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  1. Like
    Stephen reacted to Mark C. in USA Federal Unemployment benefits for potters?   
    I'm on medicare but am not yet drawing Soc security but I do get that it funds theses services.
  2. Like
    Stephen reacted to liambesaw in USA Federal Unemployment benefits for potters?   
    You can pay it optionally, at least here in washington.  Not many do though!
  3. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Rae Reich in Instructor compensation   
    And you were really right and I was wrong. It's up to the artist to stand firm on their rate if they need to do so to make a living and it's not fair of me to blame a charitable organizer for trying to maximize the haul for their cause. If I had not just posted a knee ######## reaction to ur post I would have seen that. It's really not much different than part timers selling pots for cheap and full timers selling at a rate that makes sense to their businesses. They both have a right to do what they want within their own realities. 
  4. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Rae Reich in Instructor compensation   
    well that really sucks that groups put the hurt on artist to donate. I know some artist/artisans make a good living but most I think struggle and any cause involving providing art classes/workshops should also look at the workshop or class helping to further the cause of artist themselves earn a living and continuing to give back by being a working artist. 
    A workshop that requires travel is so many hours from prep to return. Planning, packing (often shipping something ahead) a day of travel each way and then how ever many hours conducting the class\workshop. No-one should then try to guilt them into paying for part of the cost of doing it.
    sorry for the rant Hulk, that just hit a nerve 
  5. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Rae Reich in IRS has moved the tax day from 4/15 to 7/15   
    hey for the first time in ages I went and filed my taxes before the week of the deadline. I don't know why I procrastinate till the last minute every year. After hearing about it so much this week and last I just grabbed my folder at 5 and logged into Turbo Tax and was done by 8. After using them for the past 7 years they are a breeze since everything is there and all I have to do is update it. I do the small business self employed edition to handle both the day job and the pottery business and a years worth of receipts and a square revenue report took me less than two hours on the business and most of that was just organizing and working slowly.
    We always make noises about hiring an accountant to take this over but other than the first year setting up everything for depreciation and getting all the categories in place for the business these tax packages make it really simple. Hope your tax day is calm and relaxing as well.  
    edit: I got my refund on friday, 7 days.
  6. Like
    Stephen reacted to liambesaw in Pottery Sales - strange days   
    I used to have an aquarium shrimp business, importing, housing, breeding and shipping live shrimp around the world.  As well as equipment and supplies.
    You definitely get used to it.  I would take orders during the day, come home from work at night and pack and ship for a few hours, drop all the packages off the next morning on my way to work. It becomes a routine like anything else.  I had special order boxes that fit insulation and custom packing supplies, etc that made things cheaper, faster and easier as I progressed.
    Doing online sales isn't more work than sitting at a booth for a 3 day weekend, it's just different work, and there's no "art fair" equivalent to marketing online.  You can't feel stuff online, or see what the colors actually look like, etc.  And you don't have 20,000 people walking by your booth ready to buy stuff.  Those are where the challenges lie.  If you have a lot of social media followers you can drive traffic and hype up an online sale, but if you don't, there aren't many people online that enjoy advertisements.
  7. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from liambesaw in Pottery Sales - strange days   
    Seems right to me. A couple grand in a weekend show (good/great show for us) would be a 75-80 shipping events not to mention all the cost of running the ads to get people to the site to buy and the zillion emails involved. Pottery is just so involved to make that if all your sales came from online then you functional limit of what you can make and sell seems like it would go way down. Dunno though maybe you just get so good at packing boxes and answering emails that it levels out? It does seem like the folks here that have done it all quit though citing to little return for too much work.
  8. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from liambesaw in thoughts about a programable gas kiln   
    ya know I don't really get why you feel it has to be geared toward the hobby market. Commercial markets may already have options but yours may be able to compete and over time rise to the top and if its cheaper it may also have some appeal with some studio potters as well. While disrupting markets is powerful and the holy grail of bringing products to market its not essential. Taking a seat at the table and then starting the sell, redesign, sell, redesign cycle is very doable and will lead to opportunities that come from becoming a part of the market you sell in. You also gain name recognition and reputation with time. 
