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Mark C.

Member Since 09 Jan 2012
Offline Last Active Today, 12:35 AM

#64541 How Do I Glaze Fire Spoons And Ladles?

Posted by Mark C. on 16 August 2014 - 12:19 AM

Back when I made a ladel with every soup tureen I would wax a small spot on bottom (touch spot( on spoon end and one on handle end.

Then place that spot on a small piece of soft brick. after firing grind off any rough edges.These where cone 10 and about a foot long.


#64465 Very Powerful Sales Tool

Posted by Mark C. on 14 August 2014 - 07:42 PM

I was at a show the 1st weekend of August which is near Canada but in US.

One of my customers from over the border had picked out a small pot but was short the cash and had forgot here check book.Her friend had her visa card and was to shed her later that night. I wrapped up the pot and wrote her a I owe you an back of card.

Check came yesterday and she wrote it for the difference of currencies so I did not loose any money. She wrote me a very nice note about trusting her which no one seems to do anymore.

When I do this I have a customer for life. You need to feel the situation out as its not for every forgotten purse.But when its right its very solid.


#64361 How Do You Select The Equipment You Want To Purchase?

Posted by Mark C. on 12 August 2014 - 02:55 PM

I talk it over with fellow professional potters-we all have our own ideas.

Lets talk the test of time and production-for hobby use its less about durability

Certain brands are known for super performance 

Like Bailey slab rollers-he has been making them for so long(Jim Bailey)-no plastic parts solid construction-well thought out

or Geil gas kilns-well known for state of the art

or Electric L$L kilns known for element replacement ease and solid ahead of the curve ideas

Or well lets just say when it comes to wheels its like chevy and ford-so many cooks

I love my CXC brent

Extruders the best are Brents and Baileys again

This is my list of best of others will vary.


#64249 Reduction Kiln- Too Early?

Posted by Mark C. on 10 August 2014 - 01:06 PM

I think this will all be a learning curve-I would move ahead while the iron is hot. Oil is a bit tricky to fire but it could be converted to gas. The price is so low-transport will be the big issue anyway.

Heck if its a hard brick kiln you could turn it into a salt kiln.

I'm not a baby step person so my vote is no its not to early.

he who hesitates is lost

If you are not ready for it will be ready for you later after you have moved it.

If you wait 3 more years who knows where it or he will be in life.


#64008 Campana Kiln Wash

Posted by Mark C. on 06 August 2014 - 10:43 AM

Mullite, corderite....

Very soft and easy to overgrind holes on those babies-


#63524 Air Release Mold Dies

Posted by Mark C. on 29 July 2014 - 05:12 PM

He does mention Ceramical as the industry standard-That alone may enough to order some fresh stock up. I will add fresh plaster is what you want to use.


#63386 What Are You Working On?

Posted by Mark C. on 28 July 2014 - 11:59 AM

I just finished handling some covered jars with black bamboo handles-I grew the bamboo and harvested it last month.

These are headed for a show this weekend.

I'm unloading two glaze fires today the last of 5 glaze fires in the past 11 days-not a record but its been a ton of work.

Vacation really messes up my clay studio work schedule.


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#63254 What Are You Working On?

Posted by Mark C. on 25 July 2014 - 03:39 PM

I grow potatos and never had a bug-do you fry them or eat them fresh???

If they are on the leaves what damage do they cause? the spuds are under ground

Life in the far north is simpler-siting around waiting to pick a few bugs on plants sound idea lick-can you read a book between bugs?

Is this like watching paint dry or more fun?

more like watching water evaporate?

Can you sell them by the #?



#63229 How Do You Deal With Injuries?

Posted by Mark C. on 24 July 2014 - 10:24 PM

( How is that wrist going to feel at 60?  Prolly not great.)

I'm 61and my wrist is not great-but its been working thru  massive amounts of clay in the past 40 years of production work

As you have a screw in your bone -your system will not be happy over time with that foriegn object

2years is pretty soon and you are still very young healing wise .

I suggest also working around that pressure.

My wrist is never happy but pain wise its ok.

Just get top notch advise and monitior that bone over time with your surgeon.

I have to baby my wrist for life-you may also need to change your work wrist habits.


#63125 What Are You Working On?

Posted by Mark C. on 23 July 2014 - 07:12 PM

Really want to know about today-well its been a duzy

Glazed a car kiln load-transported greenware in a truck 10 miles-unloaded an electric bisque load and reloaded another greenware load into it and started it-unloaded a small gas kiln glaze kiln load and reloaded that kiln with another glaze load-trimmed some bowls-picked up one of our cats from the vet (at same time I got the greenware)

waxed up a load as well-taking tonight off-my feet hurt

I think I moved a 1,000 pots today but it may be only 800.

