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Member Since 28 Jan 2013
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 11:16 PM

#113796 Multiple Clay Explosions In Bisque

Posted by Stephen on 26 September 2016 - 09:21 AM

wow, only had one piece explode in the 7 years I have been doing pottery. My sister in-law had carved a head once that exploded because she didn't hollow it out but that's it and we (two) of us are production so a lot of pottery. We use porcelain and let everything sit for a few days getting bone dry and bisque, no candling but I am on an electronic.


My 2 cents though is If you have not had this problem I wouldn't start fussing with your routine that has stood the test of time, that will drive you crazy and seems like it would be unlikely to be the problem if your stuff is bone dry when you put it in. If you change something external and it makes what's really happening not occur then you are going to doom yourself to some odd routine. There was a poster on here I recall that solved a similar problem by some month long completely unnecessary drying routine and she is now convinced that pottery is THAT fussy. It is fussy but not fussy. I vote for the new sitter being screwed up. Can you take it back? 

#113757 Do You Like....?

Posted by Stephen on 25 September 2016 - 09:43 AM

I am noticing more and more that the loose and fun stuff tends to sell the fastest but without the tight matching stuff sales would really suffer. I work on doing a mix and like both. But I don't have that many forms and do a lot of mugs and tumblers and those are easy to do this way. One of the reasons I love making and selling pottery is that pottery lovers are all drawn to different types of pottery and that makes it so much fun and interesting.


I do keep everything very functional but like LeeU I am trying to leave some handmade look and feel to my work. I don't always do the last rib work to smooth the surface and remove every non functional blemish. I also often leave the trim lines for some surface character under the glaze. I also have found myself less and less throwing to gauge or using profile tools and that makes them a little less structured and more fun. 


I also am really working on establishing a good medium weight. I don't like heavy pottery and I don't like super light (feels machined to me and I think others). My mentor told me when I started throwing that what I was going for was my initial thought when I picked up a pottery piece being no surprise and 'just what I expected'. After a few seconds the brain adjusts and a heavy mug doesn't feel that heavy and a light mug feels heavier BUT when you first pick it up that initial reaction is the sweet spot. Off topic but weight was mentioned by a few :-) 


Anyway make for yourself to your own tastes and there will be plenty of pottery lovers who agree and to the ones that don't, 'hey, they are not your audience' and some other potter will please them. BUT if I didn't like making mugs I still would or I would starve.

#113536 The Only Absolutely True Rule For Potters. Pay Attention To This

Posted by Stephen on 21 September 2016 - 03:12 PM

Whenever I use a tool it is just for that moment only and then when I am done with it I know for a fact I will never ever need that tool again so I just toss it indiscriminately wherever I happen to be standing and move on to something else important, like looking for the last tool I thought I would never ever need again. 

#113446 Equipment/tool Shaming/bullying

Posted by Stephen on 19 September 2016 - 11:21 PM

Well actually I was not referring to anyone putting down others equipment due to age or quality. I changed that first sentence to be a little more clear what i was talking about, sorry I've been in the studio all day and just came up for air. I actually think the opposite is true as we potters are a cheap bunch and brag about saving a buck or getting 50 years out of a kiln :)


I was referring to tools that people use to cut corners such a centering and opening tools and trimming tools like griffin grips. To be clear what I see is usually deadpan comments inferring potters should learn how to do it the 'right' way. Like flowerdry pointed out, some comments may just be teasing. But teasing will still make someone feel bad, especially if they already feel a little less because they need a certain tool.


In retrospect 'bullying' I guess is a little harsh (I can't edit my topic title) but shaming isn't and I was just hoping to get folks to consider that people use these automation tools for various reasons and no one likes to feel their work is somehow less because they either choose to or have to use a specific tool to help them get the job done.

#113389 Equipment/tool Shaming/bullying

Posted by Stephen on 19 September 2016 - 10:17 AM

I would like to address something that is troubling to me. I see threads on this and other forums where potters put down other potters (pros and hobbyist) for using automation type tools.


I really think perfectly nice people are not thinking this through (mean people you can't reason with so this thread will mean nothing to them).  If you find yourself doing this I really think you should ask yourself why you are doing it? Is it to make yourself feel superior or are you purposely trying to make others feel bad about their choices? Do you realize that many chose centering and opening tools because their age and/or health dictate it to be able to continue to enjoy their craft. Splash pans, bats and trimming aids are all choices folks make for many reasons the least of which may be the skill needed to not use them. 


