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GEP

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Everything posted by GEP

  1. 10 kiln loads in 30 days sounds reasonable to me too. Taking 4 hours to reply to an email is also reasonable. My personal rule is to return emails within 24 hours. I would leave the pieces there for firing. Taking them out and trying to find another studio to fire them is not going to be easy. Many community studios will not fire something made by someone they don’t know, made from clay that they didn’t supply. Waiting 30 days is by far the better choice. I can see how this is all very surprising to someone who is new to ceramics. And it’s good that you are asking questions here. Please try to see that this is a matter of gaining experience and perspective, and that the studio owner is not jerking your chain.
  2. Tyvek will work, and so will roofing felt. Roofing felt is thicker so it leaves a deeper impression in the clay, which you may or may not want.
  3. I just cross out the cents part of their total, and charge them the whole dollar amount only. I lose a few dollars overall, which is totally worth not having to count coins!
  4. Just finished the books for this past weekend's show. For all three of my shows this month: Cash 5.9% Check 2.1% Credit card 92%
  5. Haha I remember using a knuckle buster for imprinting credit cards with a clack-clack. How cringy that seems now, with everyone’s account number in plain view for the world to see! And I remember those years when the credit card industry tried to train us to handle customer credit card numbers more securely (PCR compliance) and how so many artists thought that was a hassle and a waste of time. We’ve definitely come a long way. Bookkeeping is definitely faster now. Though I still do inventory with a pen and notebook. This is still faster than entering it into an app. And most of my inventory turns over at every show, so using the app for that doesn’t make sense for me.
  6. A few people still do, but this month I’ve done three shows and barely taken any cash sales. Everyone is using credit cards instead. I can understand why, I used to pay for things with cash a lot in the before times, but now I have gotten used to charging everything because it’s touchless. I used to pack $100 of ones and fives to every show for making change. Maybe I can dial back on that now, because I hardly needed it. I’ll probably see what happens through the end of the year to make a decision about that. Also, everybody now has credit cards that can be dipped or tapped. I still carry a magnetic stripe swiper just in case, but didn’t need it once this month. I’ve also noticed that Square processes the dipped and tapped transactions really quickly, as in under a second. The whole world of POS payments changed during the pandemic, both in terms of technology, and everyone’s behavior. Overall I find it much easier.
  7. I wish we could have a more accountable system like that. It’s been talked about, but there’s a lot of pushback and the idea gets dropped. Sadly the will to do it isn’t here. Or a centralized health system. I’ll stop talking before I get political.
  8. My next two shows are indoors. One is doing timed entrance tickets and requiring masks. The other is requiring masks and proof of vaccination. It turns out the “proof of vaccination” is to show our vaccination card, and a photo or photocopy is good enough. Not hard, and probably easy to fake but I don’t think the demographic that attends craft shows overlaps with the demographic that is faking vaccine cards. I bought some KF94 masks for myself. I’ve been wearing cloth masks at outdoor shows but I wanted something better for the indoor ones. Just hoping the masks I bought aren’t counterfeit. Ugh, the times we live in!
  9. I actually recommend asking the customer to initiate the order by email. This weeds out the people who were just being impulsive when they asked for a reservation (and there are plenty of people who do this). I do not wish to spend my energy chasing down someone who turns out not to be serious. There is quite a bit of back and forth emailing required to complete an order, so the customer also needs to prove that they are reliable communicators by email (there are plenty of people who aren’t). This move also signals “I’m not going to cater to you. I’m busy and you need to make this easy for me.” Again, it weeds out the problem customers. Another option I use sometimes is “yes [those items] can be reserved for [that show]. When it’s about a week before the show, send me an email and ask me again. If I have it in stock, I’m happy to hold them for you.” This does not obligate me to change my production plans for a customer I don’t know. The customer is usually standing in front of my email list sign-up pad during this conversation. If they then sign-up for my email list, that’s a good indication of seriousness. I’ll say “oh cool, when you get my email about [that show], just hit reply and let me know what you want.” This does not apply to existing customers who have followed through successfully on reservations before. If one of them asks for a reservation at a show, I’ll write it down in my notebook on the spot. Knowing the person makes all the difference.
  10. Agree with the advice given above, and I would also recommend leaving a lot of extra thickness in the base of the wall and the floor. This will make the pot more stable as you move it. This means a lot more trimming later. I also recommend exploring batt options that will avoid the issues you’ve experienced with batts. I love my masonite batts. I have some that are going on 20 years old and they do not warp.
  11. Thanks, it sounds like there’s nothing fussy about it. And my pottery clothes are already thoroughly stained!
  12. @Pres I think you have mentioned that you have used Standard 211 Hazelnut? This is the clay that they are sending me a sample of. What are your thoughts on Hazelnut?
  13. I am paying $200 for a truck delivery of only 400 lbs of clay. The delivery is almost as much as the clay. But I do not want to buy more clay than for the rest of this year. I may be switching to something else if it looks like this problem will stretch out longer than that. I’m also getting a sample of a similar clay mailed to me from Standard Ceramic. My local supplier does not stock it, but they will let me special order it. Standard does not seem to be having shortages. I’ll start testing it right away, and if it will work in place of my current clay, then I will switch clay starting in January. So I can absorb a $200 expense right now, if it will lead to a permanent solution, one way or the other, by the beginning of next year.
