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Member Since 15 Feb 2013
Offline Last Active Today, 06:48 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: What To Do To Stimulate Creativity?

Yesterday, 07:33 AM

I've had an "idea" journal for years.  Written descriptions, sketches, downloads of photographs taped in.   It covers all aspects of my business.   Looking at an idea written down .... "Horseshoe pit by retail area" ... I hope to get this done by fall.   I have several glazes, using black clay, extruded trims, leaf shaped spoon rests, ... pages of ideas.
So many ideas ... so little time.

I completely agree, so many thngs I want to create but there just isn't enough time to do it all. I make lists. A list for things I want to make to sell, a list for things I want to make to improve the way I work, lists of things I have made but need to tweak to get correct, etc.

In Topic: Qotw: What Makes Something Qualify As Hand Made?

28 July 2015 - 10:11 PM

What is Hand Made?

Since I helped open this can of worms (boy are you going to be wishing we were still on Pandoras box) this is where I come from...
Oh and this is going to get LONG, what is actually considered "handmade" and or "art" is a button pusher for me.

To me Handmade is created by the hands of the artist selling it. Not outsourced. If someone buys something and adds to it then it should be labeled "embellished". Use of technology and machinery to create a handmade item is okay as well as long as it takes creative input and the product put out is not 100% identical time after time. (This is tricky when it comes to photography and print making) and I'm not talking about using jewelery findings or adding purchased wooden spoons and like items to your pieces these are fine since they only enhance the product and are not THE product.

As a photographer other artists hated me because I wasn't doing "real" art. Snap a picture how hard is that it's not creative at all. I shot b&w infra-red and high speed 3200 films, I loved doing double exposures and such, I used a manual Nikon camera, had my own darkroom, developed my own film, wet printed my own photos, matted and framed my own work, wrote a poem to go with each piece, etc. But I still did nothing but click a button to most people, I didnt "hand make" anything.

Then as a commercial graphic artist I was frowned on upon by other "true artists" how dare I sully the world with art for monetary gain. A true artist doesn't create what sells they follow their muse. If said muse says stick garbage in a shopping cart well it still qualifies as handmade ART while for some of my art, which I sketched, then scanned, manipulated in the computer and printed using a special pigment printer, then manipulated some more after it was printed by painting, cutting, stacking, etc was crass garbage. Even now when someone asks why do you make this and not that, I say I make this because it sells, if I make that I end up dusting it for the next 10 years they look insulted that I consider its saleablilty before making it. sigh Still not hand making anything.

I understand the question of the artist rakuku in your gallery and because of this issue I tend not to show my printed art very many places. I sell it on my website and such instead and I state how I do it. But I don't number, more on this issue next. Doing festivals I would come across people that only offered "numbered prints" impressive right? Well I bought the last of an edition by an artist and a year later saw them again offering the same image. When asked about it was told, well the size was changed by half an inch so I can now offer it as a new series. Seriously? So to me a numbered print is a joke UNLESS they state on the piece that it is number ___ in the series inclusive of all sizes printed. "Print" Pet peeve addressed SORRY

Present Day:
I now use pottery to combine my photography, sketching and painting. Somethings I hand paint free hand style right in the piece, very labor intensive very expensive price tag. Other items I use handmade transfers of various types created from my own designs, some copyright free patterns, vintage wallpaper, etc, not so expensive though still labor intensive. My final level are items with mostly my own designs and artwork along with some copyright free border type designs put on the piece using laser transfers that I make myself, much cheaper and not so labor intensive. Want to guess which level I sell the most of? The one most people are fascinated by? The laser transfers! I personally would rather hand paint everything but it can take a year to sell something with this high of a price tag and I kind of like eating and paying my bills.

One of the things I do to keep the costs and labor expense down is to use machinery and technology. I have a Slabroller, a wheel, an extruder, an electric kiln, digital scale, a computer (which by the way I designed and built from the circuit boards out but I'm not a geek honestly), a scanner, 4 different printers, digital cameras, and access to the Internet. Can I do what I do without all of that? Sure but it's going to take way longer and be priced way higher and I'll propably have to get a day job to pay the bills while I wait and hope some high end buyer comes along to buy a piece. Every piece I sell is created by me with my own 2 hands, no helpers, no outsourcing, so is what I do considered handmade? Probably not to some.


In Topic: Qotw: Are We Copycats?

25 July 2015 - 10:05 PM

A most excellent question!

My feeling is this:

All of us absorb things from the world around us, sights, sounds, smells, textures, etc. As artists our job is to percolate those things and release them back into the world in a way that shows our own creative interpretation of it all.

I think directly copying someone's work in order to sell it yourself is wrong. I go out of my way to bring my own vision to the pieces that I make. If I see one of the local potters making certain shapes or forms at our local art center gallery I tend to go the opposite way so as to not to copy their work in any way. They need to make a living and so do I if we all make the same stuff we only hurt ourselves.

I am currently teaching a series of classes on design for pottery. I show them how to make a simple form, plate, box, vase, etc. But the focus is on putting designs and artwork on their pieces. I created the class series because I get told all the time by other potters oh I can't put an image or design on my pieces I'm not an ARTIST. So I designed a series of classes to show potters that yes they too are capable of putting images and designs on their pots. I stress using their own sketches (not likely), photos and copyright free images.

I got asked during the first class aren't you worried that teaching us how to do this is going to affect your sales? I told them no becasue each of us has a different things that we are attracted to. I like boxes, pugs and pastel colors, you might like bowls, frogs and bright colors how is what you do going to affect what I do? That got them to thinking about what forms and patterns they like.

At the end of the class I told them, I hope you all enjoyed the class and will take the techniques I have shown you and push them even further and make them your own. I really hope they do, I am in fact excited to see what they come up with on their own as they explore their new knowledge.


In Topic: More New Kiln Advice: Size And Shape

25 July 2015 - 09:07 PM

I LOVE my smaller kiln. I have an 18/23 Olympic. I went to the factory and tested out sitting a shelf in the bottom of different kilns. I have a bad back and a small budget (meaning no front loader for me) and picked the 18/23 because the shelves were light enough and the kiln shallow enough for me to load without pulling my back. I also tend to do boxes and upright shapes as oposed to platters and flat shapes.

I like my small kiln because I can fill it quickly fire, learn from what I made and improve the forms then fire again without waiting forever to fill it. I also like it becasue it enables me to take custom orders and get them filled quickly.

That's my 2 cents worth on which kiln to to get.


In Topic: Freestanding Retail/studio Location

25 July 2015 - 05:00 PM




Inspiring, too bad I live in a place where they have codes for the color of your shingles and everything else they can think of. Your story is amazing, congratulations on all your hard work paying off and I hope it continues to grow by leaps and bounds.

PS. I too would like to see the interior of the shop space.