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GEP

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  1. Like
    GEP reacted to Chilly in What’s on your workbench?   
    Today, on my workbench, is pot #1 of 3. Formed around a flower bucket, wrapped with bubble-wrap.  
     

  2. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Roberta12 in QotW: How are you going about the "re-opening of the economy"?   
    My county will still be in phase 1 of reopening for a few more weeks, even though the rest of my state (MD) is moving into phase 2. My county (plus one other) is where most of the cases in my state are. I am still staying home except for really important things. Businesses here have adapted and complied very well, so going out feels safe, but only because things are so restricted. For example, I needed some car maintenance last week, the shop was by appointment only and they were only taking one customer per hour. I was the only customer in the shop, and was still asked to stay six feet away from the employees. He disinfected a pen for me before I used it. 
    I went for a long walk through my neighborhood including a popular park this weekend, and every single person was wearing a mask. We are not required to wear them for outdoor exercise, but most people do anyways. I’m grateful for that. 
    I am troubled about all the huge protests that took place this week in DC. Not because of the meaning of the protests, the spirit of them is long overdue. But because we will either end up in lockdown for longer than we would have been, or we will discover that we didn’t need to cancel all the summer festivals. 
    As for the pottery business, I am still making, and planning some more “free home delivery” events for the summer. And I am conceding that I need to (gasp) do some online selling too, which I am planning to do on a very limited basis. 
  3. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Callie Beller Diesel in QotW: How are you going about the "re-opening of the economy"?   
    My county will still be in phase 1 of reopening for a few more weeks, even though the rest of my state (MD) is moving into phase 2. My county (plus one other) is where most of the cases in my state are. I am still staying home except for really important things. Businesses here have adapted and complied very well, so going out feels safe, but only because things are so restricted. For example, I needed some car maintenance last week, the shop was by appointment only and they were only taking one customer per hour. I was the only customer in the shop, and was still asked to stay six feet away from the employees. He disinfected a pen for me before I used it. 
    I went for a long walk through my neighborhood including a popular park this weekend, and every single person was wearing a mask. We are not required to wear them for outdoor exercise, but most people do anyways. I’m grateful for that. 
    I am troubled about all the huge protests that took place this week in DC. Not because of the meaning of the protests, the spirit of them is long overdue. But because we will either end up in lockdown for longer than we would have been, or we will discover that we didn’t need to cancel all the summer festivals. 
    As for the pottery business, I am still making, and planning some more “free home delivery” events for the summer. And I am conceding that I need to (gasp) do some online selling too, which I am planning to do on a very limited basis. 
  4. Like
    GEP got a reaction from JohnnyK in pizza stone?   
    I’ve never seen anyone remove the pizza stone from an oven when it’s blazing hot. The pizza can removed with a wooden pizza peel, or just use a pair of tongs to slide the pizza onto a cutting board. Leave the stone in the oven to cool. So a cone 6 clay pizza stone would work fine.
    Having said that, I personally use a 15 inch cordierite kiln shelf. Though I can see the appeal of wanting to hand make your own out of clay.
  5. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Joseph Fireborn in When do you stop wanting to barf?   
    This is a known phenomenon! We called it”The Two Month Rule” and it was part of my wood firing classes. Nobody was allowed to pass judgment on their pots until two months later, because of exactly what you’re talking about. When you first see the pot, your mind is clouded by your expectations. It takes two months to forget what the expectations were. It’s amazing how much perceptions and feelings change. 
  6. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Katie Piro in Ceramic Art   
    Yes, several ceramics entities will recognize "emerging artists," such as Ceramics Monthly magazine, and some of the high-end craft shows. However, this does not catapult anyone to success. It's just a boost up. There's still a lot work and years ahead for a talented emerging artist to build a sustainable practice. There's no such thing as an overnight success in ceramics. There's too much skill involved, you cannot get around the number of years it takes to acquire the skill. 
  7. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Rae Reich in A rant about customer service   
    “The situation with the other potter definitely surprised me in how she handled it. I would have seriously considered purchasing other items from her had it been handled differently. ”
    This is a direct quote from the customer in the above story. The potter might think she benefited herself by keeping the money and leaving the customer high and dry, but really she lost a potential repeat customer. 