    New is only new for a while and existing companies often fade and new ones take their place. Now if you will excuse me I need to go check my MySpace account and try and get my Blackberry to go online with the new no name router. 
  9. Like
    Stephen reacted to Mark C. in Pottery Sales - strange days   
    I have sold a few items to customers via email (even from my low online prescence a few items) but most are regular customers from art shows.
    My wholesale  accounts are getting larger yearly and  at least for me the large money sales will never be just from online.Its just to slow to ship items and get lots of money from that alone .The many small sales eats up lots of time packing and shipping  I feel.-2 mugs here one bowl there. Go to a show and sell a ton-really a better situtaion for me. Or  a whole sale  5 k order-Its a much easier transaction for $ than shipping 5 k in single sales.
    It all depends on what you want in the end.I know a custom mug maker that only does mail order-he is happy doing that at least for the time being.
    Now online is one of the only ways to make sales unless your products are in a essential business like a food store. I have 5 of those now so products are  moving but really slowly.
  10. Like
    Stephen reacted to Smokey2 in IRS has moved the tax day from 4/15 to 7/15   
    I have a better idea, No Income Tax For The Full Year!
    Billionaires that pay no taxes won't get anything back while those that do  pay will get back in proportion in what they paid in.
    Ok.  both our ideas will never happen, but its fun to think about.
    FYI,  Right now I'm at least 6 feet way from both my keyboard and monitor while typing this as I am social distancing myself to avoid getting or passing on the virus. 
  11. Like
    Stephen reacted to Brandon Franks in dry new molds in sun for first use   
    I put my bats in my kiln up to 220^f
  12. Like
    Stephen reacted to Mark C. in dry new molds in sun for first use   
    If these are slip cast two three or 4 piece molds leasve the bands on them as soon as they are hard enough to bnd and dry with air on them -You want the mating surfaces to fit tight together as they dry to mate well
    If they are press molds who cares and put them into sun-same with throwing bats.
    You have not said what kind of molds you are making-need a bit motre info fo a better answer
  13. Like
    Stephen reacted to liambesaw in dry new molds in sun for first use   
    Hate soggy molds, I put mine in front of a buddy heater when it's cold and rainy to help dry it out between casts
  14. Like
    Stephen reacted to neilestrick in dry new molds in sun for first use   
    Moving air and low humidity are probably more important than the temp, so if it's breezy out that will definitely speed things up.
  15. Like
    Stephen reacted to Hulk in dry new molds in sun for first use   
    Not finding any info regarding pottery plaster warping. We put our bats and slabs outside to dry after removing from molds, rounding corners and scraping the tops - more for air movement than sun, although surely the radiant energy helps - on cardboard, as the plaster is delicate whilst still damp, flipping over periodically.
    Moving air - as you no doubt see with your clay - makes all the difference, where the leeward side will dry slower, so rotate!
    Detailed article: http://www.ceramicsmadeeasy.com/cme-articles/about-ceramic-molds/storage-and-care-of-ceramic-molds/127/index.html
  16. Like
    Stephen reacted to Hulk in Issue firing kiln   
    Hi JFS,
    You might set cones on each shelf to get an idea how each level did. If you're able to see the cones through the peep holes, that can help you as well (be sure to wear eye protection - the infrared will hurt your eyes, and there's always chance of something going "ping" at just the wrong time - eye protection!); however, given your pyrometer provides consistent/repeatable feedback, once you've seen your cones after firing is complete and check your firing notes a few times, you'll be dialed in.
    Taking notes can be helpful (tip from former owner of my ancient kiln), times, temperatures, control settings, cone indications, results...
    How did your pieces come out? Did the glazes melt?
  17. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Pres in Just How Old Is Too Old For A Kiln?   
    I readily concede that old kilns last a long time if they are kept in top condition.
