terrim8 reacted to Callie Beller Diesel in Starting up in a big way.
First of all, welcome to the forum, and I hope we can help you out with your end goals, and figure out something that will work. There are a number of successful, full time professional potters here, and their advice is well worth listening to.
There is so much about this that I'd like to address, and so very much of it will depend on where you are in North America. I second Oldlady's words about your location mattering. For instance, I don't know any potters in Alberta that own one of those cargo vans that a lot of the artists in the US seem to use. Our market here does bear some similarities to the US and some principles do cross over, but there are also some very significant differences. For instance, we don't have the massive outdoor fairs of the US, and even in the absence of a pandemic, there aren't enough of them to hit one every week of the year. You need to make sure that the information you're getting is actually applicable to your circumstances. Local economic situations will come into play.
I started my own business full time about 6 years ago, when the price of oil crashed and the province went into a bit of an economic tailspin. It strangely wasn't a bad time to begin a business, but I second, third and fourth the opinions stated already that building a pottery business takes longer than advertised by any of the marketing gurus will lead you to believe. And under no circumstances would I touch my retirement savings to do it. If you've been making pots for 27 years and you started when you were 20, you're in your late 40's. Don't mess with your nest egg!!
When I went professional after 15 years of making pots haphazardly where I could after college, I had a wheel, a small (11x11') studio, some glaze materials and other small sundries, and about $700 CAD saved up through doing things like paid surveys. That money went towards booth fees for some Christmas shows and a cheap tent for the following outdoor season. The list of things that I didn't even know how badly I didn't know it was staggering! For the first 2 years or so, everything I made went back into the business. 6 years in, I am now beginning to draw a small but regular monthly salary from my earnings as opposed to uneven windfalls. (I recommend reading "Profit First" by Mike Michalowicz to set up cash flow management.)
I'd also like to note that almost everything I was ever taught about building an art business by academia was entirely wrong. Almost. The advice about starting a mailing list right away was definitely good.
There is no "just" learning to build a display, plus Etsy shipping and advertising. It is an ongoing, constantly changing process. 7 months will get you into the experimentation stage, where you're beginning to gather information about what works for you. And while it's a good idea to keep the booth design ideas in the back of your head, I wouldn't jump on that too hard until crowds are allowed again.
Your time will be better spent defining your business goals beyond "I want to make money from pottery." There's nothing at all wrong with that, you just need to get really specific about who you want to serve and how you want to go about doing that. You need more than a paycheck to stay motivated when you get to the point where you move from your pottery being a creative outlet where you get to make whatever you want to making things for the market you've chosen. It's still fun and creative and a great job that I really enjoy, but you're not the only one with something at stake anymore.
terrim8 reacted to GEP in Starting up in a big way.
No. It takes much longer than that to develop a sellable body of work, and an audience that is paying attention to you.
It does sound like you are in a stable financial position though, so becoming a potter is doable. Just give yourself 5 to 10 years (depending on your current skill level), and have a financial plan to cover yourself during those years. This will probably involve keeping a paycheck job for several more years, which doesn’t have to be the one you currently have.
I don’t think it’s necessary to build a new house. Can you make a studio space where you live now? Or buy an existing house with usable studio space? And you don’t need a new-ish big van. A used minivan is perfect for a potter. Keeping expenses low will be a big factor in whether you can make this work.
terrim8 reacted to oldlady in Starting up in a big way.
that depends entirely on things you cannot control and your skill level as a potter. this has been discussed before and the general consensus seems to be "go slowly, do not burn bridges, have a second person earning elsewhere and good luck".
yes, it is a MAJOR decision.
terrim8 reacted to Callie Beller Diesel in Christmas Shows?
I agree that even if shows do go ahead, we won't be seeing anywhere near the returns we have in recent years, regardless of political situations in any given area. There are enough people watching the actual science that big crowds of people are going to be unattractive to a lot of folks. It's like being in your first year of business all over again in that we are having to guess at numbers to make projections. I think some careful calculations about what you need to pull in to make any given event are in order, and really asking yourself if pulling that amount is a reasonable expectation in the current circumstances. If you can't break even, and I mean cover all your expenses and not just making your booth fee back, you need to give the show a pass and find another way. Keep your overhead low.
terrim8 reacted to neilestrick in How to make a pizza or baking stone?
A pizza stone is the same as a kiln shelf. While it is ceramic, it's not your typical clay body. It can handle thermal shock much better than a clay slab would. Chances are if you made it out of a regular clay body, it would crack when you placed the pizza on the hot slab. Flameware clay wold be the only type I wold trust, but you can't just buy it. Nor can you just buy the mix that kiln shelves are made from. You would have to mix your own, which wouldn't save you all that much money and still probably wouldn't perform as well. Either buy a pizza stone or a kiln shelf. I use a CoreLite kiln shelf, and it works very well. On the grill the open core structure keeps the slab from getting too hot, and it works very well in the oven, too. Get a new shelf, do not use a kiln shelf that has been used in a kiln already.
terrim8 reacted to Min in Distance learning Ceramics?
