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About Earthwood

  • Rank
    Advanced Member
  • Birthday 04/20/1984

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  • Location
    Hightstown, NJ
  • Interests
    Pottery, Fire Twirling, Fiddle, Collecting Instruments, Swing Dancing, Running/Hiking/Biking/Kayaking in Vibram Five Fingers
  1. Jane, This is similar to what I am doing now. I am using buckets to collect the clay sludge. Any tips on efficiently cleaning those buckets once they are full? How do you dispose of your clay? It's kind of insane, but I slop out all the mud into a trash bag filled with crumpled newspaper to sort of soak up the clay and bulk it out so it's not so heavy when I take it out to the trash. I do this multiple times until the bucket is empty, and then I rinse and wipe the bucket and dump the rest outside. It's a pain in the butt! Plus it smells really bad, too. ~ Sam
  2. Thank you everyone for all the great ideas and images! The gears in my head are turning...
  3. Hi All, It's about time I think about seriously re-organizing my studio to help make it more efficient and fun to work in. I find I'm always hunting around for things or walking from one place to the next, or cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. My request to all of you, is if you could share a tip or something you've implemented in your studio that helped make you more efficient. For example... do you have a creative way of organizing the space around your wheel, storing tools, etc. (Pictures are most welcome!!) Or... how do you organize your sink area/keep that clean? I just have a large basin sink with no drain and am keeping a bucket underneath to collect clay scraps... but... it's a pain in the ass to clean! I feel like I am cleaning it more often than I care to. Any tips for recycling or disposing of clay? Do you have a creative way of storing your clay, glazes or tools? Do you use buckets or plastic bins or shelves, etc... Have you built something yourself that helps?? I'm especially interested in those who have very tiny studios and have had to come up with clever ways to maximize the usage of the space. Any tips would be most appreciated... I'm looking for some inspiration/creative ideas. Thanks! Sam
  4. Hi All, So, I've been futzing around for a while with AMACO PC glazes and several different white stoneware bodies. My problem is pinging and crazing. I almost ALWAYS get pinging after a firing and sometimes will get visible crazing. The aggravating part is that the pinging/crazing is not consistent. For example, I will use a particular clay body, and do (at least I think) everything exactly the same (same clay, same glaze, same application, same firing) but one piece will show crazing and another will be completely fine. Also, I will notice that crazing is sometimes limited to areas where two glazes have mixed together. I most commonly use PC Blue Rutile and Zinc Free Clear when this happens. Clays I use where I have noticed this problem with (INCONSISTENTLY) are: Standard 240 (rated Cone 6) School White from Sheffield (Rated 6-10) 20231 also from Sheffield (Rated 6-10) I am looking for consistent results so I guess it might be time for me to find a new clay body (because I am sold on the AMACO PC glazes) on the idea that it is a clay/glaze fit issue. I have considered getting an AMACO clay. Can anyone share what clay they used SUCCESSFULLY with AMACO PC glazes without crazing? (including no issues with mixing the glazes) Also, any general thoughts about what's been going on in my case? Thanks!!! ~ Sam
  5. Wow! This was a great article. I was delighted to find that I am already doing (for the most part), everything that she suggests. I have a part-time job as a medical office manager which I hope to gradually scale back as my pottery business grows. It is nice to compare year by year the growth in my business. But boy, is that slow money SLOW! LOL. - Sam
  6. This is precisely what my problem is. I am just starting out and am very inefficient. A single mug can take up to 2 hours for me to make: 10-15 minutes to throw 10-15 minutes to trim 15 - 30 minutes to stamp (a lot of my pottery involved hand stamping text letter by letter) 10 minutes to make and attach the handle 5 minutes wax bottom & prepare for glazing (after bisque fired) 20-30 minutes to glaze (takes a while to brush and wipe glaze out of textured areas) So close to 2 hours! This is why I don't feel I can charge a price that reflects the work that went into it. Then again, my process might be inherently more time consuming because of the surface detail and therefore might command a higher price from the start. However, there is also only so much someone would be willing to pay for a mug, and so perhaps mugs just should not be made using this process. My husband always encourages me (and he has been so right about this), to focus on items that have a higher perceived value but don't take that much more time to make. For example, a clock has a higher perceived value than a plate. Or the larger something is, the higher the perceived value. Then again, you always need to have a bread and butter... I have an upcoming show in December. I am thinking of selling these 8oz. mugs for $25.00 which some potters might consider the high side, others the low side. Then there is also the bit about us being our own worst critics. And that maybe what you are making is actually very beautiful but you don't see it because you have some sort of weird imperfection/lack of confidence complex. I think maybe I need to just start loving my work and charging more money for it. - Sam
  7. Buckeye, I was going to suggest intuit GoPayment but then I read that most of your charges are above $1000. I just barely got started with GoPayment, and am using it more or less because my application with Square was denied for whatever reason... But it does have a reputable company backing it up which is why I didn't hesitate going with it. GoPayment is supposedly "free" as long as you charge under $1000 per month. Then they incur all sorts of fees. My volume is small so far because I am just getting started but even now I have noticed these weird little fees at either the start or end of a statement period that I don't recall reading about... I plan to look into it when it becomes a problem. Right now it's not because of the volume. In any case, it is just worth it to me to be able to use my iPhone to swipe cards when people absolutely can't pay by check or cash. That way I don't lose the sale. Good luck! - Sam
