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Mark C.

Member Since 09 Jan 2012
Offline Last Active Today, 01:12 AM

#76743 New Work -A Bit Different For Me

Posted by Mark C. on Yesterday, 12:04 PM

Heres what the bottom looks like.

My studio signature in nubbin in center LHP for Liscom Hill Pottery

I also sign pots with Cort that is very fluid


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#76627 New Work -A Bit Different For Me

Posted by Mark C. on 02 March 2015 - 09:40 PM

I unloaded a few gas fired glaze kilns today-all porcelain . 

I have a friend who was very specific on his plate colors-that is he wanted it all-as its a gift I granted his wish.

I made 7 plates for him and they all came out perfect-Its what I call landscape as its many glazes.

This busy looking combos is becoming more popular is certain areas I have notices so I'm making more mugs and smalls in this combo-its just a lot of glaze work.



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#76530 How Many Sell Ceramics For A Living?

Posted by Mark C. on 01 March 2015 - 08:16 PM

(However, the majority of self supporting potters I know do not post anywhere on the Internet for a ton of reasons ... Most having to do with the need to manage any free time they get. Pesky things like food,rest, life and family!

This is so true-of the potters I know who are at it full time most do not have web sites and none post on the net.

I started to feel about a decade ago about giving back in terms of mentoring and helping avoid the pit falls I have gone thru.

I'm also fortunute to be able to make time for this as its in my one of my fields of interest.

The think I find the hardest is my advice is strictly from a studio potter who is working on a full time schedule so its hard for me to scale down some advice to part timers. Its something I'm starting to do a bit better but still hard to shift focus.

I also have a vested interest as far as hoping others will become full time and continue the making and selling of funtional wares as we shift more to a throw away society.


Now Chris brought up a huge point here which in itself is its own topic

(big factor as well as ceramics programs not encouraging functional pottery. )

I could really dig into this as I have watched this shift.


#76503 How Many Sell Ceramics For A Living?

Posted by Mark C. on 01 March 2015 - 01:17 PM

One area that has not been covered  much is the replenishment rate of funtional potters

Meaning are we old timers being replaced?

Out here in the west (in my small county of 110,000) the answer is no

As I travel around at shows the answer is also no.

I wonder about the story in the east?

Here the average age at a big art show for us potters in 50-65 with a few exceptions.

I know of of gallery owners who struggle for funtional work as there usual potters retire or stop wholesaling.

The only full time potter I know who is in his 30's does not yet support himself as his wife has a power job and he said he could not go it alone.He did not want to wholesale and wants to sell items for top dollar-His market has yet to develope well for him. This takes time and lots of work.

I do not have an answer of why I only know some of the reasons

Production work is not embraced it seems

What I can say is many straight from collage want to sell a few pieces for lots of money (this is a great idea but not based in reality)

This is based from my past experience hiring top ceramic students from my local collage which I may add I gave up years ago .

The other is the learning curve takes so long and the equipment is costly-this I guess is another reason we are not seeing new folks taking our spots at shows?

My last idea is people in general do not want to work hard these days-and this is from experiencing the new generation glued to small screens

On the flip side there has been an explosion in the hobby side of ceramics-I learned this from Mel Jacobson at a potters council workshop I attended years ago in Mendocino when he told me thats who goes to the workshops-He said we see very few profesionals like you at these-and he was right.

In a perfect world I would love to see young funtional potters making their way into the art fair scene but out here in the west its just the opposite.

My fellow old geezers clay potters talk about this issue at every show these days.


#76481 How Many Sell Ceramics For A Living?

Posted by Mark C. on 28 February 2015 - 11:22 PM

I'm one whose full time job is clay-making and selling.

I have two glaze fires going right now in my gas kilns so I'l keep it short.

My family was just about all teachers -most did art. From elementary to high school to Univerity of California art professors. I'm the only non-teacher in the bunch.

I was introduced to clay in 11 grade-I bought a wheel in my senior year-went to collage for 5 years in art-learned all I could sponge up about clay kilns glaze making. Never had a plan or thought about the next week much.Clay just go into my blood somehow-before I knew it it was all I was doing and before I could even consider it I was a full time potter. The startup was brutal looking back-I just rolled with it and by my middle 30's found my stride. Now 40 plus years later I'm still at it.I never had a plan-If I knew now how much work its been I may have thought twice.

Most do not have the drive to do this full time -For many years I did not think of it as work-I still am amazed I get paid to be in the studio but by now I know its big work and does take a toll on your body.

I will say I'm a high energy person or so I'm told-never learned to sit still and relax much.

I bought my place when I was only 19 in collage so I could build a few kilns and not be kicked out by landlords (which happened the year earlier)

My big break was a mother who had the foresight to loan me $ 5,500 for the down payment. It defined the rest of my life thinking back.

I have had a few setbacks like loosing three wrist bones fron a surgeon almost 3 years ago (a PRC)-that was a 5-6 month recovery for a potter but I;m back throwing very well now.

Adversity for me has been part of the journey.


#76304 Making Burners Do's And Don't's

Posted by Mark C. on 27 February 2015 - 11:37 AM

My commercial updraft (12 cubic feet) has no stack -small orfices low pressure (7 inches) 6 burners (cast  from refractory material venturi)

Burners are on 4 corners coming stright up on one control and two on sides in middle on another control.

