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Member Since 08 Apr 2010
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 10:58 PM

#124150 Qotw: Do You Have A Question For Us?

Posted by GEP on 22 March 2017 - 10:04 AM

Thank you for doing a wonderful job with this, Evelyne!

And thank you, Pres, for taking over the responsibility!

#124117 Taxes.. Yep, I Said The Evil Word

Posted by GEP on 21 March 2017 - 05:08 PM

I claim my deductions on a cash basis as they occur. Figuring out my expenses on a "per pot sold" basis is too many tiny math problems for me. My cpa has never once suggested it. I don't think the IRS considers us "manufacturing."

I don't depreciate large equipment either, such as kilns. If the cost is under a certain threshhold (I think it's $17,000) you can choose to either depreciate or deduct the whole thing. I'd rather claim the biggest deduction right away.

The only stuff my cpa depreciates are major home improvement projects.

#124062 How Do You Mark/sign Your Work?

Posted by GEP on 20 March 2017 - 09:29 AM

I use two different stamps. I tiny 1cm stamp of an elephant that I use for most pots (shown here upside-down on a drying pot). And a larger 4cm stamp that spells out my company name. I use this stamp on flat pieces where the hump mold provides enough support for the larger/more complicated stamp.


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#123671 Making Oven Safe Work..

Posted by GEP on 13 March 2017 - 08:57 AM

I make a few designs in my line that are meant for the oven. When people buy them, I advise them to treat it like Pyrex, and also to keep it in the middle of their oven space. I know of two cases where my pottery cracked in the oven, and in both cases they were used too close to the broiler or the bottom element. Maybe I should count my lucky stars. In both cases the customers were very regretful like THEY had done something wrong. They both wanted to pay full price for a replacement. And they were very helpful in showing me the damage and helping me diagnose what happened. Overall I still feel comfortable selling ovenware.

I'm using commercial stonewares fired to cone 6. My advice for making ovenware is to make walls that are somewhat thicker than most pots. Thicker than a mug wall for sure. And to keep the walls as even as possible. I think the most important thing to avoid is having one area that is considerably thinner than the rest of the pot. It's hard to know this about your work unless you cut it in half, OR if your experience level makes you confident enough. Careful measuring with a needle tool during trimming works too.

I also think ovenware should have a wide flat bottom that can span across the bars of an oven rack. I hate seeing "casseroles" that have a narrow base, or worse, feet. And I always trim a shallow footring into the bottom, rather than having a completely flat bottom. This way, when you take it out of the oven and put it onto a cooler surface, most of the bottom doesn't touch the cooler surface.

Here's the bottom of a pie dish that I'm going to fire today, just to show the foot ring:

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#123615 Website To Order Pottery Tools Cheap

Posted by GEP on 12 March 2017 - 10:16 AM

I would get a few of the Sherrill ribs, as many as you can afford, and fill out the rest of your needs with cheaper rubber ribs. Your students will see why Sherrill ribs are better than ordinary ribs, and that you want them to benefit from a great tool but could only afford a few. This will encourage folks to buy their own. One person buying a $5 rib for themselves is not much to ask, compared to you buying $5 ribs for everybody.

Edit to add: There are plenty of clay tools where the dollar store version is just as good as anything else. And some toolmakers who are doing an exceptional job whose tools are worth the price. You can teach your students about both. And also teach them "don't expect somebody else to buy you expensive tools." At the center where I taught, we provided piles of tools, mostly the cheapest version of everything. These were used by the beginners. By the time somebody made it past the beginner phase they were putting together their own tool kits. I think I was the first instructor to bring my Sherrill ribs to class and explain why I use them. Soon, everyone had their own.

#123460 Need A White Matte Commercial Glaze Suggestion.

Posted by GEP on 09 March 2017 - 10:50 AM

I think I've seen a video of you doing this wax/inlay technique on instagram. Refresh my memory, did you sponge off the excess white slip while it was still pretty wet? If so, that means your white slip has much more drying/shrinking to do than the dark pot. This would explain why it dries with pinholes. Most inlay demos that I've see involve scraping away the excess white slip when both clays are leatherhard, and have the same amount of shrinkage ahead of them. Also, scraping will compress both clays, while sponging will loosen up the slip even more.

Another suggestion would be to use a smaller tool and carve your designs with thinner lines. Less volume of white slip means the mismatch of shrinkage won't matter as much.

