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PugabooMember Since 15 Feb 2013
Offline Last Active Jan 21 2015 05:35 PM
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- Member Title Lifetime artist 2nd year potter
- Age Age Unknown
- Birthday Birthday Unknown
Art, painting, drawing, photography, ceramics, Pugs, dogs, reading
Posted by Pugaboo on 18 December 2014 - 05:49 AM
Posted by Pugaboo on 11 December 2014 - 10:19 PM
Oh and I also like turtles and have a ground hog that lives in my tiny valley that I want to sculpt. Oh and the deer, though there hasn't been as many this year, hopefully they are just trying to eat someone else's yard for awhile and will come back and visit soon.
But then again PUGS RULE!
Did I mention I like Pugs?
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Posted by Pugaboo on 04 December 2014 - 10:03 AM
Credit cards are about 1/2 my sales and have had younger people use it for as little as $5. What I have done is set my prices then added 10% to them to cover the credit card fees and sales tax. If someone wants a discount on an item I ask if they are paying in cash and if so know I can safely reduce some and not really lose money. It makes those bargain seekers feel like they are getting a deal and I don't feel bad about being asked to discount my work so everyone is happy. Most of the time they are only asking for a dollar or 2 discount and that's within the margin of profit. Getting rid of my knuckle buster was a no brainer the yearly fees, monthly fees whether I sold or not and the percentage on top of all that was just bad business.
I have received a few bad checks over the years so would really rather just take a credit card and with the new cell phone systems know that the money is mine. I have found recently that people paying with $100 bills has increased so have had to learn how to check those onsite. This last weekend I got 3 of them which is a record for me as I usually only average 1 per show.
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Posted by Pugaboo on 19 November 2014 - 11:09 PM
I also second the small stuff. I LOVE doing sculptures and really fancy boxes BUT I need to price them starting at $100 and most people have this thing about spending more than a $20 bill on stuff around here. So I do loads of spoon rests, pendants, small pencil boxes, etc. The little stuff can add up quick when it sells AND it's cheaper to make since it takes less materials AND it's easier on the body.
I also have a severely messed up back, 2 surgeries, permanent damage, can't ride in a car for more than 5 minutes and if I do I can't feel my left foot and the sciatic nerve kicks in, bla bla bla. Lol grocery shopping can be a rather interesting prospect around here since the nearest store is 20 minutes away. With a messed up back I have just learned to do things the way I can and not worry that I do them in a strange way. I have to stand to do just about everything can't sit for more than a few minutes. When I throw it has to be a VERY GOOD DAY and I can't need to do anything the next day since I know I will be paying the price. It's why I do a variety of things pinch, slab, coil, extruder and wheel and I let my body tell me what it can handle that day. Heck I just realized my life can at times sound like a really bad country song.. Waa waa waa. My art is my sanctuary AND my business. I work through my issues with my art then sell them off to other people now THAT sounds like cheating. I also live in terror of not selling and have reacuring nightmares involving the words... Do you want fries with that? I work all the time in the studio and when something hurts too much to do that day I work on another project.
Don't let your limitations... Well.... Limit you, make them work FOR You.
I would also try the weebly free website it's very easy to learn and have helped friends get a website set up using it. You might also consider Wordpress which is a blog format and also free, you can put your stuff out there talk about your journey and get feedback. It sounds like you are feeling very isolated but you are not, there is a whole world of people out there and the Internet makes it so much easier to connect. My best friend lives on the other side of the country from me but it doesn't matter she is just one email or text away.
Keep your head up and keep doing what you are doing don't give up on your work or yourself.
Posted by Pugaboo on 18 November 2014 - 11:24 PM
When I first started selling my paintings a couple decades back I was terrible at it. If someone showed an interest in a painting I would point out all the flaws in it. Finally one day my husband said you need to stop telling them what's wrong with your painting if they see something in it they like enough to hand over their money for, LET THEM. So I forced myself to stop pointing out what I perceived as being wrong and learned to let people make up their own minds as to its validity to THEM.
Learning to let the art go out into the world and have its own life with the confidence to just let it be was one of the hardest things I learned starting out.
Even now I still struggle as we all do with, is this any good, am I even a moderately competent artist, etc, etc, etc. Just last month I did a show and had a piece I had been hauling around for a year. I liked the piece, had been offered far less than the price I had on it but had held on to it, I wasn't going to take it to this show figuring at worst I could use it around the house since I liked it even if nobody else did. I stuck it in at the last minute and well as it turns out someone did and they paid full price without even blinking. So you never know, and there is almost always someone out there for each piece you make, sometimes it just takes patience to find them.
