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About soursop

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    Advanced Member

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  • Location
    Hilo, Hawaii
  • Interests
    Gardening, Plants, Ceramics, Ancient Crafts
  1. where was the piece placed in the kiln? In years past I was having some pieces blister on occasion and for me it was a result of turning up the gas (temp) too quickly. Was your piece right under the damper and did you turn the heat up really fast on one or more occasions during the firing? Giving it enough time to mature or even out is also important to consider and may be a part of the problem you are experiencing. Good luck, study your notes from the firing and then read, read, read.
  2. Don't sweat the small talk, if it comes, it comes, if not, it doesn't. In Hawaii there is a saying; "If can, can, if no can, no can!" It means just that; don't worry about it. if you can do it (or make it to an event) then great, but if you can't then don't worry about it. I don't worry so much if I'm handling my booth the way I "should", because it is my booth, and I am in a different place (mentally and physically) every day. Some days I feel like socializing, other days I really just want to read the paper, drink my coffee, and sell to those that really want my pieces. To be totally honest, one thing I have come to love (and really appreciate) are the regulars. They filter in and out of my booth all day and I welcome them to stay as long as they feel like it. We often talk mud, as they are or were mudslingers themselves. I think they give other passer bys the feeling that it's ok to enter. There is no awkward silence to break and they see that you are selling something that is desired by others. It helps my social skills and my sales all in one. In the end, if I'm gonna be honest, I guess I'm just not skilled enough to fake it
  3. Wendy, I think Dale Chihuly is a great example of a financially successful artist. And you're right he does do all kinds of work to fill the pricepoints, but what I think he does even better is something we are all overlooking........network. Unfortunately for most all of us, we would rather be making what we love to make rather than working the business end of things, but networking is so, so important for any successful business. I find this is true even on the extremely low end of things like farmers markets. If I take the time to meet with, have discussions with, and ultimately become friends with a lot of the the other vendors, they will steer customers who may have missed my booth back to me, and I will do the same for them. We all appreciate and trust personal references more than a shot in the dark, so when it comes down to it, the more people you know and respect inside and even outside your industry, the more business you will generate for yourself. So applying the same idea to the very large end of things Like Chihuly has done (Large Sculpture installations) will only help your chances of success. Being good at what you make sure helps too How many times have you walked into a large hotel lobby, friends house or waiting room and seen really really terrible art? Like not just not your taste bad, but really ugly, badly designed or crafted art? I know I have many many times, so it goes to show that it's who you know not how good you are (unfortunately) a lot of the time.
  4. I think I want to clarify what I was saying earlier; Imitation is NO flattery, I don't think I know a single person who likes having their work being replicated and that includes me. That being said, I believe an attempt to replicate something that you are inspired by will teach you new methods in your work process and give you a new perspective to see your work in, and it is those new methods and that new perspective, that you gain, which is invaluable. I do this every once in a while because I am looking to expand on my PROCESSES, not because I want to make the same object I see. This gives me insight into my own work and I feel I grow quicker through the exploration. The problem that I think most of you are worried about and sensitive to (as am I) is when someone begins to copy another artist's STYLE. Although I feel this will inevitably only be a passing tide in the life of that person doing the copying, since we can only pretend to be someone other than ourselves for a short while before we must accept we are, I still feel strongly that this type of imitation is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG; you offend the artist you are replicating and you are hindering yourself from being who you are meant to be.
