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Chris Campbell

Member Since 07 Apr 2010
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 08:53 PM

#76868 Underglazes Vs Glazes

Posted by Chris Campbell on Yesterday, 08:51 PM

Underglazes are for decorating ... They do not seal the surface or make it food safe. They will not prevent stains or color absorption. They are most often used under glazes.

Glazes when properly matched to the clay and properly fired, seal the surface with a glass like layer making the wares suitable for utilitarian use.

A glaze that does not move much during firing can be used for decorating but an underglaze cannot be used as a glaze.

#76626 New Potter: Advice Appreciated!

Posted by Chris Campbell on 02 March 2015 - 09:12 PM

  Good point. I'll have to think on that a bit. Have you known potters who focus on more fragile pieces that still do well sales-wise??? I mean, I'm really happy with the pieces in general. I could certainly widen out the bottoms a bit on some of the skinnier pieces.

For wholesale, galleries and show sales nothing should look fragile. Nothing sticking out or lifting off. Plates and bowls should stack safely. Galleries do not like fragile work because it intimidates browsers ... Nobody wants to lift them or touch them. Nobody connects with the piece in a tactile way. Nobody wants to break it. The word NO looms large in buyers minds.

They also do not like it because packing and shipping it to customers is such a pain. You will not like packing and shipping those pieces either. It gets expensive.

If I was depending on clay to earn my main living, I would not make fragile pieces ... I'd be making the things people want to pick up.

#76580 How Many Sell Ceramics For A Living?

Posted by Chris Campbell on 02 March 2015 - 11:03 AM

DirtRoads ... I enjoyed reading your post ... You love what you do but you are not "in love" with it ... You can still step back and make good business decisions. You are watching the numbers so can adapt to changes quickly.
.... I would have hit the like button, but the software would not let me!

#76538 Finding Your Own Style...easy To Say

Posted by Chris Campbell on 01 March 2015 - 09:02 PM

Question .... do you get tired of making the same thing when you find your style?  I really don't have a style, my work is all over the place. But, I did notice a few times I made something, a lot of people wanted me to make them one, I get tired of making it and want to move on to something different.

That is another "it all depends ..... " question. Your style is not a prison cell.
Some people have a short attention span and keep skipping around. There is a buying audience for them ... The people who always ask "what's new?" the minute the see you.
Some people find forms they can never seem to get enough of ... They can spend years exploring a simple basic shape and get endless pleasure in the subtle changes only they might perceive.
Some people find a design idea that appeals and make multiple variations on the theme.
Some people find a shape they love then focus in on glaze or surface variations.
Some people find the genre that suits them ... be it raku, majolica, porcelain, sculpture ... And go from there.
Some hit the sweet spot after years of work ... They build an audience that wants what they love to make.
There is no one size fits all.

#76508 How Many Sell Ceramics For A Living?

Posted by Chris Campbell on 01 March 2015 - 01:44 PM

We are truly fortunate to have on this board active, self supporting potters who take the time to give back to the pottery community by contributing their advice and insights. However, the majority of self supporting potters I know do not post anywhere on the Internet for a ton of reasons ... Most having to do with the need to manage any free time they get. Pesky things like food, rest, life and family!

I post this for two reasons ... One is so that you know you are getting a somewhat skewed view of a potters life if you are asking on the Internet ...
And two, to encourage you to consider going to NCECA this year ... since it is nearby ... so you can meet and talk to various potters at all stages of their careers. This is a yearly conference that even the hardest working potters try to find time for. You can meet people at every stage of a pottery life. Most respected Graduate Ceramics programs are represented so you can talk with your peers from all over. If the price tag is too high, consider volunteering to help ... and save money.

This is a perfect time for you to be asking these questions and NCECA is a great place to get answers.

Ps ... I posted this before I saw the posts above so will add that college debt is a big factor as well as ceramics programs not encouraging functional pottery.

#76292 What Causes Glaze/clay 'tide Mark'?

Posted by Chris Campbell on 27 February 2015 - 10:30 AM

I absolutely love that toasty line! It is also in the thin area around the lip and handle. Yummy!

I have a clay I sometimes use when I want to carve into a surface ... When I use a turquoise glaze it breaks on the edges with that wonderful color. I was told it had to do with the iron in the clay body but I can't swear to that.
I can't get to it right now but when I can I will take a picture and add it.
  • oly likes this

#76192 Glazed Piece Fading In Dishwasher

Posted by Chris Campbell on 25 February 2015 - 08:55 PM

Here is a link to my Facebook Color/Colour in Clay page ...


The first post with pictures is from a newbie who is noticing significant fading on a colored clay glazed piece that has been run through the dishwasher several times.

Any comments would be welcome as this is a new problem for me.

#76106 Finding Your Own Style...easy To Say

Posted by Chris Campbell on 24 February 2015 - 07:52 PM

Years ago I was discussing my worries about this issue with a potter friend whose talents I really respect ... he simply said " Make what you make until you can't make it any more."

You simply cannot be what you are not.
John's exercise is an exploration designed to help you find who you are artistically ... if it suits your nature to do it.
Wandering and trying whatever catches your eye is another .... "Notice what you notice." school of thought.
Copying the masters until you learn how they did it is another way to go.
The only wrong way in my opinion is to sit on your duff and think about it rather than actually doing something.

