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Everything posted by GEP

  1. Shelves. So I can see everything and do an inventory when needed.
  2. Thanks @neilestrick. Now that the kiln is powered on, the millivolts for all three TCs are the same as each other. Though slightly different from your chart. Now reading 13 when the chart says it should be 15. Is this due to the age of the TCs, being about half way through their lifespan? EDIT: I just remembered there is a 25° thermocouple lag offset. Never mind!
  3. I may have discovered the problem? Upon removing the panel, I found that the red wire of the top thermocouple was not connected. The set screw was not all the way tight. I bet the wire was in the right place and somewhat connected, enough that I didn't get a TC FAIL error. But still faulty at times. Then the wire got pulled out when I opened the panel. All three thermocouples look about the same level of cruddy, appropriate for their age. The top thermocouple is on the left. I don't feel like I need to replace them, at the moment. I'm currently firing the kiln with shelves and cone packs only. If it doesn't fire evenly, I'll replace the TCs after all.
  4. Thanks. I’ll open up the panel tomorrow and take out the tubes, and check on this. Too late to do it tonight, because the Ravens game starts in five minutes :-)
  5. Thanks, @neilestrick! I’ll open up the panel tomorrow.
  6. I've had some issues with the top zone of one of my kilns recently. In one firing, the top zone underfired by a lot. In the last two firings, the top zone overfired a little. Not a lot, but enough to matter. This is not related to the way the kiln is loaded. These were normal loads, and in general I get very consistent temps from top to bottom. I rarely measure the ohms of my TCs. I generally don't have problems with them, and they get replaced whenever I replace the elements. I tried to measure the ohms of the TCs today, and I'm wondering if I'm doing it right. When measuring like this, the reading on the ohm meter jumps around a lot. I get a different answer every time I try it. Method #1. When measuring like this, the reading on the ohm meter jumps around a lot, more than the first method. Method #2. When measuring like this, the reading does not jump around. I get the same, repeatable result every time. Method #3. Method #3 tells me that the top thermocouple is not in the same condition as the other two. The top one measures 0.4. The other two measure 1.0. I'm not sure if this means the top TC is in worse condition, or better condition. They have about 50 firings on them, which is too young to have two of them fail, I think. So I guess my question is, in Method #3 a reliable way to measure your thermocouples? Edit to add: I'm planning to replace all three TCs anyways, I just want to make sure I'm not barking up the wrong tree.
  7. From a person who used to teach in a community center setting ... I got $25/hr for contact hours only. The classes were officially 2.5 hours long, which means it doesn’t add up to a substantial income. I love teaching so that was my payoff. But during those years, my pottery studio business rounded into a full-time income business. And when I saw that happening, the teaching was the first thing I quit. The time commitment of teaching (which requires way more than the contact hours), plus the inflexible schedule, were clearly reducing my income, not bolstering.
  8. If I made this mistake, it would take me two days, possibly three, to remake one bisque load of pots. That’s a lot less time and energy than figuring out how best to get glazes to stick, and then worrying whether the glazes will start shivering six months later in a customer’s house.
  9. I don’t think formal education is the right choice for @Niv. S/he sounds like a mature person who already has a good handle on the ceramics process, and clear ideas about what s/he wants to make, self-driven to explore, and knows that there is a long term developmental process involved. What s/he needs is practical operational guidance and business guidance, which is is really not taught much in academia. I would recommend looking for a busy studio like the one @Callie Beller Diesel described, where the potters would allow them to be in their space, observing everything that goes on, asking questions, in exchange for grunt work. @Niv, not every working potter wants to have an apprentice underfoot, but you come across in your writing as a person who would be worth teaching. So don’t be shy about reaching out.
  10. I heard back from all four of the customers who got caught in the snafu. Three of them were very understanding and said they would try again next time. The fourth one (who was still nice about it) asked if I would consider selling her a mug online when they were back in stock. I really didn't want to do it, because I need to spend my time in production mode for a show that's coming up in February. I have no pots now, and this is a big show. But after thinking about it for a few days, I decided that I did owe her a chance to buy a mug. These customers made a lot of effort (they logged into my online sale at 10am on the dot, tried to make a purchase as fast as possible, and through no fault of their own they got nothing), and I owed them some of my effort. I contacted them all and made a offer. They all got a slightly different offer, depending on what they tried to buy, and other circumstances. The other reason I need to make things right for these customers now is because I've decided not to have an Online Sale anymore. I cannot control how many people will get caught in this snafu, and I cannot afford that. I only had 10 items to sell online anyways, so I only made a very small number of people happy, while being a big disappointment to four. It doesn't affect me much in terms of revenue. Until one of the online store platforms offers a solution to this problem, I'm going to bow out.
