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GEP

Member Since 08 Apr 2010
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 08:59 PM
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#68279 Well Said

Posted by GEP on Yesterday, 10:01 AM

I think the statement is true, but in a wholly internal way. I don't expect or need my customers to feel this way about things, but every time I sell a pot, I feel like I've earned more time to keep making pots.


#68024 W.a.g.e.

Posted by GEP on 17 October 2014 - 06:21 PM

Diesel,

Here's a recent thread discussing the most recent CERF survey of career craft artists and their incomes. I think CERF does the most comprehensive data collecting on the subject:

http://community.cer...m-cerf/?hl=cerf


#66887 How Do You Take Photographs And Keep Them Consistent?

Posted by GEP on 29 September 2014 - 07:10 PM

You only need f10 to f16 to capture a whole pot in focus. F25 is not necessary and is contributing to the variation in shutter exposure time. But yes generally you need a longer exposure for a dark pot compared to a light pot, so I wouldn't worry too much about that.

Yes you should only be shooting at night, with the rest of the lights in the room off, in order to keep the lighting consistent. Also let your bulbs heat up 5 minutes or so before you start shooting so they reach full brightness.

I use a 2 second delay when I shoot, because your finger might wiggle the camera when pushing the shutter button.

If you are shooting pots of different colors, try "bracketing" each shot. Take three different exposures, the one in the middle being the one you think is correct. Once you get them large on your computer screen, you might find that the lighter or darker one is better. Hardly takes any more time to bracket while you're shooting. But if you get the photo on your computer and decide the exposure is wrong, it's a lot of wasted time to shoot the pot again.

It doesn't matter if your photos are 72ppi or 300ppi. It's the overall number of pixels that matter. So just take the largest photos your camera will take.


#66751 What Is Causing The Black Zits In My Glaze?

Posted by GEP on 27 September 2014 - 10:45 AM

Were the black zit pots near a thermocouple? Could this possibly be spalling from a thermocouple?

btw, you really got a nice result from that glaze overall. I tried making Waterfall Brown once and didn't have nearly as nice of a result.


#66742 What Do You Do To Energise Yourself In The Studio?

Posted by GEP on 27 September 2014 - 08:56 AM

I don't think I could function without coffee.

What really energizes me is to take a day or two off from work. When I do this I end up missing the studio and feeling eager to get back.


#66705 My First Show!

Posted by GEP on 26 September 2014 - 08:18 PM

This is what it looks like to have not settled on an aesthetic yet. I try a variety and like so many styles.

Keep these pictures and pull them out in a year or five or ten . . .

I recently gave a presentation about the development of my pottery business. I included some old slides from the late 90s. Definitely keep your photos. You will get a big kick out of them later.


#66034 Co-Op

Posted by GEP on 11 September 2014 - 07:35 PM

What is the difference between the amount of commission you paid them per month, and the $96 monthly rent? If the $96 rent is cheaper, how many months would it take to break even on the $750 buy in? The amount of time this will take would drive the decision for me. When I spend this much on a selling opportunity I expect to earn it back with a healthy profit right away.

I'm afraid I agree with Chris about the meeting ... that could be a dealbreaker for me too :-)


#65739 Production Potter Rate

Posted by GEP on 07 September 2014 - 09:00 AM

Hi everyone,

 

It is ok to be critical of your fellow forum users, as long as you are keeping it civil and having a meaningful discussion. Making fun of someone is really not ok. Some have asked OP for more information, the original question really does not contain enough information to assume he/she is up to no good, and does not deserve a sarcastic response. If OP comes back and provides more info, then we can continue to discuss his/her idea.

 

My initial thoughts for OP ... I know good production potters who will gladly work for another potter to help produce that potter's line, but I have never heard of a good production potter agreeing to produce the ideas of a non-ceramics person. It seems like there would be way too many gaps in communications, especially regarding the technical capabilities of ceramics.




#65119 How Would You Describe Your Current Studio Location. Suburban Garage, Urban B...

Posted by GEP on 26 August 2014 - 12:35 PM

Urban basement. It used to be a cramped and unappealing space, but last year I had it renovated. Now it is everything I ever wanted, and allows me to run a business at full-speed. I have two 7 cubic foot electric kilns, and glaze fire to cone 6.


#64895 Do You Donate Your Work For A Worthy Cause?

Posted by GEP on 22 August 2014 - 10:02 AM

I donate pots, and sometimes money. But these days very rarely, and only to organizations that I have a personal connection. I get regular requests for donations, but most of them get the delete key. It's not that I don't think they are worthy requests, I generally don't have extra pots around that I don't need for my next show. So I have to be selective.

 

No I don't think a donation has ever benefited my business or career. Any request that includes language like "you will benefit from the exposure" I can't take it seriously.




#64683 Soooo, Stupid Question, But How Do I Use This Pugmill?

Posted by GEP on 18 August 2014 - 05:12 PM

As far as the regulator goes, is it just supposed to sit on top of it's space on the barrel, or is the plastic plate supposed to be secured somehow?

I have a Bluebird 440, which I bought secondhand.

There should be a black rubber gasket around the bottom of the clear plastic plate. According to the manual, it should be enough to create a tight seal when the vacuum is turned on. If yours did not come with a a gasket, you might be able to buy one from Bluebird.

For me the gasket does not work, because the pugmill has some (I believe) limescale buildup on the lip of the barrel, the surface is not smooth enough to make a seal with the gasket. The person I bought it from said she would put a coil of clay around the lip of the barrel, in order to create a tight seal. If your gasket is missing or does not work, this would be a quick solution for you, if you only plan to use it a few times before selling it. In my case I wanted a more permanent solution, so I made a homemade gasket with silicone caulk. I wrapped the top of the barrel, and the plastic plate, with Glad Press-n-Seal wrap, squeezed a bead of caulk on the lip of the barrel, set the plastic plate on top, then waited a few days for the caulk to cure. Then I peeled off the Press-n-Seal wrap, and now I have a dry caulk gasket that makes a nice tight seal and lasts for a few years.


