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Folks, no one has posed a new question in the QotW pool, so once again. . . I'll try to come up with one that will interest. Lately we have had questions on about using commercial materials, and other things so it seemed obvious to ask about where you buy. So. .. . . 

QotW: How far away is your main supplier for all things Ceramic?

I get my clay shipped in from Standard Ceramics to Tyrone, which is 115 miles. I usually order #2k at a time, and when I do I also order glaze materials that I may need. On occasion I do travel to Pittsburgh to visit the store, and shop other places in the area. This is my closest full supplier, but there are a few others as close as Johnstown, but I prefer to deal direct from Pittsburgh as I have been with them since the 70's. When it comes to equipment, I have ordered from all over, usually best price, and free shipping if available. My Brent wheel was ordered from a firm in Florida that had a special on free shipping with a good price. I also order tools and bats etc from Bailey Ceramics in NY state, and have been to their store a few times over the years.  So once again, I ask:

QotW: How far away is your main supplier for all things Ceramic?

 

Best,

Pres

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Seattle pottery supply is 14 miles away from me, although it routinely takes me 45-60 minutes to get there on the freeway due to our lovely traffic.  They're also only open 9-5 on weekdays and reduced hours on Saturday, so I have to plan my weekend around going there.  I try to avoid driving into Seattle as much as possible.

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Yeah, I can understand that Liam. I used to live in Tacoma years ago, and have been back lately to visit the area with my wife and sister. The traffic is a real killer! Always heard about traffic in LA, or Chicago, but Seattle has to be one of the worst. Only thing that would be close would be driving the Queens way into Toronto!!

 

best,

Pres

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My local ceramic supply place is about 25 minutes away but what I save in driving time I more than pay for with their high prices. I buy clay locally plus all the less expensive dry materials like epk, talc, silica etc. Whenever possible I order from one of the US suppliers and have it shipped to a dropbox just into WA state then it's an hours drive from me. I go to Seattle or Tacoma a couple times a year to shop there for heavy expensive stuff like frits, usually tie it in with a camping trip.

Driving thru Seattle, groan, that has to be one of the worst places that I've ever driven too! I get behind a big truck and use the expressway through to the exit for Seattle Pottery Supply and stay the heck away from the outer lanes or I land up doing some unplanned sightseeing. 

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Oh I forgot my other honorable mention is Euclid's, I shop there for tools usually because they have a good cheap selection and 2 day shipping from Canada is about half of what places on the East coast of the US charge.

Edited by liambesaw
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My supplier is Ceramics Canada. It’s in the same town, but round trip there’s at least an hour’s drive because it’s through the industrial area and there’s freight trains. I pick up my shipping supplies and my bags and tissue in the same district so I tend to batch my trips, and I try and get a six month supply of materials at a go. That said, if I run out of something and need it in a hurry, I’m not having to wait too long. Shipping makes it way less expensive to just buy from them. I do not live anywhere near the border. 

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My supplier is in Denver.  200 miles one way.    However, our daughter lives in Denver, so when I visit, I plan the trip around the supply house schedule.  I have a cousin who comes here to see his mom every other month, and ALWAYS offers to stop at the supply house to pick up clay.  It has been a big blessing, that is for certain.  Because Denver is a main destination for those of us who are flying, need a specialist's care, hospitalization, major concerts or shows, we all check in with friends before we leave the big city, "need anything while I am in Denver?"  

Roberta

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The nearest supplier to me, in New Hampshire, is out of state, Portland Pottery Supplies, in ME, over 2 hours away. I need to have a second good reason to make the trip!  They're good for basic Laguna & Standard clays & Amaco & Laguna glazes (I get Coyote elsewhere). Mostly I scour the Internet for the best price combos of the type of bodies/glazes I want, including the shipping cost. The best deals vary widely at any given time, depending on what I am looking for.  I guess I've used all the suppliers with positive mentions in the forums, at one time or another.  I keep a wish list of bodies y'all mention that I want to try at some point. I must order small quantities-25-50 lbs of clay, and only 3-4 types at a time. Any more and I end up having to re-hydrate it-yuk-I'd rather pay for fresh moist than have to do that. I probably use Sheffield (in MA) as my main supplier-online-most often (almost a 4 hr drive, so that ain't happening!) , and sometimes Highwater. I have all the tools I'll ever need. I got my Brent wheel from wherever the total cost was best-I think Clay King or The Ceramic Shop but not sure (and those two for glazes, also). I got my kiln from Hot Kilns (L&L-thanks to Neil). I got my table top slab roller directly from Bailey. 

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I guess that I'm the luckiest so far...Alpha Fired Arts in Sacramento is all of about 15 minutes away in traffic. They are a multi-purpose facility that not only carries a good supply of Laguna Clay, but also a great inventory of raw glaze materials and a pretty complete array of glazes from Amaco, Duncan and Coyote. They have a studio equipped with about a dozen Brent wheels as well as a variety of kilns for firing work made by their "tenants". It is where I got my start in ceramics with a "Learning Exchange" class. They have a gallery space where local artists can display their wares and also a "Paint-your-own" space where outsiders can come in and get instruction on painting their own pieces prior to firing...They have a very knowledgeable and helpful staff too!

