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Stephen

Member Since 28 Jan 2013
Offline Last Active Today, 08:49 AM
*****

Topics I've Started

Pottery Back To A Sideline

22 May 2017 - 10:55 AM

Just thought i would post this to give advice to someone thinking of doing pottery full time at regional/local shows, don't do it lightly.

 

After a few dozen weekend shows and tons of one day shows I just don't see it as viable doing run of the mill arts & craft shows and festivals to make much more than supplemental income. 

 

Marks approach of spreading a wide 1000 mile net and building up a slate of producing shows and growing customer base over years and years and Mae's approach of only working high end juried shows obviously works for them but first you have to be the potters they are and both of those approaches take time and if you plunge in full time like I did, time is not something you have. Time is in years and you have to pay bills in between. It's so easy to say I will tough it out but when the pantry gets bare that approach is just wishful thinking.

 

Was it my pottery, maybe, but ya know at every show I saw every other potter, mostly with perfectly solid work probably not doing much better than me and often less. The south is brutal but even in the NW, where it was often twice the revenue, it was not a living, at least not a decent one.

 

If you want to do this my advice is keep the day job until you have a solid 8-10 shows that you are doing that gross 5 grand. Plenty of people here claim that this is a perfectly doable number with good pottery, at good shows. I never saw anywhere near that or ever saw another pottery coming anywhere close to that so if you think it will happen for you, prove that it will by finding those shows before leaving your paycheck behind. Consignment? Wholesale? same advice, prove it first.

 

I spent a number of years part time and i thought If i was doing it full time I could cycle through shows quickly and find the right ones but the reality of road expenses and the reality that most local shows are not going to do more than add a meager paycheck puts you in a no win situation.

 

Yes if that road show that cost $1500 to go do and grosses 5-6k it works but if you go do a half dozen of these and drop $9000 and the gross is less, and its very likely it will be for most, then after a couple of months of work you have less than you started with, maybe much less. Rinse and repeat and you are just digging a hole deeper and deeper. If you do find a couple of 5k shows they meaningless on making a living because of the piled up losses. I never found any so I just lost my a$$,

 

In short listen to Mea, Mark and others and build up the pottery revenue BEFORE quitting your job. 


Skutt 818 With Extension Ring

10 March 2017 - 10:28 AM

In my quest to find a kiln I came across a 20 year old skutt 818 with an extension ring. The spec call for a 6-50 plug but it seems to have a 10-50 plug on it? can I change this back to a 6-50?

 

Is this possibly an old dryer plug added later?

 

could I possibly just plug it into a 6-50 adapter and use in my 6-50 receptacle?


Brick Repair

22 February 2017 - 02:32 PM

looking at adding a small skutt 818 and it has a broken element and a row of 6 cracked and/or missing bricks on bottom row of bottom ring. I have never replaced bricks before. They are $12 a piece (and it needs 6 of them) and the element is $38 at kilnparts.com. Was going to youtube and surf for instructions.

 

Any advice on this repair?

 

Anyone dealt with kilnparts.com? good price on bricks?


Really Pushing It And Not Having Problems

17 February 2017 - 11:00 PM

Had an out of town show this weekend and was faced with a last load I absolutely wanted to bring. The way it all worked out with drive time the kiln had to be unloaded and packed by 10am. The only way I could accomplish this was to use fast firing setting on my skutt 1027. Medium fire takes 8.5 hours and then 13 hours to cool (thanks to 3" bricks)  below 350 to prop lid and 250 to open lid. I usually let cool to under 200 to prop and 150 to open lid and unload BUT I was pushing everything as I even candled 40 same day handled leather hard mugs for bisque load for 10 hours to get it to this point. Usually rack under plastic for a day after handling then dry for one even when rushing.

 

So to re-cap, 50 mugs, 40 of them handled just as dry enough to work with with and not warp from handling, candled at leather hard (barely) and then cone 5 fast fired glazed with 20 minute hold in 4.5 hours and lid propped at 350, lid opened at 250 and unloaded at 190ish.

 

I didn't lose one mug. No cracks or glaze defects, none.

 

I used to have a 1027 for bisque and a 9cf oval for glazing and could move stuff through working in tandem bisque/glaze. Now with this one small 6.5 kiln there just isn't enough hours in a day to push loads through and add to that the 3" bricks adding hours to cooling it can take almost three days to push a load through.

 

So I'm so tempted to start relying on fast fire glaze and propping at 350 on a regular basis. Cuts 6-7 hours from the process. Was I just lucky or are people just being overly cautious with the more moderate and best practices approach. I've surfed and opinions seem all over the board and I have seen pictures of what is supposed to be evidence but I am wondering if the defects are really more attributable to other issues like glaze fit and the cautious approach just makes those issues less severe. I know I saw the same warnings on candling yet I have not had any issues with doing that either and have now moved 100s through candling 8-10 hours of sometimes almost wet pots without any issues.  

 

I should mention I can't afford a 2nd kiln right now and just paid 3 grand for this one so can't upgrade. Now I wish I had bought 2 used ones but can't undo that decision :-) 


Youtube Video Potters

27 January 2017 - 12:12 PM

Hey how about some of you guys who know who's who take a look at the youtube potters line up and throw out a few names of ones you've both heard of and respect their work.

 

If one makes south 20 bucks an hour it is just really, really, hard for a LOT of people to have any money at all left at the end of a month just surviving. For these guys youtube really is it regardless of whether its the best way or not. If someone is just starting out they have no idea who too listen too.

 

I'll start:

 

I mentioned Simon Leach in another thread and I have watched so many of his videos. He and his brothers, father, mother and fairly famous grandfather have been in pottery forever and he has posted tons of great instructional videos. He is a professional potter making his living from pottery as both a studio potter and workshop instructor.