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Member Since 15 Feb 2013
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#109308 Qotw: Would You Laugh At Me If I Told You That I Am Using A Gg?

Posted by Pugaboo on 24 June 2016 - 08:46 AM

Hmmmm.... I don't have a GG maybe I should get one I'm feeling left out! lol Think I am developing GG envy.

One of the things I do use is an extruder and sometimes get looks from other potters when I say I use one. I make boxes and other hollow forms A LOT. I can roll out, cut and assemble a boxes 6 side but if I can pull 4 of those walls in the extruder and just add the other 2. Imagine the amount of time savings in that! I have also begun making my own extruder plates to get the shapes and sizes of pulls I want. I use it to pull mug blanks, boxes of varying sizes and shapes, handles, feet, footrings, coils, etc. I am getting ready to make a plate for a cracker tray that I am also hoping can be used as the basis for a soap dish. Still testing that out. An extruder doesn't make a completed product for you it simply speeds up the process to make the products you do. IMO

I have a wheel but have discovered with my spinal issues I can't do production on it only have fun for very short periods of time. It's one of the reasons I use the extruder as much as I do since some of the same forms can be made on each. I have a slab roller and it's probably the most important piece of equipment in my studio. But them all the potters around here either have one or have access to use one so nobody blinks an eye at that.


#108817 How Do You Price Your Work?

Posted by Pugaboo on 15 June 2016 - 09:00 PM

I agree, what the market will bear. But even that is hard because I have an online market that bears one price and a local that might bear another. Since people shop ALL ways now, festivals, shops, galleries, and online I have spent some time this year attempting to find the sweet spot for all of them that will keep the prices as consistent as possible between all the various venues and still enough that I make a profit. That's been quite the challenge since the percentages taken vary from 0% to 40% depending on the venue. I am also looking into getting more into wholesale prices this next year so have to start figuring that in as well at 50% of the retail price.

I haven't being selling pots long enough to have it figured out so have been using my past art sales as a base starting point and tweaking from there. Just when I think I got it figured another type of venue pops up and I have to re- evaluate my pricing structure. That doesn't mean I dramatically change any of my prices since that isn't good either. It just means that at my quarterly review I will look over all my records and try and figure out what needs tweaking. If I find I am too far off part way through a year I will change the product enough to be able to do so without it seeming shocking. Example is last year and this early spring I offered necklaces at a local shop with beaded chains during my review realized the time to do the beading was most of the cost and I was losing. So starting this summer I am offering just the pendants for the same price as last year and they can add their own chain. It's a test to see if that will work or not.


#108794 Qotw: What Is Your Biggest Safety Fault?

Posted by Pugaboo on 15 June 2016 - 02:32 PM

I was a very good potter this morning and put the mask next to my kiln to use for those last minute touch ups. The next step will be to remember to put it on! Lol


#108637 Website Development, What Do You Use?

Posted by Pugaboo on 13 June 2016 - 03:11 PM

My website is:


It's got the linking pages to my etsy shops as well as eBay though I don't have much on eBay right now it's turned into more of a seasonal sales tool for me as opposed to etsy which I get a sale every week from. I have all different kinds of stuff on my website but mostly Pugs. I am still adding more of my pottery here, lately I've been focusing mostly on my etsy shops and perfecting the look of my photos for new listings. It also has my blog, though I haven't blogged anything new in a year. YIKES! Just can't find the time to do it all.


#108279 Graybeards 1St Sale

Posted by Pugaboo on 06 June 2016 - 08:26 PM


Chin up old man! You did the hardest thing... You decided to give it a try and followed through. CONGRATS on surviving your first show. Shows are hit or miss, I always do a review of the year and decide which shows have potential to do again, which are definites and which are run the other way as fast as I can. Look at it this way you got that last one taken care of and out of the way.