As for selling venues, have you ever tried etsy, ebay, or your own website? I do all of them as well as festivals, formal galleries, pottery shops, gift shops and even what I think of a pseudo galleries. A pseudo gallery is someplace like the lobby of a hotel that has art for sale in it. Heck I've even sold stuff at tattoo parlors. I have found I do okay at these places so maybe thinking outside the box might be something that would work for you? The thing to keep in mind is to tailor your offerings to the venue. Pet Sitting Service = pet art, Hotel Lobby = easy to pack local themed art, Christmas shop = ornaments, etc.
Good luck and keep up the beautiful work!
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Posted by Pugaboo on 02 November 2014 - 10:43 PM
If you want to try something entirely new build something out of a pinch pot or by using slabs or coils. Heck don't try and make anything just get the clay moving and shaping and see what happens at some point you might go hey that looks like a ...... Or I bet if I add a .... Here I could make a ...
Sometimes trying or forcing the issue is the worst thing you can do. Do what everybody already thinks we do... Go PLAY with Clay.
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Posted by Pugaboo on 02 November 2014 - 06:54 PM
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Posted by Pugaboo on 02 November 2014 - 06:12 PM
Setup was set to start at 7:30 am. I am usually one of the first to arrive since I like to take my time and not risk hurting my back. I decided to show up at 8:30 instead. You have no idea what a huge decision this was for me... I am always early for everything, I still can't believe I managed it. 😜
Secretly I am hoping the show promoter will tell me it's been cancelled when I pull up. I arrive and am told cheerfully that the show would go on that we were tougher than a little bit of weather. Hmmm Weather Advisory anyone? Pulling into the site the first view to greet me is a lone tent upside down in the middle of the field. It looked like a squashed spider with crooked spindly legs sticking out in every direction. The legs had a nice chunky profile though where the PVC weights were still attached and visible between the flapping shreds of the tent top. Has no one around here heard of the weather channel except me? 20-25mph sustained winds with 40mph gusts, rain, sleet, snow and Max temperature of 40-45. Woo hoo lazy sunbathing weather, oh wait I can't get a tan for the life of me so I guess I'll just do the festival instead.
I decide to set up my display but not to put up my tent, easy ups are not known for liking wind. I just didn't feel like practicing my tent flying skills. Lazy thing aren't I? I had brought extra weights. I usually have 4 25lb wrap around sand bag style weights that I use but I had raided the gym on my way through the garage and grabbed 2 25lb and 2 30lb kettle bell weights to add to this. I also grabbed my spiral anchors and an extra pack of ratchet straps. I was really worried about bending the frame trying to keep everything on the ground.
While setting up my displays I had to clamp the fabric covers down since they were flapping around like crazy. I zip tied all the wooden crates together and then to my tables. Whatever would I do without zip ties, wish I knew who invented them so I could send them a thank you note. I had to put pieces of wood under the table legs as the ground was wet and soft and they started sinking before I even had pots on them. Oh and why do they never sink equally? It's always to one side or the other, something really weird about that let me tell you. I zip tied my plate racks and sculptures to the crates and taped the plates to the racks. While I was doing this other artists would stop and ask, "aren't you worried about the rain?" My answer, "Nope pots don't care if they get wet and I have a rain coat and umbrella for me." They would answer, "oh" and wander off. Lol I guess my answer wasn't the one they wanted to hear.
From the looks of it about 1/3 to 1/2 of the artists didn't even show up. My husband said oh you mean the smart ones stayed home. Ummm... I set up what does that say about me? He just gave me a look. I guess he doesn't want cooked food this week huh. Mr. supportive stayed home with the dogs which is just as well having to listen to even one more person whine about the cold might have done me in.
The day progressed, the sun came out which was a blessing and made me even happier I didn't put up my canopy as it warmed up my space quite nicely. The wind was relentless and so was the cold. There was a handful of people braving the elements. I sold some items but nothing big. They didn't want to carry anything and expose their hands to the cold. If it was small enough to fit in their pocket they were interested but just barely. Spoon rests sold, colorful fall leaves did not. Personally I think Polar Bears have no need of leaves but find spoon rests useful for their big bear spoons. The show had the capability of be a great one if the weather had just cooperated. Thank goodness for spoon rests... Seriously spoon rests saved my rump.
By the end of the day I had the pleasure of watching another tent flip over, covered my show fees, supply fees, got paid for creation time, and made a little bit of profit as long as I don't pay myself for the time spent selling. I'm such a good volunteer I really must ask me to help out again! The booth behind me sold nothing, the booth next to me sold nothing, the booth on the other side never showed up. The booth diagonally behind me was a potter and he sold some. I'm thinking around $200 but it could have been more or less. The woman selling hats and scarves 2 booths down made a killing. Gee I wonder why? Any ideas??? Maybe I should have knitted little caps and scarves for my Pug sculptures and mugs then I might have sold some.
