Jump to content

Stephen

Members
  • Content Count

    970
  • Joined

  • Last visited


Reputation Activity

  1. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Hulk in Qotw: Do you close down for Winter, or how do you heat your studio   
    Added a split A/C heat pump over the summer and it is perfect. Cost about 3 grand when all said and done. Got the DIY model (more expensive) and paid a relative a few hundred to help me and had to pay an electrician a few hundred to hook up but is just like central and works great in hot or cold.
    In Texas the cold part is most important. I just say that its going to be 77 tomorrow and 79 on Friday  and high was 40 a week ago for several days so the weather can be all over the place around here this time of year.
  2. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Rae Reich in Noobie teacher messed up!   
    adding to GEPs advice to zero in on your firing time, I would also start a kiln log book and record every firing and keep track of how long to shutoff so as it starts taking longer to get to temp you can evaluate when its time to change the elements. I don't know your kiln but I think the consensus is that you can get about 100-125 combined firings (bisque and glaze) from a set of elements on most models. More bisque and less glaze so really the number glaze firings determine the limit if you use the same kiln for both.  If you post the model for Neil he can probably give a better guidance on the actual number you can expect. If you can figure out last time elements were changed and start your log with that number then at least you will know when you are in the range so if the firing become both really long and/or the kiln still does not reach temp then you know the possible solution, it's normal maintenance so be prepared and maybe even get it in the budget as soon as you can so a set of elements is on hand when the time comes so the class will not be dead in the water while you try to get a several hundred dollar plus purchase approved. Other things can cause a kiln not to reach temp but if its due for a set of elements anyway then that's a great place to start and good time to do it.
    The timer is a safety precaution so if the cone in the sitter never falls or the sitter bar malfunctions the kiln will not just keep going indefinitely and  both ruin the pottery being fired and become a hazard so I would put it at least out a bit so that it does not start turning your kiln off as the elements age and firings take longer. I know some people don't do it on every firing but I always place a cone pack with a cone one below, the target one and one above (5,6 and 7 for a cone 6 glaze firing) on every shelf  so I know exactly how hot it fired. 
    Good luck with the class!
  3. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Rae Reich in Hardening of glaze   
    While our shop is not a hobby situation it is true we don't run through many gallons of glazes a month and I can certainly see that if you've found it saves you $400 a month after accounting for the extra time then making your own makes sense. As I said, my partner and I like a lot of glaze variety so making three dozen glazes was a huge undertaking and I had/have a lot of sunk cost in having plenty of materials on hand to keep stocked. I probably experienced it differently than some on the fuss because I couldn't take good advice I found advising just using the same base that fits your clay and then use oxides to color. Of course also lot of folks swear by only using a handful of glazes but that a different discussion  :-) I do think though that I spend gallon for gallon several times as much on the commercial glazes in actual cash but overall clay and glaze and firing is not a big factor for us, labor and marketing is and with the huge amount of bulk buying to make my glazes and the extra time it just lost its appeal to me. I also bought a bluebird mixer and mixed my own porcelain for a while but but dropped it for the same reason.
    While I did a lot of research, installed glaze software and spend couple years running lots of test and doing what I needed to to get it right I still ended trying lots of cool recipes and ended up in recipe hell so I found it all to be way more fuss than just buying glazes. My in-house glazes do work fine and yes they are much cheaper than all of the ones I buy commercially and mix in-house. All of out pots  fire at cone 5 with a 20 minute hold to hit 6 with heat-work and a controlled cool-down to 1200. Any glaze that doesn't work with that firing schedule we would drop because with production and only 2 (7cf and 9cf) electric kilns we cannot spend time running different firing schedules for different pots. So far over the last decade the one's we buy and like to work with all do fine but I have dropped some of the recipe ones for being too fussy.
    Good luck with the hardening glaze and don't let me discourage you from conditioning your glazes before every use, if it works for you than that's what counts.
  4. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Rae Reich in Slip reclaim   
    Mark, I just want to point out that you just cost me hours of time that I now have to spend surfing on straw house construction and watching endless YouTube video's. You really should be more careful about mentioning things like that on a creative board.
  5. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Rae Reich in Advice on Kiln I Found   
    and email them and ask that they take that pile of shelves off the top
  6. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Babs in Slip reclaim   
    Mark, I just want to point out that you just cost me hours of time that I now have to spend surfing on straw house construction and watching endless YouTube video's. You really should be more careful about mentioning things like that on a creative board.
  7. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Benzine in Slip reclaim   
    Mark, I just want to point out that you just cost me hours of time that I now have to spend surfing on straw house construction and watching endless YouTube video's. You really should be more careful about mentioning things like that on a creative board.
  8. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Rae Reich in QotW: How long did learning to throw take.   
    took 6 months of getting up at 4:30 and throwing a couple of hours before work every day and mostly cutting everything in half before I would say I could throw a decent pot. Couple of years ago tried my hand at doing full time shows for a living and the sudden influx of non-stop daily throwing that had to happen to have twice a month show racks full certainly made a HUGE difference, not just in throwing but every aspect of making.
    My take away from the experience is not how long did it take but how many concentrated hours did it take. I think for most, throwing regularly around a full time job and life for 10 or even 20 years will not even remotely compare to someone who throws hours and hours every day for even a few years. 
  9. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Babs in Leaving Teaching   
