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Marcia Selsor

What Was Your Greatest Leap Forward This Year?

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 After wanting to get set up in clay for 2 years, we finally got started Sept. Its been the biggest learning curve for either of us to happen so fast..  Its like one day were talking about it and the next there is a wheel sitting there then another and a kiln.. We learned  the basics pretty fast and finally got the pulling down good enough to make some basic forms.. one thing leads to another, read,study, watch youtube,  try, fail do it all again...  I look back at the first pots we made and im so happy, I see a big difference in the pots we make now.. Growth.. we still have a long ways to go but were closer now than we were...

 

I think the biggest thing for me personally is- after you make your hole and open  , you can take 1 hand into the pot at 6 oclock and push it towards the other on the outside, the clay rises and makes it a lot easier to pull since its thinner and already has some height to it- that really helps when working with larger weights of clay... I know that sounds rookie but when I learned that, it opened up the "feel" of pulling for me.. I really struggled with pulling the clay more than anything else, it was honestly killing me to watch videos of folks pulling these beautify walls and I couldn't do it to save my life...

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Biggest step forward this year: getting our own cone 10 gas reduction kiln set up and firing. Now Wendy has complete control of her process and no longer has to go over to Sharon to be one of those production potters intruding on the community learning space... ^_^

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No leaps forward this year, just some steps in a number of different directions. Artist restraint may be where I made the most progress. This year I decided that "This is what I do" is a more satisfying mindset than "I want to do everything."

I also figured out how to make my hand dug clay body work. That was a pretty satisfying large step.

 

Hearing about great leaps forward like Crusty's makes me happy.  The steepest parts of the learning curve are always the most rewarding.

Chris Campbell and Crusty like this

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I went from lurking in the forums at this time last year, to being a full fledged member, and feeling like part of this community.

I went from not having worked in clay for about two years AT ALL to having an etsy store, a website, my first ongoing commercial client, a couple of successful markets under my belt, and $5000 worth of work about to go to Market Collective in Calgary this weekend. (They are leaders in the local Handmade movement, and competition to get in is kinda fierce.) I have been more prolific this year than I have at any point since I graduated from college.

 

And I haven't really put it that way to myself even, until you asked that question. Wow. Definitely some growth.

 

Edit:

Thank you to everyone here for helping me to remember that I'm actually pretty good at this. And of how much more I want to learn.

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I feel like I've definitely progressed as a potter in 2014. I too have gone from lurking in the forums as a guest to setting up a profile and being more comfortable asking questions or providing answers/suggestions. I've moved on from the early stage mindset of a beginner where you feel like you have to save each piece and everything ends up becoming a bowl :) I've become more comfortable with scrapping clay at earlier stages instead of trying to salvage a lost cause. The unsuccessful attempts on the wheel used to frustrate me to the point where I would want to give up..but I've learned over time that on those days, it's just time to clean up workstation and return to it another day or try something else.

I've started to experiment with forms more and can see a definite improvement from the pieces I've saved from last year. I tried my hand at handbuilding and while I still don't have the patience for it and prefer the thrown look, I think it's pushed me to experiment with texture on pieces I've made on the wheel. These days I actually sit down at the wheel with a specific project in mind and have been mostly successful at these sessions.

When I sit back and think about this past year, I marvel at my progress as well as how there is so much scope for improvement and learning. I've learned to love this process and it gives me such joy.

Thank you for asking this question! It really made me reflect on what I've done over the last year.

Marcia Selsor and Roberta12 like this

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Hey,

My greatest leap this year would have to be the new gift shop outlet.  It is 100 percent consignment and is

50/50.  They're open 6 days a week most of the year and 7 days a week during Christmas.

Its been good since I started 5 months ago.  I think they could even handle some of the high

end items since they seem to have lots of foot traffic.  They have 2 stores but I only use the

one 75 miles away.  Having a store that with positive results, makes me want to make

more stuff. 

     Next year my greatest leap will be figuring out how to get digital photos to show up in

my gallery.  ;>)   That gives me 12 1/2 months.

