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Callie Beller Diesel

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Everything posted by Callie Beller Diesel

  1. Plaster lathes and plaster sledging are a thing you guys. Its not uncommon in industry to make a master form out of recently set plaster that still retains some moisture and is soft, and take multiple casts from it. It's messy, but not particularly dusty. I didn't take an intense look at the lathe at Medalta while I was there because plaster isn't really my thing, but it looked pretty similar to my Grampa's wood lathe.
  2. While I agree that knowing your COGS is important, the work in figuring that out isn't in doing the math: it's in gathering all the numbers in the first place, and making sure you've remembered everything that goes into making an item. Our materials costs tend to be pretty fixed, and pretty low compared to other industries or other handmade items. We don't have to worry about the market price for silver fluctuating, for instance. How much we get paid out of a given piece after that depends on how much we're able to charge for it, and how fast we're able to make it. It's worth revisiting every once in a while so that you know it's under control, but I don't think it's one of those things we need to track monthly.
  3. I think for the first two pricepoints it's cheaper and easier just to use Square and the reports that software generates for free. It doesn't look like it offers a lot of value beyond google pages, which I can also get for free. The most useful tier, the one with things like consignment tracking, is the most expensive one. I think if you're at the point where you need some of those options, it might be a lot more efficient to just pay a bookkeper so you can go make more pots.
  4. About 2 years ago I spend some $$$ on an online marketing course that I'd been eyeballing for a couple of years. My implementation has been sporadic, but that's my own silly fault. When I use the principles regularly, they do indeed work. One of the things they talked about in this course was geared more towards service providers, but still applies to those of us who sell a physical product: you can use your email list for customer maintenance. They advocated offering value to your customers beyond just the purchases they make from you, so that you're not always just asking them for things. No one likes to feel used, and if you're asking people for their emails, its nice to offer something in return. If you have a month where you know you don't have a sale scheduled, offer a thank you of some kind, or some new work sneak peeks. Tailor a little freebie to your audience. If your subscribers are your students, maybe a short mug handle video will work, or a list of studio tips. If they're your customers, offer first dibs on a new item, give them a chance to preorder an item to pick up at a sale, a link to a recipe on your favourite food blog, a screen saver of a really nice styled shot of your work, make a draw for a free mug, etc. Something they'd find interesting. Many marketers recommend offering some sort of discount. It's up to you wether you want to do this or not: I personally will give the odd freebie to my list subscribers and consider it a marketing cost, but I only offer discounts VERY sporadically. I don't want to train people to expect them.
  5. One thing I feel like I should also mention: Only email the people who have knowingly signed up for your newsletter. Don't add people's email to your list if they've purchased from you without asking first. It's polite, and gets you better response if people consent to receiving whatever information you're dropping on them.
  6. Mailchimp is pretty easy to figure out just by poking at it, it's free to use if you have <2000 contacts, and it does have some great written and video tutorials if you get hung up. The thing to remember is that these email services offer more functions than we as mostly sole props need. If it seems too complicated, you probably don't need that function quite yet, and it's ok to skip it. Consider it to be an option that's ready and waiting if you do get to that point. (Looking at you, list segments.) If you're daunted to begin with, just treat the email like a social media post that's planned in advance. -Keep it simple: Have a shiny image or two, and keep your topics limited. If you have lots of ideas, consider sending them in another email. -Decide what you want people to do with the information you're giving them in this email, and direct them to do just that by using a call to action. The more specific the call the better. "These mugs are in my shop waiting for you!" is not a call to action, it is an interesting fact. "The shop has been updated: Click the link to purchase your favourites right now!" tells folks to take a specific action within a time frame. -Decide on a posting schedule: how often are you going to communicate with the people who have said they want to hear more about you? Once a month? Once a week? Block out a specific time to do this, or you won't follow through. Most email marketers recommend staying in contact with your audience once a month, or they forget who you are and why this rando is sending them stuff. 12 posts is not so much to commit to. -I find I stick to a schedule much better if I know what I'm going to be writing about in advance. Brainstorm some ideas about what you're going to write about, or what items you want to feature. Use holidays or other interesting things as prompts, feature yarn holders in cold weather, show off your favourite adult beverage in a tumbler of your making in summer, etc. -Have your photos ready, and some people prefer to write their copy in advance in a google doc or other word processor. Some extremely well organized individuals will sit down once a month and brainstorm their social media posts and emails in one sitting. I am not this person, but I aspire to be, one day when I'm a grown up.
  7. Hi @Lesley Anton and welcome! For the purposes of making underglaze, Frits are largely interchangeable because the important thing is that they melt. There are lots of different oxides that will make pigments flux just enough to stick to the pot. In the specific substitution that the original poster was speaking about, the only difference between the two Frits is their alumina content, which isn’t a big consideration in that specific situation. For the purposes of making glaze, the chemistry matters a lot more. According to Digitalfire, the composition of frit 3195 is here, and the composition of frit 3110 is here. You can see they’re pretty different from each other, especially in the sodium and alumina department. The sodium will affect both glaze fit and the bright blue colour, and the alumina will affect how the glaze runs (or doesn’t). You can try switching them with each other, but you’ll wind up with a very different glaze. As a side note, I find Digitalfire and the Stull chart on Glazy to be nice compliments to each other. Glazy shows you the what, while Digitalfire points to the “why.”
