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Chris Campbell

Member Since 07 Apr 2010
Offline Last Active Today, 07:45 PM

Topics I've Started

Rain, Rain, Rain

03 October 2015 - 11:34 AM

We have had two soggy, rainy weekends here and many potters have seen their income hopes disappear.
I just saw a post from a potter friend lamenting a totally rained out, low sales show and could not help but think of all the potters here who do the grand haul of work to and from shows.
We are kind of like farmers, counting on the weather. Too hot, too cold, too wet ... people stay home from even the best run shows.
Coping with this is truly what separates the doers from the wannabes.
How do you pull yourself up and get back in the groove after a disaster show?

Production Schedules 101

14 September 2015 - 10:26 AM

I noticed in the sidebar section that Joseph and Marko were saying they were in the process of trying to figure out their production schedules ... so I thought a thread on the topic might help.


Production Schedules ... as always,"it depends".... 


What are you making? ... obviously some forms and clay bodies need a longer interval. You need to take real time to sit down with pencil and paper and do the math ...  how long does it take to complete the objects from start to finish?


How many can you reasonably throw/build in one day?

How long does it need to dry?

How long to glaze? (This number needs to include making the glazes too)

How long to fire it?

What is your realistic loss %?

How long to get it ready to ship out the door?


Which brings up the core issue of production ... How many times do you touch it?

In order to make the work efficiently, you need to cut down the times you touch the piece. So this part will always be a learning and improving process ... find ways to do the job with the least amount of picking up and putting down.

Find your optimal production number for the day ... more is not always better. When you start making mistakes and cutting corners due to fatigue you lose money.


TIME ... this is a crucial part ... how many days can you expect to be able to work at it? How many hours a day? You cannot just multiply one week's output by 52 and hope it works out. Life steps in to gum things up. Appointments, sickness, family issues, service breakdowns, disaster kiln loads ... etc, etc, etc ... give yourself wiggle room so you can keep rule #1 ... 'under promise/over deliver'.


Then ... you leave time for marketing the work, billing and accounting, packing and shipping or just packing/unpacking shows.


Everybody else, please hop in to mention all the stuff I am forgetting ....


( as a side note, one of our A/C units, the water heater and the refrigerator broke down yesterday ... an appliance trifecta ... guess how much pottery I will be making for the next couple days )

The Art Festival Plan

02 August 2015 - 11:54 AM

Mea ..l hope you don't mind me posting this link as it is a MUST READ for anyone trying to survive in the Arts & Crafts Festival world. Great advice and observations as always.


Cannot Change My Profile Picture

23 July 2015 - 03:20 PM

OK ... I give up ... trying to change my profile picture ... I have it sized correctly, hit change my picture, hit browse ... select my image OK ...

then NOTHING happens and there are no other buttons to push.

Help anyone??

Stream Of Consciousness Back Fires ....

15 April 2015 - 06:57 PM

OK ... So I decide to start a yard sculpture ... the thing gets bigger and bigger ... taller and wider ... On the second floor of my house with no idea how to get it downstairs into the garage where the kilns are.

On the plus side it will fit in the kiln as I keep those dimensions front and center in my studio.
On the negative side, this thing weighs a lot.
In hindsight it would have been a lot smarter to take an hour to add paper pulp to the clay.
In hindsight I guess I should have made it in two parts.
So Plan A is to put it on a piece of canvas and get help wrangling it downstairs.
Plan B is to whack it, convert the clay to paper clay and start over.
Plan C ....... Well, now I know why I don't make large things.