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Mark C.

Member Since 09 Jan 2012
Offline Last Active Today, 03:36 AM

#72052 Robin Hopper's Mocha Diffusion-Base Slip

Posted by Mark C. on 17 December 2014 - 10:34 PM

Larry lets see what others say who may be more diffuzed than I.

#71921 Quick Consignment Deal - Need Confirmation :)

Posted by Mark C. on 15 December 2014 - 04:25 PM

It sounds like you learned to take a pass on this type of deal next year.$500 profit for that amount of time and energy sucks.
I got you beat on bone head selling-heres my short list

Things that I have done before over my 40 years of selling that did not work out- others may learn from are-
selling in a mall co-op hand made store for a percentage-bad idea-it went belly up after 2 x-mas seasons.
selling in an inside mall with my booth-rent to high for marginal sales
selling thru various co-ops that all where not worth my time or energy.
Giving work to someone going to a trade show.Real bad idea.
Dealing with strangers in retail who needed me more than I needed them-never pans out.
Giving a NEW shop 30 days to pay me -they where 3 1/2 hours away one way from me -they packed up the store and filed for bankruptcy. within that 30 days- I got 3 years later 10 cents on the dollar lost all my work.
For me the WORD MALL means stay away with my pottery.
Every one of the above deals approched me 1st.
Now I say no to 99.99%-as I have a small amount of open mind left-about.01

I always suggest knowing your outlets well before doing business with them.
You can take my mistakes and use them in your behalf.

#71797 Food For Thought - E - Course!

Posted by Mark C. on 12 December 2014 - 10:04 PM

As a working full time potter who is a long time member of the potters council for many years and who has done mentoring thru this system it takes lots of time. I did it and will do more as I felt like giving back to the ceramic community but one needs to realize it takes lots of time. Its the same reason I am answering or posting any info on this foruem.
One of the things I did specify for mentoring is not teaching how to throw-for me this is not on online subject. I skyped for a few years with a mentee on issues like feet, glazes,forms, and trimming,selling ,etc but it all takes time away from what I do for a living.
as to the menroring program I can ask for a mentee who is looking for what I want to give as its a taylor made match which is one big reason I liked it.The mentee has to fit what I can give and thats a key point vs on online class with lots of folks.
I have a hard time getting my head around teaching it online for any reason. I Just do not see it at least for me at this time.I would rather work in the studio-this may change when I get older-and since I'm already older I doubt it.
There is a extremely large amount of shared knowledge on this forum from many sources from all over the planet.
I'm with John as it seems way to much work for those involved and costing to much money for those who may want to take one.
I made a choice when I was youger as my entire family was teachers of all levels that I would work in clay and see what happened.
I choose to be a potter not a teacher but as this family history of teaching seems to have rubbed off on me somewhat for thats another reson I'm active on this board.
They do have online courses for many collage subjects-I'm just not sold that clay is a good choice for one.

#71645 Bought The Square

Posted by Mark C. on 11 December 2014 - 02:15 AM

I processed 276 smart phone transactions last 3 day weekend using the Amazon reader at a big Art Fair.
I took one check and had over 700 customers. I would say many people use credit cards these days-almost 1/2 of the public at an Art Show for my work at least.
I like the Amazon reader although it has a few issues yet to be worked out with the software.Its to easy for the signer to hit the wrong button and move forward with the next next screen.My rate is 1.5% until 2016 as I signed early with them. then it goes to 2.5%
I like the square software but Amazon has a better register screen. and better suppport on the phone.

#71638 Cut-Off Date For Christmas Custom Orders

Posted by Mark C. on 10 December 2014 - 11:22 PM

Hey Paul I just shipped out my last two boxes for x-mas in am for customers.
Now I can only hope UPS does not distroy them even if they are double boxed.

#71136 Throwing Straight Out Of The Pugger-Yes

Posted by Mark C. on 02 December 2014 - 09:42 PM

Well after almost a year with this new to me machine the jury results are in.
I love it-works well and has been a joy. The vacuum keeps the air out of clay.
I use it to reclaim all wet clay (still do not reclaim dry porcelain scraps)
I mixed two new stoneware bodies for a fellow potter (500#s) who is in her 80's and it worked great.
Those bodies where Danish white with sand and without sand. She likes this mix and I mixed it and boxed it and will drop it off when I return froma a show.
So far the clay has thrown well and and my slab body has had zero issues.
I would suggest to all who are thinking about a peter pugger to at least get the V20 size as another potter I know has the smallest size and as it only holds 25#s its to small he says. The other point is you never get 25# out of it as some stays behind-the next model up is just a few hundred more dollars anyway.
These machines are expensive but I will say they make hard clat soft or blend bodies well and you can reuse scraps easy.If you are a hobbist I cannot see much value for one as clay is cheap but if you plan a lifetime of work with clay they make sense or if a used one comes along the same is true.
Its now just like another used and needed tool for me.My pocelain body will eat up the casing some over time but I do not care as I'm not going to outlive this thing.

