So, my local mail and shipping store was trying to think of a way to drum up new business. There were plenty of people who walked in on a daily basis but the shop had so much extra floorspace that was not being used. So, one Saturday, we completely transformed the inside of the business, moving counters, building new shelves, and painting walls. Then, we invited lots of artists to bring hand-made works to display and sell in our new shop! Cool! People can buy artwork and ship it from the same location. We’ve got a built in repeat clientele because some of the shops regular customers also purchase pottery, paintings, slump glass, handmade paper, and other items that stock the shelves.
Visit our new “shop” in Dallas at “The Mail Stop”,
305 Spring Creek Vlg, Dallas, TX 75248
This is on the NW corner of Belt Line and Coit Roads. Its in the strip mall on the southern end.
I’ve been so busy the last few months that it’s hard to keep up with all my friends! The winter was long and cold and we couldn’t use the studio at all. It was just too cold to function out there. Plus, it just seems to take forever for the kiln to fire on really cold days. But, we’re at it again and planning for the new year.
Here is a link to a blog by Ron Edmondson who talks about business and social networks. He is a minister who finds the time to maintain his blog and has some great advice. He has some great stories. Please check them out: http://www.ronedmondson.com/2009/07/developing-a-personal-social-media-policy.html
I’ve got 2 small to medium sized kilns that I need to move out. One of them is a paragon with “internal” dimensions 18″ deep x 17.5″ wide. This is one that I have had for a while and use quite frequently. I normally fire it to bisque (cone 04) temperatures and it works fine. I have fired the Paragon to higher temperatures. The 2nd kiln is a Cress kiln that has “internal” dimensions of 20″ deep x 17.5″ wide. I bought this one and never fired it. The person I bought it from never fired it either! This kiln is practically brand new and looks it. It is rated for High Fire (cone 6+) applications. There is no “furniture” (shelves or posts) with the kilns. The plan is to get a larger 50 amp kiln that I can regularly fire to cone 6 or 7.
I’m forwarding a note from David Sieja at the ‘Texas Pottery & Sculpture Guild’ http://www.tpsg.biz/
As you may know there are three levels of bowls at the Empty Bowls event. Regular bowls, are bowls that you get with your entrance admission; Bump Bowls are a little better / larger and are an additional charge PLUS you regular bowl; And then there are the ones that I’m willing to BEG for, the Gallery Bowls.
Gallery Bowls are an extra special bowl and are sold directly for a flat $100.00 charge. These bowls are the biggest and most impressive of the bowl categories and the ones that I’m asking you to donate. Last year we sold 48 of these special bowls and since $4,800 equals almost 20,000 meals it is a spectacular accomplishment.
Gallery Bowls will be featured on a separate table and yes, you can attach your business card. So, PLEASE look at your inventory and see if you have ANY bowls that can be donated, but specifically look for those special bowls that just call out as Gallery Bowls.
Finally, since I am only reaching a small portion of the artists in the Fort Worth area, PLEASE forward this to any friends that may be willing to donate. The Food Bank is seeing record requests for assistance and we have lofty goals for this year’s Empty Bowls.
(Davids contact is: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Am glad these summer temps are finally cooling down. Was able to fire the large electric kiln after a few months off. 40 new pieces done!
Trying out Ping.fm to update Facebook, Twitter and WordPress blog from 1 site. Plan to use this to update our Kiwanis service websites too.
Update: Ping.fm is a free service that seems to work quite well. All my updates can be made from 1 location and that will save me a little time in the future.
Now…back to the pottery studio!
The last 3 weeks in North Texas have been scorchers! Daily brownouts occur because everyone is using their ac systems at full blast. I’ve hesitated on doing bisque and final firings because the large kilns draw 50+ amps at max and I don’t know if that will interfere with the home ac system. If the brownouts cause the kiln to fire slowly, then it could take all day and half the night to just do a bisque firing! I think I will wait until the temperatures cool down a bit. In the meantime, greenware is filling the shelves.
Fred Sweet is doing some work in our studio and producing some really great designs. His attention to detail on his pots certainly encourages me to spend that little bit extra on each piece to get the most out of it. With my main job (software support) taking up so much time lately, I haven’t been able to get out into the studio as much so I’m hoping to get these computer projects wrapped up so I can make more pots!
Although we have a website (www.kregelpottery.com), we’re thinking of creating a separate FaceBook page just for our pottery work. We have a twitter account @kregelpottery with almost 350 friends, and I have a personal twitter account @mkregel that I use to post mostly art stuff that is not necessarily pottery related, but more about the business of art. So far, I have about 1040 followers on that account! Cool stuff!
We’re looking for shows to participate in this Fall.
We’ll post the events here.
I’ve been involved in online sales for many years. First, with Ebay and other auction websites, mainly selling militaria items and antiques. Then, I started a website that specialized in East European (mainly Finnish) history and have a “Gear For Sale” page on the website where I sell books, dvds, and militaria items like hats and belts. Sales have really been good over the years and I maintain my own inventory and do my own shipping.
When Connie and I started our pottery studio, I already had some experience at setting up online sales and putting together a shopping cart. We agreed early on that, before we opened a brick and mortar store, we would achieve a minimum income each month from online sales and from shows and this income would pay the rent and overhead costs for our brick and mortar shop. In this manner, we would lessen our start-up costs and have an established clientele that were ready to do business with us.
Today, while reading the news, I ran across a very good article on Ways to Make Cash Online and I’d like to share it with my friends. Here is the link: http://yhoo.it/aUFc8j
The concepts in the article are excellent and include information for artists.
There is no reason that an artist can’t establish an online sales program that would continue to bring funds even after retiring from the business. As easy as it is to make money online, I don’t think I will ever really “retire”. As long as I check my orders each morning and ship a couple of times / week, I think I could do this for a long, long time.
I had to take a quick peek into the kiln (as it was cooling) and got this picture of the top layer of pots. These pots were made by potter Fred Sweet at our studio. He used some new slip colors that we tested and plan to make in large containers for studio use. The beautiful brown pot in the background was actually painted with a deep black slip that reacts to the zinc in the clear glaze to cause this brown effect. We now use this slip/glaze combination to make our browns because the color is so rich!
The bowl in the foreground was made by Connie Kregel and has a Rutile glaze with a pie-shaped area stained in iron oxide and covered with clear slip.
In our studio, we use a couple of different clays depending on the product we are making. Normally we would wedge on a canvas covered table but we needed additional clay working areas that would not get contaminated by other clays. Voila! An instant portable wedging and working surface in the form of a 2×2 foot piece of Hardibacker board.
Hardibacker board is a fiber cement board that was invented as an alternative to traditional drywall. (visit this link to see how it is used in a home http://www.onlinetips.org/hardibacker-board-installation ) You can buy this at just about any lumber or hardware store. Ours came from Lowe’s.
We cut a large piece of Hardibacker board into individual 2×2 foot squares and attached a small piece of wood to one end as a lip that would hold the board in place when used on a table. We also tend to put a piece of canvas down under the board to prevent it from rubbing into the underlying table surface. Each of our boards is marked (on both sides with a black felt-tip marker) with the clay type that will be used on it.
To prepare your portable wedging surface, coat the board with a fine layer of clay slip and allow this to dry. Then, scrape the surface with a painters trowel (plastic or metal), dust it off, and you are ready to go! The board is easy to clean and also helps dry-out wet clay.