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Everything posted by Isculpt

  1. Thanks, all. Some of you remember the recent fiasco with the 500 lbs of hand-dug clay that looked like it was going to be great clay but had no strength whatsoever. My husband dug it from the traditional tribal clay holes, and despite all the helpful advice offered here, and additions ranging from creek sand to crushed fired pots, nothing seems to help. He's using it for pieces that are under 3-4", but his hands are itching to make real pots. Until he can return to the (now off-limits) clay holes, he's looking for something that approaches it in color. Nothing at the Highwater Clay site looks similar, but he's hoping red earthenware might give him something like the image below (after firing it with wood & bark in the traditional shallow indentation in the ground). We'll see.....! Jayne
  2. I have two red earthenwares on hand, one smooth, the other not so much. I'd like to make something from the smooth clay and burnish it before slowlybisquing it to around 018, then pit firing it. Is it likely to be able to withstand the thermal shock? Or would I be wasting my time on something that's more ikely to crack into shardsl?
  3. There are two things that you must keep in mind if you go this route: You aren't dealing with a hobby shop or a flea market mentality, so.... 1) you will need to set a retail price for your work that allows you to give up 50% or more (shipping costs come to mind in addition to the fact that some galleries want more than 50%, so you may need to retail a $35 piece at $80 in order to get $35 for it.) You tell the gallery owner that your wholesale price on that mug (that you've been retailing at $35) is $35 or $40 or $45 Do not disclose that you've been having trouble selling your work for $35 retail!! That fact is irrelevant because she knows her market and what they will pay. HOWEVER, once you've announced that your mug's price is $40 wholesale, you can't go back to selling that mug at $35-$60 retail. It is a very difficult thing to do, to walk out of that gallery and double your prices for all other venues, especially if your work hasn't been dancing out the door at $35. But gallery owners take a VERY dim view of artists undercutting them by selling the work for less in other venues. Frankly, It seems only fair for a gallery owner to expect you to retail your work for prices close to if not matching the prices she'll be charging. She isn't just selling a piece or two of your work, she is helping you to build a clientelle while creating an artificial "value" for your work (as all values are artificial), To undercut the gallery is to announce that your work really isn't worth what the gallery says it's worth, and that would be very short-sighted. Most gallery owners will drop you like a hot potato if they find you doing that. And yes, I sell my work at craft shows for the same thing that it sells for in a gallery. At a craft show, I may pocket about 80% of the gross instead of the 50% i get at a gallery. But that gallery is there every day working to promote me. And as painful as it is to give up 50%, in the end, that relationship pays off. Jayne
  4. I'm with Paul at Bciskepottery and John Baymore on the idea of a Pay-per-view approach to the Potter's Council conferences. I can't always afford the travel cost or the time away from the studio, but I salivate at the descriptions of the conferences I'm missing. This is assuming of course that the Potter's council is willing to, and capable of, making useful videos of the conference demos and lectures... jayne
  5. When I first started doing shows, a customer picked up a piece and asked "Can you do any better?" In my insecurity and self-doubt, I misunderstood the question. I took it literally and replied that I was quite proud of the piece and that someday I probably could do a better one, but that I thought it was pretty darned good. The customer just stood there looking confused, but she forked over the asking price while agreeing that she thought it was very nice, too. Experienced craftspeople next door praised me for my quick thinking and clever response, but it wasn't until they told me that she meant "Can you do better ON THE PRICE" that I realized what she'd meant On the rare occasion since then when I've been asked if I could do better, I've deliberately misunderstood the question, telling them how it's made and the difficulties encountered and how pleased I am with it. They're always too embarrassed to correct my "misunderstanding" and they always buy it!
  6. Thanks, New Dominion. Maybe they aren't exactly deficient, but one day I hope to surprise myself creating something by concentrating on the essence of the thing and PUTTING DOWN MY TOOLS (!) before I go any farther. I like your description of "implicit reference to mythology and origin stories" -- gotta remember that for my next artist statement!
  7. Okay, that brushwork on that fox was primo. I'd like to achieve that kind of essence, but detail gets in my way. It's like I can't stop myself. I don't make many animals, but turtles are my favorites, and birds are my least favorites. I study the bodies and wings of birds and yet still mine come out looking like cartoons, mostly really bad cartoons. But here are two of my turtles and a recent owl that wasn't too bad and a stylized raven......
  8. Paul, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that mask! And no, I've never claimed triple-love for anything on CAD! Jayne
  9. Guinea has frequently mentioned her physical issues and how they contribute to the pain of throwing or in this case, of trimming. One thing that has amazed me on this forum is how many of you work with serious disabilities. I mean SERIOUS, pop-some-pills and call-it-a-day disabilities that would make lesser mortals pull the shades and suck their thumbs. It's incredibly humbling to see how many of you work through or around your pain in order to find ways to make beautiful things. Some of you suggested in response to her original posting regarding her back pain that she try hand-built pieces. In terms of medical help, did you get the most relief from chiropractors? From traditional therapies? From Eastern medicine? Or have you all simply raised stoicism to amazing levels?
