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kswan

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  1. Like
    kswan got a reaction from Hulk in under glaze   
    You can try using clay like ball clay or kaolin mixed in to your stain and frit. That is what I use along with the CMC. My clay body is light colored so I can also add that in as well and it doesn't need so much frit. 
  2. Like
    kswan reacted to Mark C. in Nobody uses cash anymore   
    Yes  as kswan pointed out these days most customers who deal in cash hate change-I use a cash register which adds tax rate and only use quarters for change-round up or down
    I always carry a few hundred in bills to have plenty of change as well-I use a custom made leather vendor bag around my waist at all shows with a  hidden zipper pouch in rear.Great trade years ago with leather workers
  3. Like
    kswan reacted to GEP in Nobody uses cash anymore   
    I just cross out the cents part of their total, and charge them the whole dollar amount only. I lose a few dollars overall, which is totally worth not having to count coins!
  4. Like
    kswan reacted to konar in under glaze   
    thank you soooo much, 
    it worked
  5. Like
    kswan reacted to Mark C. in Glazing Inside and Out at Same Time   
    We glazed  a  about 150-200 mugs today in 4 sizes . Used the glaze jet for liners (sprays glaze straight up from 5 gallon bucket )and let dry for a spell then did exteriors-same day-then loaded the kilns with them today
     
    You can make that glaze jet yourself for about $30 if you are handy-you need to thread some stainless rod (dies)and cut and glue PVC and boldt or rivet rubber.
    its on page 55 here in the 2008 issue
    https://studiopotter.org/digital-issue/116
  6. Like
    kswan got a reaction from Min in Glazing over bisqued underglaze   
    You can also test bisque firing a cone or so lower. The underglaze may not be as sintered and can absorb more glaze. 
  7. Like
    kswan reacted to Callie Beller Diesel in A handy organizational tool for workflow   
    @kswan I take a 50% deposit before starting, and the remainder on delivery. If someone wants to pay up front I don’t tell them no, but I like to leave the client a little insurance. 
  8. Like
    kswan reacted to GEP in Big fall show in my area switches to virtual-only again   
    I wish we could have a more accountable system like that. It’s been talked about, but there’s a lot of pushback and the idea gets dropped.  Sadly the will to do it isn’t here. Or a centralized health system. I’ll stop talking before I get political. 
  9. Like
    kswan reacted to Mark C. in Big fall show in my area switches to virtual-only again   
    This was my setup two weekends ago-booth is 10x15 with storage in rear. My van stayed parked in this spot whole show-Its under a huge shade tree in grassy park.I have a box on top of van that keeps my pro panels for flat fish wall art but do not use them at this show(vis do not sell well in desert) also have a large space case on top that holds two 10x10 canopies that live year-round there. I do not use a canopy as noted here -as it to windy normally-no wind this last time
    It was my last show here after 28-30 years of shows in this space mostly solo show-my wife did the show as well -her last show here with me was in middle 90s.
    I shove this table out some during show so its out front more.Its about 2x3 an antique girls dressing table. I redid the finish last year for my outside xmas show where it was out front with 3 plexiglass sheilds around it.
    Solid good  wood tables are hard to find these days -I have a few from the old days still. This one is light and has a small drawer which is handy
    I do not use a canopy at this show and walk away from booth  Saturday at 5 pm just as you see it in this park as theft is unheard of in this small town as of yet.Been doing this walk away for over a decade now there. No where else do I do this.
    The one we sit at is  also a taller height that matches this one with a larger drawer and I fit my cash register on top which I use at most shows-I invert the power to 120V with a battery jumper so the register works.
     

  10. Like
    kswan reacted to Mark C. in A handy organizational tool for workflow   
    I have developed in m,y 40 plus years of doing shows a top notch system for my workflow
    Two weekends agao I was at a show 1000 miles away from home . On last day I made two lists one what sold best at that show (thios list gets refered to next year before show to take extra of those items (in this case I am retiring from that show and willnot go back ) I made the list from habit anyway.
    The next list is what I need to make after the show to keep my inventory up (these two lists are often not alike )
    This list is what I am now making for stock-smalls like sponge holders and spoonrests never get on the list as they are a constant making for me in the stuffer space of all fires.Today I made chopstick bowls after selling a bunch and dropping off 84  in a 20 box drop off wholesale order last week on way home from show in NV in San Lois Obispo near a gallery that carries my work
    This list is my go to in next few weeks as its whats needed to get back to normal inventory for me.
    Its algorithm has been tested thru time and is bullet proof
     

  11. Like
    kswan got a reaction from Callie Beller Diesel in A handy organizational tool for workflow   
    I am nowhere near the volume of work that you all are doing, so I am enjoying the fact that people are excited about my work and I have time to make things for them.  I'm no longer in a gallery so doing craft shows and then orders from that will be it for me. My "custom orders" are essentially the same as yours, @Callie Beller Diesel putting a design I already do on a different piece or making something that I am capable of doing in a slightly different way.  I also take a photo of a little sketch and email it for approval.
    So maybe in my soon to be created binder I will have a section for emails to contact people who either want a piece I'm out of or who may want a special one made. I'm going to modify the commission referral log I made for the gallery I used to be in. 
    On another note, my Square app updated itself right in the middle of me using it this weekend! That was bewildering, all of a sudden it shut down, I reopened it and it looked entirely different. I don't like the way it's laid out now. 
     