#123425 What's Your Favorite Clay To Work With?

Posted by GEP on 08 March 2017 - 02:16 PM

Highwater Phoenix. 


The thing is, Phoenix is for cone 10+ firings. I fire my studio work to cone 6, so I only get to work with Phoenix when I am participating in a cone 10 firing outside of my studio. It is such a treat to throw. It does whatever is asked of it.


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#123359 Going To Buy Wheel And Kiln... What Do You Like?

Posted by GEP on 07 March 2017 - 09:23 AM

Wheels: Bailey and Thomas Stuart. I love the big integrated splashpans on these. I slightly prefer the splashpan on the Bailey because there is a gate that you can open and push all of your clay trimmings out into a bucket. However, just like Marcia I've had some small (easy to fix) maintenance issues with the Bailey, whereas the Stuart feels indestructible. Both are nice and quiet.

Kilns: L&L.

#123319 Plates - Slump & Hump

Posted by GEP on 06 March 2017 - 12:35 PM

Do you have any Hydrobats? A form like that will be greatly helped by a Hydrobat. No wiring under, so the bottom will be perfectly flat. Might be worth investing in one or two for this project.

#123294 How Much To Make?

Posted by GEP on 05 March 2017 - 07:50 PM

Mea, what kind of distribution do you usually have amongst price points in that $8000? Eg, how many items in the $20 and under, how many in the $100+range, etc.

I looked up an inventory list from a three day show last year:

$20 and under = $890 (10%)
$21-$50 = $3861 (44%)
$51-$100 = $2002 (23%)
$101 and over = $2065 (23%)

total $8818

#123214 How Much To Make?

Posted by GEP on 04 March 2017 - 09:08 AM

It is pretty big, a higher end NYC weekend crowd.

$25 for a mug shouldn't seem "expensive" to this crowd.

For a three day show, I will pack $8000 in inventory. Give or take, if I already have experience at that show I might pack more or less depending on past shows. But if it's new to me I'll start with $8000.

#123052 Web Site Building And Marketing

Posted by GEP on 01 March 2017 - 08:56 AM

(3) what are some CRUCIAL tips from your experience with linking your web site to social media outlets? 
Also, if you spent any MONEY that you either really regret or are very happy you did, describe that. (I am happy I bought a camera and a simple table top photo set up and stopped trying to gerryrig the whole process of making decent images.)

I am still somewhat new to using Instagram, but I have been using a Facebook page for my business for years. I find that Facebook is incredibly effective for driving visits to my website, because I can include a link within my facebook post. I can post "I just finished a new blog post," and readers come running. Instagram is not good at that, because links are not allowed within a post. So far I haven't found any good integration between Instagram and my website (which is ok, Instagram is fun for other reasons). When I had my online sale in December, I did go through the (cumbersome) process of changing the link in my profile to my online store's url. No idea if that generated traffic or not. Seems like too many steps for me and a potential customer.

I pay for my domain names and email addresses, and I use Weebly's free services for everything else. Yes, there are some features of not-free Weebly that I think would be nice to have, but I can't bring myself to pay for it. I don't consider the website to be my actual business, it's just a support element of my actual business. So if my business was based on online sales, then I would consider paying for better features.

#122795 Pottery Display Rack

Posted by GEP on 23 February 2017 - 10:37 AM

My new shelves, going to work for the first time. So far, I am endlessly pleased about them.


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#122690 Shipping For Show Across Country

Posted by GEP on 22 February 2017 - 08:49 AM

I've never done it myself, but I've been in shows where the artists come from across the country and many of them need to ship their display/work. All the shows seem to recommend Art in Motion (http://www.artmoves.biz).

I know you will need to purchase a shipping crate, and learn how to pack it. I bet Art in Motion can give you advice on that.

Good luck!

#122619 Pottery Booth Help! What Do You Display Your Pottery On? Shelves Or Tables?

Posted by GEP on 20 February 2017 - 10:32 PM

If this is your first big outdoor show, then I second what Diesel said about first figuring out if you like doing them, or not, before you invest too much.

Try to create different LEVELS in your display, which can be done with shelves, or by using pedestals and risers on tables.

Here's my blog post where I give out all of my advice about tents, cars, tables, etc. You'll see that my main priority is to make everything lightweight and easy to transport: