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Member Since 08 Apr 2010
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#77198 Planning A Glaze Kiln Load - How Much Planning?

Posted by GEP on 12 March 2015 - 10:28 AM

My approach is more like Paul's. I will even redesign a pot in order to make tighter packing in the kiln:




And now that this particular design fits seven-per-shelf, I make them in multiples of seven. I have quite a few other examples of this, most of my kiln packing is based on this.


This is another reason why I don't like wholesale very much. Wholesale orders don't allow me to decide my own quantities, and the kiln loads are never as tight.

#76680 How Are You Surviving This Winter Season?

Posted by GEP on 03 March 2015 - 02:04 PM

The delivery guy put about 500 lbs at a time on a heavy duty hand truck, and slowly bounced down the stairs. As you can imagine, this guy is really strong. I used to get my clay from a different supplier, who would leave it on a pallet on the driveway. I carried it down one box at a time X 40 trips. So now that someone will bring it down the stairs for me, I give him a big tip. I'm hoping he spent it on a big lunch.

#76666 How Are You Surviving This Winter Season?

Posted by GEP on 03 March 2015 - 11:40 AM

My basement studio stays around 60 degrees, so if I keep a space heater nearby it's comfortable in the winter. My bigger concern was that I was almost out of clay, but the path between my driveway and my studio door was covered in a small mountain of ice and snow. I had to call my supplier last week and ask if the delivery could be postponed. Then we had another ice storm. Argh!! Finally, yesterday it was above freezing, and I was able to shovel out a narrow path. The delivery was made this morning. This is about 9 months supply of clay, so unfortunately it will be winter again when I place my next order.

#76513 How Many Sell Ceramics For A Living?

Posted by GEP on 01 March 2015 - 02:56 PM

Maybe because I am a little bit younger (44), I know, and know of, lots of working potters of my age or younger. Some of whom are full-timers. Are they all going to make it long term? Probably not, but there are still plenty who are willing to try it. I'd argue that the odds of making it long-term are the same for any entrepreneurial venture. Not for the faint of heart.

#76496 Finding Your Own Style...easy To Say

Posted by GEP on 01 March 2015 - 12:06 PM

This comment is not aimed at anyone in particular, just my thoughts about style development in general:


The emergence of style is an organic process. If you are putting in the hours of practice, you can't stop it if you tried. I agree that it is helpful to look at as much pottery as you can. A good "vocabulary" of visual styles is important. However, just like the process of becoming a good writer, your vocabulary will only get you so far. Most of your "style" will come from innate creativity, life experiences, and practice.


The best pottery is not different or unique, it is authentic.


I also think it's unfortunate when someone is in a hurry to establish their style. To invoke a cliche "journey, not destination." The process is long, but every minute of it is so enjoyable, savor it! Focus on making good pots and lots of pots, and style development will emerge in an authentic way.

#75419 Leaving Functional Ware Unglazed

Posted by GEP on 13 February 2015 - 11:32 AM

I agree that it's not a safety issue, if you know your claybody and are firing it properly. I also agree with those who say it's harder to clean, and will also add that unglazed or matte-glazed surfaces make an unpleasant scraping noise when using metal silverware. The noise is why I line my foodware with a glossy glaze.

#74917 When To Stamp? How To Support?

Posted by GEP on 05 February 2015 - 03:24 PM

I stamp right before or right after trimming, when the piece is leatherhard, My favorite stamps are pretty small, so I just use my fingers for support. This does leave fingerprints, but I like the fingerprints, they create some interesting glaze effects. I make most of my stamps with clay and bisque fire them. It's a good combination of "clear impression" and "no stick." I also use leaves sometimes, I place the leaf on a leatherhard pot, then roll over it with a pony roller.

#74635 Community Challenge #1

Posted by GEP on 01 February 2015 - 11:25 AM



I'll go first! This is a design I make on a regular basis, therefore my entry is ready to go.


"Serving Bowl with Clouds" 11 inches across.


Attached File  clouds-bowl600px.jpg   241.72KB   25 downloads

#74056 Pregnancy And Working In The Studio?

Posted by GEP on 25 January 2015 - 12:04 PM

I've had a few pregnant pottery students, they all kept at it until a few weeks before giving birth. Some of them switched to a stand-up wheel when their bellies got too big to sit down and lean over. Some of them were avid wood-firers, so I recommended they avoid the shift that included salt glazing, and their classmates were happy to help them avoid too much heavy lifting, but otherwise they fully participated. The harder part is after the baby is born, when the new mom has a lot less free time and energy.

#74041 Reasonable Fee For An Accountant?

Posted by GEP on 25 January 2015 - 08:54 AM

My tax returns cost about $500. For that fee I can call my accountant and ask questions for free throughout the year. When I first became self-employed, he set up my Quickbooks file and trained me how to use it, no charge. This might be an even more valuable service, because once you know how to keep records properly, the tax prep is not too bad.

#73761 Community Challenge Idea

Posted by GEP on 21 January 2015 - 11:11 AM

I think signifying one or three people to post these entries will be a lot of work for them. The forum has moderators who volunteer as well. I think a possible separate topic for a monthly challenge could be done but it would need a moderator (High Bridge) And who knows what kind of spam you'd get posting.I just try to look at all sides. If this is a challenge for Forum members, then it should be here, no?The American Ceramics Society hosts this forum for us. Maybe we could ask an administrator if this would be a possibility.It could be archived quarterly for reference and started anew for the next quarter challenge.Maybe subjects for the challenge could be pulled from a virtual hat.Marcia

We mods/admins are envisioning the Challenge taking place in the "In The Studio" section of the forum. If any spam appears within challenge threads, we mods will zap it as usual. But otherwise the Challenge will be run entirely by users. If you want to include voting, you can do that with Topic Polls, or with the Like buttons.

#73400 Accounting Software?

Posted by GEP on 15 January 2015 - 03:00 PM

I think the best advice here is, whatever software you choose, have an accountant set up the initial file, and train you how to use it. When I first became self-employed, Quickbooks looked like it was written in a foreign language. After a few hours spent with my accountant, it was really easy.

#73312 The Hourly Earnings Project: A Follow-Up

Posted by GEP on 14 January 2015 - 11:00 AM

Yes I agree that defining a "window of opportunity" for the online sales has made things much easier for me, without really having a negative impact on sales. Plus, keeping the online store closed puts time pressure on festival customers too, because they know they can't buy it "next week."

I'm planning to impose a similar "ordering window" on my wholesale accounts this year. No idea how that will go over, but I'm trying to cut back on wholesale work anyways. I'll blog about it after I know what happens!

Diesel, I'm curious to hear what the Carter/Hatch course is saying about best venues. Not that I expect you to teach us everything they're teaching, but is there some consensus about best venues?

My prediction is there is not ... I feel like I need to emphasize/repeat that my conclusion of "wholesale bad, retail good" pertains only to my business. I live in a region where art festivals are very strong, and I am good at dealing with the public. My larger conclusion is that every business owner should analyze their own business and figure out the best use of their time.

#73219 The Hourly Earnings Project: A Follow-Up

Posted by GEP on 13 January 2015 - 10:04 AM

Hi everybody,

For those of you who followed my blog series a few years ago called The Hourly Earnings Project, I've just written a follow-up post about it, detailing how the project has influenced the direction of my business since then.


#72467 Quick Consignment Deal - Need Confirmation :)

Posted by GEP on 26 December 2014 - 10:34 AM

Thanks for the report Paul. You handled the "last minute discount" types very well. (Doesn't it make more sense to have a procrastinator's surcharge?) Congrats on the good sales!