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Member Since 15 Feb 2013
Offline Last Active Feb 27 2015 05:47 PM

#76119 Artist Statement

Posted by Pugaboo on 25 February 2015 - 12:10 AM

The art festival applications that ask stuff like this I truly dislike:

"Please submit an artist’s statement which describes your work and how it fits in with and supports the mission of the festival."

Basically not only do you have have have a strong artist statement for your work you also have to have it explain to them why your statement is in love with their statement. I had to look up their mission statement and then scratch my head and try to get their statement clear in meaning then try and rewrite mine to do what they wanted. Took me a week of writing and scribbling to do what I thought they wanted.

I should state I didn't get into the festival. I guess my statement and theirs had irreconcilable differences... Do you think therapy would help?

I have applied to my back up festival instead and am awaiting their judgment. They were almost as bad, wanting a detailed writing on my artistic journey along with my previous festivals, shows, awards, etc. Oh and please feel free to attach additional pages to do so. After being as brief as possible for so many years THIS confused me... What do you mean add additional pages you mean I'm not telling you my artistic life's story in 100 characters? What ever shall I say that takes that many sheets of paper? Now the panic sets in gee I only have 3 paragraphs maybe I am not good enough because I haven't written a novel length description!

Awards? Yeah I have a whole box of ribbons around here somewhere. I actually had to go dig them out because I couldn't remember the precise awards, shows and dates! I CAN remember which shows I sold the most at, which galleries sell the most, and which of my clients have purchased more than a dozen of my pieces but awards and ribbons to me were never the point. Let the people vote with their dollars if they value my work they vote with green paper if they don't they give that green paper to someone else. I had a friend who never sold a single piece yet had over 3 dozen awards... Is he more successful than I because of this? It must be kind of chewy to eat ribbons for breakfast.

Festival applications can bite you on both ends.


#72066 Trying To Find A Square Plate Mould

Posted by Pugaboo on 18 December 2014 - 05:49 AM

I use Chinet paper paper plates. They have dinner as well as salad size. Also pretty cheap as far as a mold goes and if it's just for a gift you can toss it when you are done. I have found though with some care you can use them repeatedly before they lose their integrity.

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#71714 What Are Your Favorite Animals?

Posted by Pugaboo on 11 December 2014 - 10:19 PM

Ummm this might not be a surprise but I LOVE PUGS. I seriously could paint and create Pugs all day everyday... Hmmm guess that's why I do so HUH. But seriously go look up Pug puppies and you will have to agree Pugs are the cutest funniest most amazing dogs... Ehem... furry people as we call them around here.... Ever!

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?


#71223 Bought The Square

Posted by Pugaboo on 04 December 2014 - 10:03 AM

I take credit cards too but use the PayPal Swiper on my cell phone since I have a merchant account through them and use PayPal on my website and other online sales venues. Sticking with PayPal was an easy choice since it meant sticking with a system I was already familiar with.

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.


#70262 Overcoming Insecurity

Posted by Pugaboo on 19 November 2014 - 11:09 PM

I make my own transfers as well. I have 30+ years of artwork that I have converted to digital files so I can print my own stuff and put on pots. With the pen and inks I am even doing some color wash affects on some pieces since I only have the capability of doing black and white transfers.

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.

#70186 Overcoming Insecurity

Posted by Pugaboo on 18 November 2014 - 11:24 PM

I too have a background as a painter. I like to paint on my pottery as well. We artists tend to be our own worst critics. I'll tell you a short story... Long long ago in a land far far away, just kidding.

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!


#69189 Potter's Block.

Posted by Pugaboo on 02 November 2014 - 10:43 PM

Try pinterest. Type in ceramic bowls, pots, boxes, whatever intrigues you. The variety and wealth of creativity out there is amazing. So you make bowls.... Have you ever tried a double walled bowl? Or a pierced bowl? Or a bowl that isn't really a bowl but a little sculpture containing a lake with a little cabin along the side. Try joining two bowls together then cut a hole or carve out areas to make a hanging lantern. You can do a lot with a bowl shape as your start.

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.


#69169 What Else Is Going On (Or Playing) While You Work?

Posted by Pugaboo on 02 November 2014 - 06:54 PM

I prefer the quiet. My studio is a TV free zone. I have a stereo but never hooked it up after the move. It's my sanctuary. My creative thoughts are so loud in my head it's like I'm speaking out loud... Oh wait maybe I am. Is talking to yourself while you work a danger sign? Maybe I should claim I am speaking to the dogs... They'll never say else wise.


#69163 Festival Survival

Posted by Pugaboo on 02 November 2014 - 06:12 PM

I had an interesting day yesterday to say the least. I had a festival in North Georgia. I also had snow, wind, and cold. YAY

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."



#68908 The Versatile Studio

Posted by Pugaboo on 30 October 2014 - 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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#67040 Everything In This Photo Sold At 1 Day Festival... Why?

Posted by Pugaboo on 01 October 2014 - 05:02 PM

I was just reviewing what I sold this past Saturday at a one day festival. I took this photo just before the festival and used it as one of my images to apply to another festival. Everything in this photo sold. I don't normally use bright colors like this, orange especially but was feeling kind of "fall" and made the leaves then decided to make the bowl to display the leaves had extra clay so made the spoon rests and mini dishes, etc etc. Next thing I knew I had enough to create a grouping and titled this line of work, "Falling Brightly".

I wonder if buyers were also attracted to the fall colors and that's why everything sold from this one line of work? I sold other stuff, a lot of other stuff but this line was obliterated. This got me wondering, do you focus the colors you use on your pots to the season?


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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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