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Stephen

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  1. Like
    Stephen reacted to dhPotter in Important Ceramic Artists Who Should Be Known   
    Whenever I think I can't go to the pottery for some reason or another, I always picture Warren MacKenzie walking out to his pottery at 90+ years of age. And when I'm really full of self pity I watch his video, "A Potter's Hands" and am ashamed of my insignificant whining. 
    I feel the same way about Shoji Hamada. He sits or kneels and spins his wheel with a stick in "Art of the Potter" and creates beauty. 
    How can I ever say "I'm too tired or too old or whatever" to go to the pottery?
     
  2. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from terrim8 in Mold Making - Hydrocal vs Pottery Plaster No.1   
    I made a couple of sets of adjustable cottle boards and it was not a big deal and might be easier to work with than the bucket. Youtube prob has a few videos. You can also use ceramical which is strong and about $15 for 50lbs.
  3. Like
    Stephen reacted to Chris Throws Pots in Waterslide decal paper   
    Respectfully, it's not a nightmare and you are not out of luck. It's an inconvenience, pretty typical of doing business in any sector. Bel was selling sheets at roughly $1 per page. Fired On sells at roughly $3 per page. If you consider how many decals you can fit onto a single sheet (unless you are printing very large/full sheet decals), the cost increase to produce each piece is negligible. The potential savings using another manufacturer's paper is simply not worth the risk of legal trouble. Production costs increase in all types of businesses all the time.
  4. Like
    Stephen reacted to hitchmss in Questions regarding bisque   
    If your kiln has a pyrometer and a controller which it sounds like your kiln does (based on the fast/slow commentary) then you should fire with the lid closed, always.  It is common practice on a manually controlled kiln, with a kiln sitter/switches, to leave the lid open during the initial part of the firing. This is done because with switches you get a constant amount of heat from your elements, and even with only one switch on, it is possible that it could get over the boiling point of water (212*F) potentially damaging your wares inside. By cracking the lid by 1-3" this would allow the kiln to dry out the remaining moisture in your pots, but also not get too hot by allowing heat to escape. When I was taught in school to fire we would leave the lids cracked by a couple of inches and only the bottom switch on LOW overnight, and in the morning the lid was closed and then the firing would continue.
    Kilns with controller sense the temperature in the kiln via a pyrometer which is basically a thermometer that is plugged into your kiln's computer.  Every time the kiln closes the relays (the "click" of the kiln going off/on) it is sending current through your elements which generates heat. The computer senses how much heat is in the kiln and adjusts the amount of on/off cycles to keep the temperature within the selected firing program's range. Essentially, it wont allow your kiln to get too hot, too fast, unless it malfunctions. IF you were to leave the lid open on a computer controlled kiln, the heat escapes from the top, the pyrometer cant tell the temperature properly, and it may leave the circuit on your elements closed, building very hot zones around your pots which may blow up because they got too hot too quick.
      Some folks like to leave the top spy hole open until they've gotten above 300* or so, when the physical water in your clay has been smoked off, and some even go longer until the clay has completely gone through the burnoff stage. The idea being that there is enough oxygen entering the kiln to allow proper combustion of the the organic materials, and enough ventilation to allow those materials to escape. Personally, since leaving college Ive never owned an electric kiln which was so tight sealing that there wasnt enough oxygen entering my kiln through all the little cracks/gaps. If you were bisque firing in a gas kiln this would be a different story.
       To sum it up; if your pots ain't dry, then go slow, if they are dry, then go faster. Leave the lid closed on a computer controlled kiln. Leave your plugs in the kiln during the firing unless your kiln is super tight, and then maybe leave one peep out until youve gained color in your kiln.
  5. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Rae Reich in Which wheel for the rookie?   
    Really, I don't get that impression at all. My read here is that many here, if not most, have used numerous wheels over the years and they explained why they ended up where they are. I think you're right that most of these wheels are built well and will last a long time if taken care of. It's all in the details described that sets them apart from each other.  I'd give it another read. 
