D.M.Ernst got a reaction from Pres in QotW: Of the things that you make, do you use anything pottery wise, and what is your favorite piece to use?
Cannot start the day without my teapot.
D.M.Ernst reacted to Stephen in QotW: Either generally or specifically, what do you think, feel, and/or do when confronted with moderate to serious/severe limitations of some aspect of health that alters how you work in clay?
ya know you might suggest that they could revise the policy to allow a 'buddy' system of 2, 3 or even a small group working together during one eight hour shift and frame it as being to broaden participation. I assume the whole point of having the wood kiln and the firing is to promote and enrich the pottery experience. There are many, many health situations that are not immediately visible that would make it impossible to 'work' an entire 8 hour strenuous shift. COPD, back issues etc etc.
The other question that comes to mind is if the Guild is truly about mission when it come to this kiln or if some members see this wood kiln as some sort of personal domain or perc and thus inclusiveness is not really part of the agenda to begin with.
D.M.Ernst reacted to Pres in QotW: Either generally or specifically, what do you think, feel, and/or do when confronted with moderate to serious/severe limitations of some aspect of health that alters how you work in clay?
You know for all my complaining about my thumb, and arthritis. I am in amazingly good shape, and hope that I will remains so for a long time. My Dad is looking forward to hunting season soon as we hunt together in Northern PA. He is 91!
D.M.Ernst reacted to Joseph Fireborn in QotW: Either generally or specifically, what do you think, feel, and/or do when confronted with moderate to serious/severe limitations of some aspect of health that alters how you work in clay?
Bless all you awesome people here. The stories of your overcoming are inspirational. Keep up the hard work.
D.M.Ernst reacted to lgusten in QotW: Either generally or specifically, what do you think, feel, and/or do when confronted with moderate to serious/severe limitations of some aspect of health that alters how you work in clay?
Gabby, I cannot begin to imagine how you do it....or any of you who have experienced or in the midst of experiencing great medical challenges. My heart goes out to you all.
My troubles are small in comparison. I am 61 for a couple more months and have always used my hands whether in fiber arts or 25 years of restoring ceramics and making ceramics for 15 years... all stuff that is hard on the body. My hands, wrists, back and shoulders have given me trouble for many years . Most of the time I don't think about it....it is my normal.
I had to put the studio on hold for a few years for a variety of family and financial reasons, but with the arthritis pain increasing in my hands, I feel driven to get moving on getting my studio up and running and me back to making pottery....the road before me doesn't seem without end like when I was younger. I just want to be able to give my craft a good 25 to 35 years....or as long as the hands and back hold out.
Oh....I hand build.....there is something very comforting about building with the clay...cut and formed very much like the textiles I worked with years ago.
Thank you, Pres for starting this thread.
D.M.Ernst reacted to yappystudent in QotW: Either generally or specifically, what do you think, feel, and/or do when confronted with moderate to serious/severe limitations of some aspect of health that alters how you work in clay?
As I mentioned before somewhere I have leukemia. When I was diagnosed I promised myself a few things. One, I would do what I wanted the way I wanted as much as possible from then on with the time I have left. Working with clay to some extent gives me a focus and relieves my depression to a large extent, helps me to handle my fear, and though I don't really believe in 'legacies' it's sort of nice to know that a few things I made will be around a long time after I'm gone. Right now I actually feel physically pretty good and thought I was doing well in remission. A visit about a week ago with my oncologist cleared my hopes up when he said it's time for me to get in line for a bone marrow transplant. Hm, yes, well.
Anyway, on the bright side I got to quit my job (after not being able to finish a shift at work due to having pain from a swollen spleen, a health care provider with no health care, thanks to the heartless health care system in the US) three years ago when I finally walked into an ER and got diagnosed. I'd been managing and working through horrible symptoms undiagnosed for at least two years not knowing what I had. The ER doc suddenly got excited saying my white cell counts were off the scale and I was rushed over to another hospital in the middle of the night, put into all sorts of contraptions, IV's inserted, etc. The oncologist assured me I didn't have long if it was one type, about 25 yrs if another. My only thought was "Christ I can finally quit my job!" -that's how much I hated it. After recovering and getting social security and medicaid worked out, I sold my wee house in Idaho, (also hated Idaho, I'm from CA originally, seriously a fish out of water) and used the money to move to a place I love on the Oregon coast. Anyway I'm cramming as much of what I want, that I can afford on next to nothing, into what's left. Not everyone gets the news they better get their affairs in order and have such and such time left to do it. Most of the time, I'm grateful, not always.