As others have said chalk this one up to a learning experience. What did you learn? ( other than not to do that event again). Things you might not consider a learning part of your experience:
1) how did you prepare for the show? What would you do differently the next time?
2) how did set up go for the show? What would you do differently.
3) how did your display work? What would you like to improve or change?
4) how was tear down? How can this be improved?
5) how did putting everything back away at home go? Is there a way to streamline or improve this?
6) what did people say about your pottery? Write down some of these as you will forget. Most you can toss but there are usually some gems in the bunch to help you improve your sales pitch and set up, not necessarily your pottery mind you just how you present it to the world.
7) did you notice any particular pieces or colors getting more attention than others? One of the hardest things to learn is to take what you know sells at shows and leave the stuff (that you may LOVE) at home because it's just going to get damaged and not sell. Find another venue for these pieces.

It can be the littlest things, like how you box items, or how you have your sales set up, or even your price tags. Look at EVERYTHING, figure out what worked and what didn't and use this show as a jumping off point. I've been doing shows for almost 30 years and I still do this review after each one.

In the few years I've been doing pottery (was fine art paintings and photography before) I changed my layout pretty much everytime EXCEPT for this last show, I did the same for everything since I think I have it the way I want.. Oh no wait... I want to change my tablecloths to be more tailored rather than draped. But happily since my tables configuration is now optimal I can focus on this and not worry about changing the tables and needing new cloths if I do.

You will an old pro at this in no time and giving pointers to the newbies and wondering how quickly you got to where you are.

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#108038 New Business Name

Posted by Pugaboo on 02 June 2016 - 08:23 PM

You might keep it simple, Horner Ceramcis. You could sign your pots with a stylized HC.

Mine was set years and years ago when I first started selling my Pug art, so Pugaboo was born. I use it EVERYWHERE, If you Google, Pugaboo, chances are you will find some form of me. I started out with Pugaboo Boutique, liked the way it sounded and looked and recently also started using Pugaboo Pottery for my ehem pottery only shop. Lol

So you don't HAVE to use your own name, just pick something that sings to you, inspires you or gets you out of bed and KEEP to it. I love, adore, am enslaved, by my Pugs and can't ever imagine not having at least one running my life. You can also go with something that you like the abbreviation of or one that even looks cool when signed.

Just some ideas to get you thinking. Good luck and let us know what you come up with!


#107812 Rubber Stamps

Posted by Pugaboo on 30 May 2016 - 05:31 PM

I second the use of cornstarch, it's what I use as I find oil and cooking messy and WD 40 gives me migraines. You will learn as you do this when the opportune time is to impress the clay.

#107753 Rubber Stamps

Posted by Pugaboo on 29 May 2016 - 08:07 PM

The simple answer is yes. The detailed answer is, some of them, but you have to pick your patterns as some won't work. If they are in a rigid support you are limited in use unless you can pull them off so they are flexible. Try some out and you will quickly learn what to look for in those that work.


#107605 Giving Shoppers A Sense Of Scale

Posted by Pugaboo on 26 May 2016 - 05:03 PM

LeeU - I have the spoon, fruit and tea bag in there as scale indicators rather than using a coin or a ruler. 3 of something looks better than one, a single slice looks lonely sitting in the plate. Also, I don't eat Kiwi and the props are from my weeks grocery shopping. 😄 Don't forget this is the lifestyle image the listing will also have the pieces shot on white with no props. The purpose of this image is to show the items in a real world situation.

Okay 3rd and final attempt here! I'm fairly happy with attempt 2s images but tweaking them can always hopefully make them better and if not I like attempt 2s images enough to fall back and use them.