    Dito on GEP's advice. Besides there is no need to quit. You said you are forming your pottery business, perfect. Just finish setting up and establish your production time and start selling on weekends/holidays and next summer full time. Sounds like you have the perfect job for transitioning to pottery. I would recommend treating it like a business and having set part time hours, production schedules and  when you have a full show inventory (at least a hundred quality pots) start doing shows where ever you find them and work to get your inventory to 300-400 good pots. That's no small feat.
    None of this early process requires you quit your job and you may find that you like it as a side business/hobby and if you do decide to grow your business to a full time job a transition will give it the very best chance to survive. As a full time job this business is a lifestyle/lifetime business so a slow steady runway is really the best approach. take it slow, build both your business and pottery skills and just shed the full time job when the timing is right. As a teacher you not only have a great schedule for your business but you have another secret weapon, as the pottery revenue increases you could switch to being a substitute and and then just taper off one as the other grows.
    Good luck! Be smart. It takes a lot of careful planning to do this and at the end of the day you need to be comfortably paying your expenses or the whole effort will be for naught. I speak from experience. I jumped to quickly, flamed out and now back at my day job. Life is good but a full time potter I am not.   
  10. Like
    Stephen reacted to GEP in Leaving Teaching   
    My advice is that no matter how much you dislike teaching, don’t quit a salary/benefits job cold turkey in order to launch a pottery business. It will take years before a new pottery business will generate an income, let alone an income that will support you financially. The best way to get there is to keep the full-time job, and start the pottery business as a side business. When the pottery business has grown big enough, then you can quit the teaching. Yes, that means you have a full-time job plus a part-time job for several years. If you can’t handle this workload than you might not be able to handle the workload of full-pottery, so it’s good training on work ethic anyways. 
    I kept my desk job for 8 years while building the pottery business, until I was able to quit the desk job. I am much happier now as a potter even though I work a lot harder now. Those 8 years were a sacrifice but I would do it again.
  11. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from shawnhar in QotW: How long did learning to throw take.   
    took 6 months of getting up at 4:30 and throwing a couple of hours before work every day and mostly cutting everything in half before I would say I could throw a decent pot. Couple of years ago tried my hand at doing full time shows for a living and the sudden influx of non-stop daily throwing that had to happen to have twice a month show racks full certainly made a HUGE difference, not just in throwing but every aspect of making.
    My take away from the experience is not how long did it take but how many concentrated hours did it take. I think for most, throwing regularly around a full time job and life for 10 or even 20 years will not even remotely compare to someone who throws hours and hours every day for even a few years. 
  12. Like
    Stephen reacted to Mark C. in How to start a path toward making pottery a career?   
    I know starting your own retail (brick and mortar) for pottery is brutal-most fail. The overhead is just to high.I cannot count the failures.
    Its the start up costs these days that can eat you alive. I started slow not with a plan. My 1s glaze scale was a piece of wood with two plywood squares nailed to that wood beam balanced on a nail with some known counter weights.A used wheel and a kiln made from salvaged bricks with homemade pipe burners.I did not order any stuff from any online store back then. No new gear at all. A few chemicals bought far away(12 hour drive RT)made going by to elsewhere .A few years later If I sold 250$ at a small event I was stoked.It was a different time.
    I did any local event and slowly figured out which did better from trail and error. Still NO PLAN-just doing it.Meanwhile I was putting work in shops on consignment -tried a few co-op shops-I did what I had to to pay the bills.Just barely.
    My big break was getting out go my county and doing SanFrancisco area fairs. That was about 12 years into the pottery for money thing-sell no plan.
    I found the shows that I did well and those I did not.-no shortcuts even in these modern times. I think of it as the school of hard knocks-you have to do that to succeed .
    Last weekend I did my 25th year at a show out of state(I no Longer even do SF shows)I was called an institution by my neighbors. Now what this means is I have been there so long doing it.
    Learn what works where-develope a line of work-refine this line-keep at it -stick to it -you will have setbacks-stick it out.Be patient.
    Keep cost down as much as you can from the start
    Good luck-if it was easy everyone would be doing it
  13. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Min in QotW: How long did learning to throw take.   
    took 6 months of getting up at 4:30 and throwing a couple of hours before work every day and mostly cutting everything in half before I would say I could throw a decent pot. Couple of years ago tried my hand at doing full time shows for a living and the sudden influx of non-stop daily throwing that had to happen to have twice a month show racks full certainly made a HUGE difference, not just in throwing but every aspect of making.
    My take away from the experience is not how long did it take but how many concentrated hours did it take. I think for most, throwing regularly around a full time job and life for 10 or even 20 years will not even remotely compare to someone who throws hours and hours every day for even a few years. 
  14. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Pres in QotW: How long did learning to throw take.   
    took 6 months of getting up at 4:30 and throwing a couple of hours before work every day and mostly cutting everything in half before I would say I could throw a decent pot. Couple of years ago tried my hand at doing full time shows for a living and the sudden influx of non-stop daily throwing that had to happen to have twice a month show racks full certainly made a HUGE difference, not just in throwing but every aspect of making.
    My take away from the experience is not how long did it take but how many concentrated hours did it take. I think for most, throwing regularly around a full time job and life for 10 or even 20 years will not even remotely compare to someone who throws hours and hours every day for even a few years. 
  15. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from hershey8 in Refrigerator for damp box.   
    We use a couple of bakers carts and fitted plastic cover and since on wheels can be moved around easily. The one I grabbed was $120 with cover and the other was a gift. I cut 3/4" ply shelves and we just set ware boards on those. Handled items set in there for a day before being moved to drying rack. We use additional painters plastic if you really want to slow drying to a crawl.
     
