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  1. Thanks guys This is only my second one I've done, but the first with annoying comments like these ;o) In all my years of being the shopper, I've never asked such things. I just admired the work and wished I could afford it all (or make it). Maybe that's the difference between a shopper who truly loves the art, loves each piece for what it is (or not, and moves on to the next piece without comment), and the shopper who thinks they are shopping at Target. I forgot to mention the comments about how expensive along with the comments about how cheap it all is, lol. They had me second guessing my prices both ways! I'm a 3yr old potter, a baby potter as I call myself, so I need to stick with these smaller fairs for now. I'm not ready to be side-by-side with the big fellows yet ;o) Which I know the long time potters usually appreciate ;o) Thanks for helping me feel better.
  2. Thanks, PSC, very good to know how normal it is for busy kilns. I know that potters and even the studio owners don't make tons of money to just buy extra shelving. I can deal with it, I just wanted to see if it was normal. I have a good stone grinding dremel bit that takes care of the dried on white kiln wash chunks easily, and 3 diamond bits for the glaze bits. Middlewest, a piece would have to be extremely adhered to a shelf to have to come off with a chisel. Even when I'm unloading a kiln, and there is a piece that dripped a ton, it wiggles off (leaving huge chunks on the shelf). Although maybe a chisel makes the pot foot not break in the process so you can save your pot. Often when you pull it off by hand, it takes off chunks of pot with it. Maybe chiseling is best. My teacher just told me to pull them off, which is why I do it that way.
  3. I hope the business forum is the right place for this, it's talking about shows and dealing with customers or "almost" customers. I had a disappointing show today. It was a small vendor fair, only 3 hours long. My second one. I was the only potter there as they only allowed one in each category. I barely made back the booth fee, which I'm glad I at least made that. It was so cold (inside a gorgeous golf club at that!) that I was shaking the whole time and my 12yr old daughter's feet were frozen (in her tennis shoes). Ok, onto the real bother. So many people seem to have something to change about a piece. For one lady, she eyed my mugs and said how much she loved them, but asked if I can make bigger mugs. Another asked if I can make a shorter chalice/goblet. Another said I should have made this little tray able to hang on the wall!! She at least bought it and said she'd figure out how to hang it. I told her "I love it when people can see something different in a piece and see different uses for them." I SHOULD have made it able to hang on the wall?! Ok, yes, I guess that one bothered me ;o) Some people think that people weren't buying much due to the recent government shutdown and furloughs (I live in the D.C. area, in Northern VA, where so many were affected). I'm not sure. I guess it was just not a day for selling. That was a lot of work for selling 2 pieces plus 2 little brown sugar keepers.
  4. I am intensely glad you mentioned this.........and what about the "that was the careless or crazy fellow student who knocked someone else's piece " (never spoken about) yes, there always is a risk in sharing a kiln. Just a question but have you noticed at your studio that anyone above mediocre tends to have more breakage? Underfired, not the right temp....somebody is watching the electric bills or not wanting to kiln sit. I just put a ad on craig's for a fellow potter with a gas kiln. I am in Denver. I don't notice more damage among any certain people, but the turnover for the kilns is so great that I couldn't possibly know about all of the damage or kiln mishaps. We have 4 kilns and they're all fired 2-3 times a week each. I made a great piece once, and when I picked it up it had bits of bisque stuck all over the pot, embedded in the glaze. Apparently someone accidentally put greenware on the glazed shelf (maybe it had slip that made it look glazed?) and it was put in a glaze firing. It exploded. My teacher has always taught us to never get attached to a pot until the final product is in hand ;o) Anyways, I know they aren't conserving on electric bills. They have the kiln doctor come in whenever necessary. The owners are amazing. It's just like what others have said. Students still pick up other people's work even when they shouldn't. Here's another complaint I have (if you don't mind ;o) ). The kiln shelves don't seem right to me. They are so thickly coated in kiln wash, but it's all bumpy, holey, falling off in places and uneven. Plus the dots of dripped glaze everywhere. I nearly always need to take my dremel tool to the bottom of my pots to get off either dried on kiln wash or small glaze spots that my pot was set on. Is this normal? This is my only experience with kilns, so I don't know. Oh, and the kiln posts have so much stuff stuck to the ends that they don't stand straight. I do load and unload them somethings since I work there on Fridays, so I see this all the time. I never set a pot on a drip of glaze though ;o) I normally wont even use that shelf.