  12. Like
    kswan reacted to Mark C. in A handy organizational tool for workflow   
    I also am like Gep in asking for an order via email. I get some looky lous wanting stuff but not folllowing thru and its a waste of my time. I now have a $100 minimum order posted on web site. That has slowed down the the non seriors customers somewhat
    I also have mentioned on my website that its for return customers only-not looking for new customers-this also cut out the space cadets who do not respond
    Weather they call me direct or start with email I get them onto the email venue. Covid has excelerated poor customers for me (not folllowing thru) and I need to weed them out
    I had never had customers order and never follow thru until covid hit
    Right now shows are my best of times as well as my outlets and customer email orders are my worst
    I got this email yesterday for example 
    (I was at the Boulder City show and took your card. I couldn’t buy there, because I was with my wife and wanted to buy soup mugs for her for Christmas, which is also her birthday. I don’t see a way to order on the site. How can I order a set of four for her.)
    Now I am going thru this  so called waiting for a email response after I asked what colors  they want (I'm well stocked now as well)-It may or may now happen on thier end
    It does meet m,y 100$ minimum as well but this customer may vanish just as well so for me its not yet an real order.
    I will post a photo of my workflow tool later as well-its in studio now.
    I did just ship out two orders yesterday so my sytem is still working-all return customers from shows in my past
  13. Like
    kswan reacted to GEP in A handy organizational tool for workflow   
    I actually recommend asking the customer to initiate the order by email. This weeds out the people who were just being impulsive when they asked for a reservation (and there are plenty of people who do this). I do not wish to spend my energy chasing down someone who turns out not to be serious. There is quite a bit of back and forth emailing required to complete an order, so the customer also needs to prove that they are reliable communicators by email (there are plenty of people who aren’t). This move also signals “I’m not going to cater to you. I’m busy and you need to make this easy for me.” Again, it weeds out the problem customers. 
    Another option I use sometimes is “yes [those items] can be reserved for [that show]. When it’s about a week before the show, send me an email and ask me again. If I have it in stock, I’m happy to hold them for you.” This does not obligate me to change my production plans for a customer I don’t know.  The customer is usually standing in front of my email list sign-up pad during this conversation. If they then sign-up for my email list, that’s a good indication of seriousness. I’ll say “oh cool, when you get my email about [that show], just hit reply and let me know what you want.”
    This does not apply to existing customers who have followed through successfully on reservations before. If one of them asks for a reservation at a show, I’ll write it down in my notebook on the spot. Knowing the person makes all the difference. 
  14. Like
    kswan reacted to Callie Beller Diesel in A handy organizational tool for workflow   
    Shows can definitely be overwhelming at the best of times, and now is not the best of times! If offering to take orders is a service you *want* to offer (extra emphasis on the want to), people like feeling looked after. It’s a good idea to couch it in terms of yes, I’d like to be able to help you, let’s make an appointment for later so you can have my undivided attention. Make sure you get their contact info and follow up with them, rather than leaving it up to them to contact you. If you leave it up to them, you’ll never see them again. 
    For Trello, think I pulled the Kanban template to start with, but I relabelled all of it, added stuff and changed the background. It would have been just as simple to start from scratch. 
  15. Like
    kswan got a reaction from Callie Beller Diesel in A handy organizational tool for workflow   
    It's funny because I love organizing, making color coded binders and files and such! And I understand about the feel of a nice pen on paper. I just got overwhelmed by people asking for things at my booth, and wasn't expecting or prepared for it. I think what I'll do is stick with asking them to email me with a request and try not to get too bogged down in details while at my booth. That's overwhelming enough as it is.  I did that at one show where four people asked me about making things, which is more than I've encountered yet at a time. I'm still pretty new to doing larger craft shows, and having a year hiatus didn't help with keeping things running smoothly...
    I'm going to make myself a binder with sections, because I really like being able to move parts around, and take that to shows. I'll keep my sketchbook for home, that's where I draw for myself and sketch items someone asks for.  OOOH! I'm getting excited thinking about the sections I can make, like a place for the info sheets you receive from the show organizers, a place for taking notes and to do lists for each show. That way I can flip to the page where I took notes on the day and will remember it (hopefully). That would have helped remedy my embarrassing situation.
    I'm messing around with Trello right now. Did you use a specific template or did you start from scratch? I have to read through the guide because there's a lot to it.
  16. Like
    kswan reacted to Callie Beller Diesel in A handy organizational tool for workflow   
    Yes. Yes you do, if you’re going to offer this as a service. Taking a bit of time now to organize a system will save you a TON of time and headache later.
    When I made my paper version, I got super fancy with my formatting, because it was part of a larger planner that I use to track a bunch of other things as well.  I set myself up to enjoy using it, because my ADHD is a toddler and needs shameless bribery sometimes. It’s got a snazzy reusable cover, it’s printed on nice paper, and I like the feeling of writing in it with my favourite kind of pen. I spent a really ridiculous amount of time designing it initially, but it’s something I still enjoy using, so it was time well spent.
    That said, you don’t have to get elaborate if it gets in the way of you creating a system.  Even just having a pretty composition book from the dollar store that is dedicated to your special orders is better than loosing scraps of paper. Or maybe you need to get yourself a fun clipboard to keep the scraps in one place instead! The best system is the one that you actually use.
  17. Like
    kswan got a reaction from Callie Beller Diesel in A handy organizational tool for workflow   
    @Callie Beller Diesel Thank you for sharing this! Do you think you could show a photo or explain more how you might use this for custom orders? I just had a mortifying experience where I verbally agreed to save a vase at a show for someone and forgot, then accidentally sold all of those before she arrived. I've also gotten  more custom orders at the same time that I want to find a good way to keep track of. 
    Also, would you use Trello while at a show? I think you said you use it with a tablet. I can barely see my phone screen so I wouldn't want to use it with my phone while at a craft show.
  18. Like
    kswan reacted to oldlady in Repurposing forms   
    lots of customers tell me what they are going to do with things i thought had a totally different purpose.   i save some seconds and find i use what i sell as a cracker tray as a corn on the cob dish.    my butterdish becomes an eyeglass holder for buyers and the strangest one was a large tray, about 6x11 or so that was going to be (of all things!) a spoonrest.   the buyer was a chef and needed space for more than one utensil.   flat rounds become "saucers" for wide mugs.   i do not make mugs.
    a long tray is someone's bathroom hair thingys holder so they do not scatter all over.   i am glad they have so many purposes.
  19. Like
    kswan reacted to Callie Beller Diesel in A handy organizational tool for workflow   
    So maybe some of you already know about the app Trello if you’ve had to work on projects in a more corporate setting in the last couple of years. I hadn’t paid a lot of attention to it, because every time I heard it mentioned, it seemed like more software than I needed. But a booth neighbour friend and I were talking about workflow stuff this summer, and she showed me how she used it to track the various stages of work in progress. 
    The plan was to try it out and report back after show season was done, but it’s been so effective in the last couple of weeks that I thought I’d write about it now!
    If you’re not familiar, Trello is sort of like an online Kanban board, or one of those setups where you have the stages of progress for a project written at the top of a white board, and you take a bunch of sticky notes with individual tasks that need to be done and move them along the line as they get completed. In Trello, multiple people can log into the board from wherever they’re working from, and you don’t have problems with sticky notes falling off the board and getting lost. It’s more visually oriented than a spreadsheet, because you can drag and drop items (cards) from one list to the next.
    You do need to sign up for an account, but Trello is free for the version that would be needed by most potters or other small makers, and includes a LOT of handy features. Paid versions are designed with large organizations with more employees and outside contractors in mind. 
    You want to start off by creating a workspace once you’re signed up and have your account confirmed. Within the workspace, you can create up to 10 boards on the free version.  You could organize these boards as production lists for individual shows, but I’ve got mine set up for quarterly production, and to track items that have been ordered by people. You could also make boards for things like planning your assorted marketing efforts, but I haven’t got that set up yet.
    Inside my board for my quarterly production, I made lists that include Needed, Clay Prepped, Thrown, Decorated and Drying, Bisqued, Glazed, and Finished. I then created cards within those lists of the items I want to have made for the start of show season. Cards can hold a significant amount of information, including links, photos and notes, but for my production list I keep it very simple. Each card is just a quantity of an item that I would make in a day, or that I need in grand total. As each item card gets dragged and dropped through the production stages, I have a clear idea of what’s done, what’s in what stage of progress and what still needs to be started. 
    For instance, I know I want to have 12 berry bowls made for the season. So the card starts out saying 12 berry bowls while it’s under the “needed” section. I would typically prep the clay and make all those bowls at once, but if they don’t all fit in the bisque, I can make separate cards indicating that I have 8 that have been fired and glazed, and 4 still waiting in the dried state. Depending on the quantity of an item you need to make, you could either make notes within the card of how many of what glaze job you want, or you could make separate cards for the different styles. After they’re all moved onto the “Finished” list, you can admire how much you accomplished!
    It’s also very handy for tracking special orders. If a customer has ordered a piece, I can keep their name, order particulars and contact info on one card, and track its progress as above. Once the piece is made, I can attach photos to the card, and move it to the “Notified” list after I’ve emailed the customer. In the event the piece is shipped, I can add the tracking number to the card. That way if I need to process a claim, I’m not sifting through all my Canada Post receipts. 
    I’m finding it a lot faster to update than a spreadsheet or a written list. I do recommend it!
     
