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Mark C.

Member Since 09 Jan 2012
Offline Last Active Today, 01:11 AM

#101434 Harry Davis,potter,engineer

Posted by Mark C. on Yesterday, 02:41 AM

Ok this thread cost me a book to buy-its on the way now-now I need a island to get shipwrecked on.

I'm working on that now as well.

#101067 De-Airing Pugmill

Posted by Mark C. on 31 January 2016 - 02:53 PM

A phase converter converts your 220 to three phase -Its just a device for one machine and lives next to that machine . I have a friend with a 3 phase large bandsaw (he does not have 3 phase in his neighborhood) he starts the phase converter at same time as band saw. Its a spend solution but it may be your only option. Check them out-the pug mill motor plate will help as well as calling the manufacture  for details on solutions.

#101031 Hi Roller Vertical Slab Roller

Posted by Mark C. on 31 January 2016 - 12:31 AM

I am a bit unsure about the whole idea of a vertical roller. I realize it saves space-my 30 inch Bailey electric with long table is a big footprint for sure.

The thing is when I roll out a long slab its already flat on a table and I do not have to bend or disturb it. In those videos on your link they flop and bend while taking them to a table. Mine slab is already on a table. I use the long table as a work space glaze area etc when not rolling slabs. Yes is you are rolling small slabs I can see its space saving use but the slabs need to be small as you still have to get them to a table and the more you bend them the more they will not be happy as clay has memory .

I'm not sold on the concept-I already know they are spendy as well.setting aside price as a quality piece of equipment price should not be the deciding factor.

I'm still liking a slab roller that leaves the slab right where you want it on the table  is best and not a vertical one.

Doc weathers made one and posted photos as well.

#101000 De-Airing Pugmill

Posted by Mark C. on 30 January 2016 - 03:20 PM

I think venco made 3 phase machines in Austrialia a lot.

Not sure but would a phase converter work for you?

#100889 New Kiln Wash Flakes Off

Posted by Mark C. on 29 January 2016 - 11:58 AM

mine is the same as above-no issues in 40 years with it-it costs more to make but it really works well.


Alumina hydrate 50%

EPK                    25%

calcined epk       25%


I apply it as a thick 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 

#100872 Ever Wondered How Your Clay Feels On The Wheel?

Posted by Mark C. on 28 January 2016 - 10:32 PM

I think we need to put YOUR go pro into my petter pugger to see clay as its being mixed before throwing.

#100864 New Kiln Wash Flakes Off

Posted by Mark C. on 28 January 2016 - 08:36 PM

Hopefully this is on the shelves not the kiln?

#100793 Back To Clay Work

Posted by Mark C. on 27 January 2016 - 12:36 PM

Well my time off clay is ending. Back to studio work on Monday. Tax prep almost wrapped up trees pruned (still need oil spray) Installed a water meter on the well so we now have leak detector and will know usage (never knew for past 43 years what our water usage is?)

odd jobs done. Studio cleanup is progressing nicely.

Galleries are needing work and I'm getting tired of digging thru the van looking for it. So its back to the shop and get the kilns going again.

Have enjoyed my break this year even though its been very wet. We have had 30 inches since the 1st week in December.

The apple trees had some light freezing this year which is good for them as well.

As I mentioned already in a post demand for pots seem up already this year and of course what people ask for you are out of. You may have 25 boxes of pots but the ones some gallery wants are the ones you do not have.

I have shipped out more than usual amount of wares already this year . I also have had the usual e-mails this year that seem to vanish into what I call crags list zone-that is they inquire -you follow thru and never hear back.Seems this is the new normal for many-the joys of non actual contact with humans -you really are not committed thru an e-mail it appears .(this is a whole area of subject matter with the new customers of today)

For me I'm low on large and huge mugs now and really need to get back in the saddle and get them processed.

Next show is in Early April in another state far far away so I have lots of stock building time for that.



#100638 Barry Brickell

Posted by Mark C. on 25 January 2016 - 12:47 PM

I too visited him in the 90's on our New Zealand trip. The railway was amazing .I rode the train  up to pottery.

The thing I will always recall about him and after you view the film you may get it was his feet-He did not wear shoes and his feet had elephant skin . Seeing those feet will always stick on my head. He was an amazing fellow.Sorry to see him go.He was a character.

#100365 Creating Product Lines / Over Time

Posted by Mark C. on 21 January 2016 - 07:29 PM

(It's possible that online sales will work best for potters who make higher-end work, since the pain of packing and shipping is less of a profit killer with expensive items)

Ray this is defiantly YES


I can add that I have a dedicated shed full of second hand free packing stuff at the ready and can double box very fast. I think this is a must if you are headed to online sales.

#100189 Ceramic Income Streams For Studio Potters

Posted by Mark C. on 19 January 2016 - 08:48 PM

I have said this more than a few times as a functional potter to try and spread out your income sources. As time goes by your situation can change and having various income source points helps as some fade away or others change.

This year during tax time mine are roughly as follows-it changes slightly year to year but this is a rough estimate for 2015


Wholesale           15%

Fairs in state       20%

Fairs out of state 40%

Consignment       30%


I realize these do not total 100% but they are rough enough for you to get the picture. The thing I like is no one stream is enough to really affects me all that much. I can choose to pick up more of this or that as change happens.

For me I’m getting tired of traveling with a 1-ton van of pots so much. I used to do over 20 K miles a year for decade’s on the van now its less than 10k (the van is used only for business and is parked between shows)

So I’m cutting back on some shows hence my show income will shift. I can choose to make it up or let it go. In my case I’m letting it go. Or I’m thinking I will-it really has not worked out yet.

I have had a mix for 40 years now and like most things about it. Having a check come in the mail from others selling my work is refreshing just as it is to return from a far-flung show with a bag of money.