    Good luck and hope you like what you end up choosing.  
  6. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Hulk in Which wheel for the rookie?   
    If quiet matters, the shimpo whisper is really nice but leaving about $700 on the table. Some here have claimed in the past that its under powered for big pots but not sure how reliable that claim is. I don't throw big heavy pots weighing 20-30+ pounds so wouldn't know. It's a 1/2 HP. I do know that I was seeing the power claims 10 years ago now so maybe its a long ago solved issue.  I know I still think of the 2nd one we bout 7-8 years ago now as the 'new' one so old assumptions can linger.
    Anyway they are super quiet and I really like that because I'm hard of hearing and like to be able to both hear the background music or TV as well as have conversations easily. Oh and you can spend a few hundred dressing it up with a shelve kit :-) Oh and we bought stand-up legs for $175, don't use them but like a lot stuff we got'em.
  7. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from shawnhar in First Employee   
    I am currently working toward 20 minute mugs all told but that includes glaze time as well and I am not there yet, its more like 30 minutes. I can now throw in 6-7 minutes but when I calculate everything else from clay weigh out, session cleanup, trimming (pretty light several minute trim), stamping, handling, waxing, glazing and finish work. I get that you are stopping before glazing but I would time everything for first few batches to make sure you don't need to up that a couple, three dollars to make it work. Even at 7-8 bucks that is a decent deal for him if he is reselling for $20 so he might totally understand. 
  8. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Callie Beller Diesel in Favourite craft show tools and tricks   
    been making do with little charger packs and bringing a few fully charged alternatives for Square, but since starting in February we are going to be doing a once a month local I am adding a nice power station. Borrowed one for a few shows last year and they are really great and cover you on other emergencies like jump starts and adding tire pressure. I think they will also run small low power consumption fans.
  9. Like
    Stephen reacted to glazenerd in Architectural Tile   
    I highlighted applicable pricing in your quoted post.
  10. Like
    Stephen reacted to glazenerd in Architectural Tile   
    Stephen:
    these custom tiles go for $???? each wholesale. Yes, I am only after high end. And NO, I am not doing business- merely confirming the OP post. Dive in, big money in tile.
    custom is the key word.

  11. Like
    Stephen reacted to Hulk in Architectural Tile   
    Nice tile and tilework Mark!
    All the tile I've set - several floors, two backsplashes, an entryway, a fireplace surround, a shower - has been over tile backer or directly to the slab - using quality thinset (mortar for tile).
    That said, the old timey pros still do wire, two coats of mortar, then thinset for the tile, hence a truly flat and plumb surface and very strong.
    Anywhere there's moisture, there must/should be a vapor barrier behind the backer board (or wire and mortar). Tile and grout is not waterproof.
    For floors - where there's traffic, particularly with dirty feets - I'd go commercial rated tile, which likely be porcelain plus a tough tough glaze.
    What else did we learn, hmm, oh yeah, any chance of staining, go grout about same colour as the stain source, e.g. same colour as the dirt, or on a backspash, coffee colour ...or go with the plastic or epoxy grouts, which kind of resist staining.
    There's lots of tricks/techniques to laying pan, hanging backerboard, cutting tile, spreading thinset, setting tile, applying mortar. ..At this stage, my best trick would be to do no more tile. :|
  12. Like
    Stephen reacted to Mark C. in Architectural Tile   
    Around these parts all tile installers use thin set to adhere tile to backer board.We are in the backwoods on many things
    Some use additives in the thin set depending  on applications .
    I will add when I made my stoneware shower stall tiles and threw a sink to match and also covered the sink area and backslash with same tiles -custom made the the sink surround tiles to fit the forms.
    These where cone to stoneware . I at that time had only watched 27 bathrooms going in on a job I was working as an electrician in =the historic Benbow INN. I wired all those bathrooms and watched the tile guys and talked story to gain experience in tile setting.
    I used backboard and thin set at that time-no loose tile in all these years.