  8. I recently started using a heat gun and it is amazing! I just bought a cheap one at Lowe's for like $20-ish. It only has 2 settings. Low and high I use it on the high setting while turning the pot slowly on the wheel (before I've removed it from the bat). I was actually considering posting a question about what kind of bats people like using with the heat gun?? I have some wooden bats but they got warped and I'm not sure if it was because of the heat gun and moisture. I did recently make a big mistake of using the heat-gun on some plates... I ended up drying them too quickly and they cracked during bisque... but everything else has been a breeze.
  9. John, Your little imagined scenario caused me to run off into my own dream, pretending that all those X's were 9's!!! Maybe some day, hopefully before the year 9999 - Sam
  10. Charles, would you mind divulging details on your experience with price? What kind of item was it? What price was it before and then after? Where do you sell or what kind of market? I am just getting started and find price to be a very difficult thing. The inefficiencies of my process still need to be worked out, so I don't think I can charge fairly for my time; however, the inherent nature of my work is a bit more complex than simple glazed pottery with no surface decoration. I tried a high price point at first at the holistic doctor's office where I work. I figured these are people who have a higher disposable income because the doctor is expensive and doesn't take insurance. Some people bought, but most just looked at the prices and politely set it down again. Then I decided to go about 15-20% lower, and sold a ton of stuff at a studio open house, then again the surrounding area is not as affluent. I would pay real money on professional counseling on how to price your work. Although, it is very subjective how one assigns value to a piece. I also sell my seconds...and in fact just about everything up to this point has been something I consoder a second for me because I am still learning, so that might be hurting me. (To answer the original question, I would sell a mug that I consider a second for about $20). So, perhaps there is something to be said for how you personally feel about your work and the prices you are able to command. Someone who is proud of her work and knows the inherent value of it, would exhude more confidence when selling at a higher price. This is one of the reasons I decided to focus on making one or two things really well, and then branching from there. Plus I have an Etsy store, which tends to encourage a lower price point. Perhaps the question ought to be, for those who have been able to increase the price of your work and sell more, what kind of venues do you sell at? And how would you describe the average buyer? Thanks! - Sam
  11. Hi All, Thanks so much for the comments. I gave the woman some options, and gave some pricing (a bit higher than what my other work is because I starting thinking, "what does it have to cost to make it worth my time?") and have not heard back from her. Perhaps I should be glad, according to everyone's comments! I would just say that I don't do much custom work so the costs are higher right now, which is true. I will think twice before I agree to do a custom piece unless it is very clearly defined and, as suggested, something I already do. - Sam
  12. Hello Fellow Potters! Working for several small businesses in the past, I've learned that it can be a very good idea to establish business policies from the get-go before things get out of hand. Ex: you break it, you buy it, etc... I would like to set up some policies for custom works, as I am just getting started selling commissioned pieces. I am wondering if anyone else has policies on custom commissioned works? For example, when to take the payment? How much to charge for a custom/personalized piece versus what you typically charge for the piece in inventory? Do a set dollar amount mark-up or a percentage? For example, a customer would be able to get any one of the pieces I typically make and have it personalized for them. Certainly, I would charge them more money to make it personalized (if only for the fact that I couldn't necessarily sell it if they walked away from it) rather than what I typically charge for the item, right? Also, how does one handle a situation when the customer is not happy with the pieces that were made for them? I imagine it to be kind of difficult to find a balance somewhere between "Too bad, this is what you get" and "Let me try again and again and again until I get it just perfect especially for you!!" Maybe I think too much? Anyway, any thoughts/recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks! - Sam
  13. Hi All, So, since I started this post I have since come upon a solution to my problem and thought I would share it with everyone. I ended up going for the melting pot method and using soy wax. I LOVE soy wax because it (1) does not have harmful or bothersome fumes (2) goes on cleanly and smoothly, leaving a nice crisp edge (3) dries relatively quickly (though slower than paraffin). Now it is a breeze to wax the bottoms of my pots and I don't have to worry about poisoning myself! Cheers, Sam
  14. Earthwood

    Enrich Your Soul Pottery

    This is a sampling of my work. I call it "Enrich Your Soul" pottery. It was conceived with the intent of creating positive emotional states via affirmations and messages impressed upon the surface of the works. Through the use of the functional and decorative pieces, the messages act as a gentle reminder to shift toward what is valued in life and to bring about new patterns of thought.
  15. Thanks everyone for the great suggestions! I've some things to chew on, now... - Sam
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