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crazypotterlady

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  1. Like
    crazypotterlady got a reaction from myzer in Can I Tumblestack Underglaze Greenware For The Bisque Fire?   
    I used a lot of velvets with students using a ^06 clay and bisqued at ^04.  Sometimes a little sticking but no transfer between work. I usually stacked 2-3 high.
  2. Like
    crazypotterlady reacted to Rae Reich in Cheers To Art Teachers!   
    Bravo, crazypotterlady!! Most of the elementary teachers I know spend part of their pay on classroom supplies.
    Wish you were Sec of Education!
  3. Like
    crazypotterlady got a reaction from Pres in Cheers To Art Teachers!   
    I retired from teaching in 2013 after 25 years (3rd-7th grade, mostly 5th and 6th, enclosed classroom). I too loved teaching and loved my students. During those years I saw funding for the arts dwindle to near nothing and spending for education put California near Mississippi.  It is now up to 39th in education spending but still has a long way to go to get up to the average. That said, good teachers can still do a great job and make a huge difference in children's lives.
     
    I live and taught in a very poor rural county. My degree is in Art and I went into teaching at 40 years old.  My administration left me alone because I always got great results (read test scores) from my students.  When asked how I did it, I replied that my students did art and PE just about everyday. No one believed that was the reason, but I'm convinced that art and PE make a critical difference in helping students develop their thinking skills and work ethic. 
     
    Doing art so often cost me a lot of money, although I did get our parent organization (PTO) to purchase a kiln.  But a lion's share of art supplies came from my pocket.  The benefit for everyone was that I could get my students to work hard because they knew they would get to do pottery (or printmaking or painting, etc) and PE when they completed their work.  The attractive force of art has tremendous power!  When education critics defend cutting the arts and PE by saying "we want to go back to basics", I counter with THE ARTS AND PE ARE BASIC.
     
    I also have a Masters in Math Education which helped me be an effective math teacher, but by and large, I am not remembered for being great math teacher as much as I am remembered for all the art I taught.
  4. Like
    crazypotterlady reacted to Cavy Fire Studios in Second Try, Wip Gallery Piece...   
    Because there were two terracotta pieces of greenware on my coffee table that were unfinished, they were spared the destruction of the cat. This is one of the mugs...I just finished painting it. It took four days of seriously painstaking work to complete its exterior illustration and carving.
    I decided having the non-slipped area might be a little boring, so I carved another rose rabbit on the back. The glaze will show the shape in relief, which I think will make a nice contrast to the underglaze illustration.
    I think it'll hold around 18-20oz, so it's a fairly large mug, but taller and skinnier than the guinea piggie mug thst was smashed. I'll post cell pics of my remaining Animal Charity gallery WIPs here. Finalized pics will be in my gallery.
    Praying this one will survive.




  5. Like
    crazypotterlady reacted to Cavy Fire Studios in Going Price Of Mugs   
    Holy mackeral, I am late to this show!
    Mugs...
    Well, when I first started, my mugs were pretty ugly, but had nice illustrations, and I sold them for $10-$15 because I was really insecure starting out (like we ALL ARE!! ). This was about six years ago. Now, my work goes from $30-$150, depending on the size, glaze quality, and visual aesthetic of the illustration. I'm actually going to raise my prices a little, due to it being so dang difficult for me to throw anymore, but like this awesomely encouraging forum has said to my pouty guinea butt, "Quality over quantity!"
    Giselle, I LOVE your work. ♥ It's so very sweet and homey, perfect for gifts!!
    Crazypotterlady, you are so undercharging. Omg. Your work makes me weep!
  6. Like
    crazypotterlady got a reaction from Pugaboo in Going Price Of Mugs   
    I'm back from my first big fair, (one day, Mendocino, CA coast) and I'm exhausted but happy (not ecstatic, though). I sold well, although only 75% of what I did last year, but I did raise my prices 25%, mostly to offset the 20% of gross fee for the fair. Talking to the other artists, the consensus was that sales were less than last year. I'm reasonably sure I did better than the other potters and the organizers were very pleased with my sales  (there was a central cashier).  They'll get hundreds of $$ from my sales. It comes out to be my most expensive fair (by far) but I do well enough and will do it again next year. 
     
    Been looking at my data compared to last year and see that I had the same number of sales and my average per pot sold was the same. Where the difference came in is number of pots sold (-25%) and average sale (-25%). Last year 30% of the pots I sold were $80-$100, this year I didn't sell anything in that price range, although 10% of pots were $120 and over. What does all this mean?? I sold fewer pots and people didn't buy as many higher priced pots and/or multiple pots. I guess...
     