    I installed these in 1983 and they still to this day are looking good and working well. At that time(1983) I installed a new deep cast iron tub which will need replacing before any tile issues come up.
    Custom tile work was fun at that time-its behind me now as tile weighs A ton and only speciality tile is worth making as foreign tile is so cheap.
    I would make it for myself only these days.I now have a power slab roller which would make Quick work out of it.
    You can see this sink at some tub walls here on this thread from some years back-its held up really well.I made many with overflows and some without for myself .
     
  13. Like
    Stephen reacted to neilestrick in Architectural Tile   
    Yes, get a true cone 6 porcelain and you'll be fine. Most porcelain bodies are not rated with wide firing ranges like some stoneware bodies, but double check whatever you're using to be safe.
  14. Like
    Stephen reacted to glazenerd in Architectural Tile   
    Stephen:
    The Tild Council of America (TCA) have installation guidelines regarding recommended adhesives. In this case: white cementaous mortar would be applicable. Wet areas such as showers require vitreous porcelain tile: which translate to absorption values under one percent. For the same reason white mortar is used in lieu of mastic/adhesive to further prevent absorption.
    a porcelain clay body should be rated for cone six: not six thru ten. Check the absorption rate to see if it meets TCA guidelines.  Frost porcelain is pricey, but it will vitrify to these guidelines. There are tricks to firing large quantities of tile; I will add that if you need it. 
    Tom
  15. Like
    Stephen reacted to liambesaw in slow leaking pots   
    Glaze defects.  Bubbles, blisters, crawling, crazing, the glassy glaze may look immaculate but under a microscope could be full of defects.  A well fitting glaze is really important for unvitrified clay like earthenware.
    I don't like unvitrified clay in general because of the mildew problem.  I don't use a dishwasher and air-dry my dishes in a rack so things can get gross pretty quick 
  16. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Babs in slow leaking pots   
    Just tossing it out there but is it possible that beyond the possibility that they bought some high fire clay they are firing too low six months ago, that the kiln is not hitting temp? I realize elements wearing out would be gradual but if one or two stopped working altogether and the kiln being on a timer is shutting down when expected. Obviously I am making a leap that first its electric and second that no one is checking the cone in the sitter. If it was gas though it seems unlikely they would fire to anything but 10. Some times teachers inherit these task with a sheet of instructions. My suggestion is further stretched because the OP didn't mention the glaze being affected and it surely would be in color and appearance if the pots were under fired enough to weep. Also with wearing out elements and a gradual under fire to timer shutoff instead of sitter might take a long time to reach the level of everything weeping so maybe it was gradual but when it hit that point seemed instant. 
  17. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from lgusten in Pricing my work?   
    I've run a couple of fairly decent size businesses over the years with a number of employees (one went over 10 years) and this business is different I think in a lot of subtle ways than normal retail. Yes you have products and customers and a lot of the same jargon but the essence of an art/artisan business is just different and I think a lot of advice from others in our life space might miss some of this even though they might be very capable, smart and knowledgeable people . 
    ... and ya know I'm learning. Watching my partners sales (she is full time) is really dialing it in for me. She and I both have pots that move through ($20 mugs, $30-$50 bowls for example) but she has a number of high-end hand painted pieces that take some serious studio time on her part and she charges much more for these and gets it. Yes they sell much more slowly and that's just fine with her and she has no intention of lowering the price to move more and I can not image why she would. She loves doing them and they enhance her rack tremendously but they need the right buyer with the right budget that day to sell. That scarcity makes it impossible for her to do just that for her living. Mugs, bowls, platters etc. those are production, a staple and more bread and butter sales. ya might have to have those to keep the lights on, we do. 
    By watching these sales I have zeroed in on some absolutes, a pot is worth what people will pay for it and its best value is the highest a reasonable number of people will pay. If you have a number of different priced forms of various complexity then it all works out really well as more simple and therefore usually less costly pots will sell through quickly and more complex and generally more costly pieces will move slow. The balance works if you WANT a number of forms in your inventory and you want to maximize what you get paid to do what you do at the end of the day . As long as the price covers your fixed cost, labor all the way around with a reasonable profit margin beyond cost (that's for the business if you are trying to build one of value beyond just paying you personally a salary, and not everyone is but that's another topic).
