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Everything posted by Stephen

  1. confused, what's the thermocouple for in a converted kiln? Is it to avoid using cones and peep hole?
  2. Art is too complicated in approach for me. It's more project than process. Weighing out 20 balls of clay, putting on some tunes and getting absorbed in the process is a very cool thing to me. It's also satisfying that folks are out there using my pots.
  3. Matt, You don't need to jump through all those hoops to get your charges straightened out. Just contact your card company and dispute the charge as not delivered. They will take it right off. I have only had to do it once but on several occasions after a couple calls I make it perfectly clear that the next call will be for a charge back and I say I hate to do it because I know they will be charged a fee and it goes on their merchant record. That always produced immediate resolution except for the one large company that ignored it and the CC company took care of it for me.
  4. Just to add balance, I have dealt with BCS for years and never had an big issues. I also order from Clay-King, Sheffield, Baileys, The Pottery Shop as well as local shops when I can but I do pay attention to price and while I am willing to pay a small premium to support a local shop I am not willing to pay a large premium. I do try and keep in mind that both local and these on-line shops are mostly smallish pottery supply companies and I really try and cut them some slack. They are not big slick commerce companies but rather pottery outfits trying to stay afloat and mostly the folks that
  5. I used a Clay boss we had on loan for 6 months or so before the owner needed it back and I bought a Shimpo Whisper because of it being quiet. I thought the clay boss was just fine and you can get a brand new one from Clay-King with free shipping for $610. http://www.clay-king.com/pottery_wheels/speedball_pottery_wheels/speedball_clay_boss_pottery_wheel.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIor-WueeF3AIVELXACh0VEwqUEAQYASABEgKravD_BwE As far as waiting for experience for a kiln, if your talking about an electric kiln with a controller, they are pretty straightforward and easy to operate.
  6. Hey Richsound welcome to the forum. sounds like a lot of first's, congrads. I think a lot of folks settle into 5-6 with a cone's one worth of heat work at the end with a 2-30 minute hold if you have an electronic controller. Seems to be the sweet spot on glazes too. Are you going to mix your own or buy them? In regards to firing an electric kiln to its top rating, probably not even possible beyond a handful of firings after you first replace the elements unless you have an electronic controller to finish up the cone 10 with heat work. While I don't think its the same as redlining an engi
  7. man I wish I knew what you guys were talking about, sigh. Off to do some surfing.
  8. When i was trying to make a living making pots, my studio time was so monopolized with getting ready for the next show, calculating how to push loads through to boxes with the functional items that sold (read a lot of mugs, bowls, cups spoon rest etc.) that pottery started feeling more routine. To counter this I was starting to try and make some time each day to work on a few art pieces. For me that was some vases and such but I had other more elaborate pieces in mind. True my vases didn't sell at the same rate as mugs but they were exciting to work on and they did round out my booth when I bo
  9. I guess I just see a good pot is a good pot, a second is a good pot that has a small blemish that keeps it from being top shelf and trash is trash. I wouldn't sell or give away junk period. What's the point? if it didn't work, it didn't work. Toss it and move on. it's a part of the journey. No one likes tossing a finished pot but its just the nature of the beast. I just recommend ya go get 7-8 tubs and just start building your show inventory. You're going to need a few hundred pots to fill a booth and do a 3 day show. Wrap the the good pots and box them up for your first show and send
  10. I read somewhere, maybe here, "forget your family and friends, they will never see you as an artist". I think that is mostly spot on for self taught and at the same time I think self taught folks feel more defensive. I don't think anyone in my life space really takes me that seriously but then again I really never engage anyone about it either. My partner gets a lot of accolades and she deserves it because her work is excellent and she is a very 'talented' artist. I don't mean this badly but I don't really want opinions on my work at this point. I care if customers buy the work
  11. Ya know I think mugs and corresponding prices have to be separated into two very distinct pots. A labor intensive mug with hand carving and/or hand painted can absolutely fetch $30-$50 even at the small shows I do. Its a beautiful pot that folks that enjoy pottery and coffee can use, appreciate and admire every day. BUT a nice dipped large mug I just don't see it in any numbers. I need to move dozens, as mugs are my main thing and any time I put a price out of the teens sells plummet, People admire and compliment and you can often see them trying to justify as they pick up and hold and adm
  12. Per a few of my recent post I am assembling a new studio and used kiln shopping. Ran across what appears to be a fine kiln for $375 (Olympic 2327) with new elements 4 firings ago and supposedly works great. No visible cracks and really not that much wear on the bricks. The price with the new elements is of course fine but the age gives me pause. I emailed the serial number and got a very prompt and helpful response from Olympic and a link to a pdf manual for it. It was manufactured in 1979 in Redmond Washington and parts are still available. Hell they were a bigger company than Microsoft
