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Up in Smoke Pottery

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Posts posted by Up in Smoke Pottery

  1. Sat down to throw a bunch of mugs and for the life of me I could not get the 1# ball of clay to center!  It felt like I was starting all over again, like those YouTube videos of the ball of clay throwing the big football player around the wheel.  I cut the ball off, re-wedged it to make certain there wasn't a lump or air pocket I missed, and tried again.  After several minutes or more, adjusting my hand positions, bracing my arms against my legs or splash pan, still could not get this stupid ball of clay to center.   The problem....my wheel was reversed, I never noticed I just sat down and needed to get going on my restock list.  Not sure which is more embarrassing , not being able to center the little 1# ball of clay or not realizing the wheel was spinning the wrong directions.  I hope everyone has a great day, and my struggle brings a smile. :) 

  2. Do you find sales better at small shows( <50 booths) or large shows(>200 booths) or somewhere in the middle?


    What is the worst booth neighbor to have... 

    A). The German Roast Nuts....the intoxicating aroma becomes nauseating after a couple hours

    B).  Kettle Korn, with the gas burner igniting every 10-15 mins drowning out all other sounds

    C). The Peruvian flute players playing their whole catalog of music from their CD's

    D). The overly chatty neighbor with no filter on  what details they readily share

    E). Beer Tent




  3. I have used Minwax Polycryllic to salvage damage pieces.  Available at most hardware stores, and probably Walmart.  Just follow the directions.  It is crystal clear, but will need time to dry.  I used metal stilts to keep the piece off the countertop and allows me to cover the whole piece.

  4. On ‎4‎/‎25‎/‎2019 at 7:05 PM, Marcia Selsor said:

    Got to meet Chad of Up in Smoke pottery at our panel . And Rebecca in the bar bar at the Hilton. Sorry to miss the rest of you who went. It was a busy NCECA. 


    Marcia,  it was great to finally meet you!  looking forward to playing around with a couple idea gleamed from the panel this weekend!

  5. On ‎3‎/‎20‎/‎2019 at 9:17 PM, Callie Beller Diesel said:

    This is my first NCECA and I’m going as a curator! I helped jury “Bonspiel: Canadians and Their Love of Winter Sport”. 

    I would love it if anyone coming came to check out the show at Hennepin Made.  We are on the Minneapolis Picks bus tour and on the shuttle route, both on Wednesday, and the reception is Friday night. We’re on one of the shuttle routes that night as well. 

    I’ll be there all week, so if anyone wants to grab a coffee or a drink, message me and we can make arrangements. 

    Callie it was great meeting you, loved the show!!!  My wife says I should have bought the cup with the flask, she got a kick out of the description.  Might have to make one for fun. :)


  6. Liam V.  Pit firing can be very fun and challenging, been doing for 10 years now.  We do bisque 1st, but can be done from a green state just need to go much slower and start with the pots outside the fire and slowly move them towards the fire as time goes by and turning them to heat/dry evenly.   They will never be considered "food safe".  Obvara is another fun technique, it will produce items that are sealed and useable for short periods of time.  Water or other fluids will turn the obvara mixture to paste.  It will not prevent chemicals from leaching through though.

    As for pit firing in your suburban neighborhood, I've done small firings in my backyard fire pit, I just dig down a bit to give it more depth and break my own rules of adding more wood as it burns. 

    Attached is one of our pit fired pieces.

    Good luck,



  7. On ‎1‎/‎19‎/‎2019 at 5:48 PM, glazenerd said:


    i have used Miniwax Finishing wax for many years on wood: it dries clear satin. Do not know how it would act on ceramic; but it should retain its clear finish. Test it, is all I can advise.


    We have used this product as well on pit and saggar pots, it works well.  It can be buffed to high shine or left more satin.  It does have a slight yellow tinge to the final product especially if it is a thick application.

  8. 17 hours ago, GEP said:

    Homemade cutoff wires, made from fishing line and fender washers. Taught to me by the marvelous Nan Rothwell in Charlottesville VA. I love that these can be made to any length of your choosing. Storebought ones are always too long.

    The first one is for cutting pugs, the second one is for cutting off small pots like mugs, the third one is for everything larger than a mug. They break every so often, but it takes only minutes to make a new one, and that one spool of fishing line will probably last a lifetime.


    Awesome!!! will be making some soon!  Is there a "weight" of line that works best?

  9. Joseph, the vast majority of our work that regularly sells  is in the   8" - 12" in height,  5-6 in the 12"-18" range, and usually 1 over 18" over the course of a year (5-6 shows)  I still carry at least 2 pots larger that 18" to every show, I never know when they will decide to go home with someone else.  I make them because I like to push myself, and I find them challenging to survive a pit fire.  If I were you I'd go for it, see where your heart will take you, your work will reflect it.  You might even find things you can translate into smaller works.   Just don't fill your studio with large pieces. 

  10. Thank you for a fascinating topic, It has been interesting to read and think back to the multitude of requests received during my short time selling pottery.  Simple rule for me....if I like/agree/support your cause and the 1st request of the month, you get a pot.  If not, you don't.  I don't donate from the booth, must come from stock.  If I don't get a thank you, preferably by mail, but in person will suffice, you are off the list for future donations. I don't bother with paperwork, other than give them 2 business cards, one to stay with the pot, one for their forms.  I will deliver locally if convenient, otherwise they have to pickup.


    I annually donate to the local art center's big gala event.  In exchange for the donation of art, can either get 25% of the sales price or a ticket to the event.  I've gone a few times, other times just donated the the whole amount. This style of event still working here, every piece I've donated has gone well over my original asking price. I have always been treated great, before, after and during.  The really rare part, I mean really RARE part, is I've actually sold additional pieces to the winning bidder when they contacted me after the auction.  So it does happen, but only when Halley's comet eclipses the sun on the 5 Tuesday of the month.

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