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misc. clay bodies+ faults ; fair pricing.

updated fri 1 oct 04


Lili Krakowski on wed 29 sep 04

A very fine potter I know mixed her own clay bodies BY WEDGING. She =
could not find any one boughten body that was just right for her. So =
she found three, each of which excelled in some quality she liked, and =
mixed them.

There is a story attached to that. She worked in a studio with some =
others, and, not having a pugmill, wedged, literally, on a table. It =
was an old kitchen table, and had seen better days, and so it began to =
squeak. One day another potter yelled across the studio: " For pity's =
sake, have that table fixed! It sounds like a night in a cheap motel!" =
The next day the glue pot and the braces appeared....

Anyway. Clay bodies are mixed by the suppliers for reasons of their =
own. We always get reports that "I used Putchki #5...." " I use Boue =
#82" and this bad thing happened . So. Why not lay in three or four =
clay bodies that are advertized as "different" from each other and make =
your pieces and see if one clay body performs better than another. =
Wedge two bodies together...Where is it written that the perfect body =
for each job will appear, just like that?

As example: I delight in a white body from one manufacturer, and a dark =
red from another. "One's" red feels greasy to me;I love the way it =
works and hate the way it feels; and "Another's" white is nasty, and =
their red wonderful. I keep the two isolated from each other, but mix =
scraps from which I throw most of my functional pots.

I am not applauding myself , but that is what I was taught. If you =
cannot mix your own body from scratch, nor order in sufficient quantity =
for someone to do it for you, then mix what you can get. Works swell. =
If you have defects appearing in your pots, and you have tried modifying =
production methods, try another body. =20

I know I nag, and I am sorry--but everyone should have several bodies in =
the studio as references--both for glaze tests and for doublechecking =

FAIR PRICING. (The phrase has a lovely double meaning. What is =
fair/just, what is price at a fair. Ah, well.)

The original ? was: Three people are selling at a Fair. One is =
SuperPotter, whose mugs are sold at $50. Two are regular potters, and =
one prices mugs at $x and the other at 2x. What is a fair price?

I do not quite see why SuperPotter is at the fair. Lettuce say she has =
her reasons. If she is in a venue where her name is known--as within 50 =
miles from the school where she teaches, or like that--her groupies, =
fans, and such will come and buy her pots. I lament it as much as =
anyone does--but we are not celebrities. Go around such a fair and say: =
"You know Lucie Rie is over there...." and 99% of the people will =
answer; " Oh, yes. Nice. Thanks. Do you know where the candy cotton =
stand is?" In places like Penland, or around Alfred I suppose, there =
will be locals who know potters--because X gets his doughnuts and =
coffee at their favorite diner, or Y's kids go to school with his kids =

FAIR PRICING includes not cheating. I have never supported myself by =
potting, and many potters do not. Although professionals, they teach or =
have some other occupation to meet the big bills. But I think it only =
just that I "book' my expenses fairly, so I can look a production =
potter in the eye and say: I figured it all the way you would.... Many =
a production potter benefits from another adult in the household paying =
the mortgage, insurance, and other heavy bills. So even production =
potters can fudge....
The gist, I think, is to face your own costs squarely--light, heat, =
supplies, taxes, rent and such--and then price in that range. I doubt =
that nowadays that brings in a mug at the suggested $5. I would think =
about $15 is more like it.

Obviously if your mugs are c.6 stoneware and the neighbor's are c.11 =
porcelain or something there SHOULD be a price difference. I think c.11 =
has a selling job to do. The public does not know, and alas does not =
care, and so c.11 has to think of some way of convincing the public that =
c.11 mugs are worth more....

Doctors now have quite disgusting videos of what they plan to do to you =
once they knock you out. Yuk. Do any potters have videos of how they =
MAKE that mug? I mean, do any of you woodfirers have a video in your =
booth that shows How This Mug Was Made? I wonder because I know that =
such a video would inspire me to buy.....

Lili Krakowski

Be of good courage