Wheel Talk

Ryan Durbin & Becca Otis

Ryan Durbin (@rdceramics) & Becca Otis (@5linespottery) share their experiences as potters, makers, small business owners, and creatives. Becca is a full time production potter & makes her own work as well, while Ryan is a full time website developer and part time potter. We'd love to share our ups and downs along the way as we build our skills as makers and small business owners in an honest, informal manner. We hope to bring you helpful tips we've learned over the years, learn from each other, and share expertise from a number of guests with you also. Please join us for some Wheel Talk!

#172 - Shooting the sh** and sharing a booth space
12-11-2022
#172 - Shooting the sh** and sharing a booth space
Ryan and Becca are way off topic for today's episode talking about some new happenings for them both before getting to business. A couple listener questions are answered about handbuilding & asking fellow artists their sales at a show before getting to the topic of the day where we think about how we are going to share a booth space at the upcoming Cincinnati Coffee Festival.Resources@ashenwrenceramicsCincinnati Coffee FestivalListener QuestionsOn this episode:- So I have a question or two I just wanted to throw your direction and to see if you guys have episodes that discuss this, or know of other artists that may specialize in extrusion pieces. We just got a new extruder at my college studio and I was curious if you guys had any extruder die ideas or maybe shapes that you found useful or interesting to play with? @the_untortured_artist- I love the transparency of you both sharing what your sales are after a show. My price range is from $4 to $65. I have a lot of lower priced items for sale. My average sale per person at my most recent show was $28. I have been scoffed at by other potters at art shows for offering lower priced items. At my most recent show I was one sale away from having $6,000 in sales. It was a 2 day show. I really would like to know how my sales compared to other potters at the show who offer only higher priced items. My question is have you asked other potters at a show how much their sales were? If so how do you go about it? Keep in mind that these are juried art shows and a lot of them act like they think their #%*! don't stink. @TheWateringCanPotterySend us questions so we can answer anything you've been thinking about on a future episode. Send those through Instagram @wheeltalkpodcast or email us at wheeltalkpodcast@gmail.com.Support the show on Patreon for as little as $3 per month: Becca’s Patreon if you want to get better and more efficient in your making process, plus she knows her shit!Follow us on Instagram:@wheeltalkpodcast@rdceramics@5linespotteryVisit our website:www.wheeltalkpotcast.comSupport the show
#170 - Organizing your inventory
29-10-2022
#170 - Organizing your inventory
Ryan and Becca cover a topic raised from a listener question today about storing and managing inventory in the studio. We cover a range of ways to keep track of work for shows, tips for packing, and using what you have to keep your work tidy without having to buy all new storage containers. We hope you enjoy after hearing about our recent life happenings to start the episode.What would you do if...you woke up at 8:30am for a 10am show that’s 30 mins away?Listener QuestionsOn this episode:- I am going to Europe in the spring of next year to visit a friend and decided to check off my bucket list and am taking a pottery course for two weeks in Italy! I am so excited but really nervous about getting the pieces I made back to Canada. My husband and I will be traveling for another three weeks afterwards, going to different countries so having them in my luggage makes me nervous for weight and breakage. My husband thinks I should ship them back home from Italy but trying to find shipping supplies and not speaking Italian seems really daunting plus it would be very expensive. What would you guys do? @alexa.michelle.pottery- Idk if y’all have done an episode on how to store/organize your inventory. But I’m just starting to selling and I’m a bit overwhelmed on where to start. I don’t have much room so I’m limited on shelving space. But keeping stuff in boxes might be difficult to keep organized.  @palmetto_mud_potterySend us questions so we can answer anything you've been thinking about on a future episode. Send those through Instagram @wheeltalkpodcast or email us at wheeltalkpodcast@gmail.com.Support the show on Patreon for as little as $3 per month: Becca’s Patreon if you want to get better and more efficient in your making process, plus she knows her shit!Follow us on Instagram:@wheeltalkpodcast@rdceramics@5linespotteryVisit our website:www.wheeltalkpotcast.comSupport the show
