Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  1. Yes Mark I have had that cheese and it is wonderful! Do let us know when you see a purple goat!
  2. Hey Mark I thought you would have a purple cow or two in your area, I've seen lots of dairy farms when visiting the humboldt area.
  3. Hi Mark, I stamp each pot on the bottom when I'm done trimming. Takes maybe 5-6 seconds. I don't even think about it really, it's just part of the trimming process for me. I think most potters who use a chop would take the same amount of time to add the mark. You could also incorporate your chop design with your website address on it and stamp it on the bottom of each pot. For my business the pots I make are like having a silent salesperson. If you read Seth Godin's classic marketing book Purple Cow he says you don't need to advertise your product or service, you need to make it easy for people to find you. They already want what you are offering, they just need to know how to find your business so they can pay you to get what you are offering. If you already have a client who bought one of your pots, make it easy for them to buy more from you. Cards don't stay attached to the pot as well as info stamped into the clay. Then again my business caters to the high end, what I make is not cheap. When I get a new customer I want to keep them coming back and one way for this to work in my specific case is to stamp my company's site info on the bottom. Other's mileage may vary. Like everything in ceramics!
  4. I get messages like this from time to time from customers. I get lots of repeat business due to having my website stamped on the bottom of my pots. Might be a good new year’s resolution for your pottery business if you are not doing this "We purchased a wonderful mug that my husband loved and drank his tea from each evening, and sadly it broke this evening. It was not the mug it was an Oh No moment. It was various shades of brown toward the top which was cream colored. It was barrel shaped. It kept his tea hot for a very long time. Awesome mug. I really would like to find something close to it and get two of them. It was a 12 oz. mug. I am in Las Vegas and contacted you about the mug at the time. I think we bought it about 5 years ago. I was so glad that your website was imprinted on the bottom. Thank you.†Cheers from Owen in snowy, blustery, very cold and oh so beautiful Central Oregon
  5. Hi Min, I don't know much about whether your glaze will fit this clay body, but Ron Roy teaches that crazing on hard to see glazes can be made visible by carefully holding a piece in steam (like over a kettle spout when the water is boiling) for 20 seconds or so, the craze lines can then easily be seen when the steam evaporates off. Works a charm in trying to tell if a dark glaze on a white body is crazing so perhaps this would be helpful for you. Best wishes, Owen
  6. Thanks Pugaboo, I will check out the foscam system. Would be very handy when I am firing my gas kiln which is all manual especially those times when I have no choice but to fire through the night.
  7. Pugaboo, what app and what camera are you using? Thank you, Owen
  8. My experience: Over time, clay will teach you what a good form is as you simultaneously uncover your unique expression in the medium. As I did not have the experience of learning to throw from a production potter, I've learned a lot of what I know about pottery the hard way, by trial and error...lots of error . I most definitely "trimmmed to form" for years when clay was but a serious hobby. But...by making hundreds and thousands of the same form over time, trust me, you will figure out the most economical way to make a great pot with the minimum amount of clay and time necessary. Looking back, I feel most fortunate to have had the "formal yet informal" introduction to clay that I had at the Tuesday night community clay class at Southern Oregon State College in the late eighties/early nineties. Because the class was so informal and loose I was not starting by trying to copy anyone's style or technique. I had to figure a lot of it out on my own. Also, I think the pathway to becoming a full time potter happens for most folk who start as a hobbyist in steps - first, after some time and lots of practice, you make some pots that you think are nice enough to give friends and family as gifts, you get positive feedback, then you apply to galleries and get accepted, you get a booth at the farmers market and select art and craft shows, you set up a website, you are getting sales, and as it goes well you start dreaming about doing this full time. As this is happening you are throwing, throwing, throwing, and your pots are getting better and better - not only more refined, but they reflect you and your style, your unique "voice" expressed in clay. At some point you realize you might have a shot at making a living doing this, and by this time most likely you have worked out your technique which of course continues to refine as you go. So to the point raised by Stephen to start this thread, yep, you gotta learn how to work with clay if you want to make a living from clay...and if you stick with it long enough, you will. Cheers, Owen in Central Oregon where the rain is washing away our snow and exposing once again the lawn I didn't rake in the fall
  9. Hi Jo, there is an excellent glossary entry on encapsulated stains at this link: https://digitalfire.com/4sight/glossary/glossary_encapsulated_stains.html Sounds like the manufacturing of the stains are very toxic to the environment, only India and China have lax enough environmental laws to permit their manufacture. Not to mention as others have said these do not produce very interesting glazes. Do you really want such highly toxic compounds in your studio? And how do you know that the pot you made with non functional purpose won't, at some time, be used for food? Once the pot leaves your studio, how it is used is out of your control. If you are making sculpture, no worry. Otherwise you might be surprised at how your pot gets used by your customers. Lots of great colors available from safer colorants that have stood the test of time. So it's not as though you are stuck with only cadmium stains to provide color in your glazes...my two cents for what it's worth. Cheers from snowy Central Oregon! Owen
  10. Hi Saki, for my thickened slip, I use dried trimmings from my clay. I weigh out 1000 g of the dry trimmings, and to this I add 730 g water. For my purposes, 12 drops of Darvan thins it to where I want it to be. This is a small enough batch size that I can use my immersion blender for the mixing. Yours will be different but perhaps my recipe will give you a starting point. Best wishes, Owen in Bend Oregon where we awoke to snow this morning!
