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Member Since 04 Jun 2010
Offline Last Active Jun 10 2014 12:47 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Garlic Plates

10 June 2014 - 12:19 PM

Here are a couple pictures of my the plates I made last night with the concentric circles.  I think I should probably wait until I trim them next time (I mean when I make the next ones) and make the circles or designs at that time.  Parallel squiggle lines would be fun, too.  When the clay is soft, it doesn't seem to work nicely.  That's what I was trying to describe in the original post.  I make the circles and then when I try to soften the edges a little, the soft clay runs down into the grooves and makes them uneven, even using just a barely damp sponge.  The picture of the best of the four wouldn't load.  I got a note that said the file was too big.  I think you get the idea, though. 


Yes, these are serving pieces.  I think I said that in the original post, too, but I have a tendency to be too wordy and people skim read.  My problem, but I'm from the Deep South and can't even say hello in fewer than 25 words.  LOL.  I make bowls better than I make plates, but don't know how to make pestles, so guess I'll stick with plates (dishes?).


I'm getting a great education here.  What's the difference between a plate and a dish?

In Topic: Onsite Bookkeeping Ideas?

10 June 2014 - 09:44 AM

Becky, I looked at the pictures at Dark River Pottery.  I like the risers on the table.  Do they come apart or are they rigid units?


Oldlady, how long have those folks in your guild been using ladders and boards?  They might look unstable and give us the vapors to look at them, but if they continue using them they must be working.  When one falls over and there's a lot of breakage, they'll likely replace their system.  I'm with you and like something solid.  Maybe the ladders are more stable than they appear.  Lots of people use that system in antique malls and indoor flea markets.  Seems inexpensive and portable.  I've never found real ladders that had both rungs and horizontal supports at the same level, though, or I'd have tried it myself.  For professional folks like most of you on the forum, though, it's better to LOOK professional and when you sell more than a couple items a day, you can afford to invest in better quality display units.


Mark, what are other downsides to the ladder and board thing?  Sometimes I need to see from another person's perspective.  Do you think they're just tacky (Southern word for trashy)? 


I'm really enjoying reading about all of your adventures in the shows and galleries.  Maybe I'll be better next time around, or maybe I was better sometime before and that's why I got a late start this time.  (smile).

In Topic: Onsite Bookkeeping Ideas?

08 June 2014 - 08:07 PM

Becky, do you have a picture of your stepped units with the drop-down back?  Sounds great.  The mental picture I'm getting probably isn't close to the actual thing.


Mark, your booth situations are great.  I'm impressed by your inventory, but not surprised after so many years of work and experience.  You're an inspiration.  If I were younger, I'd use your situation for a goal. 


I see you did a show at Volcano, HI.  There used to be a potter there during the '80s who made clay fish using real fish.  I never understood how he did them, but talked him into selling me one that was one of his discards, leaning against a tree in his yard!  My favorite thing for several years until it got broken in Virginia during a move.  I usually just say, "Oh, well," when things break, but I'm still sad about that fish.  I love Volcano.  My husband and I visited there many times on our way from Hilo to Kiluea Military Camp and stopped at the General Store to have orchids and other tropical flowers shipped back east to special friends.  We lived on Oahu, but Big Island, Hilo side, is our favorite place.  Sorry this is off-topic.  Probably not appropriate to take up space chatting about somewhat unrelated topics.


Thanks for all your advice and everyone else who has responded.

In Topic: Onsite Bookkeeping Ideas?

08 June 2014 - 04:29 PM

Nice set-up, Mark.  I'm five feet tall and not very strong, so you men have a distinct and wonderful advantage of choices.  I have two 3 x 6 plywood surfaces that I put onto four plastic sawhorses.  I can lift each individual component easily enough.  My husband cut oval hand holds in the exact centers of the plywood so that I can carry them around.  I have a bit of a struggle getting them lifted without putting the edges onto the ground, but sometimes that's necessary and I'm just careful not to drag them in the dirt.  My design for that systems gives me a lot of surface, it's portable enough that I can set it up by myself if I need to, and I arrange an L shape. I have an old plant stand for a shelf unit and I have two 12" x 6' shelves to place on glass blocks for more shelves on the other table (not in the attached picture).  By placing the L along two edges of my canopy when outdoors or against a wall when indoors, people can wander in and look without feeling trapped.  I usually sit at the side, but I don't stay seated when there are people looking.  I greet them and then move out of the way and try not to make them feel watched, but I like to engage people in conversation about the pottery and sometimes we have a five to ten minute party.  That's as much fun for me as making a sale, because I meet some wonderful folks and get to encourage them in their own creative paths. 