Towards the end of the show I am sitting there wrapped up in five layers of clothes fantasizing about Oldlady's closet full of wool sweaters. Weird but true, I actually got to debating with my self as to just how many layers of wool sweaters it would take to turn one into the Michelin man and have to be rolled away. Thank you oldlady for mentioning your lovely closet stuffed full of warm and toasty wool sweaters, I being a past Florida girl probably own 2, but at least it gave me something to take my mind off the loss of feeling in my extremities.
Anyhowwww sitting there wondering why I hadn't thought to bring a blanket a guy walks up and goes... "How can you be so calm? It's irritating!"
"Ummm excuse me do I know you?"
He points off in the other direction and I guess he can see me from his booth or something. I ask, "What is there to be stressed about? I can't control the weather, once I decided to do the show the only thing to worry about was tent or no tent, that decided there's nothing left to do but hope for the best." I told him the stress goes away when there are no options to choose from. He grumbled something and stalked away. Oh well another unhappy noncustomer. I really must work on my people skills.
The day continues, the clouds build, the temperatures plummet, the handful of wanderers stagger frigidly off to their cars and hey what do you know it's 5pm and I didn't blow away. YIPEE, success I am soooo good at this. lol The show promotor comes by and hands out checks for the $25 deposit we sent with our applications. Those of us still standing at the end of the day earned our deposits back. Woo hoo! I'm rich whatever shall I do with all the money!
The only thing good about tear down was that for the first time in 8 hours I wasn't shivering. Oh and the fact that it was really quick since I had no tent to take down... Really must think on this use of no tent policy of mine for the future just imagine all the stuff I could leave at home. On the other hands the medical bills to care for my skin cancer might eat into that joy some so I guess maybe it's best to just stick with a tent and take a bit longer to tear down.
Show survived, pots packed, car heater running full blast, I looked at my husband, grinned and said, "Gosh the life of an artist is so glamorous, so easy, no responsibilities, do what I want, not a worry in sight, it just doesn't get better than this."
He just rolled his eyes and said, "I think you froze more than your toes."
Posted by Pugaboo on 28 October 2014 - 09:46 PM
One of the things I do do is try and give each venue slightly different stuff. What I mean is: 1 shop sells just my country bracelets, another my beaded necklaces, or my boxes, or my paintings, etc. This has been working for me and the galleries and shops seem to like it as well. This also helps to negate the percentage differences, someone isn't going into one place and seeing a box for $25 and another place where the same box is $50. I figured out what I think I need to make a profit added a bit of Cush, rounded, added the % and tweaked the price to decide on a price. (Yes oldlady I am increasing my prices on a few of the smaller items so there will be more Cush for me!) Oh and they all have to agree to let me do local festivals and sell my stuff online as well.
I have talked with one place that only does wholesale and wants whatever bought to be sold ONLY through them. I told them I could work with that. I need to get a few unique samples made up and see if any of them are of interest.
I also agree local is best. I have one place I am pulling my stuff out of because it is just too hard to monitor and special trips to do so cost too much in gas and time.
Do I know what I am doing? Heck no, I'm winging it but I've yet to find anartists idiot guide to make a living. I do know I have to be flexible and multi pronged in my approach. LOL I'll let you know if I ever truly feel like I have it all figured out.
Posted by Pugaboo on 27 October 2014 - 10:28 PM
The first pottery festival for me was a group booth with a few potters from the group studio last year. My teacher invites a couple potters each time to join him. It worked well for me as I did not have enough stock to fill a booth by myself, let me stick my toe in the water to see if what I do would sell, and a big one here... it meant I did not have to buy a tent to test this theory out. It went okay I sold some, learned some about displaying my work, talked to people, etc.
After this festival I shared a booth with another women she had jewelry and paintings at another festival. She did not spend much time in the booth, and I sold her stuff as well as mine. This was okay except for she did not have prices on some items and I had to go ask her how much something was to sell it. I sold well at this show and was content that I had learned some additional things.
The third festival I planned to do by myself. I had sold enough at the previous 2 to be able to afford a white easy up tent set up. I wasn't nervous about the display as I knew what I wanted to do, I was nervous about doing the sales all by myself, money, cc, wrapping, bagging, and chatting. I'm not exactly known for being graceful and it does take some technique to do all that smoothly. A friends husband volunteered to help out. He spent most of the show and was helpful. In exchange I displayed and sold a few of her items. I did pretty good sales wise, she did not. I felt bad her husband gave up several days for basically nothing.