    While your cost does not define its worth to a buyer it does provide a strike point with profit of the least you can take for that specific form to be profitable and arguably worth continuing to make. If you don't go less than this your golden and if you can command more then your better paid or the slack is picked up elsewhere if there is any. Now there might be other valuable reasons to carry a pot that you don't do well enough to hit what you like to hit, such as a good draw for other sales and such but we don't do that.
    I tried to jump out to quickly a couple of years ago, quitting my day job, and do this for a living and I lost some time recovering so now I am determined to go slow and learn the way to do this right (according to me) and one thing I have come to the conclusion of is that inventory and sales are two very different areas in pottery. You have to have pots to sell pots so obviously one somewhat drives the other but Pots don't expire and finding your market and selling pots is its own area of expertise and it does not matter at all if production of good pottery/art just continues to hum while you dial in on the marketing and sales. We (artisans) make what we sell so if you hit a groove selling you can't just place a big re-order when the stock is low so having extra inventory is a good thing. I'm 58 and plan to do this till I kick, full time again I hope at some point, so I'll just let it pile up if it does instead of going for volume. I'm lucky because I have a rack to put my stuff on so I get a lot of input and some dough.
    Handmade pottery just does not seem like a good fit for volume.
    That's a very long winded way of saying that I completely agree with you that if you have forms that sell, even slowly, for $200 then keep them as additions to your lineup. Find a balance that works for you. All expensive stuff might  be a tough way to sell in enough numbers to make a living but your rack will sell through at different paces and your production will be uneven, it will work itself out. The market is funny that way.   
     
     
      
      
  18. Like
    Stephen reacted to Mark C. in Pricing my work?   
    I am a bit different than Stephan meaning I try to sell in volume. wether its at a show or just thru my outlets. The price point is what drives those sales.
    I want to sell thousands of mugs not hundreds at this point in my potters life for example.
    If I was making art (raku) I would not be thinking volume as its a completely different market.
    My fellow ceramic artists as well as high end artist friends who make art do do more deals than me as they have way more margin to begin with.
    If you feel this is true than work with a customer-If you only have a little work on the booth than I can see no way to cut a discount there. Also its whats are trying to do make as much money as you can or something else-this all comes into play-or another way of saying it is how hungry are you?
    The public will always ask for deals it up to you to choose on the right answer and its different for each of us and can vary on the circumstances -if you drove two  or three days  to show and are away for a week you may want more $$ than the local one day show and hence have a different response-its not one size fits all.
    Also are you doing this full time or just as a hobby as that also will determine some price points.
    If you have 5 year experience than this hold already be second nature.. I'm a bit like you in that my price points are reasonable and I do not give a discount for more sales.
    I tend to be firm on this point as the price is not at the high end and most realize this without mentioning it. When asked for a deal I just kindly say that are reasonably priced and 99.9 % get that and agree.
    Now Art is different animal as I make functional wares.
  19. Like
    Stephen reacted to Mosey Potter in Pricing my work?   
    I spent many years pricing my work too low. One day I decided that my time was worth a minimum of $20/hr, and I priced my work based on that. Now, I am getting into some really unique work, which in addition to taking longer to make, also has the underlay of everything I have learned in my 25 years of interaction with clay. I ask a lot for these pieces and by golly people are buying them. So don’t be afraid to price your work based on your financial requirements, there is a niche market for you. Potters who compete on price are not always factoring in anything beyond the amount of time they took to make a piece...and in so doing, they deny themselves the financial reward they are due.
    Cheers, Mosey
  20. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Rae Reich in Pricing my work?   
    I've run a couple of fairly decent size businesses over the years with a number of employees (one went over 10 years) and this business is different I think in a lot of subtle ways than normal retail. Yes you have products and customers and a lot of the same jargon but the essence of an art/artisan business is just different and I think a lot of advice from others in our life space might miss some of this even though they might be very capable, smart and knowledgeable people . 
