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rayaldridge

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  1. Like
    rayaldridge got a reaction from elaine clapper in Turned Foot Rings On Mugs; Elegance Or Affectation?   
    What a great video.  Thanks much for posting that.
     
    It reaffirms the notion I've always had that one of the most important aspects of making anything you might want to call art is the intensity of observation that the artist brings to it.
  2. Like
    rayaldridge got a reaction from OlgaBiff in Reading The Cone   
    Mark is exactly right, as usual.
     
    But let me add that if you have a glaze that looks good at exactly 5, and bad at 5.5, then in my opinion you need a new glaze.  Good glazes should not be so sensitive to minor differences in heat work.
  3. Like
    rayaldridge got a reaction from yappystudent in Latest Studio Tricks And Tips   
    Joy, I use a similar technique with plastic stencils.  But I do it with slip on the leatherhard pot.  The stencils stick to the pot very well, using a little water to stick them on.  I then spray or dip with colored slip.  When the slip is set, I peels off the stencil, which can be re-used.  I often make marks on the reserved image to enhance or define it.
     

  4. Like
    rayaldridge got a reaction from yappystudent in Latest Studio Tricks And Tips   
    Words to live by, and not just in the studio.
  5. Like
    rayaldridge got a reaction from Rae Reich in Kiln Conversion Updraft Downdraft Chimney?   
    Just a data point for consideration:  I ran my oil burner with a squirrel cage blower until it died, and then I started using a Shop-Vac.  You can find them pretty cheap at garage sales, and they aren't much new.
     
    Another thought:  If you use a cheapo blower like a Shop-Vac, you can adjust the air pressure by putting a T into the delivery pipe, and a movable flap over the open end of the T.  By opening and closing this flap you can adjust the air flow pretty well.
  6. Like
    rayaldridge got a reaction from SydneyGee in Business Advice Aka How Not To Eat Cat Food For Dinner   
    Nancy, since I'm not making a living as a potter, perhaps I should not be offering advice.  But once upon a time I did, and so I'll blather on a bit on the subject, for whatever it's worth. 
     
    I'm not sure that making stuff you're not that interested in is a realistic plan for someone who hopes to develop significant income as an artist.  The art field is so competitive that if you're not that interested in what you make, you may find that customers are not that interested in buying what you make.  Some folks can do this, I know, but they are an exception, in my opinion.  I believe that at some visceral level, customers can tell how much passion is in a piece.
     
    I think it might be a better idea to decide what it is that you really like to make, and then try to locate a market for that sort of thing.  May I ask where in NY you are?  We have a place in St. Lawrence County, way way north, and it's pretty rural.  On the other hand,  NYC is a very large and sophisticated market not that far away.
     
    Another factor to consider is the wear and tear on your body from full-time potting.  I'm no longer young, and it would be impractical for me to produce the volume of ware that I did in my 20s and 30s.  I've chosen to put most of my time into a niche market, producing mostly stuff that doesn't require either large amounts of raw materials, or large amounts of physical labor.  As an example, I threw the components for a half-dozen effigy pipes yesterday afternoon, and today I'll spend several hours putting them together.  (I'll also spend some time throwing soup bowls, because if all I made were high-end pipes, it would take me a month to fill up a kiln-- and also because I really enjoy making bowls, although I don't make a lot of money on them.)  The reasons I've chosen this niche are many, but include the fact that there is very little competition from potters who are more skilled than I am.  And in large part this is why I find making them so fascinating; almost no one else is doing it.  The possibilities for original work, as a consequence, seem unlimited.
     
    Finally, I'll say that when I was a production potter going to shows every weekend, I really envied the jewelers.  They could put out a table, flip open a case, and they were in business.  And no one ever said of them, "Hey, Mabel, come see what this hippie is making outta dirt."
  7. Like
    rayaldridge got a reaction from curt in Quality Of Work Sold?   
    I have a bit of a problem with the idea that one should sell work with certain flaws only if one intended for those flaws to be there.
     
    For one thing, if it's something that you consider to be a "flaw" then why would you intentionally add that to your work?
     
    But more importantly, one of the things I like best about clay is the uncertainty of the firing.  I don't want the firing to go exactly as I planned it to go in every detail.  I want those unexpected accidents that lead to new ways of seeing one's work.  If you are unwilling or unable to accept uncertainty, you are missing out on one of the primary pleasures of this art form.
     
    With this uncertainty come imperfections. It's inevitable. 
     
    Some of your pieces will be worse than you feared, and some will be better than you hoped.  If you can accept this uncertainty, then you will always have decisions to make at every kiln opening.  As in "This pot is more beautiful than anything else I've made this year, but it has a couple pinholes in the glaze."  You have to decide which is more important, the beauty or the technical flaws.  Will introducing that beauty to the world be better than protecting the world from a couple of pinholes?
     