    I'm still struggling with pricing, finding that 'sweet spot' where the price isn't too high and scares them away, but high enough for me to make some money. I had a huge amount of interest, touching, appreciation and admiration for my mugs (and all my work), although I only sold 6 mugs (at $45-$49 each). No one actually commented on the prices being too high, but with the amount of attention they engendered, I expected more sales. Also I make large (for me, 5#-6#) bowls and last year I sold 8 of them at $75-$85. I raised the price to $90-$110 and sold none. Ouch! They take me at least 3 hours to make and they are just as beautiful as any I make, but maybe the $100 price... I don't know. I sold lots in the $40-$60 range (avg per pot for the fair, $52).
     
    I feel that I need to become more clear on what my goal is with my pottery.  Do I make pottery because I love the creative outlet?  YES, YES, YES!!!  Is it because I love the process and the finished accomplishment? YES, YES, YES!!!  Pottery satisfies me on so many levels, not just the making it and feeling a sense of achievement, but also the compliments and adulation from those who see it. And yes that has value also. Is my goal to make money? I have to admit, that's a real consideration as my teacher's pension only goes so far. So I'm still struggling with pricing everything.
  7. Like
    crazypotterlady got a reaction from bciskepottery in Going Price Of Mugs   
    I'm back from my first big fair, (one day, Mendocino, CA coast) and I'm exhausted but happy (not ecstatic, though). I sold well, although only 75% of what I did last year, but I did raise my prices 25%, mostly to offset the 20% of gross fee for the fair. Talking to the other artists, the consensus was that sales were less than last year. I'm reasonably sure I did better than the other potters and the organizers were very pleased with my sales  (there was a central cashier).  They'll get hundreds of $$ from my sales. It comes out to be my most expensive fair (by far) but I do well enough and will do it again next year. 
     
    Been looking at my data compared to last year and see that I had the same number of sales and my average per pot sold was the same. Where the difference came in is number of pots sold (-25%) and average sale (-25%). Last year 30% of the pots I sold were $80-$100, this year I didn't sell anything in that price range, although 10% of pots were $120 and over. What does all this mean?? I sold fewer pots and people didn't buy as many higher priced pots and/or multiple pots. I guess...
     
    I'm still struggling with pricing, finding that 'sweet spot' where the price isn't too high and scares them away, but high enough for me to make some money. I had a huge amount of interest, touching, appreciation and admiration for my mugs (and all my work), although I only sold 6 mugs (at $45-$49 each). No one actually commented on the prices being too high, but with the amount of attention they engendered, I expected more sales. Also I make large (for me, 5#-6#) bowls and last year I sold 8 of them at $75-$85. I raised the price to $90-$110 and sold none. Ouch! They take me at least 3 hours to make and they are just as beautiful as any I make, but maybe the $100 price... I don't know. I sold lots in the $40-$60 range (avg per pot for the fair, $52).
     
    I feel that I need to become more clear on what my goal is with my pottery.  Do I make pottery because I love the creative outlet?  YES, YES, YES!!!  Is it because I love the process and the finished accomplishment? YES, YES, YES!!!  Pottery satisfies me on so many levels, not just the making it and feeling a sense of achievement, but also the compliments and adulation from those who see it. And yes that has value also. Is my goal to make money? I have to admit, that's a real consideration as my teacher's pension only goes so far. So I'm still struggling with pricing everything.
  8. Like
    crazypotterlady got a reaction from Chantay in Going Price Of Mugs   
    Thanks so much for this thread.  It's a very timely one for me as I just starting the pricing process for my 1st big art fair of the year and I'm struggling with what to price my mugs.
     
    I've been selling mugs (^10 reduction, thrown, trimmed, pulled handle, dipped glaze, wax design and contrasting dipped glaze over) since the '70s. I started selling them in a shop ($7.50, I got $5) and I gradually inched the price up to $25 for my ^10 mugs last year, selling at art fair and my studio tour. For the last 10 years I have also started doing work in ^6 oxidation, using underglaze color, sgraffito, carving and majolica. This new work takes me 2-3 times as long to make as my ^10 mugs, yet I've only charged a little more for them (10 years ago my ^10 mugs were $16 and ^6 were $20; ^6 now are $35). 
     