  16. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Joseph Fireborn in Selling Internationally - Import Taxes   
    I don't think this tread veered out of the topic of pottery and thank you for bringing it up. These threads serve two purposes, one to help you and the other to add to the huge knowledge base of this community. Before reading this I would have just assumed that most people ordering internationally would expect the duties and fees. Now I will always email any international customer before I pack and ship. While its hard not to look at the value of pottery from my own economic view point it is not really that useful. People make their decisions on if something is worth the price and their economic realities are usually their baseline.
    I will just charge what I need\want to charge and make more of what sells and less of what doesn't. I love selling my pottery. 
  17. Like
    Stephen reacted to Gabby in First Employee   
    Look up tsutsumiyaki. http://www.jtco.or.jp/en/japanese-crafts/?act=detail&id=255&p=4&c=31
  18. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Rae Reich in Giffin grip   
    Ya know I was really attached to my GG but then kind of moved away from it. I didn't see anyone complain about it but I found that sometimes the pressure from the GG would make my round openings slightly off, not in a big way but off. Took me a while to nail it down and it ruined a number of pots if the opening was not a perfect circle. I do realize it was user error but became pretty gun shy about using it much.
    Figured it was bad throwing initially. I used to mostly trim to shape and to a certain extent weight and I trimmed ALOT, with trimming often taking longer than throwing and way too much handling at leather hard, Now I really try to keep trimming to just a quick once over to clean up a bit and try to throw to weight and shape. This has meant my supper large foam bat became my go to. I used a black felt marker and made a bunch of rings from outside to center and it works really nice for light trimming and sharp tools and light pressure holds it in place.
    ...and the opening to my pots stopped having any issues so I really think it was the way I was using the GG.
  19. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Callie Beller Diesel in Giffin grip   
    Ya know I was really attached to my GG but then kind of moved away from it. I didn't see anyone complain about it but I found that sometimes the pressure from the GG would make my round openings slightly off, not in a big way but off. Took me a while to nail it down and it ruined a number of pots if the opening was not a perfect circle. I do realize it was user error but became pretty gun shy about using it much.
    Figured it was bad throwing initially. I used to mostly trim to shape and to a certain extent weight and I trimmed ALOT, with trimming often taking longer than throwing and way too much handling at leather hard, Now I really try to keep trimming to just a quick once over to clean up a bit and try to throw to weight and shape. This has meant my supper large foam bat became my go to. I used a black felt marker and made a bunch of rings from outside to center and it works really nice for light trimming and sharp tools and light pressure holds it in place.
    ...and the opening to my pots stopped having any issues so I really think it was the way I was using the GG.
  20. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from D.M.Ernst in QotW: Either generally or specifically, what do you think, feel, and/or do when confronted with moderate to serious/severe limitations of some aspect of health that alters how you work in clay?    
    ya know you might suggest that they could revise the policy to allow a 'buddy' system of 2, 3 or even a small group working together during one eight hour shift and frame it as  being to broaden participation. I assume the whole point of having the wood kiln and the firing is to promote and enrich the pottery experience. There are many, many health situations that are not immediately visible that would make it impossible to 'work' an entire 8 hour strenuous shift. COPD, back issues etc etc.
    The other question that comes to mind is if the Guild is truly about mission when it come to this kiln or if some members see this wood kiln as some sort of personal domain or perc and thus inclusiveness is not really part of the agenda to begin with. 
  21. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Rae Reich in Peter Pugger VPM 20SS   
