Jump to content

GEP

Members
  • Content Count

    2,265
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Reputation Activity

  1. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Hulk in Humidity and greenware drying   
    Are you also recommending that pottery studios should not use air conditioning? It seems like the same thing in terms of creating a draft. In the summer, I run a portable AC when I’m in the studio working. When it’s very humid, I run a fan at night to help the pots dry. I don’t think I could be productive in the summer without either of them. If it’s dangerous, then it’s a trade off I’m willing to make. 
  2. Like
    GEP reacted to Callie Beller Diesel in What’s on your workbench?   
    I made a thing. I was originally thinking garlic box, but...

  3. Like
    GEP reacted to JohnnyK in Fresh exposure through local news article   
    As many of you know, I’ve been pursuing a serious hobby in ceramics and pottery for the last decade or so. I’ve sold a bunch of stuff and have donated a bunch of stuff to various causes. Local PBS station KVIE-TV has been the recipient over the last 3 years and this time around I was recognized with their Juror’s Award for Sculpture for this collection of my Horsehair Raku…They, in turn, had put out a press release which was picked up by a local online news source, The Citrus Heights Sentinel. I was interviewed by a young, up and coming reporter, Rylie Freisen, and the attached PDF is the article she wrote which was published last Sunday.citrusheightssentinel.com-Meet John Klunder the Citrus Heights man who works wonders with ceramics.pdf
    For those of you who are interested, my time on the Auction will be Saturday, 3 OCT at 4PM…
    Thanks for your consideration!
    JohnnyK

    These are my other KVIE submissions, both of which were “Bell-Ringers”:
     
  4. Like
    GEP reacted to Min in Studio Tools, Sponge on a Stick   
    I was looking at a telescoping sponge on a stick and kind of balking at the price. Picked up 2 mini paint rollers from the dollar store (2/$1.50) and pushed one onto a paintbrush handle, works great. 
    It's been a while since we've had a tips and tricks thread, anybody have anything they could share?

