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Mark C.

Member Since 09 Jan 2012
Offline Last Active Today, 01:36 AM

#96521 Galleries In Central Ca ?

Posted by Mark C. on 29 November 2015 - 11:22 PM

I have some pots(limited forms) in next town up from Cambria-the place has lots of potters works I'm told-it in a very small place called Harmony-I think the shop is Harmony Pottery-you cannot miss it if you can find the town of Harmony.

Santa Barbara used to have the YES store which is artists co op  store during the holidays-lots of ceramics-you could google that.


As far as Cambria I would check out the 

Amphora Gallery

I have a few potter friends that have work there-its a 6 local potters gallery with lots of clay work. Say Hi to Gary Gall the potter for me.We will miss him in Tempe this weekend.


#96487 Black Friday/shop Small Saturday

Posted by Mark C. on 28 November 2015 - 03:47 PM

My outlets usually do a brisk business on this weekend. I always make sure they are loaded up with inventory this time of year..

My local outlets are up this season as well.I have been taking in miore than usual to keep up with sales.

My biggest show of year is less than a week away for me-kilns are cooling van is packed full-pots are for my local  14 day potterty sale when I return-this will be my 37th year of doing that. Runs the 11th to xmas eve.


#96364 Etsy Partners With . . . Macy's?

Posted by Mark C. on 25 November 2015 - 03:13 PM

This story sounds like one of greed.


#96348 Centering Tools

Posted by Mark C. on 25 November 2015 - 10:58 AM

Centering is a developed skill-no tool will get you there.

Practice makes perfect they say.


#96301 Plaster Mold From Eps Foam

Posted by Mark C. on 25 November 2015 - 01:08 AM

I agree thgat a smooth surface then mold release is the best way to go-house paint is not as smooth or hard as sheliac so I would avoid it its to soft as well.

Use the mold release as well.


I never have poured plaster onto foam myself.

most master molds are cast around a rubber- compound. I assume you are making either a master or one working mold?


#96213 Handles

Posted by Mark C. on 23 November 2015 - 01:48 PM

Back in the day I used to use needle tools to scratch with and pulled handles all handles-that was the 70's.

In the past 35 years I have made so many mugs (this is all in Porcelain) that the process needed to be speeded up.

Sometime in the 80s I cut my handle in half and made dies in aluminum (cross section) ( I have 4 sizes) and extruded the handles-the byproduct was a homemade handle the same as mine (not tapered) and the handle was a lot stronger. (extruded compresses clay). I shoot two handles at a time(the length) and load a bat up with 30 handles at a time. I keep a slip container next to wheel and use my throwing slip with vinegar added to connect handles-I use a brush for the slip. I use a metal serrated flat rib(its oval shaped) to score mugs ( one pass equals about 10 with  needle tool) and also same tool to cut angle on handle.I cover mugs one night to equalize then dry as fast as needed.This system is not for everyone only those who need to make mugs fast and have time for other things-its a production potter deal.All of my fellow production potters make handles in similar fashion with their own spin.

When making large mugs I have to let the mugs dry a bit with handles upside down so they maintain the shape I want. I thumb spot (thumb rest) every mug as well. Its one of my signature things

When you make 100-200 mugs a week you need use processes that work well and fast.

You also need to keep in mind I make my living with clay and time is very important to me.Hence when you work with 60 mugs every day you learn to pick it up a notch.


#95978 Old School Dinnerware Set For Customer

Posted by Mark C. on 18 November 2015 - 03:34 PM

Nobody orders 12 place settings anymore.Its usually 4 or 6 or 8 of whatever. I took this order in March to bring to a show in December  (out of state show) for a 3 piece 12 place setting. Glazed in landscape.

The set just came out and every piece was flawless. Thats something that NEVER happens. I have 13 place settings in flatware and 5 extra bowls.

The plates are 10 inch the salad are 8 inch and the bowls are 6 inch. Porcelain fired to a how cone 11 in reduction.

I think she will be pleased as it looks as good as these glazes and get.



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#95742 Could Someone Help A Mama?

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

Chris has great advice above-the speedball wheels are at the low end of wheels-especially with service.


