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MikeFaul    79

I'm looking to hire someone who can help with producing some of our designs, and even collaborate on future designs we're planning to market. I'm looking for a full time production potter, who can throw fairly well. We're a laid back shop, and this is a salaried position. My question for the forum... Rather questions are as follows:

 

1. Where is the best place to find full time potters who desire employment?

 

2. If I want someone with a couple of years worth of experience (1 to 5) what am I looking at in terms of salary? How would this change if I hired someone coming right out of school? 

 

3. If I go for education only, would you suggest I require an MFA or BA with a concentration in ceramics?

 

4. Do you think an intern might work, who is studying for an MFA or PhD in ceramics? If so, what ceramics programs on the east coast would you suggest I contact?

 

5. What sort of benefits would a full time potter expect?

 

6. Your thoughts on hiring two part timers in lieu of hiring a full timer?

 

7. Specific skills you would suggest I mention in the ad or posting?

 

8. Do you think I can find someone in the greater Washington DC area, or should I expect to relocate someone? If relocate, would you expect I would have to pay relocation expenses?

 

I've hired folks my entire career, but not in the arts. So, I have no idea what people expect or what is customary in this space.

 

The person will be throwing mostly functional pottery, barware, dinnerware, housewares, and garden wares. One of our lines will include an artistic expression that each potter contributes to, so he/she will be encouraged to work on their own artistic works using our production studio. 

 

Thanks!

 

Mike

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trina    20

Hi there,

 

We had a disscussion about wages a while back, i looked in my old posts but since the change of software can't find it. I am sure someone will be able to help you out. T

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oldlady    1,323

that was july 27, in Business,  need help with prototype 

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oldlady    1,323

that was july 27, need help with compensation for prototypes,  is close.

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MikeFaul    79

No... I believe that question was about what the designer should get paid for a custom design, on a one off basis... Totally different I think... That question requires a margin / profit consideration, this one is a pure salary expense question.

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TJR    359

Mike;

You have a lot of questions !

One thing I am thinking of is; Where would your employee live?

If you provide accomadation, this can be considered part of their wage.

If you are planning on keeping an employee for a long time, then you will have to pay a fair,hourly wage.

Lots of potters starting out will not expect a high salary if they are learning something they value.

If it is grunt work, expect to pay,or the person will not stay.

You would have to pay some kind of health insurance as well.

TJR.

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trina    20

No, it wasn't that one (prototype) it was one maybe two or so months ago where someone actually was trying to hire a potter and I was suprised how low the salary was. Now I will try to find it myself..... T

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oldlady    1,323

may 15, education, tech job at sonoma comm............................something

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GEP    863

I also live in the greater DC area, and have considered hiring an employee (but changed my mind). Based on discussing with my accountant, and also from observing what other production pottery studios are doing, in metropolitan areas and otherwise, I don't think you are expected to provide an income that someone can support themselves with. It would be too cost-prohibitive. Instead, you should be looking for someone who does not need a full-time income. Or if you hire someone who does, you should only expect to keep them for a short time. Treat the position as an educational opportunity more than an income provider.  

 

Yes I think an intern would work. And I would choose 2 part-timers over 1 full-timer, because benefits. And because you are trying to attract employees who do not need a full-time income. Yes I think you can find qualified employees in the DC area. If you're looking for a student, try MICA in Baltimore, Hood College in Frederick, Montgomery College/Rockville. 

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oldlady    1,323

last month there was a young man at baltimore clayworks just about to end a residency.

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bciskepottery    925

Mike --  are you looking for a production-type potter who will work as your employee in your company studio (with wheel, kilns, etc)? or are you looking for a production potter with an equipped studio that will make pottery for you?  A key piece of info is the production level expected . . . that will determine what level of experience and salary.  You might want to reach out and talk with a couple of experienced production potters, describe to them what you want to do, production levels, etc., and get their feedback.  Possible sources to find production type potters might be Studio Potter magazine, the classifieds in Ceramics Monthly/Pottery Making Illustrated/Clay Times, local pottery guilds/associations, and university ceramics programs.  Mark Cortright (www.liscomhillpottery.com ) who is a member of CAD is a production potter who you could reach out to, perhaps via private messaging. There are also shows -- American Craft Council -- where potters display their wares for wholesalers and retailers.  College degrees may not be an indicator of success for production; you might need someone who has apprenticed with a production potter.  Or someone who has combined both of those worlds.  Unless the wares have to be made in the DC area, they could be produced anywhere and then shipped. 

