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Everything posted by RuegerPottery19

  1. I didn't for a long time, although I used my mugs and bowls. Now, my wife and I use pieces that I made, almost exclusively. It is definitely a learning experience and really helps inform my process and functional considerations for each piece. For example, I have a mug of mine that I really love for its hourglass shape and lines. But, it can be a pain to wash out, so I have had to adjust my form some to accommodate an easier cleaning process. I also have lots of seconds, which are really fun to have around. It is a constant reminder of where I have come from and what I have tried!
  2. Elaine, Several things. I have shipped over 80 pieces via Etsy sales in the last year and have shipped them all USPS, without any breakages. Here are some things I have learned. 1. Get your own postal scale off of amazon for like $30 2. Sign up for a USPS account and use USPS's click-n-ship (online postage). If you weigh the box yourself and buy priority postage online, you can save a ton. I generally save $3-$4 per package vs. taking it down to the post office and getting a label there. I can save even more for items that would have cost over $15 to ship. It's amazing how it adds up. 3. If you use click-n-ship, always estimate your weight 3-4 ounces higher, to ensure you are not under-weight. USPS priority mail ships in lb classes, meaning as long as you are within the pound range you are not paying any extra per ounce. 3. I just get my boxes at Walmart, which is not necessarily ideal, but it works for the moment. If I ever get to the place where I am doing a lot of online sales, I'm hoping to buy from Uline, but their delivery fee is just too pricey for the small amount of boxes I would order at this point. Hope that helps! If you have any more questions, just let me know and I'm happy to help if I can. :-)
  3. Thanks everyone for your thoughts. Stephen, thanks for that, well-quoted and well-timed. We'll see how things go. Get my first round of responses from higher-end show applications this weekend.
  4. Chris, Good point. I'll have to think on that a bit. Have you known potters who focus on more fragile pieces that still do well sales-wise??? I mean, I'm really happy with the pieces in general. I could certainly widen out the bottoms a bit on some of the skinnier pieces.
  5. Benzine, Thanks for your thoughts and critique! I actually like the runs of what is technically a "clear" glaze on the first platter. The clear over the brown is what gives it the antique look. So, I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on that one. :-) Yeah, the drips are actually a real light blue, although it is hard to tell in the pictures. They were loosely modeled after rain or water rivulets of some kind, when combined with the wave texture to stimulate a sense of movement. Believe it or not, the tea pot handle is actually really nice for pouring, at least in my opinion. It feels good in my hand and you have to move your wrist a lot less to get the tea flowing. Stephen, I have been busy! Thanks for the affirmation. I have not quit the day job yet, but I did cut back to part-time and am doing pottery fully part-time now as well, instead of just whenever I have time. Yeah, the leaf pieces are certainly a little more fragile. However, I did do my best to keep the leaves from extending too far from off of the platter. I guess we'll see what people thing once my first set of shows come around!
  6. Hey everyone, I know it has been awhile since I posted, but I have been busily working away on several new lines of pieces, loosely based on the four elements. I have finalized my designs for earth and water, but am still working on fire and air. Anyway, since you guys were so helpful, I thought I would post some images and see what everyone thought. Thanks!
  7. Stepping up my game for 2015 and hoping to really build up the business. In an effort to create a better variety of unique pieces, I have been focusing my new lines around the elements: "earth," "water," "fire," and "air." These pieces are of my earth and water lines, as fire and air are still in design phase.
  8. Hey guys, I buy my clay pre-mixed and am still trying to figure out a semi-consistent way to soften the clay, considering it is often a little stiff for my taste straight out of the box. Do you guys temper your pre-mixed clay to soften it? If so, what method do you use?
  9. Chris - I understand what you are saying about the design and the glaze. Any ideas on what would work? I'll definitely be tweaking for awhile. Thanks! I am heading down to the studio here in just a bit to throw some pots. TJR Second Pot 1. Thanks! 2. White slip and scrafitto could be a really good look. I'll definitely consider it. Thanks guys. Keep it coming. 3. What specifically do you find amateurish? They certainly are not perfect. In some ways, they are not meant to be. If I was trying to perfectly duplicate leaves, I would have added vanes, etc. But, I am trying to work in my bark-like texture that I enjoy doing into the leaves and do something unique. But, I'll definitely take your thoughts under advisement and check out some leaves. 5. I might be able to repeat the line. I don't know. The idea was to suggest movement and flow. I feel like both the rim and the design do that. Now, they might not mix together well, but that was the thought.
  10. If this post should go somewhere else, feel free to move it. I figured I would just post it here since I started the thread. Okay guys, here is a new leaf design I have just started experimenting with. The picture on the top was done first and has been glaze fired. I am not super happy with the kind of drab green on the leaves, so I have to keep experimenting with that. I'd love to have a little more pop. Also, the line through the middle of the leaves was just a reference line for my test piece, so ignore that. I was a little hurried when I did the leaves, but you get the idea. This brings me to the bottom picture, which is a larger greenware piece I just finished with a similar design. However, I have made several modifications. For one, I actually took the time to do the leaves right. Second, instead of doing the stems vertically, I have wrapped them around the piece, to add a sense of movement and visual interest. I feel it works much better than the vertical stems on the mug. 1. Do you like the lightly stained rawish clay look in-between the stems? I feel it really helps to make the leaf pattern stand out. But, it isn't completely raw, which was too tan-ish without a light rub of stain. 2. What do you think of the design overall, especially the revised version on the greenware piece? Thanks for your feedback! Apologies for the pictures: Not the best quality
  11. Makes sense. This fall I have been pushing just to have enough product for shows. Definitely hoping to build up a good assortment of extra pieces between January and April or so, since I don't have any planned shows in that time period. We will see.