And the valve that the pump is attached to, should this be closed (can't see the hole) or open? I know sounds pretty basic but I'm not real sure exactly how this confounded contraption functions. And does something go on the top side of this valve? The hose to the compressor is on the bottom side, but wanted to make sure I'm not missing something.

Closed. And as far as I know, nothing goes on top of the valve. I don't think you are missing anything.

Lastly, the little lever attached to the spring in the chamber under where the regulator sits: what is the function of this? What position should it be in during use? When I turned on the pugmill I could see that the auger was hitting it as it rotated and flicking. Is it supposed to do this, or is some messed up/misaligned?

The spring-loaded lever will constantly open and close while the pugmill is on. I believe its function is to keep the opening that leads to the vacuum chamber from getting clogged with clay. I don't know if the auger is supposed to hit it, I've never opened up my pugmill that far.


Lastly, when I got the pugmill I called Bluebird (970-484-3243) and they mailed me the manual. They would probably answer questions on phone too.


#63797 Is Kiln Wash Necessary?

Posted by GEP on 03 August 2014 - 09:11 PM

I never use kiln wash, but I did once run a test glaze into a pool on a shelf. Now I have a "test shelf" to use whenever I'm testing something I'm unsure of.


#63066 Craft Shows... Tips For Success

Posted by GEP on 23 July 2014 - 07:30 AM

I use a system for tracking and market analysis too. I'm analyzing my items and also analyzing shows. Before a show, I make a list of my inventory before I pack it. Then at the end of a show, I make a list of what's left before I pack it to go home. The "leftover" list is the start of the new list for the next show. This is all done in a spiral notebook. It's the same notebook where I total up my sales after a show. It becomes a journal that I can refer to for many things.

Now when I go back to a show I've done before, I know exactly how much total inventory to bring, and how many of each item. "I sold out of mugs last time, better bring more." "This was a good show (or a bad show) for my higher end line of work. Better bring more (or fewer)." Or even sometimes "I sold nothing but low-priced items, not worth going back." Just taking the time to record this information makes for confident decisions later.


#62540 To Share Or Not To Share

Posted by GEP on 16 July 2014 - 09:26 AM

It is really important to distinguish between different situations here. It's not applicable to say "sharing is good" or "sharing is bad" because it depends on the situation. There is a wide wide gulf between a classroom situation, where the teacher has willingly signed on to share his/her knowledge and the students are expecting instruction and insight to be conveyed; and the relationship between two professional working artists, where one is trying to shortcut their way to success by copying another.

 

I was a teacher for 7 years, and I gave it everything I had. I even gave the studio my recipe for my signature glaze. They ended up not using it, because guess what, it did not work for them. This is a good example why sharing something deeply personal won't necessarily hurt you. Like others have mentioned here ... your own experience, studio conditions, personal work habits, etc., are also part of your results. These are things you can't hand over to someone else, even if you try.

 

Most of my students were not professionals, which is why I didn't mind sharing my design ideas. However, the studio did conduct some "student pottery" sales. Once in a while, a student would take one of my designs, produce it in multiples, and try to sell them. That bothered me, but at the same time I knew no one would confuse their work for mine, so I let it slide.

 

I also had an advanced class which did contain some bona fide professionals and aspiring professionals. Again I did not mind sharing my ideas with them, because I only accepted students who demonstrated a strong sense of ownership for their own ideas, which means they had respect for others' ideas too.

 

I taught all of my students to ask first if they wanted to attempt another person's idea, and to accept "no" for an answer. I can't recall anyone ever saying "no." Just being asked first shows respect. I can recall plenty of times when a person copied without asking (usually the copier was not one of my students) and even for a recreational potter, the pain and hurt caused is very real. As well as the notion "maybe a group studio is a bad idea" which is a real shame.

 

Among working professionals ... when I meet other potters working at the same venues as me, there is a huge and wonderful amount of respect for another potter's styles and ideas. It's easy to share ideas amongst peers like this, because the respect is apparent. This is similar to my advanced students' attitudes, only magnified by many more years of experience. A potter who has made it this far has invested years in their own ideas. We believe so strongly in the path we've taken. Why would we abandon our work for somebody else's ideas?

 

So when does copying happen between professionals? In my experience, it is when one of them is struggling hard, and does it out of desperation and expedience. THIS IS NEVER OK. I had a bad experience once with an aspiring potter who sought my advice a lot. Over a couple of years, her work drifted towards mine. Sometimes she would get mad at me because she wasn't having the same success. Then she blatantly copied one of my designs. I stopped talking to her altogether, it was not worth the stomach ache.

 

I learned an important lesson. These days I am not stingy with my information, but I am very selective about who I'll give it to. Just like others have said here ... how someone asks makes a big difference. The attitude matters. Is it respectful and thoughtful, or demanding and entitled? Does the asker seem to think pottery is hard, or pottery is easy?




#62344 Non-Legal Ways To Address Copying Issue

Posted by GEP on 13 July 2014 - 10:54 AM

Turn it around on her and make a shade with your technique.  I would bet that she will get the hint and it will result in a meaningful discussion about respecting other's work.


This is my favorite answer. In my experience the only people who don't respect others' ideas are the ones who have not yet had their ideas copied. When it happens to them they will realize the sense of violation they have caused.

I whole-heartedly agree with the notion that we are all repeating ideas that we have seen before, but this situation is far more specific. Between two professionals, where one has already said "no" and explained that there was 10 years of development involved, for the other to proceed to attempt a copy is not ethical at all.