Back to the question at hand, when I was outdoors this weekend I wasn't very organized as far as packaging was concerned.  Indoors for the next one, so I'll take some of the forum's suggestions to heart and come up with something that may work well for me.  Even a Sterlite container with rollers might be a temporary solution.  I could attach hooks around the top rim to hang shopping bags and put tissue and bubble wrap and tape, etc., into the drawers.  It would be great actually to have to wrap a big piece! 


I have my business card information one on side of my tags and put a brief description and the price on the other side in pencil.  My thinking was that since most people ask for cards, I could do two things at once and save myself some printing expense.  Every buyer gets one of the unusual cards and I have the traditional rectangular ones in holders for non-buyers.  I could stick an attachment to the tags that I could detach that might work for Pres's suggestion and I'll consider a redesign for after I run out of my cards on hand and have to order more. 


A friend who used to do craft shows, not pottery, suggested that I clip the corners of my business cards so that they'd be obvious in a stack.  She did that and had nice feedback that it worked well.  She used pinking shears.  Just a straight clip or a little squiggly clip with some scrapbooking scissor would work.  I once ran a line of color along the top edge of some cards.  Not very noticeable individually, but with others they stand out.

In Topic: What Good Suggestion?

08 June 2014 - 01:03 PM

I've just read through this thread and it seems appropriate for me to add my experience from yesterday at a small-town festival.  I'd debated whether even to show up or not, but almost last minute decided to go ahead and do it for the experience.  I had three sales that all happened just before a storm cell hit and I packed up ditched the remainder of the day.  I sold one mug and two sponge holders, $12 each.  The space cost $10 and my husband and I shared three shave ices from the space next to me and I bought books from two authors in a writer's group I go to who were on the other side of me.  There were lots of vendors, a lot of trinkets.  One trinket vendor had a big, heavy cash register to use for her sales. 


While unloading my ware, I noticed that I'd left three boxes in my studio.  Since the boxes contained covered casseroles and my more pricey items, I decided not to bother husband with going back home to get them, but went with what I had and that all seemed appropriate for the day.  I love chatting with people who like/love pottery and I made a lot of good contacts for other things/other places and mentioned to several about the next venue which is a dedicated Craft Fest in two weeks.  I'm almost sure i'll see most of them again.  Whether they buy or not ... who knows. 


I was approached by a promoter who handed me a tri-fold color brochure about two conference centers near Fayetteville, Arkansas and excitedly told me about the thousands of people who attend and stories about some vendors who sell out (not pottery) the first day of a two day event, and on and on.  Then he mentioned the fees.  $1,500 and $1,800!  I'd have to make stuff for a year to get enough to try to recoup the fee and expenses for a weekend.  I just can't think in relation to my pottery and those figures. 


Every show/festival I attend (single digits so far) have lots of people asking me if I teach and expressing the desire to learn, accompanied with their individual stories of any past experience.  I love teaching beginning classes and intermediate and a few more advanced techniques in hand-building, but I'm not set up to teach from my studio. 


One man couldn't find a price on a bowl he liked, so I turned over the tag and when he saw $25, he left and was about 50 feet away by the time I got the bowl back on the table!  I will do that event next year just to help the tiny town and because it's fun, but I'll only take mugs, lots of them, some ring holders, sponge holders, and smaller things and I plan to make a folio in a three-ring binder to showcase my bigger/better ware for anyone who cares. 


Oh, and in addition to all the dogs in attendance, I got to host and pet a 24" tall horse in my booth.  Along with the experience of helping my husband and another guy hold down our canopy during the storm, the horse was probably the highlight of my day!  If I had to depend on pottery for a living, I'd starve quickly ... but I'd have a great time!


I agree with all of you who advise to match ware to the potential types of people in attendance and if you want to become known for your pottery, don't mix up woodworking and other things into your pottery displays.  I'd get another space for that or just not take pottery.  I think we should promote our chosen craft by itself so we can build the idea of quality (or humor, or cheap sales, or whatever it is you're looking to do), and not have our public relating our best work with other things, no matter whether it's pottery or wood carving or jewelry making.


That's more like ten-cents-worth, but since it's a discussion, hope you don't mind.