    This is a crucial point that others here have pointed to as well: happy customers equal repeat customers. Imagine trying to keep a pottery business afloat if your customers will only buy your work once. Finding a brand new customer for every single pot? It’s not sustainable. On the other hand, if you make customers happy enough to come back to you for more, your task of selling becomes so much easier. Happy customers also refer their friends to you. The above customer contacted me because another good, steady customer recommended me. 
    Gratitude and integrity go a long, long way. 
  8. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Rae Reich in A rant about customer service   
    I recently heard this story from a potential customer. It made me so mad, I want to rant about it.
    The customer tried to order a custom pottery item online. The potter took 9 weeks to ship the item. The item arrived broken. The potter responded by telling the customer to file a claim with USPS.
    This is @!#?!-level customer service on several fronts. The potter is taking no responsibility for their work. I really hope these attitudes are not widespread among those who do custom work, and those who sell online.
    If you are taking custom orders, figure out a process for completing the work in a reasonable amount of time. 9 weeks is not a reasonable amount of time. In my studio, a full making cycle takes 2.5 weeks. If I took custom orders (which I don't) at most it would take 2.5 weeks.
    When you ship a piece of pottery, you are 90% responsible for the outcome, based on how you pack the item. You assume the box will be dropped or kicked at some point. The carrier is responsible for the other 10%. The customer is responsible for 0%. 
    If an item arrives broken, the customer should get a replacement, at no extra cost to them. None of this was their fault. This is another reason why you need to be able to produce work in a reasonable amount of time, because sometimes a replacement will be necessary. If the breakage was truly the carrier's fault, then YOU file a claim to try to get reimbursed. If you can't prove the carrier was at fault, then YOU eat the cost of the lost pot and lost shipment. This is why it's important to learn how to pack correctly, understanding that the outcome is mostly up to you.
    If, for some reason, a replacement is not possible, then YOU refund the customer's money asap. Again, if you think the carrier is at fault, then YOU file claim with USPS/UPS/Fedex. Never make the customer do the legwork for getting their money back.
    I am stunned that a potter actually did these things. I told the customer that instead of filing a claim with USPS, she should ask her credit card to reverse the charge. 
  9. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Katie Piro in A rant about customer service   
    “The situation with the other potter definitely surprised me in how she handled it. I would have seriously considered purchasing other items from her had it been handled differently. ”
    This is a direct quote from the customer in the above story. The potter might think she benefited herself by keeping the money and leaving the customer high and dry, but really she lost a potential repeat customer. 
    This is a crucial point that others here have pointed to as well: happy customers equal repeat customers. Imagine trying to keep a pottery business afloat if your customers will only buy your work once. Finding a brand new customer for every single pot? It’s not sustainable. On the other hand, if you make customers happy enough to come back to you for more, your task of selling becomes so much easier. Happy customers also refer their friends to you. The above customer contacted me because another good, steady customer recommended me. 
    Gratitude and integrity go a long, long way. 
  10. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Benzine in A rant about customer service   
    I recently heard this story from a potential customer. It made me so mad, I want to rant about it.
    The customer tried to order a custom pottery item online. The potter took 9 weeks to ship the item. The item arrived broken. The potter responded by telling the customer to file a claim with USPS.
    This is @!#?!-level customer service on several fronts. The potter is taking no responsibility for their work. I really hope these attitudes are not widespread among those who do custom work, and those who sell online.
    If you are taking custom orders, figure out a process for completing the work in a reasonable amount of time. 9 weeks is not a reasonable amount of time. In my studio, a full making cycle takes 2.5 weeks. If I took custom orders (which I don't) at most it would take 2.5 weeks.
    When you ship a piece of pottery, you are 90% responsible for the outcome, based on how you pack the item. You assume the box will be dropped or kicked at some point. The carrier is responsible for the other 10%. The customer is responsible for 0%. 
    If an item arrives broken, the customer should get a replacement, at no extra cost to them. None of this was their fault. This is another reason why you need to be able to produce work in a reasonable amount of time, because sometimes a replacement will be necessary. If the breakage was truly the carrier's fault, then YOU file a claim to try to get reimbursed. If you can't prove the carrier was at fault, then YOU eat the cost of the lost pot and lost shipment. This is why it's important to learn how to pack correctly, understanding that the outcome is mostly up to you.