    When I first started working in ^6, I did only 10-20% of my total work at ^6, over the years that proportion grew, last year to about half of my work.  At my first big fair last year (same fair as what I'm getting ready for now, on the Mendocino, CA coast) I sold 3 times as many ^6 as ^10 in all categories. (In everything except mugs I priced my^6 to refIect how time-consuming the work is). I wondered why I sold so many more ^6 mugs because my ^10 work is beautiful: well-thrown and designed.  I thought maybe the customer realized what a good deal the ^6 mugs were compared to the ^10 mugs. Maybe... This same thing happened at each of my 6 art fairs, until I was putting my ^10 mugs on sale ($15-$19) and they were still out-sold by the ^6. This was an eye opener, and I made the decision to just work in ^6.
     
    So, back to my original question: what do I price my mugs?  I won't have any ^10 mugs there to compare to.  After reading the responses and philosophies on this forum, I decided to 'go for the gusto' and price my mugs at $35 for an all-over carve with a colored transparent glaze, up to $45 for the sgraffito/blackline, dotted work. Wow $45 for one of my mugs! I never thought I'd see the day. (We'll see if they actually sell...  wish me luck)
  9. Like
    crazypotterlady reacted to Benzine in Going Price Of Mugs   
    Melanie,
     
    After looking at your work, I would say it is worth every penny.  Great design, color scheme, and details.
  10. Like
    crazypotterlady reacted to TwinRocks in Going Price Of Mugs   
    Part of the oil bottle vs mug thing would also the mental comparison to mass produced retail items. With dollar stores and big boxes, an array of mugs can be had for $5 or less. Sure, a handmade mug adds to the coffee experience, but most people are too precious: they would fear chipping a $60 mug and would rather buy and cast aside a dozen junk mugs than drink from one good one. Imports ruin consumers.
     
    An oil bottle isn't as common, yet it is an item most cooks would like to have. A plain ceramic cruet from a big retailer is $20-30, decorated ones are even more...and they tend to be low fire pottery that crazes, turning that pricey olive oil rancid in a hurry! I can see how a quality, handcrafted oil bottle could sell like hot cakes compared to a mug of the same price.
     
    For table items, the buyer isn't looking at an item from the same angle as us: they can't measure the effort and materials, they are mentally comparing to the market in general (even if they are not doing it intentionally). People base decisions on prior experience, and low end buying behavior tends to be impulse driven.
     
    The greater question is what your goal is in mug making? If you want to sell in volume, they need to be attractive yet quick to produce for a relatively low price point: production pottery. If your mugs are your art, or you are using them as a canvas to test out more complex and time consuming techniques, than you need to account for that. Both are valid, but the pricing should diverge depending on your chosen path.
     
    There are only so many hours in the day and only so many inches on your shelf, fill them with what you want to be making!
  11. Like
    crazypotterlady reacted to Callie Beller Diesel in Members With Etsy Stores?   
    I've had my etsy shop open for about a year, and it is not a success. The lack of success is solely on my own lack of knowledge and skill, I am not going to blame Etsy for it at all.
    I got into it thinking it would be a small but growing income stream that I could start my business with, and it seemed be a good place to start an online professional presence. Knowing what I know now from etsy, I would build the online presence with a website first, and then add e-commerce once I had a bigger real life following.
     
    My experience of it is that Etsy is a tool, and like any tool you need to know how to use it properly, and you need to have an idea of what you want to accomplish with it to get the most out of it. (I am still trying to figure out the way that works best for me. )
     
    Things that I have learned in my year, in no particular order:
     
    -You will not be found randomly in search (too many other vendors, not enough clarity in the categories). You need to learn SEO (I'd focus on google search more) and drive people to your site yourself through other marketing means. Mostly that last one. If you have an existing following or are already business savvy, this will go more smoothly than if no one has ever heard of you before.
     
    -if you fill out all the forms and shop sections (policies, About, etc.)and really craft your listings well, it's a good exercise for improving your photography and content writing skills. This helps if you want to build your own website with a drop and drag template from Weebly or wix, and it can give you some good starting blocks if you're applying to shows and contests and things. Consider starting an Etsy shop to be a tutorial.
     
    -stay off the forums, unless you need quick technical help. Choose your source of shop critique carefully, don't just throw it open to the random public unless you want every piece of contradictory advice available. The Handbook however, has some good resources, especially for photography.
     
    -there are alternate ways of using Etsy successfully. Ayumie Horie and Carole Epp both leave their stores empty most of the time, and advertise flash sales and build hype on their social media a week or so before posting anything for sale. Their stores tend to empty out in 24-48 hours so packing and shipping is done all at once. This method seems to work best for people who already have a following. (I believe Mea does something similar with her Big Cartel page at Christmas.) This is part of a "multiple streams of income" type plan.
     