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Mark C.    1,797

I have some experience in this field

I have had part time helpers on and off over many years-I had a great thrower once who worked no more than 6 hours maximum a week-paid him mid 20's per hour as his skill level was high-only threw no trimming or handles-my forms. 

I have know others paying piece work for thrown items-I once did that for slip cast items long ago as well and then went to hourly when they where trained

I would go with Gep's advice on part time over full time-for me education has nothing much to do with just a thrower-Judge the throwing skills not the MFA skills if thats what you need.I realize this could be taken wrong but just out of collage at least for me was not a good thing to many expectations. If you need a production thrower than just out of collage production throwing is not that.

Also look up the tax rules for independent contractors vs your employee. If you can make that list fit your needs you will save on tax issues. I have has several over the years who made work on their own and brought it to me in raw form with my clay on their own time .This takes some working out moving green ware but is very doable.

I'd rather just talk you through this on the phone than over this board typing things that others will hash out as impossible.

I can answer all of these questions in a few minutes-send me a PM with your Phone number and when is good to call if you like.

Sorry for the slow response I was at a show far away then doing some diving taking underwater photos in Puget sound.

Mark

Here is one of 600 photos I shot

Been shooting underwater almost as long as pottery-about 30 years now

its a longfin sculpin and snail

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MikeFaul    79

Mike --  are you looking for a production-type potter who will work as your employee in your company studio (with wheel, kilns, etc)? or are you looking for a production potter with an equipped studio that will make pottery for you?  A key piece of info is the production level expected . . . that will determine what level of experience and salary.  You might want to reach out and talk with a couple of experienced production potters, describe to them what you want to do, production levels, etc., and get their feedback.  Possible sources to find production type potters might be Studio Potter magazine, the classifieds in Ceramics Monthly/Pottery Making Illustrated/Clay Times, local pottery guilds/associations, and university ceramics programs.  Mark Cortright (www.liscomhillpottery.com ) who is a member of CAD is a production potter who you could reach out to, perhaps via private messaging. There are also shows -- American Craft Council -- where potters display their wares for wholesalers and retailers.  College degrees may not be an indicator of success for production; you might need someone who has apprenticed with a production potter.  Or someone who has combined both of those worlds.  Unless the wares have to be made in the DC area, they could be produced anywhere and then shipped. 

I'm looking for a production potter who will work, as my employee, in a new and fully equipped studio. They can bring their own hand tools as a matter of preference, or we'll provide a complete hand tool kit. I've been designing a line of table and bar ware over the past year. These designs include my original sketches, scale drawings of fired and wet clay forms. I then take those designs and work out the entire construction process. As I go through the process, I modify my notes, when I'm happy with the process, I write up a spec sheet on the form. The new employee will take those spec sheets and produce the basic forms. Handled pieces will involve handle attachment, most handles are extruded, some pulled, and a few hand built, and even fewer are slip cast.

 

The new person has to primarily be able to throw, as that's 75% of the work. We'll also provide training. I have two coaches both with 30 plus years of experience who provide instruction. So, every Monday morning when the studio is closed we all go to learn, build skill, and have fun. So, we'll pay to grow the person's skills over time. What I don't want to teach is rudimentary skills like centering, pulling, and shaping. I need someone who can generate between 18 to 24 cylinders per hour on the wheel. We're firing 11.5 cubic foot kilns to cone 6, so at that pace they can fill a bisque kiln in a day. When that day's work is dry, a bisque firing, including cooling takes about 20 to 24 hours. 

