sawing got a reaction from Phwriter11 in Teaching Ceramics to Adults
I went "back" to college two years ago at the age of 43. Ceramics had always sounded fun to me, so I took a class and now I am HOOKED! My community college has an outstanding studio with a great teacher. I just finished my degree (which is NOT in Art) and my second Ceramics class and I missed it so much that I bought a wheel and a kiln.
My instructor used different teaching styles when dealing with different students. For us "older" folks, he was patient and less strict about our work, allowing us a little more freedom from the parameters of particular assignments if we asked for it. When I asked a question, he would give me as much or as little information on the topic as I wanted. He geared his teaching toward our individual goals. For example, he spent three weeks walking me through creating my own glaze. Now I know for a fact that he knew exactly the right recipe for the color that I wanted, but instead of just giving it to me, he helped me figure it out on my own through trail and error.
sawing reacted to nairda in Water In A Studio Without Plumbing: Ideas Needed
My studio (separate bldg from my house) has no water and it works very well. There's a utility sink in our basement, about 25' away that I use for final hand cleaning/glaze mixing water. I wet mix glazes outdoors to eliminate dust inside basement or studio.
In the studio I use a 3.5 gallon plastic beverage dispenser that sits up on wooden blocks the same size as the dispenser base so it's stable. Dispenser has flip up/down lever to turn the water on/off so it's easy to use with slip covered fingers. There's a 12-cup plastic catch basin on the table under the tap. I use a 'clean water only' 3 gallon bucket to refill the dispenser.
I glaze about 50-60 pieces at a time and have glaze buckets on dollies. When glazing, I spread a fabric dropcloth on the floor that catches all the drops/splops. When it gets really dirty it gets hosed off outside and line dried.
Decades ago I had to haul every drop of potable water I used in daily life in gallon buckets which prompted efficient water use habits. While it works for me, it's probably not efficient if you are making 100 pots a day, every day. I'm in my studio almost every day, but have a leisurely production schedule and only mix 5 gallon bucket sized containers of glaze. My studio stays much cleaner without running water, probably because it makes me mindful of not being sloppy with clay/glazes.
sawing reacted to Chris Campbell in Craft Shows... Tips For Success
It's summer which means a time for craft fairs ... time also to share some tips for success.
ENGAGE your customers. "hi" "welcome" "nice day" good morning" "good afternoon"
DO NOT SIT ... yes, I know the little tootsies get tired but when is the last time you walked in a good store and saw the staff sitting?
STAND UP, WALK AROUND, SMILE.
The very act of standing up when someone comes in your booth is aggressive and will scare them off. However, if you are already standing you are meeting on the same level.
DO NOT CHAT with other neighboring artists, or on the phone, or with personal friends who dropped by to visit, not to BUY. It is also NOT the time to read your book or newspaper, check your facebook page, text your friends ... look up, smile, engage.
It is amazing how many artists get someone to help them in the booth then spend the whole show chatting together instead of selling.
Bizarre as this might seem, you are going to have to talk to people about your work. No hiding. The crowds are not monsters but simply folks who want to see crafts and the people who make them. A smile goes a long, long way.
"How's the show going?" ... fabulous, thanks.
"Enjoying the weather?" .... yes it is hot/cold/rainy/chilly, but this is a great place to be.
"You must be getting tired." ... nope, I am having a great time.
"Selling much?" .... yes I am ... its been a great day.
"Do you make all this yourself?" ... yes, I do. Which pieces do you like best?
"I'll be back." ... Great, enjoy the rest of the show!
It is sad to see artists at a show killing their own sales, then blaming the venue for a "bad show". Sure there are times and places where anyone would be hard pressed to make great sales but you can always up your personal sales by being the one who tries. Being the booth people actually do go back to because you stood out.
Let's get some more tips from veterans ....
sawing reacted to Mark C. in Factors In Determining A Successful Pottery Business
I've been at this for over 40 years now . For the past 10-15 years I would sell over 100K (gross) in ceramics-that was my target amount. I have another potter friend who does pots with his wife and we both would sell over that target amount each year. Now that I'm slowing down I no longer chase that amount. Have a mix of sales -retail-wholesale-consignment-custom-whatever you can get to work
The key things for all potters is to keep expenses low as you can-do not live beyound your means-try and own all your stuff as soon as you can (avoid payments) pay the house off as soon as you can. I also do not have kids and have owned my place for over 20 years now.
It can be done and but it takes a lot of work- more than most want to do.
I have seen many a young person think its way to much work (just out of collage). I used to hire them to help me until I gave that up due to realizing most do not want work that is this much work.
sawing reacted to Chris Campbell in what is the best studio advice you have received?