    Just a word in defense of the VM9, I have had one for I guess 6-7 years now and have never experienced any problems at all and have never had to run anything through more than once or put anything on a board. I don't mix dry and wet though because early on I did notice an occasional hard piece or two in the clay if I threw with it right away. If I let the logs sit for a week or so though that problem went away as the moisture evened out. Never had to mess with anything. I have put dry in and some water and let it sit for a day and it pugs just fine but no you can't just fill it with dry and run it through for good results. I do also make sure I mix it until it feels right to de-air and pug. Maybe that's the issue with the folks that are having problems. I would guess that I mix maybe 10-15 minutes to get to that point but I go 5 minutes and then check and do again if needed. Used it to pug clay made from scratch for a half a year. Mixed that in a 50lb bluebird mixer and pugged in two loads, again with no issues.
    As for size, I think it depends on who you are and what ya need. It pugs the better part of a 5 gallon bucket of reclaim into 5-6 5ish pound logs and takes a half hour or so. I don't have that much reclaim these days but even when I did it was plenty. But I am not a full timer like Mark and don't have his needs. I just throw reclaim into a lidded bucket (often toss in bone dry pieces ) and when those build up spend a half day pugging and putting into used clay bags.  No s-crack problems or throwing issues with the resulting logs.
    Anyway I would highly recommend the VM9 if your needs are moderate. 
  22. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Rae Reich in Non EZ-Up Tents??   
    $375 for rental sure does seem high, at least to me it does. You might also see if you can find a better price on a rental or maybe a used one to start.
    At $875 for booth and booth fee plus any other expenses I hope this works out for you. Sounds like you may feel stuck with the $500 already sent in but I would think it through and make sure it makes sense to continue. You might also contact them and ask for a refund based on the fact that you had no idea they would not allow your current show tent. It's unlikely but maybe they have a backlog of folks that want in. At that price it must be juried with a wait list. 
    There are pros here that talk of big number shows that will absorb high expenses and you may well be one of them down the road but since you mentioned you don't have any experience with this show and also new to shows in general I would not count on it so I would caution against going out and dropping a ton of dough intending to go 'all in' on shows until you can find out what you are making at these shows and decide how much you want to invest. 
    Even renting a couple of times before buying a 2-3 grand show tent might make sense. 
    Good luck and have fun!
  23. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Rae Reich in Selling Internationally - Import Taxes   
    I don't think this tread veered out of the topic of pottery and thank you for bringing it up. These threads serve two purposes, one to help you and the other to add to the huge knowledge base of this community. Before reading this I would have just assumed that most people ordering internationally would expect the duties and fees. Now I will always email any international customer before I pack and ship. While its hard not to look at the value of pottery from my own economic view point it is not really that useful. People make their decisions on if something is worth the price and their economic realities are usually their baseline.
    I will just charge what I need\want to charge and make more of what sells and less of what doesn't. I love selling my pottery. 
  24. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Roberta12 in Selling Internationally - Import Taxes   
    I don't think this tread veered out of the topic of pottery and thank you for bringing it up. These threads serve two purposes, one to help you and the other to add to the huge knowledge base of this community. Before reading this I would have just assumed that most people ordering internationally would expect the duties and fees. Now I will always email any international customer before I pack and ship. While its hard not to look at the value of pottery from my own economic view point it is not really that useful. People make their decisions on if something is worth the price and their economic realities are usually their baseline.
    I will just charge what I need\want to charge and make more of what sells and less of what doesn't. I love selling my pottery. 
  25. Like
    Stephen reacted to Joseph Fireborn in Selling Internationally - Import Taxes   
    After a good nights rest, and a few hours of calming down (my school workload is intense).
    I still plan to sell work overseas. I will just make sure they are aware that they will probably face additional fees when picking up their package if their local government has duties or taxes. I just have to figure out if Etsy has a way to make that prominent for overseas customers. I don't think they do, but I will figure out something. I appreciate everyone's opinions and stuff, and I am sorry if I started a political sidetrack here. Just was mindboggling, but that's my own ignorance for living in my little pond here in the USA.
    Cheers!
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

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