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Member Since 21 May 2011
Offline Last Active Apr 21 2017 09:31 PM

#123369 How Much To Make?

Posted by nancylee on 07 March 2017 - 12:55 PM

Mea and few here on PC have plenty of experience with that. Follow their advice. Wishing you tons of success. 

Thank you so much!!!


#121869 Firing Earthenware Jugs - Basic Questions

Posted by nancylee on 07 February 2017 - 11:30 AM

I don't know anything about this topic, but wanted to tell you I LOVE your dog mug!!! :)

  • oly likes this

#119675 Can Tall Teapots Like These Be Handbuilt? These Are Extruded

Posted by nancylee on 02 January 2017 - 02:10 PM

Nancy can you take classes somewhere near you where they have a full studio?


i feel there's no point in buying an extruder without at least trying it out first. our school has a manual extruder and i have to say its not that easy to use. you  have to put the die and clay properly to get it right. that calls for some careful assessment. if its a manual extruder you also need to have some strength to push the clay through. 


pardon me for asking but what exactly do you find hard about handbuildilng? there are so many methods of handbuilding - does not one of them work for you? 


do you have to make functional ware? can you not make animals or sculptural pieces? or even masks?

Hi, I have taken lessons from a great teacher for years, and another great teacher recently. It's me. I think I go too fast. 

I find getting the forms to stay together hard in handbuilding. Also, when I texture the slab, then go to put it around a form, it's cracking. I think it's just practice, trial and error. I'm always in a rush, cause I work full time and have a lot of urn orders, so the time to make fun things for me is so limited. And I would love to make masks!! OH NO!! Another shiny object for me to try!! LOL! 

#119371 How Do You Make These Lids?

Posted by nancylee on 29 December 2016 - 06:54 AM

One way to do it, which I have done is too open the clay all the way to the wheel head, pull into a cone shape upward, upward, upward, neck in to bottle, then close completely. Use a rib to shape with the air pressure inside it is pretty easy. Then when leather hard turn upside down into a thrown chuck and trim . The gallery, can be trimmed into the lid also in this manner while trimming.





Ah, good idea!!! I was thinking I'd have to trim a lot of clay to get that shape if I made it like a regular lid, with the eventual top on the wheel head when throwing. Thank you!

#118768 Should You Think Production Process If You're Not A Production Potter?

Posted by nancylee on 20 December 2016 - 02:17 PM

As a facet of business life you have to refine ... every time you touch a piece it costs time and a potters time is $$$

I did production level hand building for many years and every year I had to break the work down to the fewest steps I needed to get a finished piece. That does not always mean more at one time since you also have to balance drying times at each stage. So every year I got better at limiting the times I needed to touch the pieces and it served me well as all the learning overflows. I really did not realize how much I was learning about the properties of clay, glaze and firing at the same time as I was trying to push through quantity.

This knowledge leads to an ease with clay that makes all your work better. I did not have any bad habits to unlearn when I began to work bigger and less production like.

Recently I went back to throwing for some experiments I wanted to do and was that ever an eye opener! I had lost the skills of this process so my bottoms were fat and I was wasting so much time trying to fix bad throwing. Because the bottoms were thick the drying of the whole vessel was off ... bottoms wet, tops drying. It would be 100% easier to just have a well thrown, even walled piece. I want to proceed with my experiments but my skills are still poor and I don't look forward to it.

So I guess my answer is YES ... learn to throw with economy of motion and just the right amount of clay and you will never regret it.

Wow!! Production level hand building seems like an oxymoron!! I am just starting to hand build things, and it takes so much time, and most things are so messed up!! LOL!! I do like it though. 

I don't throw big, I just can't get it, I don't know why, but when I make smaller urns and stuff I try to take as much off before I wire it - I don't trim if I don't have to. I find centering to trim takes so much time, that even though I like to trim, if I take the excess off the bottom sides and throw with a shallower bottom, I don't have to spend 10 minutes trying to center the darn thing to trim. 

But that's because after 6 years at this, I still suck at most of it. :( 


#109352 Help! I Can't Center Anymore!

Posted by nancylee on 25 June 2016 - 05:55 AM

Nancy, from my own experience (six solid months of nothing before I learned to center ... mostly) : the more stressed out I became at being unable to center, the more I was not able to center. 
If my back is out, my head is hurting, I'm not feeling well, I can't center. I never forget that I have to be centered in myself before I can center the clay. So if you've had a lot of stress or any illness that could be causing the issue. Also the fact that you were expecting to remember and you're not ... that's a lot of mental pressure. 
That being said, I have recently discovered a new way of centering. Previously I would brace my left arm on the splash pan and lock my elbow against my upper thigh. I would use the heel of my left hand at 8 o'clock and the heel of my right hand sometimes on the top and sometimes at 4 o'clock on the wheel to center. 
But just a few days ago I discovered that I can lock my two hands together and just sort of shove in and up together at 6-7 o'clock; this cones up the clay really amazingly and then you press it back down with both hands again. LOL My husband thinks I'm insane now because I had to close my eyes and pantomime it on the arm of the couch so I could describe it to you. 
If you continue to struggle with it at all please feel free to message me and I will happily take a video for you.

I do think my anxiety at not being able to center is adding to this. But I'm still trying to figure out why im getting a "twist" in the middle?

I used to do the 6 and 7 o'clock positions but that was knocking me out of whack recently, so I stopped. I'm going to Ho make a video in a few.


