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How do you narrow down your glaze options when selling? Do you keep a magic number in mind?


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After many years of focusing on teaching and raising kids I am now able to focus my attention in becoming a professional ceramic artist. I know the chemistry, the clay body all that technical info. Im having trouble narrowing down how many glazes I want in my line. I have settled that I will change things up every season, keeping a few signature glaze combinations, but I want my work to look cohesive and collective. This is how my brain needs to function as I have a tendency to ADHD all over the place but I know if I can create some parameters for myself then I can focus in and really create beautiful work. That being said...is there a magic number of glaze options you offer when selling your work?  Part of my work is done with underglaze and I already planned those glazes out, but the other items that I plan on NOT using underglaze with I have way too many combinations I love and I really need to pare it down so I don't waste too much money as I am starting over again...its been about 15 years since I sold my pottery. I feel like an amateur all over again! Any ideas or suggestions on how YOU decide how many glazes to offer?

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I had 3 glazes for almost 3 years, just added a fourth. It feels like the combination of these 4 offers plenty of variety for buyers. I have a green, white, blue and black. Even just the time dipping in the bucket can change the blue dramatically.

 - I do have 5 or 6 pints of brush on glazes I use sometimes, to add a bit of variety, but mainly just the 4, and I mix them over each other, half one color, maybe just the rim on color, etc...

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I use a liner glaze, then I also use a blue, light beige/brown, and semi transparent green glaze. As these last glazes are sprayed over the bare bisque or the liner, I get a wide variety of color combinations that are mostly organic. At the same time depending on the amount of bare clay and liner, I may get golden yellows and deep almost black browns.  Over the years I have considered other glazes for ease of glazing, but always stick with these.

I should mention, that when in college, and later when teaching HS, I had a wide variety of glaze choices, and in the beginning used them all often. In the HS, I believed it was my place to know the glazes and what they did. I had advanced students mixing our glazes, and had them also do glaze test tile series with 1,2, and 3 glazes to some of the tiles. These were placed on boards to help others know what to expect.

 

 

best,

Pres 

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A friend wanted red. :(

Now :) I'm so thankful!

I'm committed to liner glaze for all food contact, that's two; keeper colours include clear blue, variagated (rutile) blue, rutile green, tin chrome red. 

There's testing/practice/development involved with each one, hence, starting out, one has none, eh? You might begin with dialing in liner glaze(s) and a colour or two. Some folks recommend one glaze, then add color from there...

Edited by Hulk
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You’re not alone in the ADHD, fellow squirrel! I think there’s a few of us in here.

Mea has the best suggestion about testing it on your audience to see what they like the best. Don’t offer them anything you don’t like or are uncomfortable making a lot of, but let them help you narrow things down. 

I have found that I have to keep it simple, or I get overwhelmed and freeze. Too many ideas all at once, and there’s usually a pileup and a traffic jam results! There’s a lot of possibilities to be had with 5 glazes or less, and you can be at it forever trying to find all the combinations. Personally, I have 2 base glazes that I work with, and add different colourants to them. I tend to use my white or a yellow variation of it as a liner, but that’s more because I work with red clay. I could use the transparent base, but it doesn’t read well.

 

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21 minutes ago, Callie Beller Diesel said:

I have found that I have to keep it simple, or I get overwhelmed and freeze. Too many ideas all at once, and there’s usually a pileup and a traffic jam results!

this is also known as analysis paralysis. I know it all too well.

I'm terrible for opening too many buckets at once and losing track of my well laid plans

this also leads to the moments of panic when I sometimes lose track of which pitcher I just poured into what bucket

I am ok with keeping it simple too. I use 1 liner and 4 others consistently. I have others that are best in cooler spots or atmosphere/kiln dependent but I'm still trying to keep these to a minimum.

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I didn't have any idea about ADHD until my son was diagnosed, as many of his habits were mine.  These would amount to disorganization, sloppy desks, missing appointments, and others. Over the years though, I had found ways to cope, excessive note keeping and rewriting notes, Keeping things simple where it mattered, but allowing myself to soar when it came to new ideas, I still do the same things like pitchers behind the glaze it goes with, glazes numbered not named and in order of application. Separation of pieces with different glazing steps so that I did not mix things up. Finishing one task before moving to the next. . . throw chalice stems first, then bowls, trim stems, then trim bowls and assemble after each is trimmed while still on the wheel; sign before removal. Everything is much easier for me this way, but then don't "normal" people do the same things, just don't have to do them consciously? :D

 

best,

Pres

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The Late Diagnosis Squirrel Gang seems to go through a bunch of these questions. It didn’t occur to me for a second that there was anything unusual about my son, because what he did seemed pretty normal to me! A lot of undiagnosed adults do manage to find coping mechanisms along the way, and because there’s no frame of reference for what “normal” is supposed to feel like, you just assume everyone works like that.

Turns out, the variability and physical nature of the work that’s inherent in both owning your own business and making pots can be an ideal situation  for some ADHD’ers.

 

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