  20. Like
    kswan got a reaction from neilestrick in Best method for using stains as overglaze   
    If it's going to be on food surfaces, I'd use a product that is rated food safe. A dark stain like the one you show could easily leach into foods if it isn't bound into a glaze. 
  21. Like
    kswan got a reaction from Roberta12 in Clay Shortage   
    I use a Laguna clay and bought a few hundred pounds supply about a month ago. I noticed that the quality is way lower than I've been accustomed to. It is very hard and I have had to wet it in the bag to be able to wedge it. There are also weird chunks of things in it that I can't identify, possibly small bits of wire, red and black hunks, large enough that they have ruined several of my pieces.  I often make extra lids for things and keep them on hand bone dry to get the best fit and I noticed that the clay from previous batches is a different color. 
  22. Like
    kswan got a reaction from Pres in Clay Shortage   
    I use a Laguna clay and bought a few hundred pounds supply about a month ago. I noticed that the quality is way lower than I've been accustomed to. It is very hard and I have had to wet it in the bag to be able to wedge it. There are also weird chunks of things in it that I can't identify, possibly small bits of wire, red and black hunks, large enough that they have ruined several of my pieces.  I often make extra lids for things and keep them on hand bone dry to get the best fit and I noticed that the clay from previous batches is a different color. 
  23. Like
    kswan got a reaction from GEP in Clay Shortage   
    I use a Laguna clay and bought a few hundred pounds supply about a month ago. I noticed that the quality is way lower than I've been accustomed to. It is very hard and I have had to wet it in the bag to be able to wedge it. There are also weird chunks of things in it that I can't identify, possibly small bits of wire, red and black hunks, large enough that they have ruined several of my pieces.  I often make extra lids for things and keep them on hand bone dry to get the best fit and I noticed that the clay from previous batches is a different color. 
  24. Like
    kswan reacted to Piedmont Pottery in How do you remove a wide bowl from the wheel head without ruining it?   
    For large bowls and platters, judicious use of a torch or heat gun to stiffen up the form a bit before wiring off helps with removal without deformation.  Be sure to keep the torch and or pot in motion when doing this so the upper part of the pot dries evenly and slowly.  Depending on your heat source, this only takes about 5-10 minutes.  However, I also agree with what the others have suggested about getting bats that fit your wheel correctly.  
    It is sometimes difficult to wire off large bowls or platters without the wire rising up in the center and taking off a bit more of the pot than desired.  Here is a simple tool I made many years ago to help with this.  Three sections of angle iron welded together at an angle with the cut-off wire stretched tightly across the gap.  Tensioning accomplished using eye bolts through threaded holes at each end with two nuts on each side to lock the bolts in place after tensioning.