D.M.Ernst reacted to yappystudent in Qotw: Participants Question Pool For Future Qotw's
Maybe two questions can be squeezed out of this:
What was your lowest moment with your pottery?
What was your best moment with your pottery?
D.M.Ernst reacted to Pres in Qotw: Participants Question Pool For Future Qotw's
Advanced Member Members 520 1,014 posts LocationNew Hampshire Report post (IP: 188.8.131.52) Posted 11 minutes ago I've been thinking a while about those of us who have spoken about various limitations, challenges, health impairments, disabilities, and so forth. Some folks have had to leave the Forums and reduce their work because of certain conditions of body and/or mind (tho I believe they are integrated, not two separate issues). There is no Forum particulary suited or appropriate for discussion about one's aches and pains, or serious impediments that affect our ability to work in, and enjoy working in, clay, or work-arounds that help make it easier to function and hang in there. So, my question is: Either generally or specifically, what do you think, feel, and/or do when confronted with moderate to serious/severe limitations of some aspect of health that alters how you work in clay?
D.M.Ernst reacted to Gabby in Qotw: Participants Question Pool For Future Qotw's
I don't know whether this is what you are asking, but if you look just below the title for this thread, also in this ICAN forum, you will see all the past week's questions and answers.
D.M.Ernst reacted to yappystudent in Qotw: Participants Question Pool For Future Qotw's
Apologies if this has been suggested before but I'm curious if anyone else uses "Kiln Gods" or Gremlins when firing their kiln.
My first experience with clay was as a laborer trimming cups in a small production factory. (back in the early 80's, called Shapiro's Ceramic and Design, they took over from the slightly more well-known Overland Stoneware) They had two car kilns there and the owner who did the firing had a couple hideous little figures that looked kind of like what you see stuck on face jugs. According to him these were his "kiln gods" who watched over the firing process, and we weren't allowed to place them.
My father was a Mason and a master welder for the air force. My mother told me that whenever they were having problems with a plane repeatedly, during the fix they made a gremlin out of scrap metal and welded it somewhere inside the body of the aircraft where it wouldn't be seen.
D.M.Ernst reacted to Chris Throws Pots in WEIRD NOISE ON BRENT CXC
Can you get the seller to meet you at a middle point to limit the travel? Even if for a little more on the asking price? Four days of travel, travel expenses, lost wages... seems like the wheel may cost significantly more than the $400 you'll be handing over.
D.M.Ernst reacted to glazenerd in Employees vs Productivity
for decades toothpicks served a functional,purpose, and never went beyond their bland wooden shape. How do you generate increased revenues on a long established utilitarian ware? Marketing. You begin by selling them in colored packs so they can be displayed as part of the decor. This in turn opens the door for a new product line: tooth pick holders at various price points. Why stop there? Sell them in foiled ten packs with cinnamon or other flavorings. Room for expansion? Sure, make them twice as long and twice as thick; then add a colored cellophane tag and sell them to eateries for sandwich presentation.
You can try to capture part of the current market share, or you can develop your own market. Niche markets are much smaller, but produce 2-3 times the revenue. If you are highly skilled in decorative applications: develop a market around your best skill sets. You need "bread and butter" pieces to create an income stream, but once established produce designer lines with much larger profit margins. A year ago I suggested to a member to market high end pieces as " Gallery Edition." Every show is loaded with coffe mugs with handles? So what are you going to do to make your mug stand out? Functional ware is supply and demand: do you know what the market in your area is demanding?