  5. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Stephen in Home and Garden shows and "Booth Quote"?   
    When you are honestly not sure if a show is worth its booth fee, my advice is always the same. Skip it this time as an exhibitor, but go as a spectator. You can see with your own eyes if your work will fit it, and if the type of customers you want are there. Going in blind is the same as gambling. 
  6. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Roberta12 in Home and Garden shows and "Booth Quote"?   
    When you are honestly not sure if a show is worth its booth fee, my advice is always the same. Skip it this time as an exhibitor, but go as a spectator. You can see with your own eyes if your work will fit it, and if the type of customers you want are there. Going in blind is the same as gambling. 
  7. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Callie Beller Diesel in Home and Garden shows and "Booth Quote"?   
    When you are honestly not sure if a show is worth its booth fee, my advice is always the same. Skip it this time as an exhibitor, but go as a spectator. You can see with your own eyes if your work will fit it, and if the type of customers you want are there. Going in blind is the same as gambling. 
  8. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Hulk in Home and Garden shows and "Booth Quote"?   
    When you are honestly not sure if a show is worth its booth fee, my advice is always the same. Skip it this time as an exhibitor, but go as a spectator. You can see with your own eyes if your work will fit it, and if the type of customers you want are there. Going in blind is the same as gambling. 
  9. Like
    GEP reacted to Dick White in Custer Feldspar Substitution   
    Kona F4 was (again, "was" is the important word) a soda feldspar mined in Spruce Pine, NC. A bit before the turn of the century, there was an unfortunate fire in the mine, and it was uneconomical to repair and reopen. End of Kona F4. There was another company mining a soda feldspar on the other side of the same mountain. That was named NC-4. For whatever marketing reasons, the company selling NC-4 decided to change the name to Minspar. So, if you ever run out of that historic bag of Kona F-4, Minspar is almost the same. In some areas of the world, the feldspars are typically not sold by brand name, but by generic type. Soda feldspar, F4, NC-4, Minspar, all about the same and mostly interchangeable with each other (after testing to be sure exactly how whatever you just got works in that particular recipe).
    Potash feldspar is the flip side of soda. Feldspars typically have both sodium and potassium in the percentage analysis, and whichever of them is higher gets the name attribution.  Potash spar is the generic term for spars that have more potassium than sodium. Custer, G200, G200HP, G200EU, and Mahavir are US brand names for spars that lean to the potash side in varying proportions. If your Custer is fairly old, it is similar to the G200 and I would just mix the small amount of G200 with the Custer and not worry about it.
    In the interest of completeness, but not really part of this specific question, spodumene is a feldspar that has lithium among its alkaline fluxes. If you need lithium and can't pay the current highway robbery for it, try recalculating your recipe to use spodumene. And finally, there is nepheline syenite. From the geologist's perspective, it is not a true feldspar, but is close enough to be called feldspathic. Names, schmanes, whatever. It is a flux material very high in sodium, higher than proper soda feldspars.
    carry on as you were,
    dw
  10. Like
    GEP reacted to Dick White in Custer Feldspar Substitution   
    Some history and clarification about the G200 series feldspars - G200 was (the important word: "was") a potash spar roughly equivalent to Custer at the time it was in production. The G200 mine in Monticello, GA began to run out in the early 2000s, but they were able to keep the brand going by using a feldspar from another mine in Siloam, GA (about 50 miles distant). That feldspar, however, was considerably higher in its potassium content. They resolved the chemistry by trucking a soda feldspar in from Spruce Pine, NC (about 250 miles distant, probably from a mine near the Minspar source and the now-closed Kona F4 source mines) and blending it 70:30 Siloam potash spar:Spruce Pine soda spar. In about 2009, the company decided it was getting too expensive to truck both feldspars for processing and blending in Monticello, so they announce to their customer base that henceforth they would sell only Siloam product with the higher potassium, now labeled as G200HP. They revealed that they had been blending it for years and customers could either blend it themselves with Minspar or recalculate their glazes to the higher potassium content of the G200HP.  Lauguna, for example, began mixing them in their own facility and selling it as "Old Blend." However, as happens in the world of mined products, the Siloam mine ran out in about 2013, and G200HP is now unavailable. To meet the demand for a potash spar, they began to import a potash feldspar from Spain that was comparable to the original G200, and labeled it as G200EU. This product remains currently available, but not as widely carried by distributors and a bit more expensive due to the transport costs from Spain.
    At the same time, Laguna found a potash spar in India that is very similar to the original (and blended) G200 and imports it under the name Mahavir feldspar.
    Shifting now to the Custer issue, the original G200 and the blended G200 were roughly equivalent at the time, and often subbed 1 for 1 for each other in glaze recipes with no problem. When potters began to realize the bag of G200 they had so blithely just picked up from their distributor was in fact G200HP (the bag and label coloring were similar, only the printed name with the additional letters "HP" was the give-away) and their glazes were overfluxing, some did their own blending but then changed to using Custer. But then people who had long been using Custer began to notice their glazes were underfiring. After some potters sent their Custer out for testing at independent labs, it was found that the Custer product was now actually significantly lower in potassium and alumina and higher in silica than advertised. Pacer Corp, the producer of Custer, still claims in its technical literature that the analysis is basically the same as advertised some 20 years ago and blames the problem on customer (the potters) misuse. In my experience and similarly reported by others, if you have an old recipe containing a significant amount of Custer (40%+), you might need to recalculate your recipe, or change to G200EU or Mahavir.
  11. Like
    GEP reacted to Callie Beller Diesel in Christmas Shows?   
    We were locked down as a country for the better part of two months, so our Covid numbers dropped quite a bit all through the summer. My socially distanced farmer's market has been one of the best years I've ever had there! The "support local" energy is even stronger than it usually is, and people seem to be nesting, since they can't travel, or have been working from home. Which means buying pots, apparently.
    Numbers are on the rise again in my province however. Technically we can have indoor trade shows with no attendance caps at the moment, .as long as there's room for social distancing. That last caveat has cancelled a number of larger shows operated by Signatures (but not all). There's too many unknowns to be able to properly make adequate contingency plans if numbers spike two months from now, so the organization decided to just call it for everyone's safety and comfort. Full refunds have been given promptly for any shows they've cancelled, and kudos to them for it! Signatures has been hinting at some sort of "alternate experience" on social media and in newsletters, but they haven't said what they're doing with the remaining few shows. S
    OOAK Toronto, the largest show in Canada (2 weeks long normally) has cancelled their in-person show, and has decided to offer 2 months of some pretty serious online and conventional media promotion and a fairly sophisticated online shopping setup for $650 if you've never worked with them and $450 if you have. They are encouraging everyone to set up a Shopify website so they can link them all together somehow, and they've negotiated the free 3 month trial with them for all Canadians to facilitate that. (If any Canadian lurkers wanted to set up a Shopify but haven't yet, here's another chance at that deal they were offering earlier this year.) That one's interesting, because OOAK isn't one I can pull off in the physical world because it's too long and too far to haul a trailer full of pots alone at a time of year not known for good road conditions. If they're promoting my shop for 2 months though, it might be good value. There's something to be said for paying people who know what they're doing....
    Spruce Meadows has announced they won't be doing in-person, but is taking their show online. I don't do Spruce Meadows at the best of times despite its size and the fact that it's located in a very upscale area as the overhead is too high. Millarville, which is 10 minutes up the road from it and runs the week before for half the price, has in turn announced that they will be going ahead in person. They're using the signup time model, and the show will be held over 2 weekends as opposed to the usual one to accommodate everyone who wants to come. Because of all the other cancellations, the vendors who want to should be able to attend. They will however, only be approving half the regular number of vendors to allow for physical distancing. 
     
