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Callie Beller Diesel

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Everything posted by Callie Beller Diesel

  1. Oh man! That sounds like an amazing experience Mark. Have fun!
  2. I haven’t done a lot of wood firing, but I was always taught that soft wood released its energy hot and fast, sort of like sugars or simple carbs, and hardwood was a slower more even energy release, more like proteins. Thoughts?
  3. Mine’s outside in a tin garden shed, and I get a pretty wide temperature swing. The coldest I’ve fired in is -25/30 -ish C, and if it took much more than half an hour to finish than in summertime, I didn’t notice. And before anyone cracks any jokes, summertime averages are 25 C on the plus side.
  4. You're all going to hate me. I pay .068 per kilowatt hour. Or I did in September. I have a variable rate. It goes up in the winter, but I'd have to go digging for other bills.
  5. For me, I wouldn't sell anything repaired, but I make dishes. If it's going to last for a long time, it can't start out damaged. I have turned some glaze mistakes into planters, but it was an error that only I would have thought of as an error, and I don't make a habit of it. That said, there are some that work in a much more decorative vein who have capitalized on breaks, and incorporated them into the piece, making it more effective. I'm thinking of Mariko Paterson, who makes a lot of really involved, detailed work. She had some platters crack while in process, so she wound up filling them with hot pink epoxy and glitter, which assisted the subject matter of the piece. Since it was never intended for food use, in this instance something like that worked.
  6. I had one high fire glaze that carbon trapped the pencil lines, but for the most part it burns out cleanly.
  7. I think with commissions it really depends on wether or not you actually Ike doing that kind of work. Some people hate doing shows. Commissions are just another way of working and exercising your skills and talents. Some people find commissions rewarding way of working. It can offer interesting puzzles to solve, it frequently adds to your skill set, and when the customer is happy you look like a mystical wizard with untold wondrous skills. That's a HUGE ego boost! I think that if you’ve got your pricing structure worked out properly, you’re not going to wish you’d charged more, because you’ll have delivered something you expected to. If the client begins changing the parameters in the middle of the job, as a service provider you have an obligation to renegotiate things on paper. That covers your ass so everything is agreed upon, and includes any possible price increases. See? Communication!
  8. There's not really any guaranteed way to rescue a pot that's been glazed with something that isn't ideal for food use. Glaze doesn't act like an isolated coating like paint: when you refire a piece, everything melts again, so the cover glaze is going to interact and react with whatever's underneath it. This could make the glaze more durable, or it might unbalance the fluxes so it's actually even more soluble. You'd have to send the piece to a lab for testing, so you could see exactly what does or doesn't leach out to know for sure. If you're in the beginning stages of your clay journey, a hammer is usually a better bet. Your next pot will be better for learning, I promise. All that said, I will say that I think you're not likely to be acutely poisoned by your lone barium glazed bowl, and barium is not fat soluble. I wouldn't sell anything with a barium matte or use it myself on the daily as they're not that durable and they mark and stain, but if you need a key bowl, I'm sure it's fine. As Liam mentioned, the danger is in the mixing and firing of the glazes. Good hygiene (gloves, respirator, ventilation, no food and drinks in the glaze room, no working next to firing kilns, etc) is always a good idea.
  9. I used to work for a company that did nothing but high end, bespoke glass work. One of the largest contracts this company ever did was the stained glass windows in the Banff Chateau Lake Louise. That's the fancy castle-looking one on all the postcards. I was not a part of that one, but they are very deservedly proud of that project. Designs were NEVER replicated, although some themes, like mountains, were popular subjects. The business model can be quite profitable, but you have to be able to meet a few criteria. You MUST be a tremendous communicator. You will be dealing with people who have only half an idea of what they want, and absolutely zero understanding of what the process is or what it can and can't do. You need to be able to lead them through some things to get them to clarify their vision without confusing them with too much information. You need to be able to clearly define what you can and can't deliver, and in what kind of time frame. For all of that, you need some drawing skills and samples of textures, clays and glazes. You need to know your turnaround times, and make absolutely sure you have time to make it twice built into that. If you are offering an experimental technique, or a technique that is new to you, all time frames go right out the window, and you need to let your client know testing will be ongoing and that delivery dates can be estimated but not guaranteed. You need to update them as much as they want. You need to remember that your client does not give a flying fig if your kiln elements crapped out and it will take you six weeks to get replacements, so you have to be the kind of person who is on top of things like equipment maintenance and materials inventory. If things do in fact go pear shaped for reasons beyond your control and you cannot deliver what you said when you said, you need to be able and willing to communicate that, along with any solutions to the problems and the new timeline. Integrity in all of this is critical. Your fees must reflect that you are providing a high end service from a skilled provider. You are not just providing an end product! Deposits are taken at the start of a job, and are non-refundable. This fee should be enough to cover your design time and materials. The balance of payment is due when your customer is satisfied. For some jobs, you may wish to break this fee into three portions If you're a little antisocial (No judgement if you are!) and thinking of yourself as a service provider instead of a product maker does not sound like your jam, do not say yes to commissions. All that said, I do take on a little custom work now and again, mostly for companies that want mugs for corporate gifting, or with their own branding for ongoing wholesale orders. I do an in-person design meeting to hammer out details, carefully guiding the client through a couple of options that I know how to use really well, and showing glaze samples they can choose from. Custom colours are a no-go: they take too long to develop. They pay for any stamps or decals or templates that are needed to make samples whether we go through with the full order or not, as well as a nominal design fee so I'm getting paid. This is, after all, time consuming. I make a variation or two to narrow it down, and the client makes the final choice. Once the final design is agreed on, they place an agreed upon minimum order. I check back every six months or so to see how they're set for stock. Once the design is worked out, it's easy to knock more out in a couple of weeks. The payday is more in these reorders. If someone comes into my booth wanting any form they see with a different glaze that's also in my booth, it's a 50% deposit to discourage tire kicking and delivery is within 4 weeks.