    If, for some reason, a replacement is not possible, then YOU refund the customer's money asap. Again, if you think the carrier is at fault, then YOU file claim with USPS/UPS/Fedex. Never make the customer do the legwork for getting their money back.
    I am stunned that a potter actually did these things. I told the customer that instead of filing a claim with USPS, she should ask her credit card to reverse the charge. 
  11. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Rae Reich in A rant about customer service   
    I've never done it with USPS, but I know that with UPS and Fedex, they want the shipper to file the claim, because the shipper is the one who paid for the insurance on the shipment. With UPS, if they want to inspect the damaged package, they will send a driver to look at it. I guess it makes sense that USPS needs the recipient to come into a post office instead. But still, the shipper should refund the customer regardless, and facilitate the claim. 
    I once ordered supplies from a vendor that was lost by Fedex. The shipper said "not our problem." I called Fedex, and they said that the shipper had to file the claim. I could file the claim only if I could prove that the shipper refused to file a claim. Grrrr. I resolved the issue by calling my local Fedex distributor location, rather than their main customer service number. I spoke to a person who said he would look into it. I don't know what he did, but the delivery arrived a few days later, after being lost in the wind for a month. Never ordering from that vendor again. 
  12. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Callie Beller Diesel in A rant about customer service   
    I've never done it with USPS, but I know that with UPS and Fedex, they want the shipper to file the claim, because the shipper is the one who paid for the insurance on the shipment. With UPS, if they want to inspect the damaged package, they will send a driver to look at it. I guess it makes sense that USPS needs the recipient to come into a post office instead. But still, the shipper should refund the customer regardless, and facilitate the claim. 
    I once ordered supplies from a vendor that was lost by Fedex. The shipper said "not our problem." I called Fedex, and they said that the shipper had to file the claim. I could file the claim only if I could prove that the shipper refused to file a claim. Grrrr. I resolved the issue by calling my local Fedex distributor location, rather than their main customer service number. I spoke to a person who said he would look into it. I don't know what he did, but the delivery arrived a few days later, after being lost in the wind for a month. Never ordering from that vendor again. 
  13. Like
    GEP reacted to Mark C. in QotW: What is the silliest thing you have done or seen done dealing with Ceramics?   
    Silly or stupid-its a toss up
    lets see back in art school early 70s -well lets call him Ed (to protect the stupid) stacked the 36 cubic Alpine with bisque ware one late afternoon and started a candle falme on kiln and left-I was throwing late after after a few hours we all heard a huge Kabam sound and dust shot out of kiln room in huge clouds. What the heck we all slowly went it to see what that cpould have been???
    Seems Ed did not know about lining up all the posts on top of each other on shelves-he just put them where he felt like and the whole load collapsed to the floor taking out all the greenware-all 26 cubic feet of it.Many people where not happy with Ed after that.
    Lets move forward about 5 years and Ed was firing his 1st homemade catanary  arch kiln-it was propane-he had trouble lighting it-has the gas on and then turned it off and went for more matches-started the burners again and Kabam as the kiln had lots of heavy propane still trapped in foor area it went off like a bomb. The arch went up -he was crouched to the side  and was knocked away of front wall as both front and rear walls blew out and arch came down in pieces-a complete loss of wares and kiln. He was ok but shaken.I was about 25 feet away at the time.
    Fast forward about two more years 
    Ed called me to see if I was interested in buying all his stuff which I did at that time.I figure I saved many many  a pots from destruction getting Ed out of clay .
    Never heard from Ed again but if you hear a huge Kabam sound he may  around still.
  14. Like
    GEP reacted to Pres in What’s on your workbench?   
    I am working on communion sets, and today is glazing on these chalices. Same number of patens will be fired also in this load.
     
    best,
    Pres

  15. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Rae Reich in QotW: What are your beliefs about the time to reopen the economy and returning to Summer craft shows?   
    I think your instincts here are valid. Wait to see what happens to them first. 
