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Helmsalee

Best online ceramics supply?

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I'm in process of (finally!) setting up my own studio, and I'd like opinions of the best online sources of the consumable ceramics supplies — clay, kiln wash, glazes (both ready-formulated and the chemical components), and so on.

All of my shopping will be online, so places that combine good value, low shipping cost, and good customer service — including online chat would be a bonus — will be attractive to me.

Thanks!

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Proximity may be a factor, particularly for wet clay - shipping costs. Looks like there are several supply outfits in Maine. I'd like to pop into Portland Pottery and have a salmon blt or grilled tofu!

That said, I've been happy with U.S. Pigment (Illinois - competitive pricing and reasonable shipping) and Aardvark Clay (California - "local" for me).

Proximity - less of a factor for shipping a usps flat rate box, e.g. two bags of clay, however, could make a big difference for your pallet of dry materials and half a ton of wet clay ...quick check, difference on half a ton from Portland, Maine to my house vs. Los Angeles to my house - shipping on the former is well over twice as much.

We picked up just over a thousand pounds of supplies at Aardvark's Santa Ana location a while back; shipping to our door for that order would have been a bit over two hundred dollars.

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clay-king, Baileys, Sheffield are all stores that we have had fine luck with online for small things and large equipment.  Back in 2007-08 we ordered a some larger studio equipment through bigceramicstore.com with good results but  have read on this forum that people have been having issues with them.

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I use different sites depending on what I'm ordering, best to shop around as prices vary on the same item. Sheffield Pottery, Bailey's, The Ceramic Shop, Clay King and Axner are all very good from my own experience with them, all are located in eastern US so your shipping will likely be less than if from companies out West.

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Thank you for your input! Portland Pottery looks great. I swing by Portland Maine a few times a year. I could stock up on clay then (I have a pickup truck, so I could bring home quite a bit), and order the lighter stuff online.

My cost of driving anywhere further than a three- or four-hour drive from my home includes a 60-dollar round-trip ferry fee, plus highway tolls and a hotel stay (necessitated by the limited ferry schedule); so those costs have to be compared to freight charges — and the freight sometimes comes out a lot cheaper!

The other suppliers you favor also look great: Sheffield, Bailey's, The Ceramic Shop, Clay King, Axner, and US Pigment. Quite a nice list!

— Ellen

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Portland Supply is a nice little store, has an attached studio operation,  and also a  great healthy foods cafe right in the shop, which is fun!  They only carry 2 brands of clay and 4 of glazes-mainly Laguna, Standard & Amaco.   I go a few times a year, but  driving from central NH, I do almost as well having my clay/glazes shipped when I want other brands and my order is large enough.  Portland at times has items that are out of stock---I always call first to be sure they have what I'm looking for & they are very accommodating about getting & holding things.  Large orders definitely need a phone conversation well in advance, just to be safe.   You probably know about the Southern Maine Clay Guild, but there is also the New Hampshire Potters Guild, which is open to potters in other states-quite a few are from Maine.     https://www.nhpottersguild.org/  The dues are inexpensive and benefits include a Biennial Exhibition (next in 2021/we're planning it now).  Congratulations on the studio! 

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11 hours ago, LeeU said:

You probably know about the Southern Maine Clay Guild, but there is also the New Hampshire Potters Guild, which is open to potters in other states-quite a few are from Maine.     https://www.nhpottersguild.org/  The dues are inexpensive and benefits include a Biennial Exhibition (next in 2021/we're planning it now).  Congratulations on the studio! 

Thanks for the welcome and congrats, Lee! — and the detail about Portland Supply. The NH Potters Guild looks great. Maybe I'll plan a trip to enjoy the 2021 Biennial Exhibition.

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