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Everything posted by GEP

  1. In addition to the answers given above, make sure everything in your wholesale line is something you feel comfortable and confident making in large quantities. Lots can go wrong in ceramics, and high quantities multiply the potential problems. I haven’t wholesaled in over 5 years, so these norms might have changed, but these were the normal payment terms when I was doing it (mostly to galleries in the northeast and some midwest). First order: no deposit is required, payment in full is due when the order is ready to ship. I pack, weigh, and calculate shipping costs, then contact the customer and tell them the total amount due including shipping. They either send a check or give me a credit card number (nowadays a Square or PayPal invoice is probably more common). Then the order ships. If the first order goes smoothly, then I will extend Net 30 invoices for all future orders. You don’t need to buy anything back. It’s their responsibility to sell it once they bought it. If something arrived broken, I sent them a free replacement, then filed a claim with UPS for the broken items. Sometimes I got reimbursed, sometimes I didn’t. The occasional losses are part of doing wholesale. Learning how to pack is crucial! If you are also selling your work online directly to customers, be careful not to undersell your gallery partners. They don’t like that, and rightfully so. Either don’t sell the same items online, or make sure to always charge prices that are at least double what you charged the gallery. This only applies to online selling. If your other sales venues are local art fairs, then you don’t have to worry about underselling your galleries, since it’s unlikely the audience with overlap.
  2. Sounds like a good approach. I don’t want to say it’s worthless to try to think things out in advance. Proactive thinking and hypothesizing is good! I’m just saying that you’ll never know the answer for sure until you try it. And sometimes you’ll be very surprised. Think of it as your first kiln load out of hundreds and hundreds. Even if it’s a total bust, it’s not that bad. And the knowledge gained from every firing is never bad.
  3. It sounds better than the cone 6-10 choice, and the 12.5% shrinkage sounds like a safe choice. Again, you can’t really know until you try it. Depending on how convenient it is for you to make trips to Sheffield, you might want to pick up a few different white clays and try them all. Testing is an important aspect of ceramics, you might as well get into this mindset from the start of your new studio. It will serve you well in the long run. It’s not risky if it’s on a test tile! If you end up with almost full bags of clay that you don’t like, find a local potter to give them to. I’m currently testing a different cone 6 porcelain with 13.5% shrinkage. I want to try it because it has a brighter white finish. On paper it shouldn’t work, but that doesn’t scare me. I’ll fire them next week and see how it goes. If it doesn’t work, at least I’ll have learned that.
  4. I would avoid anything with a cone 6-10 firing range, if you are firing to cone 6. It really won’t be fully vitrified. I would prioritize matching the firing temperatures instead of the shrinkage rate. I once tried to pick a clay for slipmaking by matching the shrinkage rate. On paper it should have worked, but it didn’t. It was very similar to your current choices, my base clay was cone 6 and shrank 10%. The white clay (porcelain) was a cone 7-10, but seemed to match the shrinkage rate when fired to one 7. It didn’t work. The white slip would crack on a regular basis. And it just didn’t look vitrified. So I switched to a cone 6 porcelain with a shrinkage rate of 12.5%, and it works flawlessly. Sheffield has some cone 6 smooth white clays, and some cone 6 porcelains. I think those would be a better choice. It just goes to show that ceramics does not happen in math equations on paper. The only way to know if something works is to try it!
  5. When you mixed up the glaze, did you put it through a sieve? And if so, how many times? Some of my glazes look fine after two passes through a sieve, but some definitely need three or four before all the globs are worked out. The area of crawling in the third photo indicates there are still some thick globs in your batch. And this would explain the thinner areas too.
  6. I have a basement studio and use the laundry sink right next to the laundry machines. I don’t have a clay trap but I use buckets diligently, meaning everything gets washed in a bucket first, and only get washed in the sink when they are almost clean already. One bucket for clay-only washing (same as my throwing water bucket) and another bucket for glaze (+everything else) washing. Since most of my washing takes place elsewhere in the studio, the sink area does not get very dirty, and I’ve never had a problem with contaminating my laundry.
  7. It wouldn’t be expensive, and not difficult at all.If they had to hire an outside editor/proofreader (which they probably don’t), it would cost them way less than the cost of one kiln. The entire manual is printed on a laser printer, not through a printing press. They wouldn’t have to edit the sections supplied by third parties, just the part that they wrote, which is what i was talking about.
  8. From somebody who worked in publishing for 20 years, this is a normal thing to do and isn’t very hard. Not even for a 1 inch thick manual.
  9. @Pres, I have two L&L kilns, one is ten years younger than the other. Sometimes when I look things up in the newer kiln’s manual, I find paragraphs that hadn’t been updated. Meant for the older kiln, not the new kiln. Can’t think of a specific example off the top of my head, but they are there! @neilestrick, if you are going to mention this convo to L&L, maybe you could let them know the ENTIRE manual needs a thorough proofreading?
  10. When I replace elements in my L&Ls, the instructions that come with the elements say to fire the kiln empty to cone 5, and no particular firing speed is required. Maybe the Slow Bisque to cone 5 is just for the first EVER firing in a brand new kiln, for benefit of not just the elements but also the bricks?