This is all for some summer gallery orders and an upcoming big show next weekend 1000 miles away

!st weekend in August is usually the largest show weekend I know of in the western states-meaning the most shows on same weekend.

Got my second wind and priced and packed that glaze load from today.

washed our cat (do not ask why)


#61756 Craft Shows... Tips For Success

Posted by Mark C. on 03 July 2014 - 10:05 PM

Heres a few tips I have learned

There are many factors for a good show and asking others should not be a big one.I only trust that type of feedback from my fellow professinal potters whom I've known for decades and even with that my stuff sells different than their stuff.

As mentioned if its a hobby a few hundred bucks beyond expenses is not ok for a full timer but mnay be fine for someone.

If I'm driving say 1200 miles one way I need to make some serious $$ to make it work

A few key elements are the size of the crowd (the more the merrier with a few exceptions)I always do well in well atended shows

some shows like the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival drwas over 300K but its a cheap crowd-meaning big stuf does not sell well.

Its takes lots of street time to dial all this in.

Exceptions are the crowd is there for another event say a music festival(not good for selling anything large) or car race or -----fill in the -- blanks

Thats not to say you cannot sell 3-6 k at such an event it just takes a lot of small sales.

I like the shows that are in towns that happen once a year and its a big event say an annual art show-It can be twice a year as  well

The locals come out as well as tourists and out of towners

In areas that have shows every weekend then all the sales are diluted-the San Francisco Bay area is just such a place. Back in the 70's and early 80's-it had a few great shows 

Now there is a show everyweekend in some nearby town and the public thinks oh we can go in a week or two as their is always a show close by and you will be there.

They will ask you if you are in such and such next weekend?

I always say I live on another planet that is far away and only come once a year

You need to be aware of what else happens in your show area the whole year around as to art shows.

I tend to do large annual events-they are always better than an every week event in sales.

If you are a hobbist then weekly markets will be fine but I want more sales than they can provide.(our local famers market is only for food anyway)

Good luck with the selections


#61678 Outdoor Kilns And The Elements--Opinions?

Posted by Mark C. on 02 July 2014 - 01:24 PM

I think you could spray the outside of showing fiber with a thin sodium silicate spray to seal the fibers from floating around??

I have sprayed it with my zircon and colloidal silica on the hot face a fair amount-you just need to keep all coating very thin.


#61669 Craft Shows... Tips For Success

Posted by Mark C. on 02 July 2014 - 11:37 AM

The 50 mile thing only works if you live around people-I did that for 1st 15 years until mid 80's-if you are rural then you need to go further unless you settle for meger sales. have saturated my 50 mile circle. If you want to sell super well you need to find those markets and travel to them.Once developed you stay with them and they build.

1/2 my income comes from way outside the 50 mile circle-more like a 1200 mile circle

as in real-estate- location location location.


#61654 ? Secret Ingredient In Underglaze?

Posted by Mark C. on 02 July 2014 - 12:34 AM

(You just need a mini blender)

like in Barbies doll house

(mini electric drink stirrer)-these are electric and work well on small amounts.


#61647 Factors In Determining A Successful Pottery Business

Posted by Mark C. on 01 July 2014 - 08:16 PM

(Now another way to go is to just work your ass off and hope for the best.)

I think this may just be the best way at least when starting up- you will have the inventory to have options.

Even when selling as much as I have not all tax years for me have been profit years over time.

Depends on the expense column-capital improvements and such can eat up profits fast.Just buy 50 12x24 advancers and see what kind of hole that puts in the expense column.

I have a Roth IRA and own everything with zero payments and take vacations own a few boats and do other things and travel as well.Life is short and my interest list is long. Having an incrediable work ethic is key at least for me.

For most of my life I never knew what the income coloum would be-I can only guess at best-so savings is the only way to even that out.

As Mea said (income is going to fluctuate a lot, sometimes less and sometimes more)this is always true for most potters.

You will learn over the years that sometimes things work different than you would think. For example when I did 15 shows in a year I actually made less than the next year doing 12-as my expenses where way up overall even though the shows where all good and solid. That magic number is almost impossible to know in real time.I still now with only 7 shows seem to pay more quarterly taxes than I used to.My gallery sales are up as well as the ecomomy is on the upward trend

It takes so long to dial this all in.

The main thought is love this work or forget it as it will seem like work and you will not be happy.

For me as Mea said its a lifestyle-I picked it so long ago it a distant memory.

Hey its my 41st 4th of July selling pottery. Whats it like to have that day off???

Last one I had off I was 20 years old-man how time flys.Work your ass off and it pays off-at least for me it has.