I put in a burlap placemat in lieu of a tablecloth.😠 I changed the silverware from my personal hand wrought pieces to some cheap generic Dollar Store ones that I use at festivals to show people the purpose of a spoonrest. I used orange sections rather than slices 😏... Not sure about this as I think the colors of the sliced orange are prettier and I like the round shapes better as well. 😜 I brought up another light and stand from the studio as well as another piece to use as a reflector to get some better fill light on the side of the mug. I switched out the plate to one that doesn't have as much glaze breaking as the other one. I'm using a pistachio shino glaze since I like the way is breaks and moves bringing up Browns to compliment the Temmoku glaze in the border as well as the laser transfer pattern. I am putting the place setting image here but will add it and another to the gallery as well.

It's been a process let me tell you! I've spent about 20 hours on it this week researching, tweaking, gathering, shopping, setting up, photographing, editing, etc but I am hoping now that I have done the leg work it will be quicker and maybe just maybe increase my sales and exposure online. I also hope that by sharing the process here that others that are thinking of trying online selling might be able to learn from my mistakes and get a leg up as well.

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#107537 Giving Shoppers A Sense Of Scale

Posted by Pugaboo on 25 May 2016 - 10:04 PM

Okay here goes Try Two!

I added the new photos to the same gallery as the first.

I rephotographed some of the items keeping in mind all the input I was given. I decided to take all the pictures inside since it was easier to control the light. I also gave in and hauled 1 studio light upstairs along with 1 reflector and my tripod for my iPad, I might have to bring up a second light but haven't quite decided whether it's needed or not. I decided to try again with using the ipad since it cuts a couple steps out of the process making it quick and simple to take, edit and upload the images. Told my husband that until I got a handle on this he was eating in the living room because I didn't want him messing up my layout just to eat! He said he could do that for a few days if it would help. Think I might be driving him a bit crazy muttering and fussing to myself over these images.

I simplified everything as suggested. I went with 3 orange slices rather than whole fruit hoping this would give that spark of contrasting color I want but not take away focus from the dinnerware. For the mug shots I used sliced bread rather than a muffin to give it the human feel but not draw attention away from the mug. I also moved the tea bag tag behind the handle so it's there for scale but not front and center.

It actually took a lot less time to shoot these than the first time. It also took less time to edit the images since I used color correct lighting and was able to get very close to the exact framing of the products by using the tripod.

I think they are wayyyyy better than the first try, still not sure I am capturing "lifestyle" but might be getting closer, what do you think?


#107479 Giving Shoppers A Sense Of Scale

Posted by Pugaboo on 24 May 2016 - 09:44 PM

Thank you everyone for the input, I have been thinking through all that has been said and really appreciate your suggestions.

I plan to simplify by removing some of the staged items from the pictures and will try cutting out more of the backgrounds (though this goes against the lifestyle needs according to etsy which you can read below). I plan to set up a pre breakfast shot with some of these changes and see how they look. I purposefully did not use any table coverings as I as I want to convey a casual relaxed atmosphere. Nor do I want to add any additional colors with a tablecloth to the images preferring to keep the background stuff as neutral as possible with the only color being the pots, it's also why I chose the golden colored napkin, it's got color but isn't bright like say a red or blue would be. I made sure the backgrounds were out of focus on all the outdoor images so I am assuming it's the inside images that are thought to be distracting?

I should have stated to begin with that I shot all the pictures with my iPad using natural light on purpose. These shots need to be as simple and quick as possible to do. It took me HOURS to set up those images and about another hour to edit them on my iPad.
The problem is....
My studio is on the ground floor and my interesting home decor locations (aka the breakfast nook and deck you see in the photos I took) are on the second floor. I don't want to haul all the pots up the stairs AND studio lights AND camera with tripod, and reflectors, etc etc etc. I can't have a photo studio set up all the time and hauling all this up and down every week is just too much. I know Photoshop but don't want to spend tons of time photographing and editing a $25 plate image. I already spend a day each week photographing stuff for my various online and festival needs, adding a whole additional day is simply not feasible.