  14. I mentioned this last week in a QOTW thread. I am having a hard time buying clay right now. My local supplier cannot get a shipment from Highwater Clay, because a lot of Highwater’s clays have been out of stock for an unusually long time. They said they expected to get a delivery over a month ago, and are still waiting with no ETA. Highwater does have my clay in stock, so I was able to order an amount that will get me through the end of the year directly from them. This is a lot more expense and hassle than usual. I posted about this on social media, and another potter said that Laguna is having similar issues. This really worries me, if it’s happening to more than one manufacturer. Is anyone else being impacted by this? Does anyone know what the shortage is about?
  15. I’ll take a guess. P is for Power. F is for Failure. C is for … uh …. I don’t know. But anyways, was there a power failure at your house right before this code appeared?
  16. I’m in a bit of a pickle right now. I am down to my last box of clay, so I ordered it from my local supplier this weekend. The supplier does not have it in stock, because the manufacturer is out of stock of other clays, and behind with their deliveries. I had to order 100# from the manufacturer, just to get me through the next two weeks. The shipment via USPS will cost as much as the clay. I am desperate to keep on track production-wise because of my upcoming shows, so I have no choice. I have to wait up to 5 days to get it, and that will already set me back. Hopefully my local supplier will get their truck delivery in the next two weeks. If not, I’ll buy another 100# shipped from the manufacturer. So right now I am experiencing a lot of extra expenses and hassle, caused by supply chain issues, caused by the pandemic.
  17. I see, then here’s another possibility to consider. Sometimes bubbles in glaze are caused by overfiring by a lot. The bubbles are a sign of boiling, not offgassing. So the answer might be to dial down on the melt. In this case, the other areas of the glaze look too dry because the glaze ran too much and left behind only a thin a layer of glaze in those areas.
  18. Based on my somewhat limited experience with ash glazes, this glaze looks underfired in the places that are not rivuleting or crackling. The foamy stuff might not be offgassing, but simply unmelted glaze. Perhaps increasing the cone 6 fluxes would help?
  19. My advice is to not get a new kiln just for one glaze. At 4 years in, you are still somewhat new to pottery, and your interests in glazes may still be evolving. When I was younger, I was convinced that I would someday build a wood kiln, because I loved the aesthetic and thought there was nothing as good. As I got older and became a more knowledgeable potter, I outgrew that. I still love the aesthetic and admire those who do it, but am very happy doing electric kiln work. At 4 years in, your focus should be on improving your forms and pottery building skills. A lot of potters at this stage (including me back then) place too much importance on glazes and firings, thinking that this will elevate their pots to a higher level. But really a glaze cannot do that. And when your pottery building skills have reached a high level, any glaze and firing will elevate your pots.
  20. I once took a workshop with Sandi Pierantozzi. She is an amazing hand builder and teacher. She has an instructional video titled “What if?” that is available in the Ceramic Arts Network store (you can get there through links at the top of this page). I think it would be a worthy investment. I also recommend Christy Knox as an amazing hand builder. Here’s her website, where she has a variety of videos that you can watch for free, and she makes new videos on a regular basis. https://www.christyknox.com/videos
  21. Yes, and from the perspective of those doing the slipcasting, they were super uncomfortable with it. How can they know if the finished pieces will be deemed unacceptable or not? As soon as there is a dispute over the result, the idea fails. If this is what IKEA wants, they still need to produce masters, maybe 10 or 20 of them so it looks like natural variation. And pay for the extra cost of having all of the master molds made and used.
  22. Ergonomics. In other words, take care of your back. Make everything in your studio fit YOU.
  23. Masonite will start to disintegrate if it stays wet too long. But if you leave wet clay on it overnight one time, it’s probably fine. If you’re going to do this on a regular basis, I would recommend getting some different batts that can withstand moisture better, such as plastic.
  24. All four shows that I have on my schedule for the fall were juried during the April-July timeframe, when the vaccination efforts were going strong and covid metrics were dropping like a rock. It made sense to go ahead during that window. But then the Delta variant came along. All four shows have promised to return booth fees if there’s a cancellation. But yeah, I’m sure that will be costly for them, especially two years in row. One of them would switch to virtual, so not a complete refund, but that’s ok their virtual show last year was good. In fact, their show is a hybrid in-person/online show, we all need to be ready to take online orders during the show, so it will be easy to convert to virtual only if needed. That looks like very savvy planning on their part now.
  25. My answer is “no” as well, for the exact reasons that you explained so clearly. I’ve had a few people approach me about firing their work at my house. In every case, the person was trying to avoid the expense of using a community studio. Community studios need to charge what they charge for a reason. A person who doesn’t see those reasons is generally going to be difficult to work with. In one case, a neighbor got angry with me when I said no. Very entitled person. Imagine how she would have complained if a firing didn’t turn out the way she was expecting!
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