#109344 Help! I Can't Center Anymore!

Posted by nancylee on 24 June 2016 - 10:41 PM

Hopefully this doesn't seem too simplistic, Nancy. I occasionally get this too. Usually it is either; not enough slip/water to let the clay slid over my hands and it 'catches', or when pushing up (coning, I think is the term?) moving my hands too fast or unevenly. 
Sounds like you have covered just about everything though.....

Hopefully this doesn't seem too simplistic, Nancy. I occasionally get this too. Usually it is either; not enough slip/water to let the clay slid over my hands and it 'catches', or when pushing up (coning, I think is the term?) moving my hands too fast or unevenly. 
Sounds like you have covered just about everything though.....

Thanks all. I'll try to video my hands centering tomorrow.

#109332 Help! I Can't Center Anymore!

Posted by nancylee on 24 June 2016 - 04:44 PM

if the clays have gotten a little hard, slide the pugs like bread, dip each slice in bread, rebag and let them sit overnight. That will soften them for wedging and throwing as Marko suggests above.Marcia

You think I'm having trouble because the clay is stiff?

#107291 Drying Greenware... For How Long?

Posted by nancylee on 22 May 2016 - 08:35 AM

Yes, what Foxden said, and I'll add that the danger is in firing pieces that are too wet. I just had a piece I thought was dry enough explode in the kiln on me. Ugh. When in doubt about the dryness of pieces, do a long preheat - I usually do 12 hours, but yesterday I skimped and did 7 hours and I paid the price,


#105198 Need To Step Up Production

Posted by nancylee on 13 April 2016 - 06:14 PM

sounds like you are on it. Mind sharing how many orders your getting a day/week/month on etsy?

I was getting one every few weeks, then a few weeks ago I started getting maybe one a week, then maybe two, now I'm getting 2 to 4 orders a week. I got two last night. I am getting nervous because I have a year to go until retirement!

#105059 Charging For Studio Time

Posted by nancylee on 11 April 2016 - 08:51 AM


I am not a naturally good business person, as I give everything away, including my knowledge - limited, but still. I am a natural teacher, so it tends to overflow to this. But to not charge for the clay, at least, is not a good idea, especially because of the physical and monetary costs of it. You are either picking it up, which means driving, lugging, etc., or you are ordering it with very expensive shipping costs.


I'd charge to use the studio, and then charge for the clay. Or figure out a way to charge for the studio that will cover the clay they will use. Some people throw fast, or throw poorly, take the clay off and then get some more new clay out of the bag. Who does the work reclaiming all that clay? You. It is taking away from your time for your business.


JMHO, but it's from a person who gives too much away all the time, and has learned to stop doing this. 


#104821 Need To Step Up Production

Posted by nancylee on 06 April 2016 - 08:02 PM

I would love to have a 16x24 studio! I know full time potters who work in spaces half that large, and without plumbing. I worked out of a studio that was only 8x15 for a couple of years, with two kilns in there and no plumbing. Open floor space is not necessary, but well designed shelving is. It's amazing what you can do in a small space if you're smart about it.


chris is right about everything she said.  take yourself seriously.  this is a major step in making you happy.  do something to start today.


and, plumbing is not that hard to learn.  see if the local community has a night school course in plumbing basics.  or, as always, your local library has a wealth of info on plumbing for do it yourselfers.  i would be happy to plumb your sink if i lived close enough to your location.  get a bunch of plumbing books and stick them all around the house so your husband can see that you are serious about doing this next step toward a happy retirement.  it ain't rocket science, just attaching pipes to each other in a logical way.  with all the new kinds of tools and materials you should have no problems.  get CURRENT books at your local Home Depot or similar store and look them over.  only the unknown is frightening.  


upstate ny has a deep freeze zone, you could contact a local trench digger and ask for a price to run a trench from your water supply to the barn.  your local building inspector is not an enemy, talk to him/her.  

I think I'm still getting my mind around that I may be able to actually make a living at this if I push a bit more. It's very exciting, but all unexpected. And thanks for the encouragement about the plumbing - I have never done carpentry or plumbing, but why couldn't i?

#102164 Does Anyone Recognize This Low Fire Glaze?

Posted by nancylee on 17 February 2016 - 03:38 PM

Hi all,
I used this a few years ago and can't find my notes. (What else is new?) I know/think it was a low fire paint on glaze, but I'm not sure. Anyone recognize this?

Thanks in advance for any help,
Nancy Attached File  image.jpeg   66.69KB   3 downloads

#100340 Creating Product Lines / Over Time

Posted by nancylee on 21 January 2016 - 12:09 PM

Nancylee: I know several people who make a full time income on Etsy. The secret is hard, hard, hard work, making the same thing over many times and of course it helps enormously if someone at Etsy's headquarters likes your shop so they feature it in their emails, home page etc. 


I know a few people, also, but I don't think there is a magic formula. I do a lot of what my friend tells me to do with jewelry, and she sells a lot. But she's been on etsy for a long time. I also agree that if they like your shop and feature you, you're golden! That seems way too happenstance to me, and not like a business plan - you can really predict what they will like or feature. So I continue to explore other ways, including linking my IG and my FB to my etsy shop. I have a tumblr, but haven't used it yet. 

#99056 Slip On Greenware

Posted by nancylee on 08 January 2016 - 05:59 AM

Thanks, Giselle! That doesn't sound too overwhelming! I can do that, for sure!!!