    -Etsy isn't juried in any way for quality of work. As Chris pointed out, it would be a nightmare. John is also correct that someone can curate a show or collection, but they have another word for that: Gallery. Etsy is a lot of things, but a gallery isn't one of them. If you're just starting out, I think you have to ask yourself if you want to be in a huge online sale with everyone from Justin Rothshank to the twelve year old who is selling rainbow loom bracelets so her mom can teach her about entrepreneurship. Both are worthy pursuits, but I'm not sure having them both on the same playing field is a service to either.
     
    -Etsy is time consuming, especially if you are just learning a bunch of stuff. You will get out what you put in.
     
    -it's a secure, trusted online platform. If you have people looking for your things in between craft sales, it can be a good gap-filler.
     
    -in hindsight, it wasn't the good beginner step I thought it would be for financial reasons. It taught me a lot of other valuable things that I wasn't expecting though.
  12. Like
    crazypotterlady reacted to GEP in Members With Etsy Stores?   
    I don't know, my early prediction for Amazon is that they will succeed at this. I do believe it is possible to define guidelines for what is considered "handmade." Not that it will be easy, but Amazon might be smart enough to do it. In the experience you describe, it sounds like there were too many artists involved in the deciding. Self-interest can be removed from the situation. My question is, do they want to? They might eventually decide there's not much money to be made here.
  13. Like
    crazypotterlady reacted to LorrieMud in Members With Etsy Stores?   
    No worries Joseph! Thanks so much for your kind words. June and July are traditionally the slowest months on Etsy but the stats are still interesting. For example,  check out dgordon.  She's currently the top 3rd pottery seller- selling mainly handbuilt ringholders.  Many sellers cummulative sales don't reflect what their day to day revenue is.  If you click the blue sales number and sort the results by line instead of grid you can actually see specifics of what each shop sells per day.  Looks like dgordon sells an average of 8- 13 pieces a day at an average of $20.00 each.  Sellers like her also sell larger bulk orders that are not shown in sales history- so she may get large wedding favor orders that do not show up as they are special listings.  Another shop, Say your piece, also sells an average of 8-15 pieces per day handbuilt only, with price per sale averaging around 16. The Etsy shop The brick kiln sells an average of 10 pieces a day handbuilt only  at $70 each.  The shop Miss Pottery sells an average of 4-5 pieces a day, with mugs at $30.00 each.  Clarey Clayworks sells an average of 8 handbuilt only pieces a day currently, at an average price of $49 per handbuilt dish.  Dariellesclayart sells an average of 8 pieces per day at an average price point of $20 each. Claylicious sells an average of 6 wheelthrown or handbuilt pieces a day at an average price point of $30 per piece. I could go on but if anyone is interested in really looking through what potters are making on Etsy and what is elling, just visit craftcount dot com and view top selers by category- if you click on pottery and ceramics it will sho you results for 169 of the busiest ceramic shops on Etsy.
     
    I know most of the potters mentioned above- having been on teams and at events with them. Some generalizations I would make are that smaller items at lower price points do sell well and seem to be easier to manage from a shipping standpoint.  Mugs used to be a great category for most potters but Pinterest and the dawn of the DIY sharpie a dollar store mug era have really changed that-- you now see beautiful stoneware pieces placed side by side in search results with commercial mugs that someone has used an oil based sharpie on.  I'm not a fan of that change but the nature of e-commerce is that you must adapt to survive. 
     
    The shop that used to be the top shop and that many of us used to aspire to be like when we first started was Palomasnest. They now do the bulk of their business on their own website instead of Etsy but they remain a great example of how the marriage of an aesthetic and an online presence can create trends and change design tastes.  Their small handbuilt dishes are $54.00 each. 
     
    I think if you go through the stats shop by shop you'll see that for many many potters who do not do Etsy full time, that the average revenue is likely $150 per day gross.  For most of them, that is just one of several revenue streams that include other online venues and websites and wholesale gigs.  Etsy has a wholesale division that assists sellers who want to reach an audience of buyers.
     
    That said, Amazon announced recently that they will be launching a juried handmade only marketplace as an aspect of their site soon.  Many Etsy sellers are applying to be part of that venue as they expect the revenue opportunities to be even greater through that host.
     