    ... and ya know I'm learning. Watching my partners sales (she is full time) is really dialing it in for me. She and I both have pots that move through ($20 mugs, $30-$50 bowls for example) but she has a number of high-end hand painted pieces that take some serious studio time on her part and she charges much more for these and gets it. Yes they sell much more slowly and that's just fine with her and she has no intention of lowering the price to move more and I can not image why she would. She loves doing them and they enhance her rack tremendously but they need the right buyer with the right budget that day to sell. That scarcity makes it impossible for her to do just that for her living. Mugs, bowls, platters etc. those are production, a staple and more bread and butter sales. ya might have to have those to keep the lights on, we do. 
    By watching these sales I have zeroed in on some absolutes, a pot is worth what people will pay for it and its best value is the highest a reasonable number of people will pay. If you have a number of different priced forms of various complexity then it all works out really well as more simple and therefore usually less costly pots will sell through quickly and more complex and generally more costly pieces will move slow. The balance works if you WANT a number of forms in your inventory and you want to maximize what you get paid to do what you do at the end of the day . As long as the price covers your fixed cost, labor all the way around with a reasonable profit margin beyond cost (that's for the business if you are trying to build one of value beyond just paying you personally a salary, and not everyone is but that's another topic).
    While your cost does not define its worth to a buyer it does provide a strike point with profit of the least you can take for that specific form to be profitable and arguably worth continuing to make. If you don't go less than this your golden and if you can command more then your better paid or the slack is picked up elsewhere if there is any. Now there might be other valuable reasons to carry a pot that you don't do well enough to hit what you like to hit, such as a good draw for other sales and such but we don't do that.
    I tried to jump out to quickly a couple of years ago, quitting my day job, and do this for a living and I lost some time recovering so now I am determined to go slow and learn the way to do this right (according to me) and one thing I have come to the conclusion of is that inventory and sales are two very different areas in pottery. You have to have pots to sell pots so obviously one somewhat drives the other but Pots don't expire and finding your market and selling pots is its own area of expertise and it does not matter at all if production of good pottery/art just continues to hum while you dial in on the marketing and sales. We (artisans) make what we sell so if you hit a groove selling you can't just place a big re-order when the stock is low so having extra inventory is a good thing. I'm 58 and plan to do this till I kick, full time again I hope at some point, so I'll just let it pile up if it does instead of going for volume. I'm lucky because I have a rack to put my stuff on so I get a lot of input and some dough.
    Handmade pottery just does not seem like a good fit for volume.
    That's a very long winded way of saying that I completely agree with you that if you have forms that sell, even slowly, for $200 then keep them as additions to your lineup. Find a balance that works for you. All expensive stuff might  be a tough way to sell in enough numbers to make a living but your rack will sell through at different paces and your production will be uneven, it will work itself out. The market is funny that way.   
     
     
      
      
  21. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Callie Beller Diesel in Pricing my work?   
    I've run a couple of fairly decent size businesses over the years with a number of employees (one went over 10 years) and this business is different I think in a lot of subtle ways than normal retail. Yes you have products and customers and a lot of the same jargon but the essence of an art/artisan business is just different and I think a lot of advice from others in our life space might miss some of this even though they might be very capable, smart and knowledgeable people . 
    ... and ya know I'm learning. Watching my partners sales (she is full time) is really dialing it in for me. She and I both have pots that move through ($20 mugs, $30-$50 bowls for example) but she has a number of high-end hand painted pieces that take some serious studio time on her part and she charges much more for these and gets it. Yes they sell much more slowly and that's just fine with her and she has no intention of lowering the price to move more and I can not image why she would. She loves doing them and they enhance her rack tremendously but they need the right buyer with the right budget that day to sell. That scarcity makes it impossible for her to do just that for her living. Mugs, bowls, platters etc. those are production, a staple and more bread and butter sales. ya might have to have those to keep the lights on, we do. 