  10. When I do my thick slip mugs, I apply the slip, allow it to come to leather hard and then apply the handle. I don’t have too many cracking issues that way. I don’t deflocculate my thick slip, but I agree that could be a solution.
  11. If you're applying linseed oil to something like adobe (unfired clay with straw), I don't think it would be anywhere near durable enough. It'll crumble and make a muddy mess, like Liam said. You'd never be able to clean it. This is one of those things where I think you'd spend ten times more trying to do it yourself. I know of experienced clay workers making tile for a backsplash, but not floor tiles. It's usually too much area to cover, and durability is a huge consideration. Unfired clay of any kind just isn't going to hold up. I agree with Denice that Saltillo tiles might be your better bet.
  12. @Sumiink I just want to point out that this thread is over two years old. It’s not likely she still has it.
  13. If the crack was one of those ultra fine ones you can’t see after bisque, it would have been glazed over. The glaze would have melted, expanded and formed around it, but when the clay shrank in the cooling, the crack would have widened and broken the glaze.
  14. @RuthDaw You are correct in that the patent does not extend beyond the US, and doesn’t apply to the rest of us. She has been issuing cease and desist letters to anyone with a website detailing the information that can easily be read in the US. Think any website hosted anywhere in the world with a .com suffix. The decal paper in question does have a source in Australia that I will happily DM you, I just can’t post it openly here on this American-hosted forum, or there will be trouble For those outside the US who are interested, I can also direct you. Feel free to DM me.
  15. @oldlady yours is probably the better method. I don’t have enough kiln posts, but I bet I could rig something equivalent.
  16. I have just used coils to set round bottomed hanging planters on. I don’t glaze the bottom of them though.
  17. I agree with Oldlady in that you might learn more from allowing this piece to break in order to see how far you can push your clay. A trick I was taught for attaching handles that applies to attaching other solid parts is to press and wiggle the pieces together until you can feel them grab AND you should see slip oozing out from all areas of the attachment point. Use a clean, soft but firm pointed paintbrush (I like an artificial sable) to wipe away the excess slip. The brush will make the join look neat and tidy without distorting anything. As the piece dries, some of the slip will shrink back into the join, and the resulting line will fill with glaze.
  18. @liambesaw @Benzine I've found that if you apply Sherril's Scarlet Kidney of Shining to the projected exposed parts at leather hard, sponges gain a +5 resistance to shredding damage. Your gaming table still will still likely appreciate a coaster. For those non-Dungeons and Dragons players, burnish the exposed part with a little red rib to smooth it out if you're worried about causing damage to sponges or tabletops. Work clean to keep the feet clear of burrs and crumbs, and give your pots a quick pass with some 220 grit wet/dry sandpaper, used wet, after the glaze firing. My clay is fired to around 1% porosity or less, so I have no trouble leaving exposed clay on the bottom 1/4 to 1/3 of the pot. I haven't tried to test where the line is when a mug will break more readily if too much is left unglazed. I know if it's only lined, it's a lot more fragile.
  19. So this talk from NCECA this spring, which I unfortunately missed in person, is now up on YouTube. The speaker worked at Etsy for a number of years, and is a former Etsy seller herself, and she gives a good insider breakdown of the strengths and weaknesses of Etsy. It's a 45 minute video, but you can listen to it hands free while you work.
  20. @Min Square does sell a barcode reader it integrates with. It runs about $150 online, shipping time 5-7 days. I believe you need the stand and an Ipad as well, for another $200 for the stand and whatever the ipad runs for if you don't already own one. Barcode generation software is easy to come by, and I did find some of that for free. So not exorbitant, as far as till systems go, but it depends on wether it will be used again, or for how much volume as to wether or not something like that is cost effective.
  21. Probably not for free and/or cheap. Is there a budget you have to work with?
  22. If you're using Square, use it as the till system it is. Enter each artist's items, and enter their name under the "category" section. Then you can look up sales by category over your preferred time frame from the dashboard, and you can tell at a glance who sold what. It's a bit of data entry to get it set up, but it makes it way easier in the end. Someone familiar with Square should be able to set something like that up in an afternoon. Edited to add: We used this exact setup when we were working with about 60 different artists at a small one week show. The accounting at the end was very straightforward. added again: the only other software I have used myself would be designed for consignment situations, and it's more suitable for a permanent setup due to the initial software purchase and a bit of a steeper learning curve because it's got more functions you can get confused by.
  23. +1 for soaping the brush before using wax resist. Dampen the brush and work some dish soap or hand soap thoroughly into the bristles, right down to the ferrule. Try not to get it too wet or bubbly, or it's hard to point the brush. Even the crusty gross wax resist rinses nicely. I've been using the same artificial sable brush for wax and other things for about 8 years now.
  24. Etsy's suitability is largely related to scale, and the level of professional involvement you want to engage in. I fully agree that Etsy isn't a good choice to stay with if you're wanting to build a business that pays you an actual wage or salary. It's a poor choice to build a brand on. It is however an inexpensive place to start out on, learn with and eventually transition off of, or to have a part time presence on. Keep in mind the OP is a retiree. I'd be giving different advice to a 20 or 30 something just starting their business. Etsy is a tool, like a hammer. It's great if you need to pound some nails, but not the best for driving screws.
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