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Member Since 06 Apr 2010
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#88222 Members With Etsy Stores?

Posted by JBaymore on 03 July 2015 - 01:59 PM

.... and then, after WE artists minutely dissect the parameters of acceptable human made work, the buyer buys because they like it, they want it, the price is right, it says good things about them, it's a perfect gift .....

"Sizzle" ... not burger forming and cooking methodology.



Not ALL buyers approach things that way.  Some do care about the genesis.  Selling your work CAN BE about market segmentation. 


I personally don't make for "everyman or "everywoman".  Or even try to.  I make for those that appreciate the work for what it is. 


Lamborgini does not make a car to compete with the Ford Fiesta.  Is there a broader market for Ford Fiesta's.... of course.  Lamborgini I am sure knows this... and keeps making and marketing what they make.


And the "sizzle" in the whole artisanal food movement IS about the way the food is prepared and what it is made form. 


It is all about what market you want to go after.


I'm after people who appreciate the genesis of the work.   Others may be after something else. 


I am back to "truth in advertising"..... be clear about your work if you are selling in a venue that imparts to the consumer the impression of "handcraft".  Otherwise... we should be seeing Noritake and Pfaltzgraph entering work in the "Strictly Functional Pottery National".... they make some NICE pieces that are eminently functional.





#88221 Members With Etsy Stores?

Posted by JBaymore on 03 July 2015 - 01:51 PM

 A fellow named Howard Kottler made a piece that was featured, a cast brownstone beside a cast paper bag filled with cast peanuts titled "The Old Bag Next Door Is Nuts." Oh, the furor!



I LOVE that piece!!!!!





#88213 Members With Etsy Stores?

Posted by JBaymore on 03 July 2015 - 12:37 PM

My experience of it is that Etsy is a tool, and like any tool you need to know how to use it properly, and you need to have an idea of what you want to accomplish with it to get the most out of it.


Great "Diesel" powered post above this one B) .  Had to quote the tool line and add a thought............


Make sure that if you (the generic "you" there) need a screwdriver, you are not using a hammer.





#88207 Members With Etsy Stores?

Posted by JBaymore on 03 July 2015 - 10:41 AM

Can o' worms!


Actually Chris, when if comes to a single media, I think that you CAN deal with specifying pretty tightly what YOU want to handle as what YOU will call "handmade".  Since YOU are the boss in the matter, you call the shots.  You simply list exactly what processes are acceptable for the show/fair/venue. 


As in...................


Ceramic work submitted for this show/fair/venue must be produced as follows:


By a single artist who handles all of the steps of the process from forming to decorating to glazing to firing.


Exclusively by the methods of coiling, pinching, slab building, wheel throwing, handwork plastic clay press molding, or hand carving.


(Forming methods specifically excluded include slip casting, pressure slip casting, jiggering, jollying, hydraulic pressing and 3-D computer printing methods.)


And so on.


Yes... the jurors/organizers will sometimes have some issue identifying if pieces are actually compliant.... but that is the reason they are getting paid to do the job.  And sometimes they WILL get it wrong.  Such is life.


If this kind of stuff is presented totally up-front, then the public and other artists know exactly what to expect.  And yes... this kind of specificity WILL potential exclude some people who might sit on the "edges", production-wise....... that "is what it is".  Sorry.  As they say.... 'my football.... my rules'.  Some consumers will care....... some won't.


My "issues" with  all this "what is handmade" stuff revolve around what I term "Truth in advertising". 


I don't care how a well designed object is made as long as I am not being mislead as to the genesis of that object in one way or another.  If people openly specify how work is made.... I can decide for myself if I consider that what I personally define as a "handmade" piece, and if I think that FOR ME the pricing is appropriate to that work.


The problems come when the venue does not require that information.  And/or when the producer of the objects is concealing or lying about the nature of the work.


A great example of this is one very well known ceramic artist with US national acclaim.  A large portion of their heavy production work is jiggered/jolllyed.   It is regularly sold in "handcraft galleries" along side hand thrown and other such works.  The hang tags and the info on the pieces does not indicate that forming methods for those pieces.  The price points are not typically lower than other hand thrown work.  For a long time I made a point of going into the shops that handled their work and asked the salespeople about the particular pieces.  100% of the time I got told how the pieces were hand thrown on the potters wheel!  I then took the time to explain to the salesperson how that work actually was made.  They usually were quite surprised.  But if I went back later... the work was still there and still making people THINK they knew how it was made.


The pieces in question there are beautiful.  But from MY definition (and I bet many other people's) they are not "handmade".  They are "limited manufacturing" or something like that.  SO for me,...... I would not be paying truly "handcrafted" pricing for them.  And I would not tell anyone they are "thrown".  I would say that they are great serving pieces....like much of the work from places like Noritake.


When what are euphemistically termed "assisted technologies" in the ceramics field are used specifically to increase production rates and/or reduce price points...... and the work is then offered for sale in venues that the consumer would expect a high involvement of "the skilled hand" to be involved........ then I think the work has moved outside the realm of "handcrafted".  For ME.