@Hulk, to reduce the size of the image that is posted, after adding it to your post double left click the image (if using a mouse) or tap on the image within the post. A screen pops up where you can adjust the size, you can make the image as small as you want to. Just change the width and keep the aspect ratio the same. Example picture I went from the large picture (900 px width) down to the small (200 px).
terrim8 reacted to Marcia Selsor in In The Studio with Marcia Selsor by Evelyne Schoenmann
The current issue has an article that includes my work in soluble salts. It is on my website link if you scroll down the page. https://www.marciaselsorstudio.com/ceramic-saggar-and-soluble-salts.html
terrim8 reacted to Callie Beller Diesel in Covid Art Fair
No. They actually reduced it this year on account of the pandemic, and it was cheap to start with. They charge a tiered rate based on the number of days you sign up for. The tier I sign up for usually works out to about $48/day. This year it’s only $38.
terrim8 reacted to Mark C. in Covid Art Fair
so many factors
first how you personally feel about your own risk factor-getting sick-or bringing it home?
second is the guenia pig factor-you want to be first to see if its a flop?-maybe go see one of these shows 1st
third-selling pottery without touching it-seems ludicrous to me
I do not think there will be enough shoppers for a spell unless it catches on.The sign up online is a deal breaker really .
The fee for me is non issue as its just pie in the sky deal to see if it all works and they need to recap all costs (porta potties street closures or city fees)
I'm out of all 2020 shows (my largest income producer) of the three streams.
I have other income options unlike many.
for me I'd pass-maybe go look see what its like midday Saturday (peak attendance)
terrim8 reacted to neilestrick in Covid Art Fair
One of the art fair promoters in my area is starting to do outdoor shows again, but with a whole new system and requirements for safety:
- Unidirectional travel in the show (one way traffic)
- Booths spaced at least 6 feet apart
- One one person or family group in the booth at a time
- No trying on of jewelry or clothing
- No touching of art
- Cashless payments as much as possible
- No flip bins
- Shoppers must sign up online for scheduled entry
- $400 booth fee
Your thoughts? With that many restrictions, especially the entry signup, I can't see how there would be enough shoppers for it to be profitable, let alone recoup the booth fee.
terrim8 reacted to Callie Beller Diesel in QotW: What do you think will be your best selling new item in this coming year?
So far, it’s a mug with a swear word on it, because 2020 seems to be inspiring certain sentiments at every possible opportunity. It’s what my therapist would have termed an adaptive (as opposed to maladaptive) self soothing method, so whatever helps!
I did manage to get my hands on 50 or so pump dispensers (they’re kinda scarce as it turns out), and I made my first 6 hand sanitizer/soap bottles. They came out of the kiln yesterday and I think they’re quite nice! My MIL has already claimed one, so we’ll see how those go. I’m playing around with some soap dish designs, trying to find one that’s easy to make AND that I like. I’ve made ones I like, but they are a bit fussy. I need to simplify them so they’re faster.
terrim8 reacted to Callie Beller Diesel in QotW: What is the feeling of your family as related to your studio addiction?
Wayne and I got together when I was halfway through art school for pottery, so he knew it was part of the package. He tried one afternoon to center a bit of clay on the wheel and decided it was NOT his thing, but that it didn’t need to be.
He has been my biggest source of emotional support the whole time. He made sure I got my pottery wheel at a time it wasn’t the most financially sound move ever and I told him not to. When we moved into our current house, my birthday present was him stripping the carpet out of a basement bedroom and scraping the floor so I could have a studio space. He gets me out of my head when I’m overthinking myself into anxiety. I truly have one of the best ones.
terrim8 reacted to CactusPots in New Favorite Artist
The Pucker Gallery in Boston is having an exhibition on Ken Matsuzaki . My main ceramic buddy does a lot of traveling and is on their catalog send out list, so he passed the catalog to me.
Sometimes one of these stellar artists just rings your bell. It's like what you would be doing yourself if you had another 200 years to live. I haven't added to my ceramic library in a while, but I had to get his book. Can't afford any of his work.
Check it out here.
terrim8 reacted to Mark C. in QotW: What are your beliefs about the time to reopen the economy and returning to Summer craft shows?
I do a show in Wa state every August-since 1993 they are a non profit but are really focused on making that money-I mean really focused-they just sent out a survey monkey on dates for the show in Sept-as tey know its off for this summer. We as artists have other obligations on other dates-really a bad thought moving the show dates.
Many artists have cancelled.I suggested putting all the energy into next year-moving the show dates is always a BAD idea always. Folks have other oblgations and the public knows the datse not the new ones-always a less turn out on another weekend-always less money. I'm hopefull they will see the light and give it up. I do not think its a viable time for a show.,unless there is a major health breakthru. (by sept small chance) Yes I;m a professional but after my 45 years in this I know a bad idea when its floated.
terrim8 reacted to Babs in QotW: What are your beliefs about the time to reopen the economy and returning to Summer craft shows?
One positive springs to mind. Parents appreciating teacher skills more.
terrim8 reacted to Callie Beller Diesel in QotW: What are your beliefs about the time to reopen the economy and returning to Summer craft shows?
We’ve also been stuck at home for two months except for essential services for 7 weeks, and starting the reopening may be premature. Cases are going down, but there have been large outbreaks at a few critical meat packing plants and at the Amazon warehouse. So ...it depends.
They're making plans, but they’re also saying if the numbers start going up again, back home we go.