    I think every good functional potter makes this sort of decision constantly.  A while back I started a thread asking if folks thought I should discard one of the prettiest mugs I've made so far this year because the glaze flowed down over the foot and had to be ground smooth.  I got various responses, but I found most useful the implication that if I was in any way ashamed of the piece, then I shouldn't sell it.  That was very good advice.  I finally decided that if I were wanting to buy a mug, I would prefer to have one that was beautiful rather than one that was perfect, in utilitarian terms.  I put the mug in my etsy shop at a much higher price than my other mugs.  If it doesn't sell I'll be happy to keep it.
     


  8. Like
    rayaldridge reacted to S. Dean in Karen Karnes, 1925-2016   
    We've lost another icon.  I didn't realize that Karen Karnes had passed away until I read the following tribute from Ann Bailey (of Bailey Ceramic Supply) earlier today.
     
    Karen Karnes
    1925 - 2016
     
    Karen Karnes left this world last week after a long and prolific career as a clay artist. She was 91 years old. Known early on for her functional casseroles, cups, and jars, she was later admired for pushing the boundaries of function to explore the realm of clay as sculpture. Although referencing function in her later work, she was clearly stretching her expression in clay to speak metaphorically about the human form and human emotions. These intimate and very personal pieces reference the male and female form; they are works that lean in and caress each other like lovers, like old friends. 
     
    Karen was a major influence in the studio pottery movement in America. A force to be reckoned with, Karen was a very influential person in my young life when I was an aspiring salt potter. Known for mentoring young potters struggling to make a living, she offered me her spot to show my work (12 place settings) at the Whitehouse in the 70s during the Carter administration. "I don't make dinnerware; why don't you do it!" she said. I was all of 23 years old. I'll never forget it. Needless to say, my life as a potter flourished from there. I participated with her and a small band of potters in The Old Church Cultural Center Shows for many years and made many friends. We'd always go to Mikhail Zakin's house for a pot-luck dinner. It was fun, and we all felt sheltered and encouraged by Karen's big spirit. Sadly, many of those friends are no longer with us.
     
    Never afraid to speak her mind, Karen was very disappointed that I didn't continue making pots. She wrote to me often to try to get me back into the studio. Life can be complicated as she came to understand. We had many great conversations back in those years. Conversations I will never forget.
     
     
    Karen helped so many young potters throughout her life. She presented a viable pathway for all of us to consider. Always a determined and very independent person, she pushed hard and worked hard to be recognized and respected as a clay artist. And she was. Many strong bonds were made around her commitment to inspire and educate the world about beautiful, well-made work.
     
    Karen was an artist and a mentor and friend to many. She will be missed by everyone who knew her. I feel lucky to have had time with her during my life. Our deepest sympathies go out to her lifelong friend, Ann Stannard, and their many friends and family members around the globe. We have lost a great one.
     
    -Anne Bailey
     
  9. Like
    rayaldridge got a reaction from AVPottery in Small Pieces For The Kiln To Fill Space   
    Well, maybe not politically correct, but I find that pipes are small and fit well into spaces between larger items.
     

  10. Like
    rayaldridge got a reaction from Pugaboo in Research Says That The Bigger Your Signature On Your Art The More It Sells For   
    A while back I started a thread on this, sort of.  I was convinced that a small stamp was more beautiful than a scrawled signature... and I still feel that way.  However, a lot of the glazes I like are thick and fluid, and can completely obscure a stamp.  And many of the brightest minds on the forum argued that a stamp was not sufficiently recognizable as an indication that the piece was made individually by me... that a signature made the piece more collectable and more identifiable.
     
    Since beauty is my primary reason for working in clay, I stuck to my stamps faith for a while, but eventually I decided that I was wrong, and everyone else was right.
     
    So now I have a signature.
     

  11. Like
    rayaldridge reacted to Min in Firing A Bowl Upside Down?   
    Make a wafer thin circle of clay a titch bigger than your bowl, dry it between batts or whatever so it stays flat then bisque it to same temp as bowl is bisqued to. Glaze fire the 2 pieces together. If your bowl is porcelain it might want to stick a bit to the waste piece so brush it with a wax / alumina hydrate mix before putting the bowl on it.
     
    I fire all my covered butter dishes this like, lid separate on a waste piece. They are porcelain and stay true.
    (from the kiln this morning)
     


  12. Like
    rayaldridge reacted to Pugaboo in Ceramic Decals That Fire To 730 Degrees C   
    I second changing the order in which you do things. I fire from hottest to coolest for design work, not counting the bisque fire. Glaze fire is the hottest, then transfer fire, then overglaze firing. Is it possible to change your work order?
     