See you later.

Alabama

Marcia Selsor likes this

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I think my greatest leap was learning to communicate with people on this forum. You all have been a huge help to me in figuring out how to throw better and do many other things correctly. I have been in clay less than a year and I am addicted to getting better. 

 

So a big thank you all for the wonderful feedback and critiques you have gave me along with the epic information the super friendly people on this forum provide. Because of your help, I think I will be in clay for the rest of my life. 

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I think my greatest leap was learning to communicate with people on this forum. You all have been a huge help to me in figuring out how to throw better and do many other things correctly. I have been in clay less than a year and I am addicted to getting better. 

 

So a big thank you all for the wonderful feedback and critiques you have gave me along with the epic information the super friendly people on this forum provide. Because of your help, I think I will be in clay for the rest of my life.

 

 

So good to hear this .... It is 100% the reason why this forum was created ... Woohoo!!

Joseph F likes this

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Stepping back into an Art Society after a 5 year absence due to unethical behaviour and personal attacks of a few members.

From my reading and discourse in this forum I have gained confidence in my work, and do not react to the comments of others who dwell on small matters.

Know this sounds petty but it is a big step for me as I am not a public person, unskilled with dealing with the bullies.

Put downs are never acceptable.

This forum is unique in its respect shown to all no matter what level of entry.

Have a great Xmas all, and great sales in 2015.!

Remember to bless the kiln gods! 

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Greatest leap for me: Embracing a bold change in the direction that I am taking in my work and discovering that I enjoy it more and more each day.  My latest work seems to be a better reflection of me (past and present) rather than a reflection of what others think I should be.  Gotta say that feels pretty good!

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My goal this year was to really get comfortable with mugs and handles.  As soon as I threw that out to the universe, I got a small wholesale account making mugs for a local business!  So this year, I have made a lot of mugs, negotiated 2 wholesale accounts, have my work in 2 local shops and continue to get more orders for different pieces.  It's been a learning year for certain for me and I look forward to next year to continue growth.  Next year's goal??......LIDDED VESSELS!!!  Yes!!  And this forum has contributed to my growth and success! Thanks!

 

Roberta

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This year I finally started paring down my glaze palette.  Now I only used 35.  Just kidding, I don't know how many I use but I feel like I'm finally passing the experimentation phase and have a few combinations which I use over an over.  That definitely adds a more cohesive look to my work,  I also figured out that I can use paper resist to get more patterns done quicker in addition to my carving.

Chris Campbell likes this

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This year I finally started paring down my glaze palette.  Now I only used 35.  Just kidding, I don't know how many I use but I feel like I'm finally passing the experimentation phase and have a few combinations which I use over an over.  That definitely adds a more cohesive look to my work,  I also figured out that I can use paper resist to get more patterns done quicker in addition to my carving.

I went to your gallery to see your work and I think paring down your glaze palette is a good move. Your forms are lovely and your design sense is strong so you really can afford to let that take center stage without hiding them behind a glaze. Great work!

firenflux likes this

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I started mixing my own glazes. It was a huge step for me aesthetically and financially. I'm really glad I did. I feel my work is closer to my vision.

 

How difficult did you find it? Was it expensive to start? I am thinking about starting to try that, but I dont have running water in my garage. I am really interested in trying it out but I am afraid to take the leap!  Congrats on doing it, and I am glad your finding your vision.!

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I'm about to test my first glaze mixing attempts.  They should be going in the kiln next Thursday and I'll get them back on Wednesday (xmas eve).  I'll start a new post when I get them back, and detail the steps I've gone through.  (Might start it sooner, but won't have any piccies till then.

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I started mixing my own glazes. It was a huge step for me aesthetically and financially. I'm really glad I did. I feel my work is closer to my vision.

 

 

How difficult did you find it? Was it expensive to start? I am thinking about starting to try that, but I dont have running water in my garage. I am really interested in trying it out but I am afraid to take the leap!  Congrats on doing it, and I am glad your finding your vision.!