    I am an introvert with bad knees, so for me-online selling is the perfect way for me to sell large amounts of work without having to schlep a tent or chat with someone about their high school ceramics class (LOL) .  But I have tons of friends who love traveling to shows and really enjoy the interactions with customers who purchase their work--and they get great pleasure from in person, hand on revenue streams like teaching, etc. 
  14. Like
    crazypotterlady reacted to Joseph Fireborn in Members With Etsy Stores?   
    These are the highest sales sites I have found on etsy for things that I would like to make for a living.
     
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/TwistedRiverClay
     
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/blueroompottery
     
    both have very nice pieces for general public and have worked hard to sell on etsy, if you go back to the beginning of their sales you can see how they slowly catered to what was selling. 
    There are a few others with higher sales than these guys, but they sell 1-2 pieces every few days. Which isn't enough to maintain a fancy lifestyle, but added to regular sales I could see it helping.
     
    What Chris said is very true. My friend worked very hard and invested a lot of money in machinery and took big risk while working 40 hours a week at another job over 3 years till he was able to live off his Etsy sales, and there is a huge difference between coming up with a design, then a machine making it, compared to us making every single piece. 
     
    Etsy will continue to change now that it is public company, and I fear probably for the worse. I wish they had kept it only hand made objects like it was in the beginning, but you can't fault a company for wanting to make more money. 
  15. Like
    crazypotterlady got a reaction from bciskepottery in Engaging Children - Special Pricing   
    I taught 5th and 6th grade for 25 years, so consequently I only had 8 weeks in the summer to do my pottery, which I did like a demon.  I would always make many small things that a child could afford: cups, small bowls and simple mugs. Each year my school would have a "Breakfast with Santa" occasion at which I would sell my pottery, both small things and my regular pots. Many pots were sold to my students and other students.  I would then take all the pieces $20 or less into my classroom for all my students to be able to buy a pot. They were so excited about getting the chance to buy something quality for their parents, etc.! The students who went to the "BwS" occasion, their parents let them know something that they liked and would come prepared on Monday morning with $$$, but mostly kids wouldn't remember I was bringing pottery into the classroom, so I'd let them choose a pot and they had to bring the money in the next day or it would go back on the shelf.
     
    Each year I got a lot of feed-back from parents about how proud their child was at buying something hand-made and beautiful (and made by their teacher!!) for them.  FYI: In the 3 hours of "BwS" and having the pots in the back of my classroom (as well as having a pre-sale for the teachers and staff) I sold as well I usually do at a weekend craft fair.
     
    I'm now retired and can make pottery all year long, but but I remember those "Breakfast with Santa" pot sales and pots in my classroom days as a wonderful opportunity to expose children to buying art. And YES, they made a LOT of pottery in the classroom.!! And even though I was a math specialist as a teacher, they remember me for the pottery they made!
  16. Like
    crazypotterlady got a reaction from ChenowethArts in Engaging Children - Special Pricing   
    I taught 5th and 6th grade for 25 years, so consequently I only had 8 weeks in the summer to do my pottery, which I did like a demon.  I would always make many small things that a child could afford: cups, small bowls and simple mugs. Each year my school would have a "Breakfast with Santa" occasion at which I would sell my pottery, both small things and my regular pots. Many pots were sold to my students and other students.  I would then take all the pieces $20 or less into my classroom for all my students to be able to buy a pot. They were so excited about getting the chance to buy something quality for their parents, etc.! The students who went to the "BwS" occasion, their parents let them know something that they liked and would come prepared on Monday morning with $$$, but mostly kids wouldn't remember I was bringing pottery into the classroom, so I'd let them choose a pot and they had to bring the money in the next day or it would go back on the shelf.
     
    Each year I got a lot of feed-back from parents about how proud their child was at buying something hand-made and beautiful (and made by their teacher!!) for them.  FYI: In the 3 hours of "BwS" and having the pots in the back of my classroom (as well as having a pre-sale for the teachers and staff) I sold as well I usually do at a weekend craft fair.
     
    I'm now retired and can make pottery all year long, but but I remember those "Breakfast with Santa" pot sales and pots in my classroom days as a wonderful opportunity to expose children to buying art. And YES, they made a LOT of pottery in the classroom.!! And even though I was a math specialist as a teacher, they remember me for the pottery they made!
  17. Like
    crazypotterlady got a reaction from ChenowethArts in My Feet Are Turning Into Legs.   
    Yes, I throw all the feet on my 2# - 6# bowls, so I don't have a lot of trimming excess.  I like the lift that this gives the bowls and it gives the user a solid base to hold on to when they're hand-washed. It also allows for for me to decide how elaborate or simple I want the foot. (And yes I love Lucie Rie's work. She's really influenced me as a potter.)
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