    I have included the logo I fire using laser transfers into the bottom of my pieces. It's cheap for me since I already have the printer and the transfer paper, I can decide to tweak or change my logo whenever I want and I can even do custom logos for customers like Pug Rescue groups.
     

     
    T

  13. Like
    rayaldridge got a reaction from Roberta12 in Curiosity Question In Regards To Using Glass In Claywork   
    I've used glass melted into recesses in porcelain pieces, but I would not use the technique on surfaces that might come in contact with food.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  One is that you don't really know what is in the glass you might be using.  The other reason is that the expansion co-efficients are so different between glass and clay that the glass will craze wildly, and these cracks could cause problems with food residue, and in some cases, bits of glass breaking loose.
  14. Like
    rayaldridge reacted to Callie Beller Diesel in Giving Shoppers A Sense Of Scale   
    The "lifestyle" shot is for scale, and inspiration. You can obscure a few minor details in the name of Art in the first shot, as long as you clarify them in the other images in the listing.If the listing is for a cereal bowl for instance, you could style it with some food in it (say, a colourful fruit salad), a linen napkin and placemat and silverware. Use items that are clearly not pottery, and therefore not included in the purchase. Show the bowl in use, and use your best visual language skills to "describe" how relaxing, luxurious, healthy, etc. it is to use this beautiful piece of eclectic pottery in your daily life. Set a timer and head on over to your favourite visual social media (Instagram, Pinterest, whatever) for some really pretty (and probably ridiculously idealized) images that make you fall in love a bit for some inspiration.
     
    If you're styling just a mug, fill it with boiled water (for the steam) and set up an "afternoon coffee" sort of image. Think a magazine and a cookie or other snack on a napkin. Or a sketchbook and some sunglasses. Or a non-ceramic vase with some flowers from the garden (dandelions imply whimsy, just in case you garden like I do.)
     
    I took a photo styling course last year, and they suggested layering your props a bit for interesting visual texture. Make sure you have objects that are varying in size, and be sure to include some in the tiny size category, or "dots" as my instructor called them. These can be cookie crumbs, blueberries on cereal, tiny flowers or petals, a scattering of flour in a "baking" shot. They're the sort of things that can be scattered about like confetti and suggest a human has been here recently and knocked things around a bit. It seems silly at first, but you'd be surprised at how well it works.
     
    It kind of sounds like a lot of work to go about setting up a still life like this. But if you take a big batch of photos like this and re-use the same props for different items it goes pretty quick. You then have the added bonus of a bunch pretty photos to put on social media (or your website and newsletter) for promo purposes that didn't have to be taken on the fly. The last photo batch I did took me an afternoon to shoot probably 20 items (multiple shots of each) on my iPhone, and another 4 hours or so to edit them all on my tablet in Snapseed. I did the editing in front of the tv while the kids were watching movies we've all seen 900 times.
     
    Here is a shot I took for Instagram that could work for an Etsy shot. If it were for Etsy, I'd have subbed out the plate for a glass bowl or a napkin, but it could also work as is, because the plate is in the background and no details of it are really that visible. I don't think this shot is edited, because I didn't zap out all the scratches in my cheap Walmart coffee table. I would also spot darken the background beyond the chair more, so the exercise trampoline isn't visible.
     
    Added: the second image shows the edits.




  15. Like
    rayaldridge got a reaction from Rae Reich in Luster   
    I used to use lusters, and very beautiful work can be done that way.  But I gave it up because one of my concerns is permanence, and luster eventually wears off of much-used ware.  Dishwashers are hard on lusters.
     
    If, like me, your ambition is to make ware that will be much-used, it's a point you might consider.  For sculptural forms, it isn't a significant drawback.
  16. Like
    rayaldridge reacted to Callie Beller Diesel in Giving Shoppers A Sense Of Scale   
    Etsy's best practices do indeed recommend a "styled" shot as the FIRST image, and use the remaining 4 spots for other views of the object. This serves to give people an idea of scale, and also to suggest to people what the object might look like in their own homes. Online listings are a catalogue. Make it pretty! It's a different set of rules than gallery photography.
     
    As far as measurements go, I'd speak to your customers. How many inquiries are you getting from international sources? Canadians use Imperial for construction and baking, so most have a working knowledge of both measurement systems. I take my measurements for my online listings with a sewing tape measure, because then I'm not messing around trying to convert between the two.
  17. Like
    rayaldridge reacted to alabama in Low Fire White Slip Recipe   
    Hey,
    S and J pottery is widely known for their sgrafitto. Their web site is
     
    www.sjpottery.com They used to demonstrate at Manskers Station (Nashville, tn) back in the 1990s. They are very talented and nice also!!!
     
    I also went to www.amerheritage.com and looked at their examples for you...though I wasn't able to look at the red ware! .
     