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Johnny K are tided my supplier is about 15 minutes away in traffic.   There are only two ceramic suppliers in Kansas,  I am lucky to live near one.   I may pay a little more for my supplies now and then than I would on the internet but I want to keep these guys in business.   Denice

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1 hour ago, Denice said:

Johnny K are tided my supplier is about 15 minutes away in traffic.   There are only two ceramic suppliers in Kansas,  I am lucky to live near one.   I may pay a little more for my supplies now and then than I would on the internet but I want to keep these guys in business.   Denice

Just think of the shipping charges you save just on clay!:D

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You guys are living in Paradise.

I live on an Island so..

1/2 hour drive to ferry dodging Kangaroos possums and wallabies.

21/2 hr drive to city add dodging trucks to the above

Another 1/2 hr to supplier who is shifting to premade ceramics and glazes as folk go that way...cheap imports la de dah.

Have to order from eastern states so I place my order well in advance  of leaving home.

Freighted it costs a heap.

Travelling there...1 day a push and ferry trip stupidly expensive...monopoly at play...

Not complaining. A privelege to live where I live.

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The Archie Bray is 280 miles from Red Lodge. 560 round trip. I prefer to go up the Musselshell river valley and down Deep creek to Towsend avoiding much of the interstate. It can be done in a day and the drive is beautiful .I am convinced I live in Paradise but Sue Tirrell really lives in Paradise Valley!

-not to mention visiting the Bray and looking at the gallery, classes and studios.

I do sometimes ship my clay with others to Billings and pick it up there. 

 

Marcia

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For most of my 49 years in Humboldt we had very little clay access. The nearest was in the SF bay area about 5-6 hours one way. We potters formed a few group buys over Time  in the 90s and filled a truck to bring it behind the redwood curtain on a yearly basis. We would always get the 12 ton price breaks.As many potters turned into very few (full timers).  Back in the 70s I started hauling in as much as I could material wise and became self self sufficient in terms of yearly supply.For example I bought #3,000 of kingman feldspar from Az mine direct in 1980. Still working with that supply )down to last 400#s. Since supply was so far away I filled my 3/4 pickuop every time I drove south for the 1st 20 years .I stock a huge amount of materials now and can coast for years without much.

I became a laguna distributor myself  some time back for best pricing and truck in my own stuff-I used to gather orders with others but there are very few left now to add on the order  . About 15 years ago another Laguna distributor opened up a small shop about 5 miles away as well and they have a meduim  selection of materials.They sell manly to hobbist market (local clay art center) and a few schools nearby.

 

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Ceramic Supply Chicago is 35 minutes away. US Pigment is about an hour away. In the Chicago area anything within in hour is considered close, and nothing is lees than 20 minutes away! A.R.T Clay and Great Lakes Clay were also within an hour, but they have both closed in the last couple of years. Yep, I had 4 suppliers within an hour of my studio! I guess that's why a couple of them are now gone. When I lived in Iowa I had to drive up to Minneapolis to stock up, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing because we'd make a day of it and enjoy being in the big city.

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I went to a workshop in the 80's I think at ART, John Glick. Went from central PA by train, had the flu, just getting over. Got into motel, Red Roof Inn, took a nap. . . . I thought woke up the next morning at 8 and rushed to demo/conference. miserable all day. Had broken my glasses lens on Wed. before, and with my bad prescription super glue was the only fix. Conference was fantastic,  Mr. Glick demonstrated non stop, so many ideas just overwhelming! The next day I was feeling better so went to museum of art and got AWED once again by the Seurat Picnic on the Grass between two doorways and with all of the pottery! Trip home was easy, but I never forgot.

 

best,

Pres

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  • Pres unpinned this topic

There are a lot of potters who drive to Wichita and make a day of it, usually they have a relative that lives here.  My ceramic supplier does add some freight to the clay he sells,  it is less than what I would pay for it.    I ordered a 25lb block of Flinthill  clay recently from Kansas City,  it use to be carried by my supplier.   I needed to replace a broken lid,  it cost me $25 for the clay and $25 for the freight.  I tried to talk my husband into taking a little trip to KC but he wasn't interested.    Denice

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Reading the above posts I dont fee so bad  for 2.5 hr drive to Greenbarn. I will order by mail for smaller items at time. Have a New Skutt wheel due to arrive from South Carolina to Washington for pickup on Monday... Hard to wait, like Xmas. Been working on under powerd wheels for awhile.

Min , where are you located? Must be close to my old neighbourhood before I moved to Merritt

Went on the outskirts of Seatle the other day  took from 90 and 405 it was a crawl to I-5 and all the way to Cabellas, 20 min drive took 2.5 hour in the rain with a Western Star 13sp standard pulling horses.

Edited by ronfire
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