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Member Since 21 May 2011
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#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!!!


#99022 How Do You Keep Production Work Interesting

Posted by nancylee on 07 January 2016 - 05:55 PM

Thanks, Oldlady, for the help, and suggestions. And thank you, Gisele, for sharing how you do things. I think we are similar - I can see me doing enough to get flowing, but too much would make me rip my hair out. :)



#98554 Developing A Style...when Does That Start?

Posted by nancylee on 01 January 2016 - 11:00 PM

This is the kind of discussion that I always enjoy, though I may not have anything useful to say.  In my opinion, you can't avoid having a style, even though it may not be your own.
I don't think it is necessarily dependent on skill, because I've seen fairly new potters doing stuff that, even if somewhat clumsy in execution, is still clearly driven by a personal vision, not something learned from a teacher or from a book.  When I was a young potter, I was trying to be Bernard Leach, who, as it turns out, was not at all who I was interested in being.  Then I moved on to trying to be Michael Cardew, which was even less likely to happen, but a little closer to what I would do when it was me and not some great teacher in charge of the stylistic decisions.
There certainly is a danger that potters will be excessively influenced by the example of great teachers.  I remember going to the Ann Arbor Street Fair many years ago.  This was one of the premier shows in the country and attracted some of the very best artists.  At that show I saw two highly skilled potters whose work was indistinguishable from John Glick's work.  It was wonderful work, but it wasn't their own.
The point I'm trying to make here is that we should try to be aware of our influences, and maybe judge our own efforts not just by the metric of "Do I like it?" but also by the "Is it too similar to the stuff other potters make?"  I think this is one of those things you need to keep in mind if your goal is to make stuff that no one else is making.  It helps bump you off the overly travelled path.
On the other hand, sometimes I think potters can put too much emphasis on originality.  For example, there are only a limited range of shapes that make good soup bowls.  If you manage to come up with an entirely new shape for a soup bowl, it probably won't be much good as a soup bowl.  Originality in the making of soup bowls will turn out to be a pretty subtle thing... John Glick did it with his use of complex surface design, with stamps, slips, and multiple glazes.  I try to do it with quiet but complex glazes, and while my soup bowls are not as original as his, in my opinion, they are still a personal style that doesn't owe much to any great exemplar.
Anyway, sorry about the excessive maundering, but this is the sort of thing I like to think about.

I love John Pollex, but have no idea how to get what he gets as far as color, so I am still muddling along after 5 years. :)

#48250 How Would You Describe This Figure?

Posted by nancylee on 19 December 2013 - 06:54 PM

Maybe the ebay boards?? I think they have some ceramic boards, people there are collectors and may recognize it. 


Good luck!


#47570 Packaging Up Purchases At Art Fairs

Posted by nancylee on 10 December 2013 - 10:46 PM


No feathers were ruffled!! I just was in awe that you have such good shows. And jealous. I know that it takes a long time of making great pottery to build up the kind of business you have, and since I am 52 already, I don't have that many years left!!


I like the idea of putting flyers in local mailboxes. My shop is near a rafting center, and people leave their cars there all day. I have tried putting my business card on their windshields. I don't know if it helped, but that is the kind of thing I will try, also. 


I respect your work and your generosity in sharing all of the time. From what I have learned from what you have written in my time here, you work very hard at this. You deserve all of your success.



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#47450 Packaging Up Purchases At Art Fairs

Posted by nancylee on 09 December 2013 - 06:32 PM

Holy crow!

I talked to my buddy Steve where I fire my work. He was also in this studio crawl this weekend. He uses a roll of unprinted newprint for wrapping and a Safeway bag. The co-operative gallery where 11 potters sell their work [which he is involved with,as a member] use newsprint and boxes of different sizes. But at Christmas and during their sales, no one has time to do all that fancy stuff. You get your purchase in a bag after it is wrapped in unprinted newsprint. At their studio sales, people are lined up around the block like at a movie premiere. They have have been doing it a long time, and I have never seen a wooden box or a souvenire tile. People are there for the pots, not the packaging.




I am glad this works for these potters, but I think that I will use every advantage I can get!! And I want to know where these people lined up for the pots are!? We have lots of good potters where I live, and none of them have anyone lined up to buy anything. They really, really push hard to make sales and make a living at this. I know they would be green with envy having people lined up around the block to buy their stuff. Where is this??? I'm going to spread the word! :)


Honestly, if you are successful with a plastic grocery bag, and you obviously are, that is great. I think I will need more branding, as I am newer to this. I don't have a reputation, I don't have repeat customers. I do have some marketing savvy and am getting better and better at making pottery. But I am definitely going to need to push the marketing. 


