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Member Since 15 Feb 2013
Offline Last Active Today, 06:52 PM

#68908 The Versatile Studio

Posted by Pugaboo on Yesterday, 08:25 AM

Beautiful work Marcia. Like your flexible working studio too.


#68833 What % Of The Sale Price Do You Receive?

Posted by Pugaboo on 28 October 2014 - 09:46 PM

My consignments run from 20% - 40%. The 20% requires I work the sales counter 5 hours a month otherwise it's 30%. A couple of 30% places, one that's 40% and another that asked me to give her the price I needed and she would mark it up however much she thought she could get for it, this place is an exclusive Pet Only gift shop and she gets my Pug and dog art and nobody else but I sell these. Weirdly enough the 40% place is the most prestigious but I sell the least there. The 30% places I do quite well at.

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.


#68762 Craft Shows... Tips For Success

Posted by Pugaboo on 27 October 2014 - 10:28 PM

I have done festivals a couple of different ways. At first I did them with my husband, an easy choice there right? So always had someone to help man the booth during bathroom breaks and a bonus was I made him handle the money while I chatted and bagged this worked well for us. Then the times they did change and I changed my medium and have started over with pottery by myself.

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.


#67066 Everything In This Photo Sold At 1 Day Festival... Why?

Posted by Pugaboo on 01 October 2014 - 09:12 PM

Babs - I use mostly different colors of hemp, but also use leather and suede. Currently I am working on perfecting my own beads to use for the closure so I can stop using commercial ones. I'm attaching a picture of some of the bracelets for those wondering and haven't been to my gallery.

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#65498 Collaborative Work

Posted by Pugaboo on 02 September 2014 - 04:48 PM

Old lady and I collaborated on a small dish and thought it would be interesting to post it on the forum. She made the dish and the relief design, bisqued it before sending it to me. I painted the design adding color and texture to the piece, then glazed with a clear glaze and fired it. It was fun working with her on this. She started the vision and I completed it, kind of a neat way of trying something new for both of us.

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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#65389 How Do You Select The Equipment You Want To Purchase?

Posted by Pugaboo on 30 August 2014 - 06:32 PM

For me setting up a studio and deciding which major pieces of equipment were needed was helped by my husband and my other art revenues. Before I bought any of what I have though I weighed the cost versus the gains. I researched each piece of equipment to the best of my ability if you search you can read a lot on that here on the forum.

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.


#62673 Does Your Dominant Hand Dictate Form Or Are You Ambidextrous.

Posted by Pugaboo on 17 July 2014 - 09:32 PM

Shhhhh that's our secret revenge we're hoping all you righties will wander out into the woods start up your chainsaws and never return. We shall just shake our heads and say, "Well if only they had taken the time to learn with their other hand like us "normal" people." Then sadly turn away to hide the grin on our faces that we are now the majority and can finally design a decent pair of scissors, move all those attached pens at the bank to the other side, remove those awful pencil sharpeners from schools, make cars have the key on the other side, set computer mouses on the right track and never again be embarrassed when somebody says you are writing in the spiral notebook backwards!

#62644 Glaze Making Issue

Posted by Pugaboo on 17 July 2014 - 05:52 PM

You can also buy a Talisman test sieve, it's small, comes in different mesh sizes and fits inside a small plastic container from the paint aisle. You can use a rib or a brush to work it through. I bought mine for making small batches of colored slip up so I can mix the mason stain in evenly but now that I am starting to test glazes find they work for that too. I don't have a stick blender yet will have to see if I can find a cheap one but until then the sieve seems to be working.


#60625 10 Cool Trends In Contemporary Ceramics

Posted by Pugaboo on 11 June 2014 - 04:25 PM

That article just tells me I'm trying to hard. Trying to make usable items USABLE. Make items that are beautiful. Make items that show a high level of technique. Trying to get better with each piece I make.

I guess I should toss some clay on the floor and let my dogs drag it around and fire it then I too can be in a national museum.

Sorry if that sounds negative. I just tossed a bunch of items in the recycle bucket because they just weren't doing anything for me. Also have spent the day second guessing my choices to try and jury into a local higher end gallery tomorrow and the whole process has me stressed out. All this reminds me why I no longer do high end art fairs and such it's better to do small local and not have a heart attack from the stress of it all.

If anyone has work shown in the article I do not mean you lol. I hope you continue to follow your artistic muse successfully. I just recall from past nose in the air venues, questions like what is the meaning behind this particular painting. Hmmmm it's pretty? I liked the colors? The location was awesome! But no they want ehem... The juxtaposition of the many complex forms captured in mid movement convey a dream like quality of the tortured psyche. Blek artistic dribble.