#70990 For Christmas.

Posted by Mark C. on 30 November 2014 - 10:10 PM

Gotta love the spoon rest-funny you mention them
I'm off to my big Tempe AZ show this week and my van has over 550 spoon rests in it. My notes last year said to take that many as I came home with 9 last year.
You have to like an extra few K for some spoon rests at a big show.
They sell like hot cakes at x-mss
I did a post just on making and selling them a few years back here.
If your( anyone who reads this) in Tempe at the Tempe Festival of the Arts show this coming weekend stop by and give me a shout out.I'm on Mill ave between 4th and 5th.

#70973 Grinding

Posted by Mark C. on 30 November 2014 - 01:50 PM

As you move into woodfiring, you are moving into a more rarefied market. When you move outside of potters themselves (who tend to more broadly appreciate this kind of work), it is a niche market. And in general a very aestehtically critical and educated niche consumer.)
this is very true for my salt fired work as well.
The foot wadding marks and some ginnding is part of whats it about. The market is much smaller for these works as well.
I have a separate small display for these at a show at times with signage speaking to the proocess.

#70793 To Sell Or Not To Sell? That Is The Question

Posted by Mark C. on 26 November 2014 - 04:03 PM

I price up my gems and they disappear-I usually tell them when I'm wrapping about how special they are.
As far as selling work -I would make sure the quaility is there first.

#70593 Cut-Off Date For Christmas Custom Orders

Posted by Mark C. on 23 November 2014 - 09:35 PM

Chris this statement is beautiful-so true- so true.
( it's some law of the Universe.
The more you care about something the more likely it is to go wrong.)


#70557 Cut-Off Date For Christmas Custom Orders

Posted by Mark C. on 23 November 2014 - 12:52 PM

shippers get REAL rough with packages about this time of year.
I never have shipping breakage issues except at the holidays-as they are so rough on my double boxed pots.
I have a web page that is deticated just to this subject

The last note is I already have 16 retail sales days in Dec and taking time out to ship a spoonrest is not what I plan on doing . I focus on my sales which are more large volume sales-getting hundreds of customers their christmas gifts directly from my booth in time for the 25th under a tree.This month (dec)is always a huge mounth for me as its my 35th year of running my own pottery booth in Town just for holiday sales.
One last note on last minute shipping. Often the shipper get overwhelmed and schedules drag a few extra days-I know this from past experience(last year a woman talked me into a last minute shipment across country in a snow storm)It made it on the 24th just barely.

#70436 Sealing Hump Molds

Posted by Mark C. on 21 November 2014 - 10:15 PM

If you want to seal the surface-that is loose all the plaster asbsorption I would use PUP which is polyurethane Parting compound.
Its made to seal a master molds to cast your rubber off of. I have a gallon jug around just for this use.It seals plaster extremely well.
If you have a treal paint store you could ask them for some or order it from a full service ceramic supply house.This is what mold makers use to seal plaster.

#70345 Pitfalls And Must Haves

Posted by Mark C. on 20 November 2014 - 09:12 PM

TGP No worries-never been sued in past 40 years with more pots out there than a rodent could nibble on.


#70319 Input On These Cups/handles

Posted by Mark C. on 20 November 2014 - 03:44 PM

My vote is for handle #2 as it fits a large hand then #1 as it fist a smaller hand and looks good with mug shape. #3 is not up to speed and needs to be redone.

#70127 New Potter: Advice Appreciated!