  16. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Rae Reich in QotW: What are your beliefs about the time to reopen the economy and returning to Summer craft shows?   
    All of my shows are juried, and they all involve a jury fee. Except for one that is very casual. 
    I’ve gotten all but one of my booth fees returned, but none of my jury fees. For me a jury fee typically ranges from $25 to $50, so I’m not worried about it. The one show that didn’t refund is letting me apply the whole booth fee to their 2021 show, which I also think is fair. 
  17. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Callie Beller Diesel in QotW: What are your beliefs about the time to reopen the economy and returning to Summer craft shows?   
    I think your instincts here are valid. Wait to see what happens to them first. 
  18. Like
    GEP got a reaction from liambesaw in QotW: What are your beliefs about the time to reopen the economy and returning to Summer craft shows?   
    I think your instincts here are valid. Wait to see what happens to them first. 
  19. Like
    GEP got a reaction from nancylee in What’s on your workbench?   
    I mentioned in another thread a few days ago that I would be attempting to throw an extra-large planter for my patio. Here it is so far. This was a combination of throwing and coil building. 25 lbs of clay total. It is currently 17.5 inches across and 10 inches tall. No guarantees it will make it through the rest of the process. 

  20. Like
    GEP got a reaction from dhPotter in When do you stop wanting to barf?   
    This is a known phenomenon! We called it”The Two Month Rule” and it was part of my wood firing classes. Nobody was allowed to pass judgment on their pots until two months later, because of exactly what you’re talking about. When you first see the pot, your mind is clouded by your expectations. It takes two months to forget what the expectations were. It’s amazing how much perceptions and feelings change. 
  21. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Hulk in When do you stop wanting to barf?   
    This is a known phenomenon! We called it”The Two Month Rule” and it was part of my wood firing classes. Nobody was allowed to pass judgment on their pots until two months later, because of exactly what you’re talking about. When you first see the pot, your mind is clouded by your expectations. It takes two months to forget what the expectations were. It’s amazing how much perceptions and feelings change. 
  22. Like
    GEP reacted to Juliagoolia in When do you stop wanting to barf?   
    Awesome! I'm going to make this a new standard process for my bins of 'to smash' or 'to reglaze'. From now on, storing on a shelf for 2 months before they get smashed on the patio.
    Except for the pots I accidentally glaze closed. That's immediate. Smashy smashy.
  23. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Juliagoolia in When do you stop wanting to barf?   
    This is a known phenomenon! We called it”The Two Month Rule” and it was part of my wood firing classes. Nobody was allowed to pass judgment on their pots until two months later, because of exactly what you’re talking about. When you first see the pot, your mind is clouded by your expectations. It takes two months to forget what the expectations were. It’s amazing how much perceptions and feelings change. 
  24. Like
    GEP reacted to Sorcery in When do you stop wanting to barf?   
    I hear "price per inch" in Bonsai a lot. Ridiculous IMO.
    I know what OP is feeling, and it sure ain't math!
    Sounds Jokey, but investigating broken stuff is a huge confidence builder. I dropped a thin walled pot a foot onto the concrete the other day and it survived. That was a boost.
    I make little knick Knacks to fill kiln corners and give those away with purchases all the time. Every pot I've sold directly has had a free companion. It makes up for any doubt I have, and I imagine is delightful for the customer.
    One thing I realized the other day, the backwards math that is....
    It's easier to make a hundred pieces than it is to make one.
    I reckon you have to work a while to get this feeling. Seeing one pot not come out the way you wished a few times. Where, if you make 6, one is bound for perfect, 600 and the number goes up!
    When you get into this idea, and start making more, and more, and are able to repeat things exactly.....all of a sudden your efficiency goes up so high, your prices can come down.
    I reckon that's the real point where this feeling gets a little easier. 
    Reckon that's why I appreciate the Leach Philosophy. It's balanced. Sustainable. Efficient. Honest.
    Sorce
     
  25. Like
    GEP got a reaction from Juliagoolia in When do you stop wanting to barf?   
    Having taught a class where I guided students through their first selling experiences, it is totally normal to find pricing to be terrifying at that stage. The only cure is time and practice. 
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