  5. I feel so badly throwing them in the trash. Not because I'm upset that it didn't turn out, but rather it seems such a waste. It seems people do try to sell boxes of their shards for use in mosaics on both Etsy and Ebay, but I cannot tell if they are successful in selling those. I was considering on maybe putting a box of shards on Craigslist once I get a full box. I would at least feel like my mess ups were useful to someone ;o) I've seen videos on youtube of people haveing smash parties at studios Definitely looks like fun. They set up an area outside and take turns throwing the pots, lol. I'm sure my teen son and teen daughter would very much like the smashing part ;o) Wanted to add that my pens/pencils on my desk are in an awesome jar that I made. It has a gallery for a lid, but the lid didn't turn out. I couldn't throw the crock away because I love it, lol. I have 3 mugs/cups in my kitchen that also hold various writing utensiles. Two of them underfired and couldn't be used as a cup, but they're so pretty. The mug had a glaze inside that didn't work right. There are several other things around here that didn't work as their original purpose, and I couldn't give them away/sell them, and it seemed a shame to trash them when they could have other uses in my home I have a bowl that I plan on putting some sort of plant in.
  6. All of my stuff is fired at the studio where I take classes as well (stuff I make at home I have to take there). I find it difficult to not be in control of the kilns. Sometimes a piece doesn't turn out and my teacher/owner of the studio says "Oh, that was in the kiln that didn't get up to temperature" or "That was in the kiln that underfired" or "Someone elses pot exploded". Many variables, as you know. I guess the good part is that the entire kiln load wasn't mine, just one or a few pieces ;o) So that is the upside.
  7. Just want to say that it's a beautiful bowl ;o) I'd still use it in my home, even if I couldn't sell it or give it away. I have a square plate that I made and the corner cracked. It's on display in my kitchen, one of my favorites!
  8. I did not know about this change, but I DID notice that whenever I search for handmade items that non-handmade things come up. I use Etsy to help me price my own pottery for shows or to list on Etsy, so it's frustrating that the non-handmade things come up.
  9. This is a great thread, and I want to sit back and read through it all when I have the time later today. My MIL (mother-in-law) is a quilter. She is a fantastic quilter, I would say she is among the very best. A true artist. When asked why she doesn't sell her quilts, she simply says "I wont give them to just anyone! I only give them to those who will truly appreciate the heart and soul that I put into it. People who will care for them and appreciate them. People just wont pay what they are truly worth, they don't understand, and I'm not selling them for less than their worth. So I will continue to make them with love, and give them with love." I've always told my children that when they sleep with Nana's quilt over them, or sit on the couch with it, it's like Nana is right there hugging them Handmade pottery is an interesting thing in my life. Ever since I was a little girl it got into my soul, and I didn't know any potters and never tried it myself until later in life! I was just a girl, and I'd walk through potter's booths and my heart would tighten. Like I belonged there. I wanted to fill my home with pottery. I imagined the hands and hearts that made it all, yes, even when I was very young. I had a confidence issue, though, and didn't think "I" would ever be able to do that. I also didn't know how to go about doing it. Even in college I had no idea that people could take classes there, much less major in ceramics! I guess I just didn't live in or hang around an artist community. It wasn't until I was 35yrs old, had been married for 15yrs and had 2 kids ages 9 and 13 that my brain let down it's defenses and I made a comment to my parents about always wanting to learn how to make pottery. A few months later, it was my Christmas gift from them! So I had no choice but to get over my fear and self doubt and take the class. Here I am 3 years later and I haven't missed a class since, lol. No kidding. It's in my blood, my heart and my soul. Imagine if I had to explain this to everyone ;o) I still consider myself a "baby potter" with only 3 years of experience, and I so look forward to (God willing) 30-40 years down the line and seeing what I'm making by then. Like everyone else has said, you just can't put a price on any of this. I wish I could tell them the feelings I had when I was 14yrs old and visiting an old pottery in England. Good friends of ours owned a zoo there, and we were visiting their zoo. They had many wonderful crafts people who worked and sold within their zoo. You can imagine this quaint little zoo, and quaint shops in ENGLAND!!!! The feelings inside of me right now are welling up just thinking about it. If I could have stayed in that pottery the entire 3 week trip, I would have been the happiest 14yr old girl ever. Um...how many 14yr old girls would ever say that? ;o) I feel it to myfinger tips. So hard to explain.
