Monday, October 13, 2014

Been a While....

Hey everybody. It's been a while since we chatted. It's not that I have been that busy. My last fall show was the 13th of Sept. and since then, I made a couple of dozen mugs for a stoneware firing and a few piggy banks for a Christmas show. Some how, I can't get in the Holiday spirit yet and when and if I do, it will be too late to make stuff. I guess it doesn't matter anyway. I just can't get into making cute little Santa ornaments, dishes with Christmas trees on them, chip and dip sets, and all the other crap that seems to attract people with a $5 bill to a booth at an art show. I'm sorry, it's just me and it's not my style. If anyone needs nice mugs, casseroles, baking dishes, plates or serving platters I'll be around.

I guess I haven't been totally useless, I've done some work on the house and put up a shed for Tina to have exclusively for her camping and kayaking equipment. I've packed and delivered several cases of pots for our Empty Bowls Project.  I've been mowing and mulching a lot of leaves and Oh yeah, I had a final bridge put in to replace a tooth I broke in July. The whole process of extraction, temporary bridge, healing , fittings, and final permanent installation takes a couple of months and I am really glad it is over.

I have been spending the weekends visiting other shows around the area. I need a good late Sept / early Oct. show and I think I am still looking. I revisited one I did last year and even with nice weather, no one was really making any money. A couple of others were better but had issues. One I went to this weekend was crowded but more of a fair/flea market/antique/ Amish fest. It was 1 1/2 hours away and primarily in a pasture that was very muddy. There were a few artists mixed into the crowd but mostly people were walking in the mud eating popcorn and fried food then trying to get their cars out of the field. The good news of all these visits is that I got to see a bunch of friends everywhere I went and I didn't have to set up a booth to do it.

Lastly, I've been seeing a lot of pottery questions over and over. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings and know that we all started somewhere but NO there is no surefire guarantee on anything. Can I fix this crack? Probably not. What if I buy Super Duper Sticky Ooze at the Clay Store? Probably not, try it if you are feeling lucky but don't ever pick it up by the handle that you repaired. Suzy said I can fix it. If you believed her, you wouldn't be asking me.You can make another quicker than you can glue or spackle a bad one.

 I'm looking for a clear glaze that never gets cloudy no matter how I apply it or fire it. So is everyone else.

 I've been doing clay for 6 months now and my Mom says I should start selling some of the stuff in the living room. How much can I charge for a mug?  It took me 3 hours to make and 6 hours to decorate. Is $75 too much? Not enough? I know it's a little heavy and the handle that I cut from the slab is a bit wonky. Does this really matter?  The market place doesn't really care how long it took you to make something. Taking my time, I can throw, trim and handle a mug in about 10 minutes. My buddy Mike can do it in 5. Are mine worth twice as much as his? It's the other way around. And No amount of glaze, carving, slip trailing, or applied fanciful characters can save a pot that has bad form or handles. Spend your time on fundamentals until you can produce nice naked pots, then worry about enhancing them.

I've been making these beautiful mugs. ( picture proves they really are) How much can I charge for them ? No one knows. Where and how are you trying to sell them? Do you have a following?  What prices do you see on similar work at the shows you do? Buyers that come into your booth determine price, pure and simple. All your cost calculations and time studies tell you what price you can afford to sell at. If that number is higher than what people will pay, don't make that item. I don't make teapots unless I just feel like it because I know they take me more time than they are worth.

One more last item. The first of November is the Western North Carolina Pottery Festival in Dillsboro. I'm going down to help my friends Mike and Karen Baum. Stop buy ( not a typo) and say hello if you are there. Also on Oct 31 (Fri.) Clay Olympics start about noon and afterwards, some of us are planning an acoustic jam session. If you play anything, feel free to join in. Takes more nerve than talent. Thanks so much for reading.


  1. Sometimes I read those questions on Fb and just have to shake my head.
    Jeff and I did a mud show once. We spent the day in the rain and packed up in ankle deep mud... and yep, lots of cars got stuck. I was happy to have 4 wheel drive.

  2. Fun read Dennis! The questions of faceplant are humorous, while the responses are both hilarious and as Michele stated "head shaking". I look forward to the day we met in person! Enjoy your day!!

  3. but Dennis do you know if can I put coffee in that mug?

    glad to hear all the news, I'm making a few xmas things cause I seem to have a bit of time and inclination but I don't really like making them as much as the one of kind stuff, oh well, I feel it gives some folks the opportunity to buy pottery that don't have much money but want something handmade.

  4. Oh Dennis you write what so many of us have rolling around in our heads. I keep swearing to myself that I need to write a blog on so many of these pondering issues and I will. Really glad I stopped by because I was toying with going to SOFA in Chicago or heading off to see potters……. reading this I'm leaning toward potters :) Have a lovely Fall…….. Christmas stuff….. so not there yet!!

  5. Good to read this AND all the comments. Now I know it isn't only me!

    Glad you are done with that bridge. Dental work is the worst.

  6. Dennis you forgot one question... how long do you wedge your clay? Clay should be wedged for at least five minutes. Well I wedge my clay for 12.5 minutes and have never had a pot crack. 12.5 minutes isn't necessary, 12.3 min. will do the trick. I never wedge clay. OMG you never wedge clay? You risk your pots blowing up because of air pockets if you never wedge..................................................

  7. Gee thanks for all the input . It's always nice to hear from you. Michele, I dare you to post that wedging question. Maybe we could try to guess the number of responses. I'd say 76 !


Comments are the currency of the Blogosphere. Remember to tip your waiter.