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Member Since 28 Jan 2013
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 03:53 PM

#89149 Square's Capital Lending Program

Posted by Stephen on 19 July 2015 - 10:40 AM

I agree with S Dean I think. If a small operator was trying to bridge a cash flow gap, say Jan - Mar (after some unexpected expense) and then chunk it back in show season it really does not seem to be bad business to me. Obviously show artist should plan ahead for whatever their slow/no show period is going to be but life sometimes does not cooperate with good plans and the business may be in otherwise perfectly fine condition. This rate in that situation would be pretty competitive and would likely be better than using credit cards. A bank line of credit other than against your home may not even be an option. These days a lot of home owners don't even have equity available for a LOC against it with so many still upside down. 


Square tossing a 'fairly low cost for what it is' loan program in the mix I don't think is predatory and just because someone needs a short term loan does not mean they are not doing fine with their budgeting. I have had unexpected expenses that are waay more than I would have planned for. Get a couple big unexpected expenses and anyone might have to scramble to patch a cash hole. Higher priced credit is not by definition bad.






note: I'm also showing my age by admitting that those rates for a business loan with no collateral just don't seem that high to me. Fifteen years ago those would have actually been pretty good rates for a secured business loan to most small businesses. But times have changed.

#88700 Quality Of Work Sold?

Posted by Stephen on 11 July 2015 - 03:14 AM

A huge toss rate? You mean like having 6 pots you kept in your house and nothing else, for nearly 2 years of pottery? Hmm, sounds familiar...  :blink:

well yes that would be a huge toss rate assuming you made a lot of pots. 


Since you are posting this in the business section I'm a little unsure of your original post though. You mentioned that you examined high end pottery at the mall with the flaws you mentioned so I didn't get the impression that you are talking about new potters, as some here are suggesting, but rather professional potters that are selling flawed work.


I think most agree we shouldn't sell flawed work but in your post you clarified these flaws as being even the slightest surface issue down to even one pin hole. I'm just not sure that's realistic for folks that make and sell pottery for a living or do I even agree its even a good standard since it leaves no room for interpretation or individuality and what is art without that.


While I respect your dedication to your craft I worry that you have come to the conclusion that only tight flawless work has merit. I also got the impression that it may have really taken a lot of the joy and fun out of pottery for you since you had to cycle through so many pots to produce the flawless ones. If nothing short of perfection is acceptable then hand crafted pottery is a tough one. 

#88550 Quality Of Work Sold?

Posted by Stephen on 08 July 2015 - 03:01 PM

Not sure I would use years to qualify potters, I think plenty of folks turn out a few pots as a hobby here and there, mostly for gifts or prototyping, so even if they have been doing it for 5-10 years they may still be making a lot of bad pots.


I personally don't think the problem is when they sell but rather what they sell. As long as a potter, of any duration, only takes professional level work to a show it's fine. That just means a huge toss rate when u start out that's all. Of course the artist gets to decide what he/she considers to be professional level work and that's as it should be, right?

#86837 Should I Start Pottery Or Not? Advice Please.....

Posted by Stephen on 09 June 2015 - 11:00 AM

and the expensive part is only if you have the means to make it so.  Clay and glaze are so cheap they are not even worth considering really.


A new kiln cost in the 1500-3 grand range and you get a shiny programmable kiln, used kiln, maybe a hundred or two and you learn to work with witness cones and a kiln sitter to turn off (that can be fun too but ya have to hang with the kiln instead of the bar with John, actually you are supposed to sit and watch the shiny new one do its thing as well).


New wheel 8,9 hundred bucks, used you can probably score for a couple of hundred or less. New slab roller, a grand or so but a rolling pin from goodwill might set you back a couple of bucks.


My point is that you can take a garage and deck it out with 10-15 grand worth of really nice new studio equipment or you can get the same functionality with a carefully assembled assortment of used stuff and work arounds such as a rolling pin and it really does not have to affect the quality of your pottery much or the fun you will have. Actually the cheap equipment might add a more romantic feel about the whole thing.   


by and large potters are a pretty cheap bunch so no one's going to make fun of your 25 year kiln you scored from a school auction for $50 B)

#81081 Buying A New Wheel! ^_^ Yes!

Posted by Stephen on 08 May 2015 - 11:15 AM

Guinea you might want to call Marc Gaiger, the potter who designed it, and get his take on the comments above.


The tool looks very similar to the one I saw in the video I initially mentioned. That potter I think made his himself when he, like you, was faced with giving up the wheel because of severe arthritis. Although I don't remember who he was I do remember that he had been a potter for 4-5 decades and they had both a huge shop and gallery and he was producing professionally using his centering and opening tool so he seemed to have figured out how to throw with it without sacrificing quality. Of course I couldn't access the structure of his pots but he had a throwing demonstration that looked liked it spun true. 


Good luck with it all. I know you love pottery but I would really figure out something so you are not just sucking it up and just going for it, injuring your hands in the process.  

#78460 How To Determine $ For Used Equipment

Posted by Stephen on 02 April 2015 - 12:18 PM

one thing I would point out about online ads such as Craigslist and others. The ads are free. This means that there is no incentive to move things quickly because of the cost of advertising. This means that when you check the ads you will see all of the newly listed items AND usually a much higher number of older ads with the unsold items. As an example I see used Clay Boss wheels listed all the time for $500 OBO. This entry wheel can be bought for almost the same amount of money brand new with free shipping from a number of online suppliers.