#167 - Studio practice Q&A Part II
08-10-2022
#167 - Studio practice Q&A Part II
Ryan and Becca answer a number of listener questions related to studio practice. Topics include attaching handles, rehydrating clay, studio waste, kiln sitter kilns, and an in-depth breakdown of someone who is struggling with pulling up their walls. Some answers are quick, some longer, and plenty of fun discussion as always.Listener QuestionsOn this episode:- Have you tried attaching handles with vinegar, or that magic water shit?? I often develop a little hairline crack or it separates where I attached the handle to the bottom of the mug no matter how careful I score, slip, and let SLOWLY dry. -Anonymous- How do you rehydrate mugs that have gotten past the moisture level to attach handles. @lindygarnerceramics- I was wondering if you could touch on the best practices for studio waste, and glaze disposal. Is it safe to dump water I used to clean tools after glazing in the back yard? Should I be taking it to a hazardous waste recycling plant? Does it depend what’s in the glaze for how you go about disposing of waste? @tinycatpottery- I have a throwing question. So I have a student who is having the hardest time pulling without pulling off lots of clay. What exactly is that caused by? Because she’s got a good amount of water on her fingers (not too much or too little), she’s moving slower than her wheel is turning, using the pads of her fingers rather than the tip, and she’s got her fingers staggered. Most of the students I’ve taught who have had this problem it was always because of using their finger tips and it was fixed by using more of the pad of their fingers, but I’m wondering if that changed something else because of how much she’s struggling with it. @passionateartsandcrafts- I have had my eyes set on a skutt KM kiln and have been saving up. A friend recently mentioned that they are looking to sell their cress manual kiln that they had bought refurbished from a reputable place. I’m nervous about a kiln sitter set up but excited to pay 1/5th less than I was planning to for a kiln. Are there any downsides to starting with a kiln sitter setup? @a_niche_instaSend us questions so we can answer anything you've been thinking about on a future episode. Send those through Instagram @wheeltalkpodcast or email us at wheeltalkpodcast@gmail.com.Support the show on Patreon for as little as $3 per month: Becca’s Patreon if you want to get better and more efficient in your making process, plus she knows her shit!Follow us on Instagram:@wheeltalkpodcast@rdceramics@5linespotteryVisit our website:www.wheeltalkpotcast.comSupport the show
#165 - Life without social media
24-09-2022
#165 - Life without social media
Ryan and Becca talk about a hypothetical life running a small business without social media in existence. Where would you focus your efforts? Are there areas that you could be focusing on now outside of social media that fits your business? We hope you enjoy today’s thought experiment.What would you do if...your car breaks down the week of a show?Listener QuestionsOn this episode:- I have an older Skutt with a kiln sitter.  The first couple years using it, it would fire perfect, on time, every time.  But the last 3-4 firings, either bisque or glaze, its going into cone 7 when I do 6, 6 when I do 5, 04 when I do 06 etc.  So only one cone usually, not a huge deal, but wondering if this may get worse, and how to correct it?  Elements are in good shape, just have one coming out that is pinned, bricks are nearly perfect. Also, its max is cone 8.  I use clay and glaze for cone 5-6 vitrification, for the life of the kiln, should I fire to 5 primarily? Ryan from Little King PotterySend us questions so we can answer anything you've been thinking about on a future episode. Send those through Instagram @wheeltalkpodcast or email us at wheeltalkpodcast@gmail.com.Support the show on Patreon for as little as $3 per month: Becca’s Patreon if you want to get better and more efficient in your making process, plus she knows her shit!Follow us on Instagram:@wheeltalkpodcast@rdceramics@5linespotteryVisit our website:www.wheeltalkpotcast.comSupport the show
#163 - Wholesale offerings & pricing
10-09-2022
#163 - Wholesale offerings & pricing