For example "slip casting" or "hydraulic pressing" can be used for many end-goal reasons.  One or them is to allow the forms to then be manipulated in such ways that it is the best ways to create certain end forms.  Things getting cut up and reassembed.... multiples arranged in arrays or installations....and so on.  The other end of the spectrum is to use those forming methods to produce multiples at a high rate with less skilled handwork either as a goal to increase production or lower price points to increase market share.  For ME....... the first is "handmade".... the second is "assisted technology".





#88177 Quick Question: Progressing From Test Glaze Batches To Production Batches

Posted by JBaymore on 02 July 2015 - 05:34 PM

Ok so everyone talks about "insight". What is reason for knowing all the details of a glaze? What in its calc tells you it may be a problem? Does one have to know chemistry to understand too much of this or too little of that? Help.


Go to the Digitalfire website and download the demo copy of Insight.    http://digitalfire.com/       Follow the tutorials to get going with it.  Use the Digital fire public pages to help.  Using it you will begin to understand what such an approach can do for you.


An example....... industry has studied what makes "good glaze" a lot.  From that scientific research they can say for example that at cone X a durable etch resistant glass should contain a certain amount (in molecular terms) of silica.  You put in your glaze recipe and it turns up to be WAY low compared to the recommendation.  You then can decide if you want to fix it... or move on to another recipe.


Some colors develop simply when the right ratio of certain molecules are present along with certain colorants (this is how they develop stuff like the colorants known as Mason Stains).


There are tons of ways that it can help you aesthetically, legally, and so on.





#88165 Changes In Studio Pottery Glazes Over The Last 40 Years

Posted by JBaymore on 02 July 2015 - 01:38 PM

I've been using about the same 9-10 glazes... with maybe a couple additions/alterations ...... for about 37 years now, ever since moving to my present studio location in southern NH.  Most won't believe this, but I believe that I am just getting to know them. 


I don't plan to change "with the times".  I make what I make.  My audience is people who appreciate what I make.


There are two general categories of ways to make work.  1.)  Make what you make and then find the audience.  2.) Find what the audience wants and make that.  I'm of the former school.


Something that is clearly apparent to me is the busy-ness and frenetic qualities to a huge portion of today's ceramic work.  30 years or so ago.... the work tended to be more "quiet".  The modern trend is likely a reflection of our culture's overloaded, frenetic, media-driven, attention-span-deficit kind of lifestyle.  We are bombarded with images, information, and distractions from all points these days.  To get our attention....... clay work sort of has to be "in-your-face".


The concept of surface embellishment and the layering and overlapping of surface enrichment elements is all the rage now.  (Makes "crazy" Oribe ware from Japan in the late 16 century look absolutely "quiet!)  Book upon book...article upon article...workshop upon workshop.   Sometimes it seems that form has taken a total back seat to the surface in a big way.  I see lots of skillful surface graphics and techniques.... on some pretty marginal forms.


Often, in the case of functional work, all the surface craziness is so overpowering and strong that it does not leave any room for the FOOD to be presented on the pieces.  They fight with each other.


Personally I am not a big fan of this overall trend.  I prefer contemplative and subtle pieces that meld form AND surface.  That it takes time to get to know.  That draw you in.


Call me a dinosaur. :ph34r:





#88128 Qotw: Would You Fire Your (Smaller) Work In A Trash Bin Kiln?

Posted by JBaymore on 30 June 2015 - 12:57 PM

From the looks of that, it is not "open burning".   If you owned one, would you need a permit to light a home wood stove, Denise? 


That fire is enclosed.


It is important for EVERYONE in ceramics that we keep fires inside kilns from being defined by authorities as "open burning" and requiring permits.  This is a Pandora's Box problem once it is opened. 


If we allow the precedents to be set....... eventually everyone will suffer.





#87678 97 Degrees F

Posted by JBaymore on 23 June 2015 - 10:19 AM

First the "setup" for this story..............


One year a good while ago I was invited to be involved in a major event in Japan that had 85 invited ceramic artists from around the world exhibiting and demonstrating.  They set up a domed sports stadium as the venue, and the central field area was transformed into a huge "studio" layout with wheels, work tables, clay machinery, huge supplies of three different clay bodies, and so on  A separate section was set up with walls and dividers as an exhibition area.  There were enclosed areas for lecture/slide shows.  This was a situation to which the Japanese public were invited to come watch us all work, see the exhibition, present lectures, and so on.... and something like 65,000 people did (yeah.... only in Japan!).


The issue that relates a bit to this thread is that it was an ENCLOSED domed sports stadium.  And it was the rainy season in Japan.  And it was in the 95 F+ range for temps.  No AC in the building.  Rained the entire time we were working there (2 weeks) except the last day (when they finally could open the dome).  There were TONS and tons of ceramic objects "drying" in that enclosed space.  There were LOTS of hot sweating people in that enclosed space. 


