the month. So, no, not all of us aspire to be Issac Button.

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E pur si muove.

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#11 gypsy

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 06:24 PM

Me too! No high speed pushing myself. Like the fellow said before...may as well work on an assembly line. I like to feel the clay and take my time and look at it from all angles and play....guess I'll never be famous.

#12 AtomicAxe

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 11:48 PM

In college I would aspire to a ton of clay thrown each day ... but without the aid of assistants to trim and finish your wares, you need to do that yourself ... I loved doing it then, but would hate to do it day in and day out.

It would be a fun week though to do that much clay again in a day. last time I did it, it took a day to prep out 2 or 3 tons of clay (mixing, measuring, wedging, etc) i would throw one day, trim and finish next, throw next day, trim and finish next with maybe a day of doing things like adding handles or altering after that ... as a whole, I could make decent money out of it ... but It lacked some of the things that I enjoy about ceramics. I made a vow to not make my days with that sort of tedious throwing day in and day out.

I still do some production pottery, but I do make it worth my time.

On an average day though I still crank work out with a smaller piece every 1-5 minutes and trimming is between 1-8 minutes for complex feet. yesterday I only had an hour in the studio and threw 29 bowls and just tonight trimmed them in about an hour and a half. Got to love an ice cream social fund raiser. Not bad, but they weren't anything special, so there is that ... but it's still rewarding and I guess that is the good thing right?

#13 GEP

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 05:56 AM

The good news is ... you don't need to throw a ton per day in order to make a living. I go through a ton of clay every nine months or so (yes I'm a recycler). That's still a lot of production, but nothing close to a factory. Volume is only one factor. Good design, correct pricing, smart marketing strategies, good salesmanship, know your audience, etc, are all important too.

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#14 Frankiegirl

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 07:06 AM

In college I would aspire to a ton of clay thrown each day ... but without the aid of assistants to trim and finish your wares, you need to do that yourself ... I loved doing it then, but would hate to do it day in and day out.

It would be a fun week though to do that much clay again in a day. last time I did it, it took a day to prep out 2 or 3 tons of clay (mixing, measuring, wedging, etc) i would throw one day, trim and finish next, throw next day, trim and finish next with maybe a day of doing things like adding handles or altering after that ... as a whole, I could make decent money out of it ... but It lacked some of the things that I enjoy about ceramics. I made a vow to not make my days with that sort of tedious throwing day in and day out.

I still do some production pottery, but I do make it worth my time.

On an average day though I still crank work out with a smaller piece every 1-5 minutes and trimming is between 1-8 minutes for complex feet. yesterday I only had an hour in the studio and threw 29 bowls and just tonight trimmed them in about an hour and a half. Got to love an ice cream social fund raiser. Not bad, but they weren't anything special, so there is that ... but it's still rewarding and I guess that is the good thing right?



Sometimes I love to throw small unimportant pieces just to see how many I can make. Don't get me wrong, there is always the side of me that wants to make the most special pieces I can. My reality though, is that I have to make many little plain pieces that pay the bills. Then I have the luxury of making a handful of wonderful ones. I think the most I have thrown in a day was 165 smaller pieces. I stopped because I got bored. Production is clearly not for me.

#15 Stephen

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 10:35 AM

Thank you for all the responses. It seems that most of you prefer to do no more production work than is needed to support your studio work. How do you handle the business if you, as the only potter involved in the production, become unavailable for a temp time through illness or some unexpected event? Do you have a build up of inventory to carry through? Do any of you ever employ outside throwers or have employees that only throw/trim and if yes, what kind of production are you looking for from them?




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