  25. Like
    kswan got a reaction from Callie Beller Diesel in Underglaze pinholes and flaws - I don't understand why?   
    Sue McLeod is doing an underglaze research group. It might be good for you to check out what she's doing and add your input. Go to  Sue McLeod Ceramics and find "Troubleshooting Commercial Underglazes" . She has charts you can fill in to track your testing and then share with her to compile the results. I believe she has a facebook group as well where you can discuss these issues. 
    I apply underglazes to bone dry work. I also mix up my own underglaze like or wash like formulas with mason stains and flux, sometimes adding other things as needed such as a bit of my clay body slip, CMC gum, or white underglaze. I notice that the mason stains act differently from one another too just like the commercial underglazes do.  I fire to cone 5. I experimented a bit with different fluxes mostly just to get the mason stain to stick to the surface of my work after bisque. I've used frit 3124, Gerstley Borate and Wollastonite as fluxes.  The ratio is about half flux and half stain, but do some experimenting if you add things like your clay body slip because it already contains some kind of flux. 
    It almost looks like the black is trying to pop itself off the clay but the glaze is sort of holding it on. I've had big flakes of underglaze come off after bisque, I think when it was applied too thickly all at once. It seems like  a good way to get it to adhere better to the clay is to use a more watered down first layer so it sinks into the clay instead of sitting on top of it. 
     
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