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Member Since 08 Apr 2010
Offline Last Active Today, 03:39 PM

#80163 Smithsonian Craft Show

Posted by GEP on 27 April 2015 - 08:22 AM

It was nice to see you bciske! And thank you for posting this on the forum. I met some other forum folks there, some who I had not met in person before. And I met some of my ceramics heroes too. Wow.

#79809 Dressing Up The Display

Posted by GEP on 21 April 2015 - 02:03 PM

That is a 10x10 ft booth, which is what most of my shows require. But I can also make smaller arrangements of my display when needed.

#79786 Does Moving In Social Media Circles Support Your Clay Career?

Posted by GEP on 21 April 2015 - 11:14 AM

I enjoy the social media activities I'm involved in (this forum, blog, facebook) however I think the importance to my career as a potter is marginal at best. Most of my social media contacts are too far away to attend any of my shows, which are all within my region. "Likes" are not sales. If I have made any sales from social media, the volume is very small. Shipping out a long-distance order is a big waste of time and packing materials, compared to the volume and efficiency of selling at art festivals and home shows. And social media can really drain your time. A pottery business needs to be efficient with time. So although I find social media to be "fun" I try to limit the amount of time I spend on it.

There are "social media superstars" who do an effective job of driving eyeballs to their online stores. I'm not poo-pooing that approach for those who are happy with it. For me, I can't see how the amount of time spent online, plus the amount of time spent packing/shipping wouldn't put serious cramps on production. These days I sell every pot I make, therefore anything that would lower production would be a costly mistake.

(The reason I have time to write a long post today is because I'm sitting in an waiting room while my van has one of its tires patched.)

#79750 Dressing Up The Display

Posted by GEP on 20 April 2015 - 09:24 PM

Chantay (and anyone else interested),


Here's a photo of the back side of my display tables, to show how I pin the tablecloths to create boxed sides. It only takes two pins. Easy peasy. When I am outdoors in a windy situation, I will use a few more pins to keeps things from shifting around.

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#79370 Some Restrictions On Posting To Stop Spam?

Posted by GEP on 15 April 2015 - 08:13 AM

The amount of spam we've been getting lately is steady with what we normally get. Most spam arrives during hours when most of the US is asleep, so if you visiting during the overnight hours you will see more than most people. As soon as a moderator arrives every morning, the spam gets zapped. The best way to handle it is to use the Report button.

I do like Arnold's idea that the first one or two posts from a new user should be held until approved by a moderator.

#79112 Dressing Up The Display

Posted by GEP on 11 April 2015 - 06:00 PM

I cut and sewed my tablecloths to fit my tables exactly, with the hems hovering right above the ground. I fold the sides around to make boxed sides, then pin them in place with upholstery pins. They are cheap, and fast to set up and take down. I'm not a great seamstress, but I can sew a straight line.



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#78855 Are You Sometimes Childlike In Your Behavior?

Posted by GEP on 08 April 2015 - 12:32 PM

Today I had ice cream for lunch.

Then again, I would never have been allowed to do that as a child. So maybe having ice cream for lunch is really "like an adult, who is free to make my own decisions, good and bad."

#78630 Newbie Discouraged But Persistent---Help!

Posted by GEP on 05 April 2015 - 10:40 AM

I agree that the 4 in 1 classroom sounds really unfortunate. If you were in a classroom with other beginner throwers, you would see that everyone is going through the same stages as you, and the instructor would be more focused on those early stages. I don't want to cast blame on the instructor or the college, this might be the best they can do with their limited resources.

It sounds like you have already made good progress working on your own during Spring break. My advice is to look for a class that is meant for new throwers. If that is not available in your area, then continue with your college classes, but lower your expectations for what they can do for you, and take on an independent approach for learning (like you've already started by renting a wheel over spring break). Youtube has a lot of good video lessons, and you can always come to this forum with questions.

#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.