    Of course the flip side of that is that if you invest in a new kiln now and keep it in top condition it may well last you for the rest of your life so unlike something like a new car there is value in that.  Shortly after I started this thread I came to the decision that it was worth it to me to just buy a new one. That was a few years ago and I got a new Skutt 1027 for just under $2500 with vent and tax and I picked it up and drove it 2 thousand miles to Texas. The used ones I found that had electronic controllers (non starter for me) were a grand or so the savings would have been around $1500 and I put the first miles on it. Since a lot of used kilns will need a new set of elements sooner than later and maybe some minor repairs the extra cost was probably really under a grand when alls said and done.  At least that is how I justified it
    In addition to starting with a new kiln I also was able to pick out the right kiln for me. Shopping the used market I was pretty much trapped in whatever was available and since I was adamant about having an electronic controller that meant little choice (the cost of external controllers or the retrofits available at the time really made buying new a no brainier).
    All of that said if I was broke I would get the best $200 manual kiln I could find and move on.  
  18. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Hulk in QotW: What are your concerns about the coronovirus impact on your health and your livelihood and passion?   
    I would suggest calling library or going to their website to see if the have digital books available, many do and if so I bet they also have a kindle tutorial on checking out their books.
    don't know about tutorials but I use the fire's as my tablet. We use Amazon delivery enough to justify the price of Amazon prime so I also get access to the prime video's. For $10 a month you can subscribe to unlimited library. Lots of Indie pubs here but there are over a million book available and no extra charges. I signed up for a three month 99 cent intro in Jan and I think I will renew. Lot of junk but good stuff too and I like being able to just start reading and just go to another if it doesn't grab me.feel free to pm me with a question and I can look on mine and try and help.
    edit: Here's a link on the current free 2 month trial, can't beat free.
  19. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Hulk in corona virus may effect sales   
    ha ha, when ur my age u are one of the young guys :-) 

  20. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Rae Reich in corona virus may effect sales   
    ha ha, when ur my age u are one of the young guys :-) 

  21. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Rae Reich in New year's rush?   
    It is nice, didn't think I would like it at first but getting ready for and commuting back and forth to a job is a lot of time I can plow back into the business.
  22. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Rae Reich in New year's rush?   
    Hey ya have to do what works if it's a business. Evenings would make more sense for me too and I could potentially get in more time because there wouldn't be a clear stop time like there is now. Since I work from home and start at 9 and end at 5, I could be in the studio a few minutes after I get off and start working but more often than not that didn't happen when that was my schedule and I was just dinking at the business here and there. A lot more planning than doing. I program all day and I am just exhausted at 5 and instead of heading straight into the studio I would just opt for down time with news, diner etc and then the 'object at rest tends to remain at rest' theory takes over and the evenings would often blow by without doing anything. 
    Back when I started throwing I did it early before a commute and remembered that I did like it once I got into the grove so a few months ago switched. By doing it first it gets done and I find I like that quiet time of the day and tend to get a good nights sleep because I just relax early and mostly get 6-7 hours sleep. I also pretty much don't go into the studio on weekends and that keeps it from becoming a drag.
  23. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Rae Reich in New year's rush?   
    hey I know you are eyeing making a switch to pottery at some point and it sounds like for good reason. No better way to make that a reality than  developing a steady stream of repeat customers. I would suggest taking some time and making sure you are getting everyone on your mailing list and maybe getting your website, Facebook etc in top form so you can keep the momentum going with kiln opening announcements and show notices as you start doing more of those. One thing in the past 6-7 years that has stood out to me is that low cost, moderately priced pottery is hard to build a sustainable business around. Side hustle, sure but a sustainable living wage business a lot tougher. I know some here do it but many of those potters have spent decades building up the volume they need. It just cost so much to live these days and a potter can only make and sell so much pottery. I have no idea what your prices are but since you are just getting started establishing you customers I thought I would mention it since obviously the time to establish a higher end product line is in the beginning .   
  24. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Rae Reich in Email Campaigns   
    sounds like something that is more part of the journey for you than a chore so return doesn't really matter? I think you guys that are building good teaching reputations on YouTube are increasing your ability to do workshops around the country down the road if you decide you want to go that route. Name recognition means something when trying to fill up slots in a workshop. 
  25. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Rae Reich in corona virus may effect sales   
    so sorry to hear that Liam, hope u bounce back quickly! Did u see the Amazon work from home post today, don't know if there's anything there for u but u might surf on it. Good luck!
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