 

I agree with you about the college education, a journeyman type person might actually be a better choice. Most MFA programs teach art, which is fine and we do consider ourselves artists and artisans. but we are also business people bringing a product to market based on market requirements not artistic statements of direction. And, we plan to market these products heavily. If our marketing plan bears fruit, we'll need to keep up with demand and produce product on a consistent basis. My skills err towards that of a designer artist, not a production potter. So, I'm thinking this employee will compliment my skills and help us stay on schedule. Plus, next year we plan a wholesale push and that will make production schedules even more important than this year.

 

Having said all of that, and that was an awful lot of that... :-) I like to design in a collaborative fashion, so having someone with a good eye for what looks right, and is pleasing to the eye is a big bonus.

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MikeFaul    79

I also live in the greater DC area, and have considered hiring an employee (but changed my mind). Based on discussing with my accountant, and also from observing what other production pottery studios are doing, in metropolitan areas and otherwise, I don't think you are expected to provide an income that someone can support themselves with. It would be too cost-prohibitive. Instead, you should be looking for someone who does not need a full-time income. Or if you hire someone who does, you should only expect to keep them for a short time. Treat the position as an educational opportunity more than an income provider.  

 

Yes I think an intern would work. And I would choose 2 part-timers over 1 full-timer, because benefits. And because you are trying to attract employees who do not need a full-time income. Yes I think you can find qualified employees in the DC area. If you're looking for a student, try MICA in Baltimore, Hood College in Frederick, Montgomery College/Rockville. 

Thanks Mea... I think my thoughts are similar to yours... Two part timers, perhaps with slightly different skills as a test of what works well. One more artistic who can assist in surface design and one a pure production potter might be the way to go. I'm thinking there may be potters who would be interested in part time work if they can have access to the studio and / or have time to work on their own craft. I think if I send a position description to the places you mention, and to the Clay Connection, Work House, and suppliers (Manassas & Creative Clay) something will pop up. A couple of short classified can't hurt either. Finding someone local is preferred as I won't have to help with relocating someone and worry about housing / living. Besides who relocates for part time work?

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MikeFaul    79

I have some experience in this field

I have had part time helpers on and off over many years-I had a great thrower once who worked no more than 6 hours maximum a week-paid him mid 20's per hour as his skill level was high-only threw no trimming or handles-my forms. 

I have know others paying piece work for thrown items-I once did that for slip cast items long ago as well and then went to hourly when they where trained

I would go with Gep's advice on part time over full time-for me education has nothing much to do with just a thrower-Judge the throwing skills not the MFA skills if thats what you need.I realize this could be taken wrong but just out of collage at least for me was not a good thing to many expectations. If you need a production thrower than just out of collage production throwing is not that.

Also look up the tax rules for independent contractors vs your employee. If you can make that list fit your needs you will save on tax issues. I have has several over the years who made work on their own and brought it to me in raw form with my clay on their own time .This takes some working out moving green ware but is very doable.

I'd rather just talk you through this on the phone than over this board typing things that others will hash out as impossible.

I can answer all of these questions in a few minutes-send me a PM with your Phone number and when is good to call if you like.

Sorry for the slow response I was at a show far away then doing some diving taking underwater photos in Puget sound.

Mark

Here is one of 600 photos I shot

Been shooting underwater almost as long as pottery-about 30 years now

its a longfin sculpin and snail

Thanks Mark...

 

This was perhaps the most helpful. I'll send you a private message, I should be available to talk tomorrow (Monday) afternoon or anytime Tuesday through Friday this week. If I can get a strong thrower twice a week, I should have no problem making inventory goals and keeping up with the demand through December. I'm a bit protective of my designs as I have detailed construction notes and glazing instructions. So, I don't think a remote thrower is for me just now. I suppose that may be a bit unreasonable as a good potter can take a design home in their head, and a dishonest person will take what's not theirs regardless of where they see it, and an honest person leaves what's not theirs alone without consideration. Mid 20's I can swing, it's a bit more than I thought, but doable at two days per week. 