  10. So did you decide to do Etsy? I've been making pottery for 3 years now. In the beginning, I was putting pictures of the work I was proud of on my personal Facebook page (timeline) just to show to my family and friends. It didn't take long for all of them to start saying things like "How much do you want for that" and "when are you going to start selling?" and "can you make me......?" It was a little frustrating because I wasn't ready to sell and certainly wasn't ready to take commissions. Finally, after 2 years I decided to sell. However, I needed a way to do it. I couldn't just put a picture on my FB page and say "this is for sale" and then have 10 people tell me they want it. So to simplify things, I started an Etsy page for the MAIN purpose of selling to my friends and family. So what I do is I put a pic on FB and say "for sale on Etsy right now!" Then it's not up to me to decide who gets it. I also have the set price, there's no "weeelllll, I'd like $20 for it." Nope. It's on Etsy at this price, take it or leave it. You snooze, you lose. LOL. I've sold 23 items since March, now it's October, so that's 7 months. I think only 3 or so are complete strangers. I always tell my friends and family that if they live locally, to talk with me before buying because I will go to the item and put a reserve on it, then take off the shipping cost. Then that person can pay through Etsy, but come pick it up at my house. I actually like them to pay through Etsy because I think it helps my Etsy Shop to see the number of sales. I just can't stand dealing with money with friends and family. So I MUCH prefer having Etsy to go through, even though Etsy gets their cut. So for my purposes, Etsy is working awesome and doing what I need it to do. I'm always getting Etsy emails that give ideas on how to promote and sell on Etsy, so if my goal is to sell a ton, then there ARE ways to do it. But I'm not a production potter, it's simply my hobby. I don't need a dime from it really. I also get upset when I'm suddenly stressing out over making pottery. I have a 3 hour show this weekend and that is stressful enough. I don't want the fun to ever leave it. I never want to be forced to my wheel. I've done commissions and they stress me out (I have 2 in the works right now). I just prefer to go at my own pace, list items on Etsy and say "here, if you like it, it costs this much" and leave it at that ;o) A side note, don't forget to put your shop in "vacation mode" when you go on vacation or if you have a show and you are taking those same items with you. I went on vacation for 8 days this summer and I forgot to put my Etsy shop on vacation mode, and my second day there I had a sale!!!! I have a smartphone and get the emails and Etsy notifications ;o) So I emailed the woman and appologized like crazy that I wouldn't be home for a week to mail her package. Offered to give her money back if it was something she needed right away. She was nice and gracious about it. I put a little something extra (a brown sugar keeper) in her package when I mailed it. That was embarrassing. I also have a Facebook business page where I post pictures and updates, and there is a free shopping app on that page that directs people to my Etsy page. I'll post pics of thing in progress, finished things, shows I'm going to, etc. I have 94 likes on that page, only 45 are family/friends from my regular FB timeline. I belong to a FB group of crafters for my area that has over 800 members and I post there as well. So the word gets out.
  11. My pottery teacher (40yrs experience) uses a regular lead pencil on bisque. You could try it on one to test.
  12. You already have all the advise you could possibly need ;o) For me, I do rams head wedging and have never had an issue with it. I try the spiral now and again just because I want to be able to do it, so far my hands/brain haven't figured it out ;o) Simon Leach has a great video where he teaches the spiral wedging process, I need to go look at that again. He also teaches the wire cut and slap process. Look up his videos and search within his videos, wonderful stuff. I only wedge standing up. I'm 5'3" and 115lbs, I need all the weight/height I can get behind my wedging ;o) I never used to cone up simply because I couldn't. I never had an issue, probably because after I open up, I compress the bottom well before I even pull up. Now I do cone, but only a little bit. From what I understand, it's purpose is compression of the clay and help centering. I will say, I think it does help center. I don't do the tall coning like you see some people do, but it seems coning does help the centering. I now center like a pro! I've never had lumps in my clay, unless the clay just isn't mixed well. I don't think coning has anything to do with that. My pottery teacher, who has been doing this for nearly 40 years, throws her bags of clay on the floor many times before using. Maybe once per side or even more if she can tell it's stiff clay.
  13. No problem, Sherman. I may be a newbie here, but am FAR from a forum newbie ;o) I'd love to see a pic of that handmade bag. Here is what I bought for myself https://www.etsy.com/listing/96676388/carnival-bloom-turquoise-zipperkey-clasp
  14. I think the teapot is a brilliant idea for a yarn bowl! I now have some neat ideas to adapt that
  15. Thank you! Also, I just ordered an apron off of Etsy (I really love supporting other artists whenever possible!). For the women out there (I say this because I only saw very feminine fabrics), if you search "vendor apron" on Etsy, you will find many adorable half aprons. I chose one with several pockets, PLUS a zippered pocket for cash. I'm excited! On Amazon, there were a few half aprons (also called waist aprons) that men could wear, and I saw one or two with a zippered pocket.
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