  5. Very nice design. Let us know if it functions as good as it looks.
  6. I agree with Italian Sculptor. I think it is perfectly alright to try and copy a piece of work you appreciate or are aspiring to create, the difference between whether it is "alright" or not, in my opinion, is whether one keeps copying or then branches off to apply what they have learned through the process to their own individual work. I think we all copy to learn, children imitate their parents or siblings to learn, and as adults I think we still do it, the only difference now is that we have our own individuality figured out, and so we adapt those things we imitate or "learn" to our own individual, hopefully:)
  7. About your question if pottery business is like any other business, I think it is, I just have a different approach than most. Most say to give the market what they want, but if I did that, I would be making and selling nothing but turtles, geckos, hibiscus flowers, palm trees, and surfboards to attach to all my work. I would encourage you not to make what the market is buying so much, but make what you make, make it the best you possibly can, sell it as if it IS the best, BUT FIND THE MARKET THAT WANTS WHAT YOU ARE MAKING. Not selling out is far more rewarding in the long run, because selling out, usually turns what you use to love to do into another "job" or "9-5" that you now feel you have to do to pay the bills. Put in the time, research, outreach and footwork in to find the market that wants what you are making, and in the end you will be happier. It takes longer, it is more difficult, but in the end, you are fed as an artist by selling what you are passionate about rather than what people buy lots of, and by doing so, you can make a name for yourself. -Tim
  8. My personal experience has been to diversify a bit. We've all heard that it's not good to put all your eggs into 1 basket, and I have truly come to embrace that. After owning a and running a Landscape design/installation business for 6 years, My partner and I found out how exposed we were when the real estate market took a turn in 2007. People just weren't spending money on their yards anymore, and We had built up a small business that was totally reliant upon more and more customers coming my way. In the end, too much overhead and too specialized to do well in a market that changed out of our favor, and although we stayed busy longer than most of our competition, in the end we knew what we had to do- Sell it. Most of us do other things to make money, whether it is all our income or only a small fraction of it. I have had the dream like so many potters and artists and writers and poets out there that one day I will be able to make all my income from my art, but I am now feeling a bit differently about that. I think what I want is to make MOST all my money from my art, that way I can spend MOST all my time doing what I love, but having another skill to fall back on, like for me, landscape design and consultation, is a bit of insurance. I advertise my landscape services, but take the jobs only when I feel I need the money. Furthermore, within my ceramic work, I have diversified. I have taken it in the gut (almost literally) to invest the time to develop a line of architectural ceramics and market them to the fields that are looking for these products (Designers, Architects, Some contractors). I also do a lot of functional ware because I love making it. I do wholesale orders and work as many shows as I can. And lastly I work on MY WORK, that is, the work I would be making if money meant nothing. This is the work I do for show in Galleries and enter contests with. In the end, keeping things diversified helps me to feel more balanced. At times I really wish I only did one thing, because it would be so much easier, but I know what I have committed to keeps me more stable and more interested/committed over time (ie. I don't get bored with any one thing.)
  9. You should run a good number of tests with it before you consider using it to make functional pieces with. Most locally dug clays make earthenware not stoneware, so you do need to find out where it matures at. Next check the absorption rate for the clay, and lastly make sure that you have glazes that meet the maturation specifications of your local clay. It'll be well worth the time invested to figure all this out because then you have a very local source of material that you really understand and use properly. Best of luck with it, Please let us know how it goes. -Tim
  10. If I ever do get a facebook account, I'd contact as I would love to see the photos.
  11. I think being inventive in the studio to solve our problems is one of the best ways to progress. Sounds like you're on to something, and if it helps you with your problem then great. I think often times our biggest mistake is to become too comfortable with the way things are or work and we stop trying to improve upon them.
  12. I just wanted to make a final note on how this worked out for me for anyone interested. The slight baffle of the bottom shelves worked perfectly in combination with properly managing the damper, gas pressure and O2 ports. This second firing of my redesigned kiln was a total success, and by that I mean how even the firing was- it was nearly completely even- maybe 1/4 to 1/2 cone difference between top and bottom. My kiln climbed nicely at 300-350 degrees per hour up to 1500 and then at about 250-225 per hour till I reached temp. My damper was left at 1" open for the first 4 hours, and then at about 2"open after that until the end. I turned my gas up twice- that's it. once after 2 hours of candling and once more two hours after that when I opened the damper to 2". Besides that, it climbed very nicely on it's own until it reached temp.
  13. Azjoe, That Haboob looked pretty dusty, so I'll consider myself lucky to have fresh breezes blowing through my studio.
  14. I appreciate the further input Johanna and John. I guess my intuition on the matter was wrong. I will read more from the OSHA site, and begin to keep disinfectant wipes on hand and store the respirator in a sealed plastic bag. I appreciate the education. -Tim
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