  11. This is my understanding of the Easy-Fire programs (if @neilestrick has a better understanding, listen to him instead!). The Easy-Fire programs are using a “variable cone” meaning if the firing is extra fast or extra slow, the controller will automatically add or subtract some degrees of temperature from the cutoff, in order to compensate. It is calculating temperature + time, not just temperature. For example, if you used “Slow Glaze” which would take 8 or 9 hours, it wouldn’t have added the extra temperature to the end. Or, let’s say you’re firing with old struggling elements, and the firing takes 12 hours, the controller will automatically shutoff at a lower temperature. The user has no control of this. If you want to fire to a precise temperature each time, then use your own programs instead. (I use Fast Bisque for bisque firings, and my own programs for glaze firings). For a single potter studio where you have a lot of control and consistency about how the kilns are loaded, you don’t need the controller to make these decisions for you. I think it’s preferable to be in control of exactly when the kiln shuts off. I can see how it would make sense in a classroom situation where the kiln loads can vary a lot. So for now, I wouldn’t tinker with cone offsets. I would make your own firing program that copies the Slow Glaze to cone 6, but set the end point to 6 1/4 or wherever you want it.
  12. I consider myself a production potter. But whenever I have a new design idea I want to explore, I can always make time for it. I only work on a handful of new designs per year, and only half of those will ever make past the exploration stage. The vast majority of my time is spent making the established items in my line. All of these designs were developed with a lot of thought, I feel really good about them, and I enjoy making them. There have been times when, for various reasons, I stopped enjoying making certain past items. When that happens I stop making it. I have never forced myself to make something I don’t want to make, just because it is a good seller. That would defeat the point of being an independent artist. Why take the risk of independence if you’re just going to trap yourself? The repetitiousness of production pottery means that you must take good care of your body and your psyche. Making things you don’t want to make would be hard to maintain. Of course, everything you make must be a productive seller too, but that needs to be reconciled with design and desire too.
  13. The constant shrill chirping is a problem. So is the crunch of stepping on dead cicada bodies everywhere. Not a fun time to be outside!
  14. FWIW, I have been using the Square store for about a year, and haven’t needed any tech support. The last time I used it (about a week ago), I found they had improved the interface a lot. It took a lot fewer mouse clicks to load up the store with items. The selling and payment processes work fast and smoothly. I haven’t had a single issue with that aspect of the store. I hate the facebook interface too. So cumbersome and often nonsensical.
  15. Just to echo what Callie said, building an audience is just as important as building a webstore. More important, really, because the internet is oversaturated with pottery webstores now. @dondon if you have an established local following, you are way ahead in this process. Make sure to market the webstore to this crowd. They are probably eager to have a way to buy your work while the pandemic is going on. The internet may supply some new customers, but don’t rely on that. Focus your attention on the customers you already know. My personal choice is to have a Weebly website and a Square store. I started using both before they merged. Yes, they are not well integrated yet, so I treat them as separate platforms. I like the Square store because it is the cheapest option (only pay for payment processing and nothing else). And I am taking full responsibility to drive traffic there, so it doesn’t make sense for me to pay anybody to help me find customers. I am using the mailing list that I collected over many years doing art festivals and craft shows. Within that audience I have plenty of customers for my online sales.
  16. I am toying with the idea of a backyard pottery sale this summer, in place of the show that got cancelled. The way vaccinations are going here, I feel confident that 70 to 80% of the attendees would be vaccinated by mid-summer. My only doubt about this idea are the cicadas.
  17. I had one show that was tentatively scheduled for July, but they recently decided to cancel it. I am still optimistic for fall shows. I got my first vaccine shot this morning! The term I’m hearing is “revenge spending” meaning the third and fourth quarters of this this year are expected to be insane for retailers. Because consumers need to let it all out!
  18. If you have metal marks on a white pot, there’s a good chance you can remove them with Bar Keepers Friend (aka oxalic acid). These marks are not damage to the glaze itself, just a stubborn stain. Having said that, if you are making pots that you intend to sell, it’s best to formulate glazes that don’t metal mark in the first place.
  19. I try to trim a small mouth bottle as much as possible right after throwing it, when the bottle is still right side up and attached to its batt, using a Dolan 120 tool. https://www.baileypottery.com/c-096-120.html Then I finish trimming when leather hard on a bisqued chuck. I don’t use clay wads, I just work gently and slowly, and re-center the pot every time I knock it off center. But there’s usually very little trimming to do.
  20. Several people have offered the answer “no the painted surfaces are not ceramics” but you won’t take that for answer. And you defend your position by arguing an “art” defense but not providing a “ceramics” defense. That’s why it doesn’t seem like you understand that these are two different questions.
  21. @itsALLart, you came here and asked the question “is this ceramics?” but what you you really meant is “is this art?” You don’t seem to understand the difference. When you are making art for your own personal exploration/growth/satisfaction then it doesn’t matter if you call it ceramics or not. However, if you are trying to enter professional venues with your work, the standards and definitions DO matter. Just like with any other professional field.
  22. Break those pots fully in half, and I bet you’ll find a big difference in thickness between the walls and the floor. This is an addendum to the above “uneven drying” answer. Evenly thick pots will dry evenly.
  23. Notice that her terminology does not include the word “ceramics.” You could follow her example and call your work “stoneware, paint”.
  24. Could it have been a matter of terminology? Did you describe your works as “ceramics”? Because in that case, the painted surfaces would make me react “err hmmm, it’s not ceramics.” If you describe your work as “mixed media” it wouldn’t register to me as being wrong in any way.
  25. My pots are still on their throwing bats through this stage, right side up. Any pot that is 6 lbs or more will probably be on a Hydrobat, which helps with even drying. And this problem is definitely worse in the dry winter climate too, compared to my humid summer climate.
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