Funny this should come up this morning as I have been thinking about the forum as I did other chores ... reflecting on how well this forum has worked out. We do have a place where newbie questions are answered with respectfully presented information. None of the "Why don't you check the archives first" stuff that is often seen on other forums.
When I was on the Board of the Potters Council, we saw the need for a "newbie friendly" forum and thanks to ACerS and the Potters Council this is what became of the idea. Biggest thanks to ALL of the people who ask and answer questions. We are slowly but surely building up a base of experienced potters who are not necessarily 'Names' but have years and years of solid, on the ground experience to share. Slowly but surely lurkers are coming out with their first posting to ask or answer a question. Subjects that would have flamed other forums to a standstill have been dealt with easily and openly without harsh words.
I hope I never get tired of answering questions ... the only reason I am where I am in pottery is because other people took the time to answer mine. The only dumb question is the one you don't ask because you are afraid to, or don't want to look clueless or whatever.
So here is where I welcome lurkers to post, newbies to ask and all to answer. The WELCOME mat is always out.
Oh yes, on topic ... the best advice I ever got on any subject was to ask the question.
sawing reacted to Chris Campbell in Producing Dinner Ware
I've only ever made one dinnerware set which I count as two ... first and last!
but ... my experience in looking for them, tells me that not many potters are producing reasonably priced dinnerware sets. Or, if they are, they are not marketing them very well.
I've often looked for online for dinnerware and serving pieces to give as wedding gifts and its amazing how few potters promote "Gift Registries" or "Wedding Registries" which I think of as a 'no brainer' marketing wise. Michael Obranovich ( http://www.obranovich.com ) promotes this very well and has landed all of our family/friends weddings. Its easy to order, reasonably priced and has always been shipped on time with no breakage. The brides who received the work as shower gifts added them to their wish list for wedding gifts.
So you might say ...Chris why are you shopping online instead of going to nearby studios/galleries etc etc ... Guilty!!
But ... I don't always have all day to spend looking for the right piece.
Another reason why you should have a great website and sell from it if supporting yourself with your pottery is your goal.
sawing reacted to Chris Campbell in Decorating My New Shop
My idea is to ask your beauty salon who did their decor, get in touch with them to see if they are willing to do an hour or two consult. If you can't afford their fee, offer to trade pottery for their time. The worst is they will say no, the best is you will have your dream space.
sawing reacted to nancylee in To Be or Not To Be
I didn't think this is going to be a popular viewpoint, but I have a shop with all handcrafted goods, and I have gorgeous refined pottery, and also sell mine. Mine is newbie pottery, it isn't as light or refined as the experienced potters, so I don't ask the same price for it.
Why do I sell it? Because pottery is very expensive and I think those who don't have $80 for a vase might be happy with a $30 vase. I think we need to offer handcrafted goods to people of all income levels if we are to get people to start buying locally for everything. And I do clearly explain to buyers that I am newer, so my pottery is not the same quality as the good stuff. People can see the difference, they aren't stupid. But many people are thrilled to be able to afford a special piece for a lower price, and some even say they like the imperfections. So while I do have doubts over whether I should even be putting my stuff in my shop, it sells as well as the more expensive pottery, and how does anyone lose? My shop stays in business, experienced poters sell their wares, and people walk out happy, buying something made by hand, and not in China.
sawing reacted to metal and mud in Was: Etsy or Ebay? Now: When Should You Start Trying to Sell?
I've been thinking about this thread a lot this weekend. I've been having a wonderful time making gift items out of clay--2 and 3 inch lidded boxes on feet, textured and glazed in pretty colors, little Indian rugs hanging from metal racks that my son makes, plates carved with our local Organ Mountains and a moon and glazed to look like moonlight--etc.--different things that just come to me. I had so much fun making them that I couldn't NOT do anything with them. I also know that I need to do a work many times to get better at it; already the lids on my clay boxes fix much better. I am a small business owner and it only seemed natural to sell my items, so last December I got "certified" as a vendor at our Farmer's and Crafts Market. I get such a kick when someone buys one of my--admittedly--imperfect items. They make them happy and me even happier. I use my revenue to buy supplies, thereby supporting my hobby. It's disturbing to me that someone should suggest that we shouldn't put our items in public until many years have passed, implying that the works shouldn't be in public until much better in quality and near-perfect. I view my craft as an incredible relaxation whose result brings happiness to both the maker and the purchaser. After reading some of the posts I started to doubt myself in my decision to put my works in public and my ego on the line, but I had a good firing over the weekend and I know that on July 4th, my next market, some local folks will get a kick out of my little items and I won't stop bringing them to market, for one, nor trying to make them better and better each time. I hope I never achieve perfection because then I might stop.