#95705 Qotw: Do You Get Pottery Utensils As Gifts?

Posted by Mark C. on 11 November 2015 - 08:44 PM


My wife says she is not interested in buying my 9 tons of clay.

I think I would have better luck asking for an airplane.


#95656 Clay Shed Is Almost Full Again

Posted by Mark C. on 11 November 2015 - 12:51 AM

My annual clay buy came in last week and it took 4 days to get it  moved now its done.

!st time i ever had help with a clay move (Friends high schooler son). Was able to get it all in shed with a bit of room to move around in.

The shed holds 6 boxes deep 8 high -this pile is 9 tons on right and about 2 tons to the left. The orange striped boxes are 5 tons of softer clay that I will get to later after going thru the firmer clay1st-the 9 tons are Daves porcelain .This will last just over a year unless I slow down some more.

The clay on the left is other bodies like Babu and 550 porcelains and a few misc bodies like 1/2 and half.

I decided next year to do all this in the dead of winter as my x-mas season is to busy for moving and billing others for clay-I order for some other potters as well and do some of the paperwork-I'm a slow learner and my back hurts


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#95630 Qotw: Do You Get Pottery Utensils As Gifts?

Posted by Mark C. on 10 November 2015 - 03:58 PM

Never-I have all that I would ever need tool wise.

I doubt my wife wants to buy 9 tons of clay for me-I'll ask as the bill is coming this month.


#95527 "i Covered Expenses ....."

Posted by Mark C. on 09 November 2015 - 01:32 AM

Figuring the shows that work for each artist is one of the hardest parts and there are no shortcuts

Since I have done this so long it now just a groove but finding mine took a few deacades and most do not last that long these days. For me it was a passion and a lifestyle that I could not turn away from. 

I have avoided getting to detail in the economics as it really is only my business but I can share a bit so one can see whats possible if you stick it out.

Heres a list of my last years (2014)show grosses in no picticular order of my 5 of my 8 shows I did.These are gross totals only.

keep in mind I have done these shows for many decades with a huge return customer base.

I show my best  2 shows  and worse 2 in this list.

I did 3 more shows I am not showing plus a fair amount of wholesale and consignment.

I like a spread of income sources. 

The show fees on these 5 shows 

were 1,200 





What is not here is expenses-clay time fuel gasoline hotels-glaze materials time spent traveling food show helpers -sales taxes etc etc.

I hire help for any double booth as it pays off with customer wait times.







You can get some idea that shows can work-but you need to have some history at the show and lots of stock as I have mentioned countless times as well as items people want or seem to need a lot of-meaning funtional items that work well.The price points need to work as well.Snappy glazes do not hurt as well

Ok Back to my xmas season.Dreaming of a 40 hour week.


#95522 Qotw: How Do You Stay Creative

Posted by Mark C. on 08 November 2015 - 09:25 PM

Life is short -to many things not enough time-I have no trouble with this -its comes naturally-no need to look around.


#95521 "i Covered Expenses ....."

Posted by Mark C. on 08 November 2015 - 09:09 PM

If you covered expenses you lost your a---s.

Seems elementary to me.

Stephan has it almost right-

Shows cost for me between 225$ and 1200$ depending on how many days they run and the venue. The average is more in the 600$ range. As far as show gross less than 6k would make me think twice about going back unless it a local show where sleeping at home saves on expenses.My local shows I can do less and still come out ahead as the costs are way less.

For me hotel -show fees and travel all mean the show should be in the 8-12k range. I know a few potters who like me do these kind of numbers on a regular basis.We travel great lenghts for great shows and it has to pay off or we move on. I have not done any New shows in over 10 years(new meaning ones I have not done for years and years-I know what works for me and stick to what is working. I also have 40 + years of shows under my belt (I do not wear one)

so that learning cuve is way back.This all depends on how much you like to work or if you think of it as work. If someone asks how many hours do I have to work in a week at clay I know right then they are not going to make it in clay.


#95372 Kiln Not Reaching Temperature

Posted by Mark C. on 06 November 2015 - 10:48 AM

This kiln looks like an updraft to me-no stack. The controller need to come off. Just fire direct drive(no controller) with cones and  turn it off when the cones bend.