For a 5.5 cubic footer 4 would be plenty for venturi-if you go forced air two would be fine as they produce pressures into the chamber.

I would stick to keep it simple with a small kiln.

As far as orfice size that needs to match whatever burner you make to get the best mix of air /gas.

Orfices come in brass and you can drill them out to whatever you need-start small and work up would be my suggestion. On this side of the pond we use letter/number drills.

In a 5.5 cubic foot kiln 4 burners with whatever size flames will be enough-your orfice size will be small


#75990 Weight/size Charts?

Posted by Mark C. on 23 February 2015 - 11:25 AM

On my salad plates I've used 2 lbs , where I center and open to 9 in then pull a wall for the rim, lay it over so the rim is at the edge of a 10 in bat pin hole but this seems to be too light to me, sorta what "Pres" said about mugs. I'm thinking It should be 2 1/4- 2 1/2 lbs to give more substance. I went up to 3 1/2 on my plates and that seems about right

Do others here like a thin or more robust plates.


I make a 8 inch salad porcelain plate and use 3.5#s of clay and trim a nice foot and glaze the bottoms. I like a thick enough plate so they hold up well in daily use.

40 years ago it was a quest to throw thin potato chip ware that broke about as easy as a potato chip. My customers gave me feedback and I have been making durable wares since.

As far as mugs I provide 5 sizes in one style and an additional 2 styles-so thats 7 sizes total.

I still make motion/trucker mugs and soup mugs

The weight chart will vary for different clays and throwing levels-no one size for all -never that easy in clay work.


#75975 Firing Service Fees

Posted by Mark C. on 23 February 2015 - 12:52 AM

(Once in a great while someone brings a piece to fire and its lowfire clay and ruins shelves and other work.)

This is why I gave this up long ago myself.I have been at this a great while myself and have seen this many times.

The fee never covers this part.


#75631 Throwing Off The Hump?

Posted by Mark C. on 17 February 2015 - 07:39 PM

sometimes I wonder if I should make my mugs off the hump. I spent a lot of time weighing out 1 lb balls of clay. I usually start by weighing like 20-30 balls of clay for mugs. I dont really make the same shape right now anyways, just been exploring designs and ideas. maybe i should try this hump thing.

Save some time by just cutting the 25# pug into 24 pieces with a one handled wire. no need to weigh each one.They all be close enough.


#75530 Diy Kiln Vent

Posted by Mark C. on 15 February 2015 - 10:45 PM

Vinyl melts-how far away is it exactly?? 24 inchs??-You could always prop a piece of cement board in front of the vinyl. 2 feet is a long ways if thats what you have.


#75386 Yay, Bisque! ^_^

Posted by Mark C. on 13 February 2015 - 02:46 AM

I fall flat painting and drawing-you got it going on-keep up the good work.


#75379 Pots Away!

Posted by Mark C. on 12 February 2015 - 11:59 PM

I have sold many a pot right from a glaze kiln and never got to know them-OH well I made more.

( i am starting to wonder why I chose to be born here.)

the question should read why did I stay?


As far a special orders-I do not do them anymore-one of my better decisions-I wish I had done it a few decades ago.

If you make an order its the one that will go south in the kiln-always Crusty-make at least 4-nothing like 3 dog bowls with the pets name on them to sell later.

Now I take a break after the Holiday mode as you say Tom

No amount of $ will make me get going early on my time off.Now as for an after holiday order-I always have boxes of mugs ready to roll for my outlets-I may take a break but they keep selling and I need to supply so I backstock lots of work always-this is a key business point for me.

TJR you have full time job so go easy on yourself.


#75353 Glaze Spraying With A

Posted by Mark C. on 12 February 2015 - 07:04 PM

I was trying to keep it simple for Crusty as he did not want a air compressor

I to have a small compressor and an airbrush and a Giel gun and two other guns as well

I will add I use them all over time and usually at the same time as each has a different mix in it when sraying but the harbor freight one is self contained all in one

easy to use and clean-my biggest beef is its noisy and as mentioned only one setting.

It sprays slip to glaze just fine but it will not do any detail.

I still like my small compressor and guns if I had to choose .


#75140 Kiln Wash Flaking Off Of Shelves

Posted by Mark C. on 10 February 2015 - 03:34 PM


mine is


Alumina hydrate 50%

EPK                    25%

calcined epk       25%

You could up the calcined amout as well.

I apply it as a cream consistency with a paint roller with a roller with a drip expanded metel tray hanging in 5 gallon bucket.

I load it up and roll the shelve with two passes to cover a 12x 24-let it sun dry and apply another coat.

fire with bisque pots on it in bisque load then high fire with pots  on it as well.


this wash has worked well on all types of shelves over many decades.

Never used commercial wash but have a bag that was given to me if you need it??I treat it as bad JUJU-hey maybe caulking a football or baseball field would be a good use of it.


#75078 What's The Most Risque Out There Thing You've Done In Clay.....

Posted by Mark C. on 09 February 2015 - 10:54 PM

I would not like to answer this question as its a family board.I'll just say my clay collage  learning was in the 70's.