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Everything posted by GEP

  1. Here in the mid-atlantic and northeast, I can think of a few young potters who have recently entered the professional world who are making outstanding work and doing great sales-wise. They seem to have what it takes to make their studio last. Lots of potters (and other artists) are being practical and happy to work a "day job" while also being a potter, which I did as well for many years. I can also think of potters of all stages in their careers who are struggling, but I don't think that's any different than any previous time period. Their struggles have nothing to do with current times. Right now people here love to buy handmade things. Overall, I don't see a shortage of potters here.
  2. I put mine directly into the sink. But I have lots of small dishes that would work as a saucer if somebody wants one.
  3. Ok, I got it now! Yes I am expecting people to put the steeper in the cup first, and add tea leaves to it, while they are waiting for the kettle to boil. This morning I tried putting the steeper into a cup that already had water in it. It displaces a little at first, but the water goes through the holes in the steeper pretty quickly. The walls of the steeper are quite thin.
  4. Not sure what you mean by displacement? Do you mean the tea leaves escaping from the top? I made the tea steeper somewhat tall-ish, intending users to make an amount of tea that isn’t taller than the steeper. Tea leaves stay inside.
  5. Nice jar, @Bill Kielb! Making air-tight storage jars is also on my list of things to figure out. I hadn't thought about a pivoting handle for the tea steeper. The item is so small, I don't think storage will be an issue. But I have one in my own kitchen that I plan to use a lot. If the need for a pivoting handle makes itself clear, then I will work on it!
  6. I've been trying to figure out this design for at least two years, and think I have finally done it. A ceramic tea steeper with a stainless steel handle. It works with any cup, or at least all of the cups I make. I plan to start making teapots that will also accommodate the steeper.
  7. I developed a new platter mold, and a new approach to illustrating koi fish. I'm pretty excited about these.
  8. Dark doesn’t mean cold weather, and light doesn’t mean warm weather. Color theory is more nuanced than this. White is a winter color. Make good pots and they will sell in any season. If you change colors to match the season, you are trying to chase customers. Make customers chase you instead. People buy “serious” pots, and they can be light or dark, colorful or neutral. Any time you change the color scheme of your work, you are essentially starting over in terms of building an audience.
  9. Are you flipping it over in order to trim it? If so, then design a pot that can be trimmed in the right-side-up position. You can trim from the side around the base of the wall, but design it and throw it so the bottom doesn’t have to be trimmed.
  10. Not a huge disaster, but still an embarrassing brain fart. I was unloading a bisque kiln and had picked up two pots, one in each hand. One of the pots slipped out of my hand, For some reason, I let go of the other pot in an attempt to catch the first one with both hands. Failed.
  11. If this is for purely sculptural work, try polymer clay? You can have any color you want.
  12. I was a graphic designer for 20 years. This is exactly what designers do. In print design, the path between intentions and results is fairly easy to control, unlike ceramics. When I realized I could quit design and do pottery full-time, I was very happy to not have to do this anymore. I am my only client now. It’s a privilege and I earned it!
  13. For me, it’s a hard no. I tried it a few times back before I running a serious business, and learned all the pitfalls of trying to execute another person’s vision. In the end, the customer is never quite happy, so it's a waste of everyone’s time. Keep in mind that a person who believes a potter can a make pot(s) to their exact expectations is someone who has very little understanding of ceramics. These are not the customers you should be trying to please.
  14. Pots for a wood kiln need to be sturdy. If your usual work for cone 6 is thin-walled and delicate, these pots will not fare well in wood firing. Temperature is much more unpredictable and uneven. One half of a pot can be fired hotter than the other half. So there’s a lot more warping and uneven shrinkage, and sturdy pots can handle this much better than delicate pots. So make sure your walls and rims are sturdy. And for the same reasons, do not try to make flat pots like plates and trays. It’s very likely they will emerge too warped to use. If this is a rare opportunity, don’t waste it on plates! Design your pots with horizontal surfaces like shoulders and lids. These surfaces will catch a lot more fly ash.