    Then I went to www.bing.com and searched "sgrafitto white slip recipe" and several responses came up, including one from CADs 2011 archives... That one was good!!
     
    I tried the sgrafitto around 2002 or so...it didn't work for me, probably the clear glaze went on too thick and turned the entire piece a muddy grey.
     
    My favorite pottery book, Pre-Industrial Utensils, 1150 - 1800, has an example on page 125, of a sgrafitto bowl circa 1594 ad.
     
    Good luck
    Alabama
  18. Like
    rayaldridge reacted to Pugaboo in ^6 To ^04, Is It Safe?   
    I forgot to mention that some glazes will change when refired to a lower temperature. Some will get softer less glossy in appearance as well. I've learned to take these changes into account when I choose which glaze to use. You don't need to use a laser transfer to experiment with changing the glazes like this simply run a glazed piece back through with a bisque load to see if it changes.
     
    Here is a picture of a new line I am developing using laser transfers and glazes I have tested to see how they change when refired to a lower temperature.
     


  19. Like
    rayaldridge got a reaction from Jo-Ann in Submit Your Community Challenge Ideas   
    I hope the next challenge will avoid too specific a goal.  I participated in a couple, but I just wasn't interested enough to devote time to a specific form that was narrowly defined.  And at the moment, not interested in tile, though I've made quite a few over the years.
     
    I tend to find the more nebulously defined challenges more thought provoking.
     
    Still, my suggestion is the albarello, or medicine jar.  It's a simple form, but can take many shapes and if we're not sticklers for authenticity, many decorative approaches.
  20. Like
    rayaldridge got a reaction from GiselleNo5 in Research Says That The Bigger Your Signature On Your Art The More It Sells For   
    A while back I started a thread on this, sort of.  I was convinced that a small stamp was more beautiful than a scrawled signature... and I still feel that way.  However, a lot of the glazes I like are thick and fluid, and can completely obscure a stamp.  And many of the brightest minds on the forum argued that a stamp was not sufficiently recognizable as an indication that the piece was made individually by me... that a signature made the piece more collectable and more identifiable.
     
    Since beauty is my primary reason for working in clay, I stuck to my stamps faith for a while, but eventually I decided that I was wrong, and everyone else was right.
     
    So now I have a signature.
     

  21. Like
    rayaldridge got a reaction from Roberta12 in Stain Percentage To Make Colored Slip   
    To amplify what Neil said, I make slips using dry porcelain, so I can weigh it out accurately.  A good test slip is 100 grams of dry porcelain body, to which I add stains and other materials.
  22. Like
    rayaldridge reacted to Joseph Fireborn in Giving Shoppers A Sense Of Scale   
    I was thinking about putting a business card in the picture. It is elegant and promotes your brand at the same time, and everyone has held a business card. Of course this only works if you have a really nice business card that fits in the picture. On etsy I was just going to do this on the 2nd picture. I don't want it on the first one.
  23. Like
    rayaldridge got a reaction from Chris Campbell in Stain Percentage To Make Colored Slip   
    To amplify what Neil said, I make slips using dry porcelain, so I can weigh it out accurately.  A good test slip is 100 grams of dry porcelain body, to which I add stains and other materials.
  24. Like
    rayaldridge reacted to Chris Campbell in Stain Percentage To Make Colored Slip   
    If you just want a small amount of slip for decorating or whatever you can mix it easily in a blender. Add water then add wet clay until the mixture is as thick as you want it. It is much easier to use leftover scraps if you let them dry out then soak in water.
    Percentages of Mason stain depend on how intense your want your colors to be. Yellow, pink, violet etc. might need anywhere from 8 - 20% stain whereas dark greens, dark Blues, Browns and blacks only need 5-8%.
    Testing with your own clay body is the only way to find out.
  25. Like
    rayaldridge reacted to LeeU in Giving Shoppers A Sense Of Scale   
    I am tussling with items to place in photos to indicate scale. I use men's and/or women's rings along with catch-all dishes & I love the K-cup idea. Don't care for coins-sometimes I will see a coin next to a piece and for the life of me can't tell if it's a dime or a quarter!  I like to use common household items, if they are not too jarring next to whatever the piece is. 
     
    I have a problem sometimes in that the photo looks "better" than the piece, due to lighting or color or whatever, especially with my very small pieces. I have to stop myself from making a photo of a 2" x 4" object look like a museum sculpture! So the items for scale are really important...I would hate to think someone bought a piece and was basically disappointed because it looked so big but turned out to be rather tiny!
     
    My former husband is an advertising photographer and has taught me all about lighting, which is hard not to do the best way, to deliberately enhance a piece/colors of body and glaze etc. I get tempted to put a lot into a photo, for the sake of the photo, and that would not serve me well to have the image trump the reality!!
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