After that I decided it was time to put on my big girl pants and sign up for and do some festivals by myself. I have and it's been successful for me. I have come to realize I am a bit of a control freak and actually look forward to the shows with no one to interfere with how I want things done. I learned this lesson by once again doing the studio group booth. It was a success sales wise for myself and a couple others, one person only sold 1 piece and I felt bad. The money handling just didn't work out the table was at the opposite end of a double booth from my stuff and I had so many customers lined up that after a couple hours I just stopped walking down to the opposite end and started collecting and running my own sales. I kept track of what sold and let them know but for me running back and forth just didn't work. Would I do a group studio booth again? Probably, but the sales table needs to be more centrally located or something and the money collection really needs to be more organized. It was really stressful for me and have found even though doing a festival by myself is a lot of work it's actually less stressful. No group decisions, no worry about stepping on someone's toes, no feeling guilty if I sell and they don't, etc etc etc.
I have learned that during set up I meet and greet my neighbors and offer to help them set up their tent if they help set up mine. Makes that part easier on both of us. It also opens the door to have someone watch my booth for a few minutes if I need to use the bathroom and I do the same for them. I try not to leave my booth at all and bring my own food, small light snack type items that I can easily put aside if someone comes in the booth. I wear my money bag on me so don't have to worry about someone to watch the money and my cell phone is my credit card machine so I am very mobile and can walk into the booth and help people easily. I have a small table set up towards the back of the booth prepped with bags, paper, stapler, bag tags, etc. When someone comes up with a sale I write up the receipt, wrap, bag and chat then tell them their total and run the sale. Money is handled and I hand them their bag with any change due. So far this is working but I should state in all honesty I only do small local fairs and this whole system could collapse under a large show like Ann Arbor or Art, Beats and Eats. But then I like my small local shows and really can't be away from home overnight anyway so it's probably not ever going to be an issue.
I guess I would say in summation that starting out it was helpful to share a booth once or twice to get to feeling comfortable and earn the money to buy my own set up. Then I think having a booth to myself is better i can control every aspect of my "shop" and I think that is very important. I have a look I want to convey and having half the tent doing something else doesn't do it for me. I have gotten used to running sales cash and credit cards all by myself, I simplified this by including sales tax in my prices and rounding my prices to the nearest dollar. I also set up an item catalog on my phone so just tap each item they buy and it all automatically adds itself up YAY. The biggest challenge for me has been the confidence to know I can do it alone.
Posted by Pugaboo on 01 October 2014 - 09:12 PM
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Posted by Pugaboo on 02 September 2014 - 04:48 PM
Have any of you ever collaborated on a piece with another potter? If so did you learn something new? Did you enjoy the experience and would you do it again?
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Posted by Pugaboo on 30 August 2014 - 06:32 PM
If I got a kiln would it help make me a better potter? I could have let the studio I belong to continue to fire my work and never learn what I need to about firing work, never have control over the schedule, etc. I had power limitations, a 50 amp max so that's where I started, I have serious back issues so ended something I could reach into with shelves and ware that wasn't too big or deep. I looked at all the brands, really wanted an L&L but Olympic kilns are made a couple hours from me, the owner is friends with people in the studio, and I got to tour the plan and try out all the different sizes and styles. I have not yet had to replace anything so can't say whether I regret not getting the L&L or not but my kiln has been great for the 1 1/2 years I've own it. It's the perfect size for me I can fill fairly quickly learn, adjust and fire some more.
Next purchase was a slab roller, I looked at how much hand building I do and whether it would speed up production and give me better quality slabs. Looked at several online, used the one at the studio and ended up getting the Clay King version. I have no regrets and am really pleased with it. My husband still covets my big control wheel in it says none of his stuff has a wheel like that.
I build boxes lots of boxes in all shapes and sizes. I have also find people really like little collector boxes so looked at an extruder, would it make me better faster more efficient. The answer was yes. I bought a Scott Creek Aluminum extruder without ever having used an extruder. It's a great buy I think I chose wisely. I am looking at getting the expansion box with future revenues since I really want the hexagon box plate.
At this point I was happy with my setup then my husband announces I can't be a real potter without a wheel and he is going to get me one for Christmas last year. Told me to research it and pick the one I wanted or he would just pick one. So researched and ended up with a Bailey. I love it. I did try out several different brands at the studio and decided on the one I preferred then in research discovered I couldn't afford it but found the Baileys and they are REALLY similar and had all the features I liked plus a couple more like the claning slot that I have come to really like that the other one didn't.
I haven't even considered a pugmill so that basically completes my major equipment. Medium level stuff I am waiting to earn the money to afford are as I said the expansion box for my Scott Creek, an Airpen Pro, and a silk screen set up. I like to do surface decoration so the last 2 would make me more efficient and expand my repetroi in clay. I have just started buying the stuff to experiment with mixing my own glazes, drill mixer, 5 gal 80 mesh screen, buckets, gram scale, an a small quantity of dry chemicals.
I approached each buy from a do I really need it, can I really afford it, and taking those 2 things into account which one can I get that will do what I need. Used really wasn't an option small town, limited mobility issues made getting new the best choice for me.
Posted by Pugaboo on 17 July 2014 - 09:32 PM
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