You are listening to episode 8 of the MudTalk Podcast. This episode is a little different from other episodes so far. It will be a little shorter than normal but I think it will lead to a lot of discussions in the future. For this topic, I left it up to you to ask the questions. I wanted to know what you would ask other potters or ceramic artists. I thought it would be a great way to get some ideas for future MudTalk Mondays and make sure we’re discussing topics that you REALLY want to discuss.
There were a lot of great responses. Everything from, “how do I get started?” all the way to “how do I price my pots and make a living?” As usual, when I was reading through the comments some patterns started to emerge. So we are going to start with the beginner questions and then hear some of the more technical questions. After that, we’ll look at some of the questions about the business side of working with clay and then we’ll hear a few miscellaneous questions. At the end I’ll give a preview of upcoming MudTalk topics so you can send in a message that could be on a future podcast or get a response ready for the MudTalk Monday social media posts.
So let’s hear some questions that you would love to ask other potters or ceramic artists.
There were a few people that just wanted to know how to get started.
Monstriss As someone who only did grade eight art and did a semester in Pottery, where do I start with literally nothing?
Shshshelby I’m so interested and have nothing to start with – where do I begin and with what kind of products?
I’ll give a brief answer here because I love when people try something new, especially if it’s working with clay. One thing I love about making pottery is that you can start small. All you really need to get started is clay. As you progress you can start adding tools and equipment and try new techniques. The complicated part comes when you are ready to fire and glaze your work. For a longer, in depth answer, I have a new course coming out soon at Expert Clay for complete beginners that want to know how to get started.
There were a number of technical questions about specific parts of the process.
Mimiepoterie Clay sculpture incorporating a metal rod. What type of metal do you use to avoid melting in kiln?
Marianwilliamspottery Use of oxides- how, when, effects, application etc
Instalesswespottery How to build a high-fire capable kiln at home, or how to fire functional pots from home efficiently and ideally without spending a fortune.
Pamelabarclaysatx Favorite handmade or repurposed pottery tools.
Noahkildoo_ceramics How do frequent soda firers get that pitted texture in the soda? Is it a clay high in alumina or some other refractory?
Lannieraecreative I want to transfer my photos and art onto my ceramic pieces – I don’t want to do it post glaze firing. I want it to be fired on and remain as functional stoneware. Do I need special paper / printing done?
Risabeeseattle Kiln use, maintenance and firing techniques. I’m a new potter, and am buying my first kiln. I have never fired one before and I’m… nervous. ?
Forgetful_yogi Finding the right base clear glaze for mason stains in cone 6 oxidation ?. Particularly reds and pinks…. And printing and applying laser printed decals!
Theclayrabbit Great idea this thread! I would LOVE to find information on COLD FINISHES FOR SCULPTURES because I’ve tried looking for books on it and online for this topic and there’s nothing much out there … and I’m always searching for lovely MATT finishes firing and non firing with methods of application that are user friendly ?
_shandiReynolds_ What’s the best way to pull up walls? I can pull them up to an extent but I can’t seem to get it
Jane N what brushes does one use when they want to draw figures onto bisque fired pots. I never seem to get the correct brush size or type and my strokes just come out looking yucky and not what I want
There were also a number of questions about selling pottery and running a business.
Newspinontradition How do you balance your time making work with time spent on the rest of the tasks necessary when making a living in clay…(i.e. shipping, marketing, accounting, photographing etc.) ?
Chrissybrownsculpture How do you price your work?
Lisabevanspottery I’m interested in how other clay artists plan… month to month, the whole year?
Pinezenpottery How to price fairly to both potter and consumer. I am really struggling with this–especially as brand new baby potter. ?.
DerekOrourkeCeramics How do you make a living from pottery?!?!? ??
JessTabasco How do I start a career after college?
Dowidat.ceramics How to market online making up bio’s that don’t sound forced or fake. I love talking and discussing but when it gets to writing I have trouble.
Stonecropstudio Who is my market and how do I find them? Pricing is also a puzzle!
NicolaHartStudios I need help with trying to calculate how much I should be selling my work for, when everything is one of a kind and it seems impossible to calculate time.
Carolbarclay6 Best practices for on-line marketing .
There were also plenty of other questions that didn’t fit into the categories already mentioned.
Oteplyakov Would it be the same joy to make a copy of an ancient vase or sculpture as you have making a new one
Grace.your.table I love learning ideas of how other potters arrange and organize their studios. It always inspires new ideas for me! ? ?
Dtaylorsatm Plz recommend a easy to understand book, video, etc on use of glazes. ?
Claybylaura What type/style of pottery to you buy from another potter?
2frogsstudio I’m in my second career in ceramics. Definitely not the hobby potter route. Is an MFA a must have? Why or why not?
Ladytokioblue Who exposed you to pottery/clay/ceramics and why have you stuck with it?
Ladytokioblue Also how do you keep from getting hand or wrist pain from repetitive motion?
Anita M How do you feel about sharing glaze recipes? Do you think it’s important to share and possibly allow others build on your work to further everyone’s knowledge base or is it better to not share and encourage them to learn how to get to that stage and build upon their own discoveries? How important is recipe sharing in our field?
Michelle W How do you organize your work week? Do you have specific throwing days? Glazing days? Or does it change from week to week? I would love to (be) able to know how to organize my schedule so with festival, market, and commission pieces all running I don’t get backed up and have to work super late nights for a week straight… Any tips on time management??
Thank you to those who asked all these great questions. Do you think you could answer some of these questions? Do you need a place that will help you find the kind of people that want to hear the answer? Check out expertclay.com which helps connect clay experts and people who want to learn from them.
Instead of picking my favorite responses this time or trying to answer some of the questions already asked, I’m going to give you some of the upcoming topics for this podcast so you have a chance to share your own answer. Maybe even hear it on the podcast.
Upcoming MudTalk Topics
Recorded episodes: 9 – Favorite part of the process
Episodes to record: 10-What you are most proud of, 11-Meeting other potters, 12-Your biggest influence, 13-What Clay body and why?, 14-What would you tell yourself when you were a beginner?, 15-How do you price your work?
If you want to contribute to any of these future episodes, go to expertclay.com/mtp to record or write a message.
And be sure to follow Pottery Making Info on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr to join the discussion on future MudTalk Mondays. These could include:
What life lesson has clay taught you?
What motivates you to keep making pots?
What is the best pottery-related purchase you’ve made in the past two years?
As for the future of this show… well, who really knows the future?! But I plan to start releasing a new podcast episode every other week instead of every week like I’ve done until now. Two weeks should give me enough time to organize, record and edit a decent episode. Plus, I’ll be adding more content to the blog and sending more emails to everyone on the email list. Thank you so much for listening. I really appreciate it!
Remember, if you haven’t already, check out expertclay.com to see the show notes for this podcast, send a comment to be on the show and connect with other potters and ceramic artists who you could teach or learn from.
Until next time, question everything… and stay muddy.