  11. For my Open Studio / Online Sale weekend, my sales were down from last year, because my inventory was lower by a few thousand bucks. This was due to a big show I did in November that cut into my December inventory. I have a few pots left that I do not consider "shippable" so they were held out of the Online Sale, but otherwise I am sold out. Last year, when I opened the door for my Open Studio at 10am, there were already customers waiting on my patio. This year, when I opened the door, the line of customers went down the driveway. And I had some helpers lined up to wrap/bag pots during the first few hours, which is when most of the pots are sold, and they were a big help! For the entire year, my P+L is better than last year by over $6K. And it didn't feel like I was cranking harder in production. I even took two fun vacations. My inventory planning is slowly shifting into making more pots that are smaller and easier, while still fetching a good price (whiskey sippers, etc). I'm thinking about my inventory plans for next year, and I think I can move even further in this direction.
  12. I’m in a similar mode as @neilestrick. My studio is officially closed for the holidays, but I want to tweak one of my glazes before starting up with production again in the new year. Wouldn’t it be nice if the right answer is in the first line blend? Too optimistic?
  13. Thanks, but this is still the same situation I’m facing at BigCartel. I think what you said earlier is probably true, the infrastructure for solving this problem is not worth developing for merchants like us.
  14. Thanks for the update @Callie Beller Diesel. Your shop page looks really nice, clean and simple!
  15. I think I have more serious customers on FB than IG. But I’m not sure FB is the right place to hold a sale either. My best customers are on my email list. I can think of some who I doubt are using social media at all. One of my marketing principles is to give email subscribers the best access. Right now, I’m trying to work out how to do this on my own webpage.
  16. I’m very interested to see how the Square/Weebly integration is going to work. If you get some results, please report back! This is an interesting idea. I’m going to mull it over. It seems like a lot of intense babysitting while the sale is ongoing, but once a year it might be doable. I wouldn’t do it on instagram though, Instagram is fun, but I don’t think my customer base is there.
  17. I was recently exchanging emails with a customer who I have emailed several times before. Every time I sent her an email with a photo attached, it went to her junk folder. Any email that was text only was delivered to her inbox. The whole thing was confusing for both of us until we figured this out. Argh. It worked out in the end, but only because she was persistent.
  18. Whenever I buy a baseball ticket online, as soon as I click "add to cart" I get a countdown timer and a message "you have 15 minutes to pay for your tickets before they are released back to the public." I feel like Big Cartel, or somebody like them, could offer this function. They could call it "high traffic mode" and charge shop owners extra for it. I'd be happy to pay extra in order to avoid the hassle.
  19. Thanks @Callie Beller Diesel. This person has put a lot of thought into this. I’m not sure I want to give my customers such lengthy instructions, but maybe it can’t be helped.
  20. Big Cartel says it’s PayPal’s fault, and they can’t help it,
  21. Yes, and I set the quantity to “1.” The problem is that a second (or third) person can still start their checkout process before the first person finishes paying for it. It seems like a highly unlikely circumstance, but this year I had to beg for forgiveness from four customers :-(
  22. I only sell things online that are leftover from my open studio that takes place right before. Quantities are usually very limited, and I have no interest in selling more things online. I understand what @liambesaw is saying too. Lots of online shoppers abandon their carts, so it probably makes more sense overall to have the item still available until payment. Maybe I need to build my own store. If the quantities are low, I could do something low-tech.
  23. I am currently using BigCartel as my online store platform. I've been running into a problem. There is a few minutes of delay after a customer puts an item into their cart, and when they finish paying for it. The item isn't marked "sold" until the payment comes through. During those few minutes, it's possible for another customer to purchase the item again. It happened to one customer last year. I thought "well, that's just a very unusual coincidence." This year it happened to four customers. Does anyone know of an online selling platform where the item becomes unavailable as soon as someone puts it into their cart? I'll take any other suggestions for how to avoid this issue in the future (including "stop selling online" haha)
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