  10. Not obvious indeed! But when you know what to look for (thanks to help from a friend), it jumps out at you and you wonder "now, why didn't I investigate that before?"!! THANKS!!!! jayne
  11. This is a minor point, but all this talk of health insurance makes me want to shout AFFORDABLE CARE ACT! Unless you and your wife have a sizeable joint taxable income, you can likely get some subsidization on your health insurance premiums. (And that net taxable income can be handily reduced with legal but generous business expenses. (For example: Driving to the store for groceries? Pick up a tube of epoxy and write off the mileage...) The beauty of being self-employed is that darn near EVERYTHING you do can be written off to reduce that taxable income. My husband's job doesn't offer paid health insurance coverage for me, so I've had to buy my own health insurance for the past 30 years. Despite the fact that I'm healthy with no pre-existing conditions, my health insurance premiums were nearly unaffordable, but they dropped by 60% after I paid a visit to Healthcare.gov, where I filled out an application and got a hefty subsidy. AND I chose from much better policies than I could ever have considered before. ACA - the artist's friend!! Jayne
  12. Drmyrtle, the conversation has moved on to more practical concerns, but I deeply respect your ethics about the production of what you term "environmentally wasteful stuff". I wish that someone more articulate and more poetic than I had responded to your concerns, but since they haven't done so, I'd like to try. I suffer from some of those same concerns, but my conscious isn't as fully developed as yours, since I do sell my work even though the world doesn't need another "thing". Or does it? When I was young the world itself was enough to pry open my practical carapace and expose my sensitivities, but as I get older, I find that it takes more to make me "continuously imagine what I do not know", to paraphrase an essay by Lisa Samuels on the value of beauty. A graceful pottery form, a rich glaze, an unexpected combination of colors, a lovely motif or intriguing texture....these things remind me (and surely others) to do much more with our numbered moments than simply plod along to the grave! As for concerns about the expenditure of time and money: A friend who expressed the same concerns to her budget-conscious husband received a wonderfully generous and logical response: "Every human has the need and the right to create beauty, however they define it. What if you had decided to take up ballroom dancing to feed your soul rather than creating pottery?" Hmmmm. "The right to feed the soul"..... As someone who has always needed to "pay the rent" with my creations, I've never felt guilty about the expenditure of time and money, but the (now) obvious truth that I am fully entitled to feed my soul never quite occurred to me, either! And as to whether the final result of all that time and money merits the expenditure, I am reminded of a story by Pearl S. Buck in which a friend's severely mentally handicapped child spent joyful hours each day arranging and rearranging colorful scraps of cloth into what were to him sublimely satisfying works of art. And as one of many artists/craftspersons who choose to "pay the rent" or even just purchase non-essentials with the earnings from sales of our work, let me take this opportunity to welcome you to our ranks! We don't begrudge you those dollars! Every dollar earned by anyone is earned through some kind of competition, so put that concern to rest right now! In conclusion, Drmyrtle, you are entitled to rearrange those scraps of cloth to your heart's content because you are human, and the desire to create beauty is surely one of humankind's noblest traits.
  13. When I open my gallery, I see images on the right, I see a delete button on the left. I click the delete button and a message box asks me if I want to delete the entire album. Nope, that's not right. So I select one image from the many and click it. When it enlarges, I can find no delete button ANYWHERE. Directions, anyone??? jayne
  14. MS. Diesel Clay, if I had a name as musical as Calandra Elaine Beller, I'd be flaunting it!! signed, uhhh, well.... just jayne )
  15. Well, Babs, maybe we can persuade Diesel Clay to tell us the origin of her chosen name? I know I'm certainly curious! That's a funny crack about the teapot show; you never forget anything, do you? And they only hold the teapot show every third year, so I've got time for an attitude adjustment! And no, my husband hasn't been able to alter that gorgeous clay that he dug up and brought home. It turns out that it's good only for very small things - traditional pipes and peace pipes and such, but no additions have made it strong enough to create anything over 4" high. And in the personal galleries, I CANNOT find the "delete" button for a single image -- an entire album, yes; a single image, no. I'll have to post a question about that delete issue. Maybe someone knows..... Jayne
  16. Psst. I'm a girl:) I was just gonna post some images, and there they were already!! I will maybe add that the stencil cost me about $25 CDN, so it's a good value if you'll reuse the image a bunch, and it might not be an untoward cost for something like a wedding gift. It's probably not a good route to go if you're making different words every time, though. Pssst! I KNEW that!! But it's the "Diesel" that keeps messing with my mind! (oooops!) Jayne
  17. Well, now Ms. Babs, THAT is an open-ended question!! Would it be referring to my recent problems with my first attempts at using "real" glazes? Or my queries about how to join glazed surface-to-glazed surface? Or my worries about making a vase waterproof? Or my warped sculptures that rocked like rocking-horses even when they were meant to stand steady and still? Or perhaps the crappy clay that my poor husband dug 500 lbs of, then toted it in buckets across muddy fields only to find that it has no strength? ORRRRRRRR – drumroll, please - the results of my second craft show in 5 years, in which I dared to hope for sales that matched last year's record-breaking (well, record-breaking for me) $5100? I'm just back from the show and pinching myself because, even though most of the 32 sales were in the under-$250 range, I sold $6200 worth of sculptures! For pictures of some of the new work, check out my gallery - and then tell me how to delete most of the newer images because I accidentally posted the unimproved images instead of the cleaned-up ones! Arrrgh! With the exception of the successful show, this post reads like an episode of Perils of Pauline!
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