I am struggling with "Lifestyle" images of my products in use in a normal situation. How much detail, how much background, how many support items, etc. Everything I have come up with either looks so staged as to be fake or like this time much too casual and used appearing. If you go to etsy and see their front page the editors and such put together collections of stuff and they almost always use the Lifestyle shot for this. I only have detail item pictures in my listings and if I want to get to the next level I need to figure out what exactly is a Lifestyle shot is and how to capture its essence with my pots in use in "normal" life. I would also like this lifestyle image to show scale in an interesting manner without using a coin or ruler. Not sure if I am explaining this at all well.

Here is what the etsy website says that a "Lifestyle" image is:
Lifestyle Pic
What: Your product looking good in its element.
(They show a photo of a gorgeous rocky coastline and a tiny figure of a woman in a bathing suit, it doesn't show the details of the suit at all but gives you a sense of the adventure you could have if you wear it.)
This photo, which features a model in a high waist bikini by 1979 Swimwear, helps buyers imagine what it might be like to wear it.
Why: The main reason to include a lifestyle photo is so that when someone sees it, they can imagine just what they’d do if they owned your amazing product. You want them to imagine your item in use to help sway them to make the purchase.
How: If you’re selling prints, take a photo of each one hanging on a wall, so your shoppers can see just how great it looks incorporated into home décor. Show them just how cute that salt and pepper shaker set look on a cozy dinner table. Pick the cutest spot in your house (or your adorable friend’s house) and take photos of your creation in use.

Maybe that helped a bit?

I am happy with my detail product pictures on a simple white background and would like to add on this final type of image to try and get my stuff promoted more and to give people an idea of what it looks like in use and scale. Thank you again for your help and I will edit some of the pictures in the gallery and re-take the others keeping in mind the suggestions given. Learning a whole new style of photography isn't easy! Give me a human model, a Greek ruin, or a light box based image any day and I'll knock it out of the park but hand me a bowl and tell me to shoot it in use in a beautiful way and I'm struggling.


#107392 Giving Shoppers A Sense Of Scale

Posted by Pugaboo on 23 May 2016 - 10:39 PM

I spent a few hours attempting some lifestyle and scale images. I created a gallery for them.... What do you think, did I achieve either? Is it easy to picture the scale? What about lifestyle?



#107329 Texture/embossing Mats/roller

Posted by Pugaboo on 23 May 2016 - 07:52 AM

I would also check on etsy, I got some rollers from Poland that are really nice, they even custom made a design for me. I also second making your own texture plates, rollers and stamps, just be careful it can get addictive! You make one then another then another and before you know it they have taken over your studio. Lol just kidding. Making your own is a great way to bring more of your style to your pieces and once you start looking around you stuff like buttons, rope, plants, and fabric will never be the same again.

Good luck!

#107090 Ceramic Decals That Fire To 730 Degrees C

Posted by Pugaboo on 17 May 2016 - 05:30 PM

I second changing the order in which you do things. I fire from hottest to coolest for design work, not counting the bisque fire. Glaze fire is the hottest, then transfer fire, then overglaze firing. Is it possible to change your work order?

I have included the logo I fire using laser transfers into the bottom of my pieces. It's cheap for me since I already have the printer and the transfer paper, I can decide to tweak or change my logo whenever I want and I can even do custom logos for customers like Pug Rescue groups.

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#107061 Replacing Thermocouple

Posted by Pugaboo on 17 May 2016 - 10:15 AM

To kind of wrap all this up for future searchers...

I did a test fire of the new TC and it seemed to be firing about 15 degrees too hot. I did a 15 degree TC offset and fired another test load and everything came out perfect, the self supporting cone 5s came out perfectly bent on every shelf. Yay me!

I just finished firing a regular full load of transfers and the cone 05s bent perfectly and all the pieces came out beautifully. Double yay me!

I am so glad I figured out the issue and decided to do the repair myself I learned a lot and found out it really isn't all that mysterious and hard to replace a thermocouple. You all were an amazing resource for this and I can't say how much I appreciate each and every one of you.