I had my pile of working clay sitting in a large open heap on the floor next to my work table.  It was kept simply in a pile on the floor........ no plastic or anything else covering it, 24/7.  It was as wet on the last day of the event as on the first day.  Maybe wetter.  All of the work only started to actually dry on that last day once the dome opened.


Oh... and all of us working there.... were as wet as the work.  Your clothes were constantly sodden with sweat....... all day.


Working in Japan in the summer... the humidity can be a real processing "slow down" aspect.





#87518 Lessons From Another Potter

Posted by JBaymore on 20 June 2015 - 11:46 AM

The key there is the word "wholesale".


The shop bought and paid for them.  The potter is paid. 


If you are trying to "market" to them to get them to buy more stuff... that is one thing.  But if it is an established account....... they know where to find you.


Someplace you will have an invoice filed if you ever needed to know that you last sold them 100 mugs, 50 small bowls and a partridge in a pear tree.


CONSIGNMENT is a different ball of wax (and a rip-off for the artists........ interest free loan of the value of your work).





#87299 "would You Be Willing To Accept Less For It?"

Posted by JBaymore on 17 June 2015 - 10:34 AM

Next time someone ask for a discount, just say, it took me X years to make this mug. (x = number of years you have been a potter). It is priced pretty reasonable.


"Sixty years and 15 seconds".  <<<<< Famous HAMADA Shoji quote

#87260 "i'm In A Spot Now Where Demand Exceeds Supply"

Posted by JBaymore on 16 June 2015 - 02:40 PM

The standard business practice is....... price goes up until supply and demand level off.





#87259 Feel Like I Am Hitting A Brick Wall - Perhaps You Have Experienced This?

Posted by JBaymore on 16 June 2015 - 02:33 PM

I have listened to a lot of stories about big ticket work actually having a better money vs time spent ratio.


In my experience..... that is the case.  BUT... and it is a big "but".......... the market for that higher priced work does two big things.  First, it shrinks.  And secondly, the evaluative skills for establishing the quality of the work increases geometrically with the price.


You can't successfully sell a $20 cup for $200.  Someone who can and will gladly pay $200 for a cup (they are out there) .... knows good cups that are worth a premium.  They can spot them.  You can't pull the wool over their eyes.  You can try.... but you won't succeed.


Usually there is the factor of "time put in at the craft" that makes the difference in the price points attainable.


To make $1000 ... you can make 1000 pieces at $1 each, 100 pieces at $10 each, 10 pieces at $100 each, or 1 piece at $1000 each.


A number of factors come into play in thinking about this whole 'what to make' concept.  Such as:


Which of these approaches to making $1000 has the least direct expenses involved?


Which of these approaches to making $1000 requires the greatest investment in facility space, equipment, and in the depreciation of that equipment in use?


Which of these approaches to making $1000 has the highest end sale price to labor ratio?


Which of these approaches to making $1000 causes the largest wear and tear on the maker's body?


Which of these approaches to making $1000 causes the most "distress" to the makers 'soul'?


Which of these approaches to making $1000 do I have the skills to produce?


Which of these approaches to making $1000 do I have the skills to market?


Which of these approaches to making $1000 fits my view of how I wish to interact with the buying 'world'.


Which of these approaches to making $1000 matches how I wish my ceramic legacy to figure into 'history'?



A very important point to look at is CAN YOU SELL a $1000 piece?  What does that work look like?  Who is the market?  Do you have the skills to make work that commands that kind of price?  Can you find enough people to buy that work?


The market pyramid narrows fast.  The competition expands fast.





#87251 Feel Like I Am Hitting A Brick Wall - Perhaps You Have Experienced This?

Posted by JBaymore on 16 June 2015 - 11:31 AM

Realizing that running a business can be hard usually happened when consultants ran ouf of bookings from their warm circle and needed to branch out and look for clients who were not family and friends. That is when a good percentage would quit.  



This is exactly the same thing that happens with ceramics as a business.  Use your experiences from the "past life" to help inform what you do in the clay field.  Running a BUSINESS involves just about the same stuff whether it is widgets or pots.


Think of yourself has having TWO jobs.  One is being a potter. 


The other is selling a product you buy from a potter.  You are a wholesaler, or a retailer, or both.


Each one of those jobs requires a different mindset and skills.


The education and skills needed for each job need to be attended to and constantly improved.





#87245 Feel Like I Am Hitting A Brick Wall - Perhaps You Have Experienced This?

Posted by JBaymore on 16 June 2015 - 10:17 AM

..............."grit and perseverance are far more important than talent."


Mea's info is spot on.


Last woman or man standing.  When all the others have given up and fallen by the wayside... if you are still there..... you have "floated to the top".


“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”  <Calvin Coolidge>



Another useful thing to remember is the phrase (don't know who coined it) "Life is short, clay is long."  Mastering the craft (heck... even getting a good handle on it) is not fast.  Make sure your expectations are in line with the reality.  If not........ easy to get discouraged.





#86940 Shows And Contests

Posted by JBaymore on 11 June 2015 - 09:47 AM

I think this centralized venue has not been mentioned yet:  https://www.callforentry.org/