I like to say I no longer do art I do craft and it's way less stressful because I can make what I like and not have to have a reason for doing so.


#58241 Can I Start With A Block Of Clay?

Posted by Pugaboo on 09 May 2014 - 08:03 AM

I vote for playing with air dry clay. You can hand build, sculpt, coil a piece then just let it sit until it dries then paint it or whatever you want to do. If you don't want to go that way look around for a local arts group, studio, art center, etc and see if you can pay them to fire your pieces but find a place to fire BEFORE buying your clay so you can get the correct clay. Most places only fire to a certain cone and you need to make sure the clay you get meets their criteria. The studio I am a member at actually requires you to buy your clay through them so they know it's the correct cone, they had an issue with someone in the past stating it was a cone 6 clay when it was low fire... Not pretty inside that kiln afterwards. Buying through them also includes glaze and firing costs. So check around and I bet you can find a place as long as you meet their criteria.


#58124 Do You Use Reflecting On Historical Work To Improve Your Own Work? How Do You...

Posted by Pugaboo on 07 May 2014 - 10:33 PM

The first coil pot I made was inspired by Roman amphora. I saw tons of them all over the place on my trips to Italy and the shape just stuck with me its pretty much perfect as far as I am concerned. I am fascinated by ancient pottery and have tons of books, gone to many galleries and watch all the archeology shows I can on tv. You watch these shows and people all seem to get super excited about gold and jewels whereas for me it always the bits and pieces of pottery they uncover. Maybe it's the puzzle lover in me but I would love to be able to reassemble a piece of pottery or sculpture that has been buried for centuries just to see if I could and what it would look like once it's reassembled. I got to watch them make pottery in Egypt and Peru where they used ancient tools to do so and it was an amazing thing to experience.


#56127 Wheels: Shimpo Vl-Lite Or Bailey St

Posted by Pugaboo on 05 April 2014 - 10:19 PM

I considered pretty much all the brands but some were too expensive like the Thomas Stuart and Brent lines. So I then made a list of what criteria I liked from each brand I was looking at and edited it down to the few that looked to have the features I wanted. I went with the Bailey because of the built in splash pan with the trimming slot and drain hole. I also really like the workstation I got for my Bailey and the leg extensions. I should state I tried out a Thomas Stuart, a Brent and a Speedball at the center and liked the Thomas Stuart the best there. It didn't have the drain hole or trimming slot which my Bailey does have though. I keep my studio really clean and the ease of clean up with the Bailey is lovely. I should state I am left handed so wanted a wheel that would spin to the left or to the right, I also have a really messed up back so the leg extensions, and even the large tray allow me to adjust my position to give me support for throwing but also not stress my back. The Bailey is built really well and I don't think I will ever have to replace anything on it in my lifetime anyhow. I also have to admit I really don't like the color of the Brent wheels, stupid I know but I just don't. My Bailey is pale gray and black. I also bought the ST-1 potters stool as well and like it.

To get a wheel that works for you make a list up of what type things are important to you. do you like a splash pan, do you hate splash pans, do you throw Eastern or Western rotation, how big do you plan to through (ever), is super quiet the most important thing to you, etc. Once you get your criteria set it becomes easier, I got my list down to the Thomas Stuart and the Bailey and went with the Bailey because it was enough less in price compared to the the Stuart to get the workstation and leg extensions for it.

I hope this helps you decide.


#55671 Underglaze Issue

Posted by Pugaboo on 28 March 2014 - 10:31 PM

I wanted to show everyone a drink carrier and tumbler set I made using Amaco Dark Blue. I am very pleased with the way it turned out especially after so many dismal or so so tests that I was not happy with. I painted the entire thing with 2 coats of Amaco LUG White underglaze then did 1 coat with Amaco LUG Dark Blue for the blue flowers and dots. I want to experiment with white slip as several have mentioned its cheaper than underglaze but white underglaze is what I had on hand. You can't see it in the picture but the inside bottom of each section is glazed with Coyotes cobalt blue glaze and it really sets off the blue flowers and dots.

I hope this gives those of you hope for Amacos dark blue LUG as you can see it CAN be a pretty blue.


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#52830 Choice - Which Kiln To Choose?