Hamada used coil throwing for even cups, I wonder if he was ridiculed as not knowing how to center and pull. 


Me I just think its awful and hate to see it. I'm a pretty confident guy and really don't give a crap what others think about how I chose to pursue my passion and I will happily and boldly tell someone to their face or in a thread the same BUT I was the one of the bigger guys in school that beat the crap out of bully's when I saw it happen (yeah that makes me feel good about my younger self as a kid) but I think it is shameful when I read it because so many people on this planet are not strong enough or confident enough and when they get put down it really hurts them. Often it hurts them a lot. 


OK off my soap box but this board is a professional board read by many thousands of artist and I hope maybe a few may rethink it before they throw that jab at a fellow human being just trying to enjoy something that is so much fun and will fight the urge to take the shine off their day just to feel smug or worse just to be mean.

#112856 Outdoor Electric Kiln

Posted by Stephen on 10 September 2016 - 02:05 PM

why does it have to be so small? It just doesn't sound right to me, looking forward to hearing the kiln gods advice but a kiln tops 2000 degrees and the inside of that 4' box would be blazing hot. Why not just build a small covered are for it but leave it open and toss a tarp over when not in use or make the whole thing larger. That way you can store glazes and other firing equip in the 'kiln' shed and not have such a project to get ready for firing.

#112779 Adding A 2Nd Medium To Booth

Posted by Stephen on 08 September 2016 - 09:42 AM

All of you who have posted have been doing this long enough and with a level of success I certainly am paying attention to your warnings. Pottery is still the bulk of my work and leaving out the wood pieces should not be a huge issue for larger juried events and it sounds like I should not even run this booth at a large juried events and when I do add wood at some shows I will work hard to keep the booth very focused on kitchen/dining/serving so all the pieces will compliment each other. As pug pointed out, many potters use some of the wood I will be adding but they buy the pieces from pottery supply houses.


A lot of the small shows I do claim to be juried but I rather doubt they are really much more than filtered. They struggle to get the booths full and frustratingly take some of the weekend knitters to fill in but the organizers are always easy to work with and are trying to put on the best event possible. Most do keep out the buy/sell and deliver a modest crowd. I really think at these smaller shows that are now my bread and butter (literally) this combined booth will work well and punch up my numbers as it will be more inclusive. This crowd wanders through the booths and of course includes lots of folks that like and buy pottery BUT the majority poke through for a few minutes and move on. I don't think they are buying pottery from someone else but rather they are not into pottery enough to pop $20 for a mug. The wood pieces I am adding for this type of show will give this non pottery crowd some beautiful options and if I pull it off right not run off my pottery customers since everything is still on point for kitchen/dining/serving.


I know that several of you do a slate of shows that cash flow thousands of dollars a day but I am not doing anything like that, not even remotely close. Better product, better shows and more time will even out my revenue as I hopefully both discover and get accepted to some of these venues, but right now, today, I have to throw everything I have at getting these week in and week out shows providing a meager living. 


I might also add that a lot of these small shows seldom seem to have many potters and I am pretty sure everyone not selling food is ringing up sales in the hundreds each day, not thousands. 


I very much appreciate the input and although I am going to continue with my plan, I am going to modify it to not add anything to the pottery booth that strays from the kitchen/dining/serving theme AND organize my booth to leave out the pure wood additions for the shows that it needs to be pottery only.


I'll keep you guys up to date on my progress and report my findings/

#112763 Adding A 2Nd Medium To Booth

Posted by Stephen on 07 September 2016 - 08:42 PM

Thanks pug!


Yeah it is a hill to climb but making a living in this business is a hill to climb. At the end of the day I think what I make matters and I just need to present my wares to the audience I can get in front of and hope for the best. Ya know in the thousands of years that pottery has had its place nothing has really changed. I put my best foot forward and it works or it doesn't. 

#112325 Pottery Clasifieds

Posted by Stephen on 31 August 2016 - 01:39 PM

Like a lot of potters I have several pieces of equipment from projects I didn't do gathering dust. A bluebird mixer used 3-4 times for a colored clay project that never got legs, axner power arm and plate jiggers used once etc etc.