  13. and if you are going to work in the higher end of price points and your work can command those price points I have to wonder if pushing the envelope on functional ware is the way to go, at least at art fairs. At art shows I think a lot of the buys are impulse to a point and pure art pieces seem to be the way to go for the higher price points. We easily get $50-$100 for vases and into triple digits for hand painted artwork but I think most functional ware would just languish with just the occasional buyer who appreciates the more complex pot. Obviously if you sell half as many at twice the
  14. yes and no, the way this discussion has headed I think exemplifies the range of forms used for mugs. The more complex the higher the price. I hear it said often that time doesn't dictate price. I somewhat disagree when it comes to pottery in many instances. The extra time more often than not means a lot more complex finishing. A foot, detailed carving etc takes a lot more time and commands more dollars. I think our $22 price is probably about right for a well thrown mug with a really nice glaze finish and the mug hand detailed after glazing. Every thing beyond that is going to take more time
  15. I love the process of making pottery and certainly want to be the very best I can be at my craft. Pottery has a rich history all its own and is not art to me. As a small studio potter it seems perfectly natural to make items that sell well because unlike art that is often just made for its own sake and is often not about commerce, hand made pottery is hand fashioned by a studio potter much like it was hundreds of years ago, to be both esthetically appreciated and functional in nature to be used in my customers daily lives. Besides an attractive soap dish with a nice crackle glaze dresses u
  16. yeah, we bought a festival display setup from a small company out of Arkansas that takes a while to pull together. It is very sturdy and has nice tote bags for the parts but the whole thing takes a good hour to unload and assemble. By the time we unload, put up the tent, put up signs, find water for and attach the leg weights, assemble the display and un-wrap about 350 pieces of pottery and arrange pots, table and tent for sale with 2 of us working fairly steady its about 3 hours from start to finish. We could probably cut as much as hour off of it if we absolutely had to but it would be prett
  17. Yeah don't let the slow ones get you down just keep doing them and when you do a good one try and do it again the next year. We are getting ready for the third of 3 back to back weekends and the dough has been all over the place but like Mea Rhea says its to be expected when doing so many first year shows. Our setup is running 3 hours and tear down is 2 so the 2-3 day shows are the best. Did a one day art festival last Saturday and it was pretty brutal day with 10 hours selling and 5 hours of setup/teardown and that's with 2 people. If it was easy everyone would do it :-)
  18. Yeah, if you are next to a booth selling mass produced anything you might as well just grin and bear it the rest of the show because it probably is not the right crowd for handmade pottery and you are unlikely to sell much.
  19. Thanks everyone! Mugs are a big part of our line-up and trying to find the right mark will make a big difference. I think its great that the prices are spread out and that people that appreciate hand made pottery and support our efforts are used to seeing different prices as well as higher prices for more elaborate work.
  20. In another thread the price of mugs came up and I thought I would get a reading from anyone willing to share their pricing rational. I can remember 20 years ago before my partner got into pottery paying $12-$16 for a mug, The going price seemed to stall at about $20 for a really long time but seems to be on the rise for the last half dozen years. We sell dipped mugs at $22 and mostly high twenties with badges and/or more elaborate decorative work such as carving, slip trailing etc. Hand painted in the low-mid 30s.
  21. I've also had issues of varying temperatures in the kiln (at least that is how it looks because the same pieces from the same clay with the same glaze look slightly different depending where they sit during the glaze fire. Depending on degree of difference u mean, I think this can easily be the case in any kiln's glaze firings as many additional variables including oxides on surrounding pieces, glaze thickness etc can make the look change slightly from one piece to another identical one close by with same glaze. It's actually something I like.
  22. yeah it really does sound like it fired twice. If it had been climbing all day or holding at that high of temperature I really think everything would have been way over fired at the very least. This thread is pushing me to stop and get a timer so it's not even possible for the thing to run more than an hour or so beyond the norm. Glad it all worked out OK.
  23. well all we really need to do to know for sure is to set up a controlled experiment with 3 kilns. The first one will run a normal cone 5 program, the 2nd one will be set to fire the same cone 5 program twice and the third will be set for a cone 5 with a 10 hour hold. Then we can simply compare the results ';-) I'll take care of the regular firing so I just need 2 volunteers to do the other 2.
  24. OK I have another theory. I thought you had a manual kiln but if you are using a programmable kiln, is it possible that the program ran twice. We had this happen on one of our first half dozen firing as we were unaccustomed to the controller and it seemed to be tied to when we were double checking the program we inadvertently set it fire twice and that is what it did. This would likely have the results you had as only the glazes that might be a little thick and normally fussy would run onto the shelf a little on the 2nd firing and the glazes might be a little off their normal look from being r
  25. wow, I had no idea cone 5 pots withstand a soak for 10 hours at cone 5. Congratulations!
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