I had given up wholesale for about 20 plus years and have brought it back into the mix.I have cut it back 5% since 2014 numbers

If your starting out consider more than just a few income source points –in the long run this diversity will help you.


One last note as this has been well covered by Mea’s posts.

 I make more money with my wares at art shows than the other sources but that said if you just limit yourself to this one income in the long run you will have missed some business connections that later in life can help you. This I have seen with other potters when they aged and only did shows in their career and now wished they had other sources to fall back on. Those sources at one time courted them but they turned them down and now wish they had a few.

#100153 Creative Wholesale

Posted by Mark C. on 19 January 2016 - 12:08 PM

Seems I need to clear up a few points

1st I'm well known in these parts for my pottery business-40 years of local shows and sales and in lots of shops studio sales  etc.

so my mug line in this shop was not much risk for either party.I also am very close friend with the owner-so believe it or not this was a harder deal as our friendship means more than any business deal. We set it up and if he did not like it he would ask me to take it away and we would still be friends-we covered ALL the points upfront-you would not have to do all this if you did not know the owner as I do.

Nancy its not consignment in any way-at the 1st meeting I offered to buy back any mugs if the whole deal went south which it never did-that was a startup offer to limit their risk and show them this would be a success if it failed they could not loose.

We display 4 of each size in one store three in another store as space is limited

I fill their two shops with mugs in the back stock areas, tidy up my display etc almost on a weekly basis. I keep track of all mugs I take to them in and bill them quarterly .

Thats a trust deal right there.-they only have to restock mugs from back stock to display. They do not count or keep track of any of it except all sales are run thru a computerized sales system which they use to track food so they know what to bake the next day.

They send me 4 checks per year-I break down the mugs sizes and quantity for both shops so their bookkeeper has all the sales info.I make it easy for them. 

For that work I get more money as they do not have to deal with much-the mugs sell themselves 

About 5 years ago a woman came in to shop and said her husband was out in car and they had come for my mugs from two states away while on a trip and could she take a few out to show her husband-thats when they realized I had customers coming from all over the west for the work.

We now have a very nice info card inside every mug about care and feeding along with my business name-they use my name on their sign with the prices as well as their web site-they sell a few online and I mean a few as online sales are soft on ceramic items (touch feel etc does not work well online)


I never let them run low or out -its happened like at x-mas when someone buys them all but it rare as I back stock so many. When you start a deal like this which is selling high volume you need to be a high volume supplier . I keep a stash at studio of their sizes at the ready as well as a few boxes in my delivery truck all the time year round to service this account.

Another thing is when folks call me about work I send them as a 1st choice to my outlets depending on what they are looking for. I try not to have them come to studio. Yes I make more money myself at studio but they take up my time and since I have 6 local outlets its easier to send them there. My digging thru my boxes and van to sell a mug or two makes no sense. I do not have a retail space at studio as I'm off the beaten track.That said I always have every year some folks at studio.

What amazes me now is what I call the crags list effect. People contact you about work and never follow thru. You just never know anymore-thats another reason to send them elsewhere . 

One last note I service this account and I do it well-thats a key point for them

#100097 Creative Wholesale

Posted by Mark C. on 18 January 2016 - 08:18 PM

Since it number crunching time of year I thought I would share another way to approach wholesale.

I’m not big on wholesale but I do some of it in my mix of pottery income. I stopped wholesale many decades ago but have two exceptions to this now.

I was thinking about doing less art shows so one idea was this- (keep in mind I have done them for over 40 years now)

Over a decade ago I approached a food business that’s a local institution with a creative idea. It does a booming business so I had this thought about selling just a few items in my line. I suggested Mugs in 3 sizes. I would set the final price and for every mug they would get a fixed price of that sale-about a third of the price (actually just under). I would take care of keeping the back stock inventory full and they would keep the shelve inventory packed. I would bill them quarterly. I set the price so we would have good sales meaning they are affordable but still profitable. I can at any time change the prices (which I just did). At that time I suggest testing the whole idea like a test run to see how it worked. If it did not work well than I would buy my stock back so it really was a no brainer for them. As it turned out it has been a huge success .

Over the years we also tried cereal bowls for a year and they were to slow so I switched them out to a huge mug so now I have 4 mug sizes (it’s a collage town so kids like a huge beer mug).

This past year we came close to grossing 13k in total sales and I keep just over 2/3 of that.

I am one of the one of the best sellers in their non-food items line

Every year this sales number grows-its used to be less than half this.

It’s worked out well for both parties and we both are happy.

I get to do one less art show in another state so that overhead is gone although it factored in to the wholesale sales to some degree.

This shop is in town and I get there once a week usually anyway to check stock (I live out of town) I can can back stock enough for many weeks except during high sales times.

I mention this agreement because it’s not the usual keystone 100% markup as in traditional wholesale models. The owner was willing to try a new idea and it’s turned out well for us both. They can sell a quality hand made product to locals and they soon realized it also brought customers in from out of state even looking for my work which was a big surprise for them.

If you can think out of the box with a business plan it sometimes can pay off.

#99916 Creating Product Lines / Over Time

Posted by Mark C. on 16 January 2016 - 08:09 PM

I think a strictly online market will be a long hard road. Not enough feedback and a very slow start.

#99902 Business Advice Aka How Not To Eat Cat Food For Dinner

Posted by Mark C. on 16 January 2016 - 06:41 PM

( I lost $1000 on my first show, broke even on my second and make a couple of hundred on my third. It was very frustrating to spend so much time and money and basically sit there and suck it all weekend.)

This is the process of finding YOUR market-Thats why I would keep your job-past 18 months and find your market. That will take at least 5 years as a guess and I'm being optimistic .Keep the job and work around that schedule while finding what works and what does not.