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#40583 Selling anything on Etsy?

Posted by nancylee on 10 August 2013 - 05:20 AM

Yes, there is a huge market on etsy for personalized pottery. They do seem to be the biggest sellers. Having said that, there are a number of top sellers on the etsy mud team who make very nice personalized work. A few of them are so busy, they keep raising their prices and extending their production times (I think it's 5 weeks for them now) to try to slow down their orders, to no avail. Lesson for me: never underestimate the power of narcissism!

Another big seller on etsy is personalized wedding doodads, such as ring dishes and the such, with names and dates. Forme, I would like to have a wedding registry, and make dinnerware and canisters, etc. for new couples, not all the knick knacks. I think there would be great satisfaction in helping a young couple start their lives together with handmade pottery. That's one of my goals when I get better at all of this.

#19912 What do you do with the pieces that just don't make it? | July 24, 2012

Posted by nancylee on 26 July 2012 - 10:14 PM

I use my pieces for mosaics. I am making a mosaic around the door of my art cottage!

#19009 To Be or Not To Be

Posted by nancylee on 06 July 2012 - 11:01 AM

In our area the Farmers Market is just for farmers-they do not let Crafts in .
As for what do I think if they did- great-come one come all-I started out with just a little experience-looking back I sold all my early stuff which was junk by my todays standards but who cares -I gained experience in the market place- the public bought it as the price was right -now days most of my art shows are highly juried events that only pick what they think is good and thats another subject all together.

As John B. would say, BINGO! You probably thought what you now know was junk was fit for the Louvre back then. Also, very revealingly, is that you say the "price was right". So, basically, you were selling junk cheap. That must have made potters there who had worked for years perfecting their art and trying to get a decent price for their pots feel real good. But, of course, had this forum existed back then and you, as a beginner, had posted your ugly pots here and asked about marketing them you would have gotten the same fawning praise that the kid with the ugly tree vase got here and Teardrop and Trina would have thought the sky was falling if anyone offered even the mildest of criticism.


Just because he was selling newbie pottery doesn't mean it was junk. And why would an experienced potter be angry? The quality was obviously different, people can see that. And really - who are you to judge if someone walked away with a handcrafted pot, made with love and sweat by a newer potter, and was happy? Should only the wealthy be able to afford handcrafted goods? Should less wealthy people not be able to buy pottery? I am ot poor, but there is o way an $80 vas is in my budget.

There are many people who love pottery who are not looking for a piece of art, and couldn't afford that price anyway. I think the newbies fill that need quite well.

Disclaimer: I am a newbie who owns a shop and I sell all levels of my potter, including my own.


#19007 To Be or Not To Be

Posted by nancylee on 06 July 2012 - 10:54 AM

Another spin-off thread.

I asked this question previously of the folks who are repeatedly critical/judgemental towards noobies selling their wares but didn't receive a reply.


You are the organizer of a Craft Fair/Art Show/Farmer's market. There is a local potter who only has a year or so of experience who wants to take a space in the market and attempt to sell their wares for the first time.


Would it be better for "pottery" to allow this person a space and give "pottery" some exposure...or would it be better for pottery as a whole to tell them they aren't good enough and have no potters whatsoever represented at this market?

To be, or not to be?

And a deeper question dealing with "criticism"....if you are so inclined to comment...

If you saw someone selling at a show who is an obvious noob, would you confront them and tell them they need far more experience before they should ever even think about selling their work...like you do here...or is this just an Internet "hide behind the keyboard" kinda thing goin on that you wouldn't have the nerve to say to someone's face?

not trying too be "negative".....just truly want to know where the folks stand who have been critical towards noobs talking about selling their wares.

have a great day everyone...


I didn't think this is going to be a popular viewpoint, but I have a shop with all handcrafted goods, and I have gorgeous refined pottery, and also sell mine. Mine is newbie pottery, it isn't as light or refined as the experienced potters, so I don't ask the same price for it.

Why do I sell it? Because pottery is very expensive and I think those who don't have $80 for a vase might be happy with a $30 vase. I think we need to offer handcrafted goods to people of all income levels if we are to get people to start buying locally for everything. And I do clearly explain to buyers that I am newer, so my pottery is not the same quality as the good stuff. People can see the difference, they aren't stupid. But many people are thrilled to be able to afford a special piece for a lower price, and some even say they like the imperfections. So while I do have doubts over whether I should even be putting my stuff in my shop, it sells as well as the more expensive pottery, and how does anyone lose? My shop stays in business, experienced poters sell their wares, and people walk out happy, buying something made by hand, and not in China.