  12. Working on some new looks and glaze ideas. I'll keep you guys updated. Should have some new photos in the next several weeks!
  13. Thanks so much, everyone! I have a lot to think about. I really appreciate all your advice and feedback. I'll keep you all updated as I go. :-)
  14. I appreciate all that you guys have said and the advice given. Glazing is one of my main weak areas. I also have seen many blues like what I use, which is not surprising, since it is basically a tweaked version of MC6's "Variegated Blue." I just have not had time to really begin experimenting. That's one of my main goals for next year. I realize it generally takes at least 5-10 years to get a full-time pottery started, and I am not disagreeing, I am considering that and thinking it through very carefully as I work through my goals. Maybe I need to re-evaluate. As far as the physical side is concerned, I have worked labor-intensive construction for the last 8 summers. I know pottery is a different kind of physical, but I am certainly not afraid of hard work. Thanks guys! Keep the good info coming.
  15. The forums here at Ceramic Arts Daily have been a huge help as I try to navigate the intricacies, complexities, joys, and frustrations of running my own pottery business. I figured it was time to actually get acquainted with some of you and begin developing relationships that I feel could really aid me in my pursuit of doing this pottery thing full time. Here's the scoop. I have only thrown/turned pottery for just a little over a year now (see some images of my work below), and would love to go full-time in the next year or two. I realize to some of you, the previous sentence may border on the offensive. I know it takes decades to truly excel at pottery and I have a long way to go. But, when I have had extended time in my studio, I have seen the quality of my pieces grow in leaps and bounds compared to periods when I only had several hours a week to give. In general, I am happy with my pots, but not content. I am consistently working on my lines, weight, function, and originality. I have so many ideas . . . Here's a little background on my business: 1. Officially started in April (Running as Sole Proprietor) 2. Have been selling on Etsy, at some local craft shows, and out of my little shop 3. Put in $500 in seed money in a business account and resolved not to take any more of my personal money to fund the business 4. My business account has paid for my startup/continuing costs and I have earned close to $3000-$4000 or so working very part time since starting in April (Graduated in May, married in June, so my time has been limited) 5. My pieces are in several galleries in the Indiana/Ohio/KY area 6. Just purchased a bigger kiln so I could begin ramping up production Here are my goals for the next year: 1. Earn $10,000 net by end of August 2015 2. Further develop my voice: Specifically focusing on forms and glazing 3. Get out of the local craft fair scene and focus on bigger shows 4. Do all of this while continuing my full-time job (business writer) and without ruining my marriage. ;-) My wife and I sat down last weekend and talked about the business. We decided together that if I could clear $10,000 in profit by the end of next August working very part time, we would consider taking the plunge and going full-time (assuming I could double/triple my profit once I had 40+ hours a week do devote to it) I have so much I could say, but I will try to keep this brief. To make a long story short, I really want to give this thing a go in the next year, and know that you all have knowledge, experience, and information that would take me years to learn on my own. So, here are some of the questions I feel you guys could really help me with (feel free to chime in with any other advice as well) 1. Are my pieces good enough to go full-time (see some sample pictures below)? I know it is very difficult to evaluate pieces without having them in your hand (fit, weight,etc). But, I would appreciate whatever honest feedback you feel you can give from a visual example alone. I have had positive feedback in general from customers, several gallery owners, and ceramics' professors. But, I want to know what you guys think. Keep in mind, I have only been doing it for a year and know I have decades ahead of me to really perfect my pieces. I do not feel I am the next Bernard Leach, I just know I greatly enjoy pottery and at this point couldn't see myself doing anything else for a living long-term. 2. What advice do you have for tweaking my booth setup (included below)? The booth shot below is old, but it is still very similar to the setup I have used the last several shows. My dad and I made the shelving ourselves, out of reclaimed barnwood. I am planning on selling my pop-up canopy and investing in a new lightdome or trimline (Any advice here would be appreciated as well). Anyway, let me know what you guys think, especially in-light of my goal to break into some of the higher end shows this upcoming year. 3. Are there any good shows you would recommend within 5 hours of the Cincinnati, OH area? 4. Have any of you developed wholesale relationships with local farm-to-table restaurants/coffee shops/greenhouses (planters)? If so, how did you go about setting them up and have they been good experiences/profitable? 5. My wife and I are not big spenders. We love our food, that's really the only area where we spend a lot of money. We would be more than happy if the business could produce $36,000 year in net profit. What would I need to gross to do that and is that a doable benchmark once you are up and running full time? 6. What steps should I take to begin preparing for a possible full-time pottery? Thanks so much, I am sure this is more than enough to get the conversation started. I look forward to your input and counsel! P.S. If you want any further images of my work to evaluate, I would be happy to send them over via email/pm (some of my professional shots were too big to upload)
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