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GEP    863

If I was reading this ten years ago, I would apply for this job! Maybe you should also scour the art centers for adult pottery students who are interested in the professional/production world of pottery. This would be a great opportunity, both for learning and for making a little dough.

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bciskepottery    925

Mike,

 

There is a group in the Northern Va. area called The Clay Connection -- they have a website and a Facebook page. That group is having their biennial conference this fall -- first weekend in October, I believe -- in Front Royal, VA (4-H Center). You might want to reach out to that group and see if they can point you in the right direction or go to the conference (usually around a couple hundred in attendance) and put the word out as to what you are looking for in terms of a production-type potter. Also, Bill Schran at NOVA Alexandria has taught ceramics for years and has a good program . . . he might be a good contact http://www.creativecreekartisans.com/ Also try Steve Munoz at Lee Arts Center in Arlington -- they have a good program with a good number of experienced members http://www.arlingtonarts.org/venues/lee-arts-center.aspx

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Pres    896

I approach this from a different angle. As a retired art teacher with some Ceramics experience, I would love a part time position that would give me some access to different firing, clays, temps, etc. If I were near you, I might apply. Maybe there are other oldie out there that are in a similar boat. Baby Boomers are going fast.

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TJR    359

Pres;

As you know, I worked in a co-operative studio[ shared studio space] for 26 years.

There was another production potter there who wanted to hire a "wedgie boy" to wedge her clay. I think the idea was that he would wedge the clay, and she would watch his glutes/deltoids flex.She didn't end up finding any one to fit the bill.

T.

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Pres    896

Good one. . . this old guy could never fit that bill. I would be interested in a job that was mutually beneficial.

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Idaho Potter    62

I'm coming at this from a different point of view--as a former bookkeeper.  What ever you pay your employee--whether full or part-time--add 30% (your costs) to cover just the taxes that will be due: FICA (social security & medicare); unemployment; state/district worker's compensation.  If it's required, figure in the medical insurance they will need before they reach Medicare age. 

 

BTW, employees are people who don't decide when or where they work, nor do they get to decide what they work on.  Independent contractors on the other hand call the shots, and for that independence don't get any benefits--they are on their own.  If you decide to consider independent contractors, the best you can do is set an amount of output each day (or week, or whatever) to your specifications, and write up a contract that you both approve and sign (and maybe a non-disclosure agreement?).  I have seen too many small businesses get themselves in trouble when they first hire employees.  The Feds put out good literature on what is expected of you.  Check it out before you hire someone.

 

Shirley

 

edit:  get ready to file forms 941, 940, for employees, and 1099's for independent contractors. And any state forms required. 

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Mark C.    1,797

For me an independent takes your clay and does all the work elsewhere on whatever time they chose and brings you the work when its done-The contract is a good idea-it can work great for clay work if you fine tune all details 1st.

Mark

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GEP    863

I'm coming at this from a different point of view--as a former bookkeeper.  What ever you pay your employee--whether full or part-time--add 30% (your costs) to cover just the taxes that will be due: FICA (social security & medicare); unemployment; state/district worker's compensation.  If it's required, figure in the medical insurance they will need before they reach Medicare age. 

 

BTW, employees are people who don't decide when or where they work, nor do they get to decide what they work on.  Independent contractors on the other hand call the shots, and for that independence don't get any benefits--they are on their own.  If you decide to consider independent contractors, the best you can do is set an amount of output each day (or week, or whatever) to your specifications, and write up a contract that you both approve and sign (and maybe a non-disclosure agreement?).  I have seen too many small businesses get themselves in trouble when they first hire employees.  The Feds put out good literature on what is expected of you.  Check it out before you hire someone.

 

Shirley

 

edit:  get ready to file forms 941, 940, for employees, and 1099's for independent contractors. And any state forms required.

 

 

...... and this is why I changed my mind about hiring an assistant after talking to my accountant. I decided instead to figure out how to reduce my wholesale workload, and focus my energy on more profitable channels.

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