Posted by Pugaboo on 18 February 2014 - 05:26 PM

I too have an Olympic and went with it for several reasons:
1) their factory was close to me so I could go down and try out the various models to see which one would suit me best. Fit best as in I have a bad back and could I reach the bottom, compared shorter versus taller models and went with taller since I do smaller items and if larger tend to be taller not fat, think vase not tray.
2) since I could pick up the kiln myself I saved a lot on shipping
3) the group studio I am a member of has 2 of them and a lot of the potters also have small versions of them at home as well
4) it came in 3 stackable pieces with an electronic controller, set of furniture, kiln wash, vent, etc
5) price for me was what I could afford

I have fired mine about 15 times and so far I am very pleased with choosing an Olympic. Buying a kiln is a lot like buying a car you have to decide which features you absolutely must have, which would be nice and which ones you can live without or don't need. At times it can be like asking someone whether they would rather have a convertible Porsche or a convertible Volkswagen, I personally would choose the Volkswagen because they have character but a lot of people would choose the Porsche.

I went with the Olympic 1823
It goes to cone 10 but I only fire to cone 6 so should get more use out of the elements by not stressing them to the maximum temperature each time. The digital controller is a dream to use and very easy to adjust as I get better and fine tune my firing schedule
It was the largest I could easily wire into my house and yes I had an electrician wire a special outlet, independent circuit and shut off switch for the kiln. The shelves are big enough for the type items I make yet small enough not to pull my back as I bend over to place them in the kiln. It's small enough for me to fill easily without weeks and weeks of work sitting waiting to be fired. This is important because it helps me fire more frequently so I can learn what it is I am doing right, or wrong, so I can adjust and do better much more quickly.


#51496 How Many Ways Can We Think Of To Put Text On Ceramics?

Posted by Pugaboo on 01 February 2014 - 10:16 AM

I bought Justin Rothshanks DVD and it's really good it's all I needed to figure out how to do laser transfers. I don't know about cone 10 but this is what I understand and have figured out for me.

I use Little a Loafers Stoneware clay, bisque fire to ^04, use either Amaco or Coyote glazes and fire to ^6. The laser printer I have is an HP and it was only $100. The importance in your printer is it has to be ONLY black and white it can't print color at all or the ink formula is wrong. No matter what printer you buy the toner HAS to have a high iron content or it won't work. The transfer paper is about $1 a sheet, it gets cheaper the more you buy, I've only bought 25 sheets. The paper comes in a few different sizes depending on your printers capabilities. At that price I fill up every inch of the paper, having photoshop or other image editor helps a lot to control you image outcome. Keep your printer off until ready to print then turn it in and immediately print your sheet. If your printer is on and the heads are hot you run the chance of melting the paper to them... A very bad thing so don't do it. I always print my designs the day before I plan to use them, they can be printed much longer than that and stored just don't let them get wet or hot.
Using the transfers:
Make your ware, if it's really textured you transfer is going to mostly burn off so a smoother surface at least where you plan to put the transfer works best. There can be some curves and such just not a really textured surface. I bisque fire to ^04. I have found smoother less mottled appearing glazes work best though you can get some interesting looks with a mottled glaze kind of old and cruddy looking. A dark with also not work as you won't be able to see the transfer. Glaze you ware with your chosen glaze, I like Coyote White, though am looking for a satin white for non food items. I glaze fire to ^6. Once fired and cooled, of course! Get your transfers and a CLEAN, absolutely clean, tray of water, I use old darkroom trays. You don't want any clay dust or other particles floating in your water of they could make your transfer not adhere to your ware. Cut your image out of the paper, cut as close to the edge of your image as possible as sometimes the edges can remain visible otherwise. You will learn when and why to cut different images closely. Soak your transfer in the water until you can slide it around easily with your finger, do NOT remove it entirely from the paper or it will be really hard to handle. Take your prepared transfer and slide it off a bit on one side. Dampen your ware surface and slide the transfer off the paper onto the ware. You have some movability with it at this point to position the transfer. Once you have it where you want get a damp sponge and smooth it onto the surface make sure you get all the bubbles and wrinkles out anywhere there is a bubble or wrinkle will burn away in the kiln. I let my transfer dry overnight then fire it. I got lucky and my glaze soften pens enough at my bisque temp to allow the transfer to burn into the surface. You will have to play with your glaze, kiln, etc to get it the way you want. I normally just put my transfer pieces in with a load of my bisque and fire it with them and it comes out beautifully.

THATS IT! It's really amazingly easy to do and if you are like me and have a few decades of art and sketches to work with you can get some truly unique pieces adding a transferred image or design somewhere to a piece. My next step is going to be to see if I can do the transfer process then use ceramic paints to color in parts of the design and fire it onto the surface, I don't know if it will work as I have never used fired paints but I want to see what it looks like. It could be interesting but if not at least I've tried it.

If you are interested I might still have some pieces in the studio I can take a picture of. Most of what I put transfers on sold over the holidays.