  11. You can get Mastering Cone Six Glazes, updated in 2013 directly from John's website for $25. I have the original book and it is highly recommended for all kiln temps, not just cone six. I fire at cone 10 and this book has been an invaluable help in my understanding of glazes and what you need to do in order to have food safe and durable glazes. http://www.thebookpatch.com/BookStore/mastering-cone-6-glazes/d2bea83c-2c34-4ed0-8a00-a6f12113515d
  12. Nd-most if not all of the us based clay makers do not sieve the raw materials prior to mixing clay. What you are probably seeing is iron contamination from either the silica or feldspar. If there are any clay companies in the us that do sieve all the raw materials prior to mixing, I would love to know. I've asked ten or so and none of them do this, although Georgies in Portland says they do sieve what they consider problematic materials in some of their mixes. Canadian potters are spoiled in this regard, as both major clay producers (Plainsman and Tucker's) have got the right equipment in place to do the job properly.
  13. I encourage all new potters to think of their web presence as the most critical marketing arm of their ceramics. But it's not for everyone. Read on... You've learned that you need to invest in certain things in order to make pottery...a wheel, a kiln, slab roller, pug mill, materials, a place in which to work. None of these things are free, but they are the best investment you ever made, because you are either making money or have the potential to make money off of those investments you put in to your tools and work place. You probably also have spent a certain amount of money on books, classes, and workshops over the years. You didn't think that any of these expenditures were bad because you were investing in the expansion of your talents and abilities. You are a better potter for having spent that money by investing in yourself. So in that vein I suggest you think about your website in terms of another investment in you and your sales, and put some time and a little money towards it. As I told someone who contacted me back channel after my previous post in this thread, I'd rather take 85% of the revenue from a sale than the 50-60% that I was getting at galleries and street fairs. Websites are not free. But, they are very cost effective. And, all things being equal, I'd rather be at home on the weekends rather than sitting in unpredictable weather at a fair. I love seeing people and getting feedback in person, but I get enough feedback from my web customers to know that my work is highly valued. And over the years a lot of local business has come my way also due to the fact that I have a website that is optimized for my location. So I still get plenty of feedback from direct interaction with my customers. Stamp your web site address on the bottom of each piece of pottery you make in clearly legible type. You'd be surprised how many orders come in that way. Customer Sally buys a bowl in Olympia from your site and gives it to her best friend Mary in Boston for Mary's birthday. Mary loves the bowl and thinks they will make great gifts this year at the holidays. She turns the bowl upside down and sees your website, takes out her phone and places an order. Then she sees you also make chip and dip platters and...Right? (Make sure you have a website set up before you stamp your pottery of course.) Another good strategy: Test your glazes for lead and cadmium at a lab and post the results on your web page. (Do not take the ceramic supplier's word that the glaze is food safe. Test them yourself, it's your responsibility to know exactly what is in your glazes. There are many threads in the glaze forum on this topic. Commercial glazes...well I don't use them. Makes my life simpler. If something changes, I know about it, because I made the change, or I found out that a material had changed and I made adjustments for it in my glazes.) For this reason I also do not use encapsulated cadmium stains or inclusion stains. Makes it a lot easier to market "Cadmium Free" if you don't have to explain that actually, you do use cadmium in some glazes but they leach in acceptable levels that are food safe. You probably just lost a customer. I recently learned when putting together a glaze class series for my local clay guild that only India and China even make these stains as no other country in the world has safety regulations set low enough to allow the process to occur due to the extreme toxicity the process involves. So there's that too. You'd be surprised how many people out there are buying pottery from potters who spend the little bit extra to test their glazes and put the results up on the site so they can be verified by your