The new Art Tour in Denton on First Friday of each month

Folks,
A growing art tour is taking place in Denton, Texas, the first Friday of each month. More artists join this artwalk or art tour each time. If you are in North Texas, please come see us this coming Friday night, May 7th, from 4:30pm to 9pm. Lots of fun, music, food, and great art! http://firstfridaydenton.com/

Kregel Pottery will be setting up with Cimarrona hats and Accessories, http://www.cimarrona.com, at 721 Locust St. (just barely north of Eagle Ave, not far from the Morrison Milling Towers). Come take a look at some great artwork! -m

Check out Welcome, mkregel » Artists for Artists

Check out Welcome, mkregel » Artists for Artists

This looks like a great website to support artists. Am still looking through all the neat components of this website, but they offer a place to sell your artwork, set up your own website, and post blogs.

Adding Shopping Carts to Websites

I think I have spent a hundred hours investigating shopping carts, credit card authorization software, and credit card machines. The prices are expensive and tough on a small business that does a few credit card transactions but normally relies on cash or check payments. But I wanted to add a shopping cart to our website and investigated dozens of companies that offer shopping carts.
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The biggest list of shopping cart companies that work with Paypal can be found on the PayPal website. In the end, I installed the basic PayPal cart because it offered a cost effective solution for my small website. The code was easy to generate and plug in to the website. You don’t need to know html (it helps to know a little) and I had all the buttons installed in about 2 hours.
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For “onsite” sales, at shows for instance, I can take my credit card swipe machine and make a paper copy of the credit card transaction and run it through the paypal Virtual Terminal at night. This will be fine for the foreseeable future but I can see where doing many dozens of transactions will squish this program. In order to have the Virtual Terminal, you must sign up for a business acct with Paypal and that is 30.00 / month. I expect to do at least a few hundred dollars / month in credit card sales so this fee is nominal for me.
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As the website grows, and as sales grow, I may have to reconsider the shopping cart and onsite sales tools. Have purchased a copy of the Coffee Cup shopping cart and am playing around with that. Will post results of that effort later on. In the meantime, we are now set up to take credit cards online and in person, and I’m hoping that will increase our sales.

Differences using colored slips vs. glazes

These 2 pictures show some of the colors using slips rather than glazes. The covered dishes are purple, blue, white and green and will be much brighter once they have been glazed with clear glaze and fired to high temperatures. They are “painted” with colored slips while still leather-hard which is more time consuming than just dipping them in glazes after they have been bisque fired. The difference is, we can play around with the slips and make color changes that we couldn’t do if we just glazed the pieces.
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The candlesticks have already been hi-fired and the “Flag” candlesticks were colored with clay slips and then clear-glazed. The rutile-blue candlesticks were glazed that color from bisque, and the white candlesticks have a white gloss glaze coving them.
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Using colored slips in a studio adds flexibility to the pottery designs but adds some difficulty too. Colored slips get onto everything and can contaminate the working area so it is imperative that all tools, bats, ware-boards and working surfaces are constantly cleaned. Otherwise, you find yourself trying to make solid white pieces that end up having smears of other colors rubbed into the surface. Frustrating. I find myself spending an hour or 2 each day cleaning the studio. Eventually, I’ll have to weigh the value that colored slips add to the clay pieces vs. the labor hours I spend trying to keep everything spotless. If the studio was large enough, we could have a “green” area, “blue” area, etc. But we’re working in a rather cramped environment that is full of shelving and tables with little room to spread out.
Marshall

Cool potters like Doug and Sue Jochum

Doug and Sue Jochum and been a huge assistance to us in getting our studio up and going. Doug is constantly bringing us “new toys” for the studio and we really appreciate our friends!! Here’s a link to their website: http://www.jochumpottery.com Thank you for helping us out!

Some new pottery from our friend Fred Sweet

Fred has been working in the studio with us the past few months and has created some really great projects. His attention to detail, both in his work and in the way a studio should function, has helped Connie and I put together a working operation. The pictures show the versatility of his work. Using strictly slips as a color medium is a departure from earlier works but Fred has created a new series using varied colors stamped on the surface of the pieces.

A few pix of some of our ongoing projects

There is one thing about clay, you can do just about anything with it. After 30 years of playing with clay, I never get tired of it. Besides our vases, bowls, and casserole dishes, we try different projects and here are a few pictures of things we are doing in the studio.

While it was snowing…Again!

Ok, this time Mother Nature hit Dallas with a major snowstorm, which I believe, has beaten records going back over 30 years. Our front yard has 7 or 8 inches of snow and it is still coming down this evening. It was a good day to spend in the studio making pottey.
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In the pictures, you can see some of the plates I’m working on for a special project. Got 3 of them completed today but am making the next ones a little differently. These are time-consuming to do and look pretty cool when they are done. But I think I will flare the sides on the next ones and make them look more like a platter than a plate. These oughta match the candlesticks quite nicely! Am anxious to get all the sets fired next week and see how they turn out.

What a way to spend a Saturday night

It used to be dinner and a movie, or maybe a play, concert, or an evening with friends. Now it seems that our romantic “night out” is the short trip to the studio to work on some of our pottery projects.
In these pix, you can see Connie working on a Chip and Dip tray as well as doing the final touchup on one of our vases before it is bisque fired. Marshall is building the base forms for what will be some of our castle candlesticks. Each of the castles has 26 parts. It would be much faster to have these molded and poured but that would take the fun out of doing these.
This next week is “goblet week” where we will assemble hundreds of goblets and set them aside for future orders. It’s much easier to do these all at the same time. Once you sit down at the wheel and get a rhythm going, it’s easier to make all the pieces identical. It’s also good to have lots of inventory so we can pick the most identical pieces for each set.
The Trinity Base Clear (high fire glaze) has worked well on our pieces as long as it is thin. If it pools in some of the cups or plates, it turns milky white in the thick areas. Not good. We’re going to have to resort to spraying the glaze onto the pieces in order to get the correct thickness. I don’t mind spraying the glaze but the pieces are hard to handle afterward, especially when you are trying to load a kiln and you are moving the pieces around. If the glaze is sprayed on, it comes off fairly easily when touched.

Using lace for designs in clay

In 2 of the pictures, pottery artist Fred Sweet is making a box-shaped bottle using slabs that have a lace design rolled into the surface. In the other photos, Marshall Kregel has pinned a lace pattern to a clay cylinder and is painting the inside of the design with colored slip. Later, the lace is pulled from the surface and the cylinder is expanded from the inside. The finished piece will be lightly sanded before clear-glazing to remove any rough surfaces or edges. These will be fired at cone 6 temperatures.
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Lids to the vases can be seen on the small table to the left. They are allowed to dry to leather-hard consistency, then “turned” or carved down into shape before being colored to match the vases. All the vases have the same diameter opening at the top. Can you see the calipers sitting on the table? All the lids are identical in shape and size. Every lid will fit every vase but they can be painted with slips or glazes to match a particular design.