    By watching these sales I have zeroed in on some absolutes, a pot is worth what people will pay for it and its best value is the highest a reasonable number of people will pay. If you have a number of different priced forms of various complexity then it all works out really well as more simple and therefore usually less costly pots will sell through quickly and more complex and generally more costly pieces will move slow. The balance works if you WANT a number of forms in your inventory and you want to maximize what you get paid to do what you do at the end of the day . As long as the price covers your fixed cost, labor all the way around with a reasonable profit margin beyond cost (that's for the business if you are trying to build one of value beyond just paying you personally a salary, and not everyone is but that's another topic).
    While your cost does not define its worth to a buyer it does provide a strike point with profit of the least you can take for that specific form to be profitable and arguably worth continuing to make. If you don't go less than this your golden and if you can command more then your better paid or the slack is picked up elsewhere if there is any. Now there might be other valuable reasons to carry a pot that you don't do well enough to hit what you like to hit, such as a good draw for other sales and such but we don't do that.
    I tried to jump out to quickly a couple of years ago, quitting my day job, and do this for a living and I lost some time recovering so now I am determined to go slow and learn the way to do this right (according to me) and one thing I have come to the conclusion of is that inventory and sales are two very different areas in pottery. You have to have pots to sell pots so obviously one somewhat drives the other but Pots don't expire and finding your market and selling pots is its own area of expertise and it does not matter at all if production of good pottery/art just continues to hum while you dial in on the marketing and sales. We (artisans) make what we sell so if you hit a groove selling you can't just place a big re-order when the stock is low so having extra inventory is a good thing. I'm 58 and plan to do this till I kick, full time again I hope at some point, so I'll just let it pile up if it does instead of going for volume. I'm lucky because I have a rack to put my stuff on so I get a lot of input and some dough.
    Handmade pottery just does not seem like a good fit for volume.
    That's a very long winded way of saying that I completely agree with you that if you have forms that sell, even slowly, for $200 then keep them as additions to your lineup. Find a balance that works for you. All expensive stuff might  be a tough way to sell in enough numbers to make a living but your rack will sell through at different paces and your production will be uneven, it will work itself out. The market is funny that way.   
     
     
      
      
  22. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Rae Reich in Favourite craft show tools and tricks   
    been making do with little charger packs and bringing a few fully charged alternatives for Square, but since starting in February we are going to be doing a once a month local I am adding a nice power station. Borrowed one for a few shows last year and they are really great and cover you on other emergencies like jump starts and adding tire pressure. I think they will also run small low power consumption fans.
  23. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Rae Reich in Potters Guild Development   
    If this is the one that has a wood filed kiln I would tear down whatever structure that is in place and redo the charter from the ground up to be about the wood fired kiln, the history around that and workshops build around it. Implement the buddy system on working shifts and make the kiln firings and openings a big event. You will have to create some buzz. Check local rags, they need local stories and may also offer some free display space for a non profit. 
    Maybe even have a big kiln opening sale open to the general public every time it is fired and fire it often. Give the artist 65-70% and keep 30-35% for the guild to make it stronger. If you can get some cash flowing then maybe you can get it to the point of a low income hire and that means a weekly dedicated effort of at least 40 hours.
    Good luck!    
  24. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Mullins Pottery in Cracked handle   
    No matter how well the repair looks really do toss it after grading (or make the planter  because it probably will fail at some point no matter how sturdy it seems after glazing. The thin glass from glazing will make it look fine because of where the crack is it might seem to be holding under weight, but that would only last for a bit and a whole pot of boiling water could really be dangerous. 
    Welcome to the forum!
  25. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Rae Reich in Cracked handle   
    No matter how well the repair looks really do toss it after grading (or make the planter  because it probably will fail at some point no matter how sturdy it seems after glazing. The thin glass from glazing will make it look fine because of where the crack is it might seem to be holding under weight, but that would only last for a bit and a whole pot of boiling water could really be dangerous. 
    Welcome to the forum!
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