I think the only way to determine the 'going' price of something on a particular board is to check it regularly for a few weeks until you get a feel for the real sales versus the unsold ones that pile up make it look like things are more expensive than they are.

Sorry to hear that you have to give up your studio. Have you looked at pottersweb.net. It might be a good place to post both the individual pieces and the whole studio.

Since you have a complete studio you might also contact the ceramic art department at a local college or pottery program and see if you can post your stuff on a BB or ask the instructors if they know of a new potter that might be interested. they might even agree to pass out flyers to their class.

Good luck with whatever you move on to after you sell and I hope all is well with your health.
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#78247 Potters Seat

Posted by Stephen on 30 March 2015 - 01:20 PM

Seriously? You guys went and just bought some potters seats without asking us our opinion? I am speechless :huh: .

#78162 Basic Beginner Advice

Posted by Stephen on 29 March 2015 - 10:28 AM

The one thing about starting with a good general pottery book is that it has a beginning, middle and end and that means it will introduce you to pottery and then generally progress through each area and explain. One you have worked through a good tutorial type book the videos will likely make more sense. Have fun!

#77883 What Do You Get Out Of This Forum Interaction?

Posted by Stephen on 23 March 2015 - 12:02 PM

I am about five years in and this forum has been essentially an unpaid group of consultants. I'm not sure any potter, for any amount of money, could put such a team together by design.


Any time, day or night, I reach out and almost instantly pros and amateurs alike start joining together to help me work through whatever it is and together we always seem to successfully work through my issues. 


I find this both amazingly helpful and very humbling.

#77881 I'll Never Be A Real Potter.

Posted by Stephen on 23 March 2015 - 11:36 AM

Sounds right to me. 


Since your time is limited I would think you would only mix ur own if you wanted to explore that part of the medium as well. Money is not a good reason for you because with low output the savings is probably offset with hassle and more upfront cost. In a production environment the savings can be a lot of dough though so if you ever want to go pro you will likely have to do it for business reasons a if for no other.


#77592 If You Want Perfect...

Posted by Stephen on 18 March 2015 - 12:28 PM

I was not advocating selling flawed pots but rather just cautioning you to be careful to not go overboard with the concept to the point that your tossing good pots. Hand made pottery is handmade and it's real easy to nitpick your work down to nothing. I do however agree with others that a butter dish should flawlessly hold a stick of butter and thus that pot would certainly be a prime candidate for the shard pile.


I do think cracks, warps, pin holes, crazing (sometimes) and crawling are most likely trash but like I said b4 we will hang onto great pots that might have a slight crack in the bottom for personal use if its otherwise sound. We would never sell a cracked pot, even as a second, but we have no issue using it in our daily lives.     


I think its like everything else in pottery in that it takes time and experience to 'cull' your work properly and professionally. If your tossing something I think you should take the time to truly review the piece and not just work from a perfectionist position that everything that isn't perfect needs to be tossed, at least until you're skilled at making the call.


Whitney Smith in Oakland writes a great blog and has been a successful studio potter for a couple of decades and she has been doing some soul searching on this issue in her latest post as her work has always been really tight and she is developing a looser approach and has blogged about how it has run counter to her tendency to be a perfectionist. I think everyone getting into this business should review her blog, I think its called a potter's life??


While I wouldn't mindlessly follow the advice of your 40 year potter studio mates I certainly wouldn't dismiss what they are saying. Maybe try to get a little one on one banter going with the ones that are telling you this and try to more closely examine what they are calling good that you think is flawed. Not just the butter dish but other pieces you think are bad as well. They may surprise you with their reasoning and get you to examine your work in a different way if you think its junk and they think its sellable. Get them to address the flaw you see and see if they will explain why they think its OK in an expensive handmade piece of pottery.


I like Chris's statement to come up with your own standards and then stick to them. Don't let other artist bully you into their standards. If you like to make heavy mugs, think heavy mugs are acceptable then make heavy mugs. Someone that is adamant that heavy mugs are amateurish and bad will smash every one of them. That does not make them right about anyone's work but their own. 


Good luck with growing your business!

#75757 Firing Disaster? Fired For 20 Hours - 9 Hour Soak?

Posted by Stephen on 19 February 2015 - 11:25 AM

wow, I had no idea cone 5 pots withstand a soak for 10 hours at cone 5. Congratulations!

#74791 Community Challenge #1

Posted by Stephen on 04 February 2015 - 11:43 AM

Well I absolutely refuse to divulge my first name B)  

#73783 Request For John Baymore's Throwing Exercises.

Posted by Stephen on 21 January 2015 - 01:46 PM

hey why don't you link a pdf to your website and then folks can pause and check out your work while they are there :-)

#73093 What Is Your Biggest Plan , Dream Or Goal For 2015

Posted by Stephen on 08 January 2015 - 06:22 PM

To make a million dollars worth of mugs.


That works out to 152 $25 mugs a day, 5 days a week. I've read that the average production potter is expected to do this so I figure its a good first rung on my career ladder.   


next years goal?


To sell a million dollars worth of mugs.


(I'm 6 days in and slightly off pace)