I am going to post on CL and I know about potters web, does anyone have suggestions for other options? Not willing to dump at whatever price so eBay seems like the wrong approach. 

#109716 Ceramics Basics - Help!

Posted by Stephen on 04 July 2016 - 12:30 PM

I assume the 'cone nonsense' was misinterpreted Giselle, even is you're willing to risk failure, the equipment is going to wear out at the very least.


That's not the same as failing really since failing is more spontaneous and will happen any time BUT every kiln here is going to wear out and unless you are just preemptively changing elements and related hardware then you will miss the opportunity to do it at the right time and not screw up any pots.   


We do this for a living and we are extremely picky about the finish work and overall quality so waiting for a crappy glaze load or two instead of using cones is certainly not something I would even remotely think about doing as a lost glaze load or two could mean that weeks paycheck. We also do a lot of prototyping and that means we really need to know that from concept to production all new designs were all consistently fired to the exact same temp every time.

#108781 $700 Pacifica Wheel?

Posted by Stephen on 15 June 2016 - 12:09 PM

Ya know I agree somewhat with others here as we are potters and potters are cheap :rolleyes: and we love a bargain


but I would make sure you are looking at the complete picture. I just added a 2nd kiln to our studio and the kiln cost $2100 but once I added the custom rolling stand, vent and shelves my invoice was $3200 delivered so I would make sure you are considering the whole picture. With the light use, if you trust that she's being truthful it might not be as bad of a deal as it sounds at first blush.


Me, I would do my research and pull all of those prices together on both items and sit down with her and review it and see if the two of you can work out a win win.


Cheap is fun but I've had free things that are just too damn expensive to keep.

#108779 Website Development, What Do You Use?

Posted by Stephen on 15 June 2016 - 11:34 AM

tested it on chrome Version 51.0.2704.84 m and it worked fine with no warnings. Nice pots!

#106299 Newbie Question: Is Modeling Clay Good "practice" Clay?

Posted by Stephen on 04 May 2016 - 04:50 PM

After some time reading and doing the lessons and/or examples you will be buying the stuff you need as you go. Most of the 'how tos' I have read start you out with enough information so you can decide if you want to fire low fire/high fire. Once you decide that then you can get the right stuff to match up to that. Each firing range low, med (cone 6) & high (cone 10+) has all kinds of differences meaning buying all different stuff, everything, clay, glaze, kiln, all of it is determined by what firing temp you work in. Since you mentioned a tea set then I would guess you will end up firing cone 6 or higher.

I agree ur kin that looks like a jewelry kiln and probably won't work for pottery no matter what firing range you pick. We have one that goes to 1800 and that can not really even bisque fire and I don't think even do many of the low fire glazes. Certainly couldn't do functional ware like tea sets.

Don't worry about the cost once you have a kiln and wheel or slab roller. The clay and glaze are the cheap part of the deal. A $20 coffee mug is about $1 worth of materials (1 pound of clay and glaze) at most and probably closer to 75 cents. Making a tea set and firing will only cost a few dollars max. The big investment is your time and you need practice with the rest of the process through the kiln twice and out to a finished piece and these early pieces you make will help you learn these additional processes.

Good luck and have fun.

#105066 New Want To Make A Pot

Posted by Stephen on 11 April 2016 - 10:45 AM

I vote for coil building it like Denice suggested, that you could actually do that after a little instruction. It probably will not be thing of beauty but it will be big and hold that tree and like you said you can say you grew the plant and made the pot. Coil building is also something to master as well if you decide you like slab pottery but not wheel throwing u can go that way.

yeah you are being more than a little naive, but that's OK, lots of people approach wheel throwing having no idea its as hard as it is to get good at and the folks that are really good make it look so damn easy :-)

I applaud your "I can do anything attitude". The wheel is something that stops a lot of folks interested because it usually takes a lot of hours of failing miserably before you can produce anything at all and popping out a 2 foot pot in your first year or two of throwing is probably wishful thinking.

BUT maybe you will master it very quickly, go for it and be patient if it seems like its taking forever to get the hang of it because that is more the norm than those that master it quickly.

Anyway, good luck with your project and have fun!

#105004 Whining...just A Little

Posted by Stephen on 10 April 2016 - 12:42 AM

12 hours at a street show today in Az art show. 275 customers today

I cannot even begin to imagine what 275 customers in a day would feel like but it would certainly include a celebration at the end.