I've reached the " cannot make it any more" point in my work and am ready to jump into the next journey.

#76052 Nceca 2015 Providence, Ri?

Posted by Chris Campbell on 24 February 2015 - 10:54 AM

Thanks Evelyne .... sorry I will miss meeting you ... I am sure you will have a great time. Get everyone's cell number and download the app as it is hard to keep track of everyone and everything going on.
Maybe you will return next year and we can chat over BBQ in Kansas City.

#75625 Pots Away!

Posted by Chris Campbell on 17 February 2015 - 04:09 PM

Wrong color wrong size I thiought it would be this or that cracked in the bisque cracked in greenstate cracked in glaze fire warped ran blew up customer died

changed mind earthquake lost load cost to much I'll take a few more exactly like this can you do this how much for this to match.


You know after 40 plus years of this you learn to say NO pretty quick.

All the above have happend to me.

Tom we are having a heat wave mid 70's past few days soon the fog will come.


YES indeed .... live and learn.

NO is my 'go to' reply on ALL custom order requests now .... if I am tempted my good friend just says "urns" and I quickly go to default "NO".


Not to say that others should not do custom orders ... some people are really good at them. There is a formula and if you follow it you will have happy customers ... at least that is what they say, I have no proof of it personally!

#75614 Pots Away!

Posted by Chris Campbell on 17 February 2015 - 02:03 PM

...... My horror story involves an urn .... Except after a couple weeks the family could not agree on who got the ashes,so asked me to make three identical ones that had a spot for a candle to burn .... after the decision to split the ashes NOTHING went right ... forgiving clay warped, items cracked in the kiln, underglaze colors went wonky ... I was beginning to believe in angry ghosts so I called the lady to ask ( in a round about way ) how they all got along ... Oh fine she says.
I made 6 of them and on the final day had three decent ones but, when I put the candles in to test, ALL of the flames guttered out.
Must admit that by that point I just laughed ... Then fixed them so the candles burned.
Delivered them.
Hmmmmm .... About three days later I get the call ... They are an inch or so too short, could I make three more?
I asked her to return them, kept my 50% deposit, gave them back the rest $$$ and fired them as clients.
Took the urns to my back yard with a sledge hammer and mashed them to dust.
Months later I met someone who knew them and found out they feuded and fought all the time .... none of them got along.
I think I had guessed that already.

#75266 Anybody Else Get Pouty?

Posted by Chris Campbell on 11 February 2015 - 08:09 PM

.... After 12 hours of doing the same thing over and over and over again, your hands hurt???.
Good grief, of course they hurt.
Bet your back hurt, your arms hurt and your brain hurt too!!
If you were working under OSHA rules, your boss would be getting charged with something.

You are not, so it's up to you to take care of YOU.
If you want pottery for a lifetime, listen to your body and take care of it. It is your most precious tool.

#75116 What's The Most Risque Out There Thing You've Done In Clay.....

Posted by Chris Campbell on 10 February 2015 - 11:05 AM

The most fun I have had with a risky project ...

I was so tired of worrying about cracks and defects in my porcelain work that I decided to cure myself by pushing the clay to its limits and letting whatever happen without any interference from me..

I did a series I called "Nautilus Imperfect".

The Nautilus shell is one of nature's most perfect shapes totally illustrating the "Golden Mean" or "Pi" ... so I made a large cane of one out of colored clay.

Then I smashed old work that had 'imperfections', rolled the shards in a rock tumbler to smooth the pieces, then wedged these chunks into my porcelain. I then made pieces combining the Natutilus slices with the chunky clay and just let them sit out to dry. I watched as the stress cracks appeared ... normally a crazy making time for me ... but just let it be.

The resulting work did not sell well as almost nobody wanted cracked work, but some of the pieces remain my favorites to this day.

AND as a bonus, it worked. (Well, mostly :wub: ) I am somewhat looser now and more apt to allow the clay to lead the way

Attached Files

#74857 Food For Thought - E - Course!

Posted by Chris Campbell on 04 February 2015 - 09:53 PM

I've been thinking more about this so will throw in another thought in a more personal vein ...
I teach colored clay which is of interest to a small segment of the pottery community. Some people will pay for a five day workshop because they really want to know a lot about it.
But I believe there is a larger segment of the community that just wants a comfort level with using Mason stains with clay. Enough to use it for specific purposes when needed. Maybe they just want a little freedom to play with colored slips. Whatever.
They would really benefit from a three hour live lesson ... some live feed where they could ask questions. Keep the video so they can re run it when they are ready to try something.
Im sure there are lots of other niche type processes that many of us would pay to sit in on and learn. i know there is u tube, but you can't ask questions there.
I hope someone takes this further as I see great potential.

#74829 Food For Thought - E - Course!

Posted by Chris Campbell on 04 February 2015 - 04:30 PM

I love the idea of e courses .... Eliminate the travel and housing expenses on both sides is a win/win. Being able to watch a given segment as often as you need to is a huge bonus. Being able to network with other students means a sense of community. Being able to reach students all over the world who cannot afford to travel to see you is what the Internet if for.
It seems like the next logical step in workshops and I am positive it will seem quite ordinary in a few years.