You don't need running water. Bring a bucket with enough water to mix your glazes into your studio, and have another large bucket half full of water for cleanup. These buckets are temporary: let the sludge settle out and siphon off the water. The sludge disposal will depend on local rules, but I take mine to the fire department where they let you drop off old paint.

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I started mixing my own glazes. It was a huge step for me aesthetically and financially. I'm really glad I did. I feel my work is closer to my vision.

 

How difficult did you find it? Was it expensive to start? I am thinking about starting to try that, but I dont have running water in my garage. I am really interested in trying it out but I am afraid to take the leap!  Congrats on doing it, and I am glad your finding your vision.!

You don't need running water. Bring a bucket with enough water to mix your glazes into your studio, and have another large bucket half full of water for cleanup. These buckets are temporary: let the sludge settle out and siphon off the water. The sludge disposal will depend on local rules, but I take mine to the fire department where they let you drop off old paint.

 

Thanks for advice. I don't want to derail the thread anymore than I already have. I am going to get a book on this subject. 

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@grype I know when you finally buy some glaze material you will wonder why it took you so long. Pick a nice glaze with 4 or so chemicals and buy them. Easiest place to start up. Then mess around with those 4 until you run out of ideas/find a new recipe. I have three glazes that are all Feldspar, Quarts and China Clay with one or two flux minerals like dolomite and whiting plus colouring oxides

 

On topic -

My biggest leap forward feels like a very big one backwards. I used to share studio space with a friend that ended going ###### up. Lost money/items/energy for pottery but I think coming out the other side next year is going to be better. I learnt a lot from messing up big time.

 

Other leaps, I rewired an old kiln, replaced all the elements and built a kiln lid. The thing still doesn't work and is asking to be converted into a gas kiln. Spent an hour with a qualified kiln tech and he came to the same conclusion as me which made me feel good. Basically there isn't any problem with it in theory but one wire loves to melt whatever I do. First I need to get it back from my 'friend' then I plan to be gas firing in the summer :D

 

Good and bad leaps everywhere.

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My greatest leap this year was to start as a teacher's assistant on pottery night at the public school.  The art teacher and I run pottery night on a volunteer basis and have an empty bowl fundraiser for our food pantry in the spring.   When you have to teach and explain how to throw pots you learn more and get better at throwing yourself.  The kids learn fast and last year we were able to raise over $3000 for the food pantry.  I'm envious of the brand new whisper Shimpo wheels they have at school.  There are 11 wheels in all.  The after hours pottery night is open the school to kids who demonstrate some seriousness and to the parents.  All in all a huge leap.

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I've had quite a few major breakthroughs regarding materials this year, and it's been quite a relief. I finally throw a porcelain vitreous at ^6 (Standard 365; thank you Neil), use a glaze set that doesn't craze on it (thank you digitalfire and georgies), have my work fired all the way to ^6 (LL; indirectly, thank you Neil), and feel as though the technical issues involved in all of that are finally coming to a nice connection that I can create through (rather than fight against).

 

If the rate at which my finished work is "disappearing" from the studio is any standard, I must be doing well. Despite the suggestion that I buy/secure my area with security cameras (thank you John B: I thought about it, but can't quite do the karma equation on that one l>), I continue to lose work through outright theft. I strive to be RIGHT THERE when the glaze kiln is unloaded in the next year.

 

Thank you all for your invaluable information, inspiration, insight, and... discussions of optimal animal droppings... I suppose. ;)

Mysteria and Marcia Selsor like this

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My biggest leap forward this year was the result of leaving my teaching job at the end of 2013. I do miss the classroom environment and seeing my students/friends every week. But having all of my time devoted to studio work resulted in giant leaps forward in productivity, design of new pieces, more shows, and a whopping 40% increase in sales (not exaggerating ... I'm still trying to wrap my head around this number). I also never felt strung-out exhausted this fall, which had been the norm in previous years. Somewhere along the way this year, my work crossed over another threshold. After several years of applying, I was juried into the 2015 Smithsonian Craft Show, so next year is already looking bright.

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