    While I'm waiting to hear from Signatures about 2 of the 3 Christmas shows I had signed up for, I'll be probably redoing my website on Shopify, and building an online catalog. I figure if the in person shows do wind up going ahead, I can offer it as a "pre shop for your convenience" service. If the in-person shows don't go ahead, I will likely do what Mea did, and run a sale for the Edmonton and Red Deer folks where I take a road trip and drop off the purchases in that area on a given day. If I was going to travel there anyways, at least this way I'll only have 2 days worth of travel expenses instead of 5, and no booth fees. I'll keep the website stocked with my best sellers this year (mugs and berry bowls), and just keep to the smaller items for shipping.
  12. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Roberta12 in Christmas Shows?   
    In my area (DC Metro) every county or city with its own local government gets to make its own decisions. Most events are still shut down, at least throuh the end of the year. But one jurisdiction is apparently allowing an outdoor show to take place next weekend. The promoter says that social distancing measures will be in place, but I don’t understand how. It’s a downtown street fair and there’s no way to make an entrance gate. Plus they say the artists will be spaced out, so did they uninvite half the artists? I normally do a show in the same neighborhood in October, but it was cancelled months ago (good example of the difference between for-profit and non-profit shows). The October show is normally packed with people, no way to meter them on a public street. 
    My sense is that the for-profit promoter is itching to resume their shows, and the brick-and-mortar businesses are pressuring the local government to open up. 
    I was thinking I would go down there to see how it worked, but I don’t want to take public transit, and this is a neighborhood where parking is very difficult, so I’ll pass. 
  13. Like
    GEP reacted to LeeU in What’s on your workbench?   
    Well, not exactly on the workbench but I thought I'd share a peek at how my test herb markers did and a new shallow dish treatment that I like (PC Ancient Copper).