Posted by Mark C. on 18 November 2014 - 12:50 AM

The forums here at Ceramic Arts Daily have been a huge help as I try to navigate the intricacies, complexities, joys, and frustrations of running my own pottery business. I figured it was time to actually get acquainted with some of you and begin developing relationships that I feel could really aid me in my pursuit of doing this pottery thing full time.
Here's the scoop. I have only thrown/turned pottery for just a little over a year now (see some images of my work below), and would love to go full-time in the next year or two. I realize to some of you, the previous sentence may border on the offensive. I know it takes decades to truly excel at pottery and I have a long way to go. But, when I have had extended time in my studio, I have seen the quality of my pieces grow in leaps and bounds compared to periods when I only had several hours a week to give. In general, I am happy with my pots, but not content. I am consistently working on my lines, weight, function, and originality. I have so many ideas . . . 
Here's a little background on my business: 
1. Officially started in April (Running as Sole Proprietor)
2. Have been selling on Etsy, at some local craft shows, and out of my little shop
3. Put in $500 in seed money in a business account and resolved not to take any more of my personal money to fund the business
4.  My business account has paid for my startup/continuing costs and I have earned close to $3000-$4000 or so working very part time since starting in April (Graduated in May, married in June, so my time has been limited) 
5. My pieces are in several galleries in the Indiana/Ohio/KY area 
6. Just purchased a bigger kiln so I could begin ramping up production 
Here are my goals for the next year:
1. Earn $10,000 net by end of August 2015 
2. Further develop my voice: Specifically focusing on forms and glazing
3. Get out of the local craft fair scene and focus on bigger shows
4. Do all of this while continuing my full-time job (business writer) and without ruining my marriage. ;-) 
My wife and I sat down last weekend and talked about the business. We decided together that if I could clear $10,000 in profit by the end of next August working very part time, we would consider taking the plunge and going full-time (assuming I could double/triple my profit once I had 40+ hours a week do devote to it) 
I have so much I could say, but I will try to keep this brief. To make a long story short, I really want to give this thing a go in the next year, and know that you all have knowledge, experience, and information that would take me years to learn on my own.
So, here are some of the questions I feel you guys could really help me with (feel free to chime in with any other advice as well) 
1. Are my pieces good enough to go full-time (see some sample pictures below)? 

(You already hit the nail on the head -work on forms and glazing-this process takes LOTS of time so its good you love clay.
Start to develope a line of forms which you work on only to discipline yourself-stay within this line inproving these forms.
Glazing well thats another story-it all takes time and becuase you love clay this will not feel like work.
There is NO shortcut to save you years of to learn on your own-really it just takes yaers on on your own to refine this things.
I have 4 decades in to being a full time potter and i'm always refining processes still.)
    I know it is very difficult to evaluate pieces without having them in your hand (fit, weight,etc). But, I would appreciate whatever honest feedback you feel you can give from a visual example alone. I have had positive feedback in general from customers, several gallery owners, and ceramics' professors. But, I want to know what you guys think. Keep in mind, I have only been doing it for a year and know I have decades ahead of me to really perfect my pieces. I do not feel I am the next Bernard Leach, I just know I greatly enjoy pottery and at this point couldn't see myself doing anything else for a living long-term. 
2. What advice do you have for tweaking my booth setup (included below)?

(I would use your pop up for some more years and work on other item like your display.
The old barnwood is what I used 40+ years ago when I started out. I would work on a better display for better results.
Take it slow. The display you show does not use your 10x 10 space well. Look at other potters setups
all this takes some time-so go slow.)

The booth shot below is old, but it is still very similar to the setup I have used the last several shows. My dad and I made the shelving ourselves, out of reclaimed barnwood. I am planning on selling my pop-up canopy and investing in a new lightdome or trimline (Any advice here would be appreciated as well). Anyway, let me know what you guys think, especially in-light of my goal to break into some of the higher end shows this upcoming year. 
3. Are there any good shows you would recommend within 5 hours of the Cincinnati, OH area? 

(I cannot help you here as I live on another planet.)
4. Have any of you developed wholesale relationships with local farm-to-table restaurants/coffee shops/greenhouses (planters)? If so, how did you go about setting them up and have they been good experiences/profitable?

(This love of food you have and clay may later work but as noted by others restaurants usually do not want to pay for handmade wares-I suggest tabling this until later while you work on forms and glazing your line of work.)
5. My wife and I are not big spenders. We love our food, that's really the only area where we spend a lot of money. We would be more than happy if the business could produce $36,000 year in net profit. What would I need to gross to do that and is that a doable benchmark once you are up and running full time?

(Not sure if this has an answer as pottery is labor intensive-if you are thinking an hourly wage at this point I would not think that way.
Met profit is after expenses so plan on making a lot of Pottery-since there are so may variables-like clay-material costs gas or electric costs-show fees and travel you will find just to track this takes tons of time. I started without thinking about any of that and made it work. If I had thought about that at first I'd have done somethiong easy with my life like chain gang work or digging graves.)
6. What steps should I take to begin preparing for a possible full-time pottery?

(If clay is your passion go for it no matter what anyone says if your are on the fence take it slow and see if its for you.
If its only a job do someting easier like I mentioned above like moving around large rocks by hand to erect stone walls (stine mason old school way)
If clay is your thing the pieces will come together the more you work at its.
Work on forms and glazing of your line of work-this is the key element to make the rest work.
I could add more but my busy season is NOW and I have to get back to work.)
Thanks so much, I am sure this is more than enough to get the conversation started. I look forward to your input and counsel!
P.S. If you want any further images of my work to evaluate, I would be happy to send them over via email/pm (some of my professional shots were too big to upload)

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