No one needs a $700 I-phone, but through marketing you have been conditioned otherwise. Everyone makes mugs with pulled handles: how can you change the design to make yours in demand? Now there is a community challenge: new handle designs.
D.M.Ernst reacted to glazenerd in Employees vs Productivity
I know excellent carpenters who are lousy at business, and excellent businessmen who are lousy carpenters. Having excellent throwing skills does not automatically translate to excellent at marketing , or excellent at book keeping. An option is to pay per piece and convert to an hourly wage. However, you need to submit this conversion to the IRS for pre-approval. Many do not realize you can submit compensation packages to the IRS for written approval before implentintation. Once the IRS approves a compensation plan in writing, then they cannot come back and penalize during an audit of if an employee files a complaint later. You can also file an R&D plan: :).
D.M.Ernst reacted to GEP in Employees vs Productivity
@DirtRoads I’m a believer in the 80:20 principle when it comes to employees. 80% of the work gets done by 20% of the employees. My only advice is to make sure those two good employees know how much you appreciate them. Like @Gabby said, the job market is strong and it will be very hard to replace them with equally productive and reliable people.
D.M.Ernst reacted to GEP in Stepping aside as moderator
These are my last few days as a moderator of this forum. I am stepping aside in order to spend more time with my pottery business. About a year ago, I launched a new “division” of my business. Didn’t know if it would go anywhere, but now it has grown to the point where it really needs more of my time and attention.
I am not going anywhere, I still plan to be an active forum user. I’m just handing over my moderator duties to a worthy new moderator.
I have been a moderator here since the forum’s earliest days in 2010. I love the forum! I’m proud of what has been built here in the first 8 years: a gigantic archive of information, and a solid community culture. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO CONTRIBUTES TO THIS!
With gratitude for Jen Harnetty, ACerS, the current mod team, and best wishes to all,
D.M.Ernst reacted to glazenerd in What are your favourite business tools?
Interesting article Callie. I do not chime in on selling pottery because I build and sell homes for a living.i have two high end interior decorators that sell my crystalline wall tile on a limited basis. The good thing about crystalline glaze is an outrageous profit margin, and this speciality glaze has an immediate emotional response.
Marketing principles however are the same fundamentally rather you sell houses or pottery: adjustments are made accordingly. With that, I would like to share a marketing story from 1997. The year my home building business tripled in size. Realtors always tell you the responses to open houses: usually how much people liked or loved the property. My response was: if they loved it so much, why did it not sell? So I instructed them to start asking what people did not like about the property. Shocked by my request they asked why? Because what they liked got them interested, but what they did not like stopped them from buying. When I started addressing what they did not like sales began to soar.
which brings me to pottery. Just like me and my homes: everyone tends to make and decorate according to personal preferences and tastes. Potters have favorite glazes, forms, or decorative applications. We love to make them and decorate them, otherwise we would not be into pottery. It is human nature to desire positive responses to our work and ideas. To effectively market, you have to ask consumers what they did not like about your product. They may love the form but hate the glaze, or vice versa. That handle you make that fits your hand perfectly, may be uncomfortable to them. Honest critiques will broaden your market shares. Criticism however should be dismissed, plenty of disgruntled steam blowers out there.
The Numbers Game: the current population of the USA is 330 million. If the pottery market is only 1 percent: then you have 3.4 million potential customers. If only 1 percent of potential customers like 10" plates: then you have 33,000 potential customers. If only 1 percent of those like yellow 10" plates: then you have 330 potential customers. However, if 5 percent of potential customers like 12" plates, you now have 170,000 potential customers. Of those, if ten percent like burgundy glaze: you now have 17,000 potential customers. Marketing is figuring out the highest demand, then supplying it. Yes, you may love 10" yellow plates, and 330 potential customers love them too. But I like to eat and sleep in an AC house: so I will make you a 12" burgundy plate.
I made the changes to the houses according to the responses, and sales tripled in one year. However, once or twice a year I would build one that I liked personally, just to avoid the whole process of earning a living from becoming mundane. It all depends on the level of involvement you wish to undertake: to make a living you have to learn your market. Supplementing your income or selling enough to pay for your clay habit is another: you certainly have more freedom to play.
my favorite business tool is market research. Within that, my favorite tool is a Census Bureau stats.