  14. Like
    GEP reacted to Magnolia Mud Research in How do I do this effect? Please =)   
    The effect is called "breaking"; the glaze melt has a high surface tension and moves away from sharp edges.  
    To find out if the glaze will "break" on your work you need to do some testing by just trying the glaze. 
    For glazes that do not normally "break",  wiping the edges gently with a wet sponge to remove some - but NOT ALL - of the glaze will produce something resembling "breaking" but not as strong. 
    Application thickness also is important; very thick application can overcome the "breaking" effect. 
    Test, adjust, Test, ... 
    LT
  15. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Roberta12 in A Paradigm Shift   
    I agree that there is a pent up demand for our type of goods, due to the lack of retail opportunities these days. If you can find an alternate way to reach your customers, they are ready and willing,
    I have purged a lot of junk from my house too. Plus, painted several rooms, replaced old cruddy light fixtures with pretty ones, replaced all the old cruddy light switches and outlets, replaced curtains in two rooms. And I’m not done with my list yet. All things that I’ve wanted to do for years but never had time, until this year. 
  16. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Callie Beller Diesel in A Paradigm Shift   
    I just finished the last of my planned summer sales events. I am now feeling kind-of settled in with my new business plan, which includes "free home delivery" sales, and small scale online selling. Since April, I have done 3 "free home delivery" sales, and 2 online sales. I just checked my records and found that my gross sales are down only 13% from this time last year. That surprises me in a good way, and I'll take it! 
    Also, my show expenses (mostly booth fees) are down 80% from last year, and my travel expenses are down 90% from last year. So my bottom line P+L YTD is actually ahead of last year by $500. WHAT!!!!??!
    I would still rather do shows, because I'm wary about how long I can keep working my current mailing list without being able to grow it at shows. I don't think I can do this indefinitely. 
    And who knows what the fall and holiday season will bring. I normally would have done 3 shows plus my open studio. This year I am planning 1 more small scale online show, 1 virtual show (gonna give this a try, I'll report back), and my open studio. So that's fewer events, but with much lower expenses. We'll see how it goes.
    I've made a lot fewer pots this year, which means I've had a lot of time off too. My house and yard have never looked better. In the fall/holiday season, I normally make 7 cycles of work. This year I am only planning to do 4 or 5. So more time off. Not complaining about that. It does make me think I can plan my work differently after we get to have shows again. 
     
  17. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Roberta12 in A Paradigm Shift   
    I just finished the last of my planned summer sales events. I am now feeling kind-of settled in with my new business plan, which includes "free home delivery" sales, and small scale online selling. Since April, I have done 3 "free home delivery" sales, and 2 online sales. I just checked my records and found that my gross sales are down only 13% from this time last year. That surprises me in a good way, and I'll take it! 
    Also, my show expenses (mostly booth fees) are down 80% from last year, and my travel expenses are down 90% from last year. So my bottom line P+L YTD is actually ahead of last year by $500. WHAT!!!!??!
    I would still rather do shows, because I'm wary about how long I can keep working my current mailing list without being able to grow it at shows. I don't think I can do this indefinitely. 
    And who knows what the fall and holiday season will bring. I normally would have done 3 shows plus my open studio. This year I am planning 1 more small scale online show, 1 virtual show (gonna give this a try, I'll report back), and my open studio. So that's fewer events, but with much lower expenses. We'll see how it goes.
    I've made a lot fewer pots this year, which means I've had a lot of time off too. My house and yard have never looked better. In the fall/holiday season, I normally make 7 cycles of work. This year I am only planning to do 4 or 5. So more time off. Not complaining about that. It does make me think I can plan my work differently after we get to have shows again. 
     