  8. @Olinda Hi and welcome back! Some of the reasons for the speculative answers are simply that you have to test things with the materials you have with your specific clay and your specific firing circumstances. Another reason is that a lot of things could work in a situation like this, and you may just have to pick one and try it. I know these answers can be maddening, so let’s try and narrow some things down. I personally have had clear glazes crawl off an iron oxide wash cut only with water and no flux, I’ve had it turn green or various ugly/undesired things, but I’ve never had it go white. Can you give us an example of the look you’re going for and describe more precisely what you’ve tried? What temperature are you firing to and what clay are you using? Oxidation or reduction? What glazes have you tried? Are you mixing your own or using store bought? How thick have you put your wash on, and what fluxes or other things have you added to your mix?
  9. When does it matter? When you want it to matter. If you wish to simply make for the enjoyment of making, then carry on and enjoy! A box of clay is cheaper than therapy. If you want to become a professional, you need to behave like a professional. There is a wide range of possibilities in between those two points, and all of them are valid things to do with yourself.
  10. The advice I got was to go in and talk to the current students to see what they said. They’re in the best position to speak candidly about current politics. And there is always politics.
  11. If you go with a small shed, you’ll have to be mindful of condensation and roof leaks from the vents in the winter, especially when there’s snow on the roof. My shed isn’t vented, but I leave the door open while firing.
  12. Oldlady is right about the size. I have my 7cu ft kiln in a 10’x8’ tin garden shed. I have a small wooden stand for my kiln shelves and posts, and a 4’ folding table to help with loading and unloading, and it gets folded up during the firing so I can check peeps. It’s cramped. It is protected enough from the elements here in Calgary, Alberta though. Humidity is not an issue I have to worry about though.
  13. +1 for the cash apron over a box or bag. With bathroom breaks you have to walk the fine line of not leaving your booth too much vs not giving yourself kidney stones. Carry your valuables with you, and make friends with your booth neighbour. Chances are they’re in the same situation, so it’s good if you can spot each other off briefly. I think an inverter in your booth is overkill if it’s just for your phone and your tap reader. If it lives in your vehicle, cool, but it can probably stay in there barring something unusual. Here’s a question though: You didn’t mention show hours. Are the operating times after dark at all? Do you need lights?
  14. Sieving will get rid of the lumps long enough to work with it for a session, but you’ll have to remix or resieve the next time you go to use the same batch. +1 for either adding more dry material or leaving some out the night before to thicken rather than trying to adjust with Epsom salts. Having less water in the mix can also help your slip not shrink as much.
  15. I finished putting handles on some mugs last night, about 9 pm. They’re half bone dry right now, 12 hours later. My phone says the humidity right now is 58% and I think that’s maybe optimistic.
  16. Mason has 3 pigments they call "Victoria Green." They're all slightly different, and have different numbers. Apparantly Wengers ceased operations back in the 60's, so I think disposing of them as hazardous waste is probably going to be a lot easier than trying to figure out what's actually in them.
  17. Thanks @liambesaw. The bucket system seems to be working pretty good, and the smell of changing or cleaning out a trap is something I’d like to avoid at all costs. We all have limits, that one is mine. I’d have done something about it if I’d felt it was necessary.
  18. My basement studio has access to a sink with hot water, but I’m careful to use bucket siphon systems for disposal, as I don’t have a clay trap. 12 years in the same house, and so far so good.
  19. Those closed cell foam mats that lock together like puzzle pieces are also nice to stand on and easy to hose down. They’ll save your joints and your back.
  20. If you store your work in opaque boxes, write the contents on the side with a piece of chalk.
  21. -Give yourself lots of time to work on your booth. You’re going to want to set it up, play with it, stand back and look at it, and decide what it needs or needs removed. ( I still do this when it needs tweaking.) -make an email sign up form. It’s never too early to start this. -If you don’t want to feel super gross afterwards, pack your own food so you’re not totally relying on restaurant fare. A thermos of soup is the easiest booth food to eat: it’s more graceful to recover from a drink of soup than to empty your mouth of a bite of sandwich when customer comes from nowhere and asks a question.
  22. With all the talk that seems to be running around lately about adding flocculants like Epsom salts or vinegar to glazes to affect how they flow I can see the logic in it. However I personally never noticed any difference between using vinegar vs plain water, or vinegar slip vs slip made with water. Wiggling the piece being attached until you can feel it “grab” seems to be a better determiner of attachment success.
  23. A combination of shelves and bins. The bins stay packed during show seasons, and the shelves hold the overstock. If items are destined for a store, they get delivered within a day or two so they’re not hanging around.
  24. I watched most of the first episode on YouTube yesterday. I live in a semi arid region, which I gather Stoke is not. I have so many questions about the need for a drying room if they’re getting s cracks.
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