D.M.Ernst reacted to glazenerd in U.S. sales tax rules for online selling overturned
with 50 States, with 50 different sales tax codes: it is a complex issue. Hopefully, someone realizes that a minimum base line should be established. X amount of sales before reporting becomes mandatory. States incur costs in collecting, at some level it has to costs them more to collect than the actual income received? Speaking of Amazonian: most of the mom and pop brick and mortar stores around here have closed because they could not compete with free shipping and no sales tax. The damage of no sales tax has been extensive as well. The joys of 330 million people: changes in law help some and hurt others. Too complex of an issue for my brain to wrap around.
There is another issue passed three years ago, and set to go into effect shortly: net neutrality.i do not fully understand the full scope of this change, but from what little I have read: more fees. Free streaming, not so free anymore. Email accounts, blogs, websites, and the like could all be subject to monthly hosting fees. Like the sales tax issue, the scope is so massive no one knows for sure the real impact.
Mark C posted a comment in The Favorite tool thread " blah, blah, blah." After 44 years of building houses, I understand that comment perfectly. If you learn anything after decades of self employment: you learn to adapt to changes. You might not like them, but the alternative is no income. I take comfort in the fact in 15 more months I can draw SS. Always thought I would hate retiring, but the idea of sitting on my deck doing nothing suddenly has appeal. The sound of birds chirping is certainly more comforting than the noise of rush hour.
D.M.Ernst reacted to LeeU in U.S. sales tax rules for online selling overturned
"Small fee"---no problem, if it's fair & square. However the gouging I see going on with the high fees attached to so many services is outrageous. I believe if states force small business to collect taxes from Internet sales, while the states will see money coming down the pike the little guy will just be further shoved aside by the amazonians. It's a bigger isssue than just the states' economies and burdonsome accounting and paperwork--it really does get into the shaping of business practices that may strangle what is left of entreprenurial small business.
D.M.Ernst reacted to neilestrick in U.S. sales tax rules for online selling overturned
It will be interesting to see if they put dollar minimums, or transaction minimums, on those who hav to collect sales tax. Like you only have to deal with it if you sell over $100,000 worth of materials or have 100 or mare transactions. Otherwise it would be impossible for small businesses to handle. I certainly don't have the time to calculate sales tax for everything I ship out of state, or to pay that sales tax. Currently, just from doing art fairs, I have to deal with 8 states. That's not too bad, because I know the sales tax rate for each show. But I sell kilns all over the country, and if I have to figure out the sales tax for each person's town that takes some time. And it takes forever to fill out applications to obtain a sales tax license.
Here's my solution: A national online sales tax rate, say 5%. Everyone charges it on every online or interstate sale, and pays it as part of their regular sales tax payments in the state where their business is located, not in the location of the purchaser. It would be easy for everyone to deal with because it wouldn't require making payments to 50 different states.
D.M.Ernst reacted to Gabby in U.S. sales tax rules for online selling overturned
Even aside from tax rules, shipping costs are so high now that online purchases, unless they are covered by an Amazon Prime-type program, are prohibitive. Who wants to buy something for $30 and pay $15 for shipping?
For that matter, shipping anything is astronomically expensive. In our family we used to send pottery to each other all the time for wedding and holiday gifts, but now the shipping costs have made that entirely impractical.
D.M.Ernst reacted to GEP in Compact display ideas?
The vertical supports of the shelves in this photo are made out of corrugated plastic. The same material used to make yard signs. Known by the brand name Coroplast. Coroplast is thin and flat and weighs almost nothing. When folded into a tube (triangle-shaped tubes in my case) it can support hundreds of pounds. It can be cut with a utility knife and a straight edge, no special tools required. I built some small Coroplast pedestals too. My shelf supports and pedestal supports are covered in fabric, so they don’t look like plastic. Combine this with wood shelves, and the Coroplast disappears.