  18. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Roberta12 in Covid Art Fair   
    I read a blog post by potters who did a show last weekend, including some video of the event. I’m guessing it’s the same show that @neilestrick is talking about. It looks very organized and safe from a public health standpoint. It also looks like a ghost town. 
    All things considered, I wouldn’t spend $400 on these events right now either.
  19. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Callie Beller Diesel in Covid Art Fair   
    I read a blog post by potters who did a show last weekend, including some video of the event. I’m guessing it’s the same show that @neilestrick is talking about. It looks very organized and safe from a public health standpoint. It also looks like a ghost town. 
    All things considered, I wouldn’t spend $400 on these events right now either.
  20. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Rae Reich in Clay for slab building   
    I don’t have a claybody recommendation. But when I make coasters,. I roll out the slab at the beginning of my work day, then come back 3 or 4 hours later to make the coasters. A few hours of drying will remove the sticky/mushy factor from most clays. The amount of time is individual, depends on your climate. 
    And I think a low-fire single firing will work. 
  21. Like
    GEP reacted to Callie Beller Diesel in Virtual Markets   
    Incoming Novel: tl;dr, it's possible to make some money at them, but only under certain conditions that need to be in place first, and no, they won't be the same return as the big US shows.  They will be frustrating for those used to a certain level of income.
     