potential customer. It shows that you care and customers appreciate that. Test every glaze that you use that comes in to contact with food in your ware. Using a lead/cadmium free liner glaze is a good strategy. Tony Hansen at Digital Fire tested some commercial glazes. Individually he found some of them were in fact food safe, but when overlapped with another commercial glaze that was also food safe, guess what? It was not food safe. So, find out what you are selling and give your customers confidence that you are providing healthy dishes to eat off off and drink out of. I disagree with Mark a bit about the the time it would take to get your web business attracting good traffic. Kings Fortune in a post above outlines some strategies, and I've given you a couple in my posts on the topic. And though I specialize in making mugs, there is no reason why selling other pottery items will not be successful. If your stuff is any good, and if you have excellent customer service skills, you can make a great on line business that provides you with a decent income. I started my website ten years ago as my hobby business, and two years after that I quit my long career in the printing industry to make pottery. I am not a computer expert, and I really feel that if someone like me can have this success, anyone can. Bottom line, if you don't have a website, ask yourself why you have not done this yet. If you spend the time and invest in it, down the road you are going to work less for the same amount of money. In my book this is not a bad thing. If you set up your own domain name and get your own site, rather than the etsy route, and optimize it for organic results, you are in a much better position to have your pots seen by many more customers than if your site is only known to your customers. Maybe etsy is better at this (organic search results) now, I checked it out ten years ago and decided then to go with my own domain name which is a brand name that people can remember. And, if you like doing the street fairs and galleries, take no offense. Clearly, a potter like Mark and others on this forum have this sales channel wired. They have no reason to change, and after all why should they? If it ain't broke... You have to do what is right for you and fits you best. I'm all web. Others are all galleries and fairs. Others mix the two. You'll find the right balance for you. Making a living as a potter is a hard life, and any timesavers are a real godsend. A website can be a timesaver. It might allow you to cut back some of your time, if nothing else. A 50 hour work week is better than a 70 hour week for the same pay though, right? Or a 35 hour work week instead of 50. You get my drift. The more profit you reap from each individual sale, the less you have to work for the same money. One other thing, I hardly do any social media marketing any more since I'm pretty busy all the time from web sales. Another time saver for me, though up until about 4-5 years ago I did a lot more marketing on Twitter and Facebook and had some good results there. I was pretty active for 4 or 5 years. Then I did an experiment and stopped for a while to see if my sales would go down. They kept going up so I figured I didn't need to spend time there anymore. I think I was getting a lot of people seeing my website address on the bottom of a mug they got as a gift. My best sales representative is my work. And it should be yours too! Okay, over and out. My complete $.02 on web sales. Cheers, Owen
  14. Hi Eloise, the key to getting organic search results when people are using search engines to look for items they wish to purchase is optimizing your site for the search phrases people are typing in the search engine. You might consider taking a community ed class in search engine optimization if a class exists in your region. I do all my business solely through web sales and have done so for the past ten years. I quit my day job eight years ago to fulfill a long standing dream of being a full time potter because of my web sales. One of the ways to go besides Etsy is to get your own domain name, get a basic shoplfy dot com site, and optimize your site as mentioned. I've been fortunate in that I've never spent a penny to advertise, and I'm very fortunate to be as busy as I am. So to answer your question in a somewhat long way, I suggest you do your own site. Your mileage may vary, hope this helps. The bonus of a website that works, providing that you are selling high quality wares, is no more street fairs or galleries (unless of course you want to do those things).
  15. Mark, if you have the product name and a link to the eBay store you mentioned I would appreciate it! Thanks, Owen
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.