  15. Totally normal! It’s called “spalling.”
  16. I am also in agreement that the one on the left looks too thick. I would advise developing some process/techniques to make sure your glazing is consistent from pot to pot, such as using a hydrometer, and timed dips or timed sprays.
  17. I've posted about this subject before, just want to share another quick story about how much more powerful email marketing is, compared to social media. The past two years, I have participated in an online show/sale of cups. Last year, I sent a blast email to my email subscribers about it, and I posted about it on facebook and instagram. My five mugs sold out in under 10 minutes. This year, I decided to skip the blast email, and just use social media. I was theorizing that my email subscribers prefer to go to my shows in person, and social media followers are more likely to not be local enough to do that. I only sold three mugs on the first day. Two days later, and person on instagram asked me for instructions on how to buy. Instagram does not allow hyperlinks, so I had to describe how to get to right website. Cumbersome, but it appeared to work, the fourth mug was sold that day. Two days later (yesterday), the fifth mug was still not sold. I posted on facebook about the last mug. I did not bother with instagram, because I could not link directly to the mug listing on instagram. Nothing happened. Three days later (today), it was still not sold. I had scheduled a blast email about a show coming up this weekend. So I edited the email this morning to mention the last unsold mug. It was sold 30 minutes after the email went out. Just remember your email subscribers are far more interested in your work than anyone who follows you on social media. Next year, if I do this cup show again, I will not skip the blast email!
  18. I use a tiny bit of black nickel oxide in one of my gray glazes. It’s a neutral brown, kind of like iron oxide but without the red undertone. When combined with a tiny bit of cobalt carb, I get a pretty pale gray with a slightly blue undertone.
  19. Smithsonian Craft Show. 20 years ago I thought it was an impossible goal. 20 years from now, I'll be thinking "I can't believe that really happened."
  20. I have a Miele vacuum, and use their bags and filters,
  21. I vacuum my studio once a year, during my big studio cleaning week. I use a vacuum with a Hepa filter bag, and wear a respirator while I’m vacuuming. Even if the bag isn’t full, I throw it away when I'm done, Then I leave the studio and don’t come back for at least 24 hours. I vacuum the floor and every horizontal surface, including the tops of the radiator pipes that run across the ceiling. There will be a fine layer of dust on everything. Without a vacuum I would not get things as dust free. After vacuuming I will wet mop the floor. The floor ends up much cleaner compared to not vacuuming first, because all the clay dust does not clog up the mop water.
  22. @liambesaw, the way I see it, it’s much better to start out with low prices, and raise them if the pots are flying off the shelf. Compared to starting out with overpriced pots, and having to lower the prices. Especially at a recurring market like a farmers market, where the same customers are going to see the evolution of your prices. Also, don’t let others pressure you into raising your prices. Especially from across the internet. We don’t know the area where you’re selling. Every location has different market forces. Base your pricing decisions on how fast your pots are selling. From across the internet, I can’t judge the weight and balance of your pots. But from what I can see, your pots are very attractive and of good craftsmanship. So present them with a sense of respect, not like bargain fodder. Which is related, but not specifically the same thing, as the number on the price tag. This market is a good choice for your first attempt at fair selling, due to its low booth fee. You can continue to do it this summer for the experience, but I would also start looking for something that is a step up. Where you won’t be selling pots next to snake oil.
  23. I unloaded a kiln this morning and found that one of my Core-lite shelves had cracked in half. It is broken mostly along one of its tunnels. The shelf is 6 years old and has been through 100s of firings without any signs of trouble. There was nothing unusual about the kiln load. It was tightly packed, and the broken shelf was in the middle zone where the pack was the most dense. The platter that was on this shelf is still flat. And the pots that were underneath are mostly fine. One of them has some grit from the broken shelf stuck in its glaze now. So I think it broke during the cool down. Anyone ever seen a Core-lite do this before? Any thoughts on why it happened?
  24. I have two glazes that dry to the exact same color when applied on a pot. I’m thinking of adding food coloring to one of them, so I can see where one glaze ends and the other begins. Has anyone tried this and does it work? By “work” I mean does the food coloring burn away harmlessly without affecting the glaze? Which color is most likely to burn away harmlessly, or are they all the same?
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