    I spoke to a friend yesterday who had just completed round two of an in-person show that seems to have pivoted their audience online successfully. She was gracious enough to describe their process without financial numbers which she wasn't comfortable disclosing. We chatted about some of the pros and cons, and with her permission I'll share some of our analysis here.
    Some of the things we felt worked in the show's favour were that the organization has been established in the handmade community for a few years, and has always had a substantial and effective niche social media marketing component to their advertising. Their shoppers are a younger (30 something) crowd that does tend to have some disposable income, are social media users, are in the "nesting" phase of life and are inclined to shop online in the first place. Also, the show's application process requests your social media handles so that they can see your work development, check your audience compatibility, etc. (I don't get the impression this is common practice in the US, but it has become standard here in western Canada at least over the last 5 years.)  I think it's important to note that while there can be some overlap, online audiences DO differ from the live ones. Online audiences take time to build, just the same as in-person ones. I believe that an online show without a solid virtual presence to start with would not be as successful in the first years as the same live show would be.  A show that has focused the bulk of their efforts on more traditional marketing methods to get the word out will be essentially starting out as a beginner show if they attempt to pivot to an online platform in order to stay afloat or to try and support their artist stable. So I would say that if you're looking at a virtual show, check out their online assets before making a decision. Some things to ask would include:
    social media engagement numbers, which are a better indication of an enthusiastic audience than straight follower numbers. Followers can be purchased, engagement, notsomuch. ask if their email list was built virtually or from in person signups from previous years.  ask whether your own digital assets and that of other artists are a factor in their selection process. While the organizers should be doing the bulk of the marketing for you, they should also be providing you with materials to help promote yourselves as a group. Building efforts and community are necessary all the time, but more so this year. The structure of this show we're using as an example was experimenting a bit this last spring. This second round of the show this summer wasn't the usual juried format, and was instead an invitational, drawn from previous participants. I believe they wanted to offer shoppers a lineup of familiar favourites to set everyone up for success, as this is after all an experiment. The show organizers provided the online platform for centralized shopping, marketing efforts, and resources for the vendors. They charged a show fee which was lower than the usual booth, but they added a small commission on each sale, I assume to cover web fees and online processing.  They also were donating a portion of the sales to local charities, which came out of the show's portion of the comission.
    Pros of this show overall included:
    a group of solid, quality artists  Existing supportive audience Community effort in promotion lead by the organizer, leading to wider collective reach for all show participants Neat appearance of user friendly shopping platform so shoppers could purchase from multiple vendors in one transaction Short duration  of the sale (one weekend and it's gone) leading to a sense of urgency for the shoppers, similar to a flash sale or Instagram shop drop Less physical labour!!! No setup or tear down! Watching sales come in all weekend in your pjs with a hot drink is pretty satisfying.  
    Cons Included:
    There was a lot of building online assets (product listings, photos, etc) that were temporary: once the show was finished, listings were removed. This is a significant consideration IMO.  The ability to invite new customers to your own website/newsletter signup/social media were limited My friend's analysis showed that after all shipping costs, "booth" fees and commissions were accounted for, she received approx. 50% split. I suspect this number will vary from artist to artist. Results on this may be affected by item price point, number of sales, and whether or not shipping costs are appropriately accounted for in your pricing. The number of items one lists and sells may also be a factor. I don't have a wide enough sample to be able to tell though. Software apparently glitchy from the artist end, although things did get sorted out. You do need an ability to at least learn software reasonably quickly in order to make this work, or be able to borrow from your own existing digital infrastructure (product descriptions and web suitable photos) to do this efficiently. My friend, who did not previously have a sales portal, has concluded that while it was a profitable show and that it's important to support folks who have supported your own career, she might have kept more money had she just done things from her own website and promoted with a group of show friends with a compatible aesthetic in order to share reach.
    My thoughts are that digital shows may be a possible stop gap or secondary income stream, but some problems need to be worked out if they're to be a  more permanent thing.
  22. Like
    GEP got a reaction from LeeU in Covid Art Fair   
    $400 seems high for all of the restrictions that customers will be under. Is this event being run by a for-profit operation? If yes, then I would pass. For-profit shows need to prioritize their own bottom line first. There are plenty of non-profit and local government shows that don't need to turn a profit. I would trust them more to look after everyone's best interests. 
    Some of the for-profit operations have been doing some really shady things this summer. I guess they feel like they need to, but we artists don't need to help them. 
  23. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Roberta12 in Covid Art Fair   
    $400 seems high for all of the restrictions that customers will be under. Is this event being run by a for-profit operation? If yes, then I would pass. For-profit shows need to prioritize their own bottom line first. There are plenty of non-profit and local government shows that don't need to turn a profit. I would trust them more to look after everyone's best interests. 
    Some of the for-profit operations have been doing some really shady things this summer. I guess they feel like they need to, but we artists don't need to help them. 
  24. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Min in Virtual Markets   
    There was a thread in a facebook group about this topic. I found this to be the most relevant answer. This is an artist whom I’ve met. She makes excellent work (jewelry) and is a well-developed businessperson. 
    “I was signed up for 2-3 shows per weekend every single weekend (hadn't decided which yet) so have been in a ton of virtual shows. I've sold one piece so far from these events.”
    There were over 50 comments in the thread, most of the rest of them amounted to “total waste of time.” There was only one virtual show mentioned by two artists (State College, PA) where they reported sales between $500-$1000. This is nothing close to what artists can make when that show is live and in person. I follow this show on social media and they were promoting it like crazy! And their local audience is very dedicated to the show’s success. So they were able to make some lemonade, but apparently most shows have not managed to do so. 
    I think the type of person who likes to shop at shows does not overlap much with people who like to shop online. The type of work is also different. If you want sales from both audiences, you need to cultivate them separately.
  25. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Callie Beller Diesel in Virtual Markets   
    There was a thread in a facebook group about this topic. I found this to be the most relevant answer. This is an artist whom I’ve met. She makes excellent work (jewelry) and is a well-developed businessperson. 
    “I was signed up for 2-3 shows per weekend every single weekend (hadn't decided which yet) so have been in a ton of virtual shows. I've sold one piece so far from these events.”
    There were over 50 comments in the thread, most of the rest of them amounted to “total waste of time.” There was only one virtual show mentioned by two artists (State College, PA) where they reported sales between $500-$1000. This is nothing close to what artists can make when that show is live and in person. I follow this show on social media and they were promoting it like crazy! And their local audience is very dedicated to the show’s success. So they were able to make some lemonade, but apparently most shows have not managed to do so. 
    I think the type of person who likes to shop at shows does not overlap much with people who like to shop online. The type of work is also different. If you want sales from both audiences, you need to cultivate them separately.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.