Ryan and Becca answer a listener question today about offering the right products & pricing your work for wholesale. Cindy sent us a great question with a detailed list of her wholesale and retail pricing to get a better understanding how she can balance making work for wholesale clients, if she's pricing them appropriately, and how she can have enough left for the markets she's selling at. Having a wholesale game plan is important for a number of reasons, whether you're new to it or you've worked with several clients over the years. Lastly, make sure you're thinking about how these commitments fit into the medium to long term goals of your business as well, whether it's selling via wholesale, shows, consignment, online, commissions, or otherwise.Listener QuestionsOn this episode:- First time caller, long time listener! Do either of you have any practices that go against consensus or traditionally held beliefs in the pottery community? I was listening to an episode where Becca mentioned there’s really no need to wire a pot off, and you can simply let it dry on the bat and it’ll pop off on its own, reducing the need for trimming. This blew my mind and I can’t wait to try it. It made me wonder if there are any other things that we all do just because you’re supposed to, but maybe there is no need or maybe there is a simpler way. Thanks! @elsewarealchemy- I have been asked for a wholesale product list. Is there a formula? Is there a way to keep it simple instead of everything that I make? I have 5 wholesale customers (and two large custom order clients) at present and I am feeling a bit overwhelmed! In early spring, they request products that I make (mugs, 3 lb. bowls, planters, goblets, small plates, espresso cups, soup mugs) and amounts from 30 -100 of each for a seasonal order. They run out and want more half way through the summer. I have two baby kilns! I am working my ass off and don't get enough done for any local shows! Okay Ryan, how do you even have bisque ware on your shelves? How?? Any advice? How do I figure out WHAT I can do  - and let the customers know that there is a limit ? The monster has been created... now how to make it manageable! @greencabinpotterySend us questions so we can answer anything you've been thinking about on a future episode. Send those through Instagram @wheeltalkpodcast or email us at wheeltalkpodcast@gmail.com.Support the show on Patreon for as little as $3 per month: Becca’s Patreon if you want to get better and more efficient in your making process, plus she knows her shit!Follow us on Instagram:@wheeltalkpodcast@rdceramics@5linespotteryVisit our website:www.wheeltalkpotcast.comSupport the show
#162 - Trading work for studio access
03-09-2022
#162 - Trading work for studio access
Ryan and Becca get into what would be involved in having someone work for you in exchange for access to your personal studio. Some may consider this as a good alternative to paying someone directly for their services or they have ample space to share so we get into the weeds here. We hope you enjoy today's chat. ResourcesEpisode 311 of The Maker's PlaybookListener QuestionsOn this episode:- You have mentioned not making certain items because you just do not like making them. I get that, I don't make handwarming mugs either for the exact reason. But are there pieces that you refuse to make because of liability reasons? Example: oven safe pieces like baking dishes/pie plates. This seems to be a controversial topic on Facebook groups. So do you make and sell oven safe pieces? What clays do you use? Or what are your opinions? @clayhavenstudio- Do you have any tips on throwing tall, narrow forms? A local distillery is interested in me making some bottles for them but they have to fit in their current packaging. This means they have to be narrower than my hands and about 12 inches tall. Do you have any tips for throwing pieces when your hand can’t fit inside? Thanks for your help,Hannah @reactionceramicsSend us questions so we can answer anything you've been thinking about on a future episode. Send those through Instagram @wheeltalkpodcast or email us at wheeltalkpodcast@gmail.com.Support Becca’s new Patreon if you want to get better and more efficient in your making process, plus she knows her shit!Support the show on Patreon for as little as $3 per month: us on Instagram:@wheeltalkpodcast@rdceramics@5linespotteryVisit our website:www.wheeltalkpotcast.comSupport the show
#159 - Throwing sh** & talking pots with Diana Adams from Sample Haus
13-08-2022
#159 - Throwing sh** & talking pots with Diana Adams from Sample Haus
Ryan and Becca are joined today by Diana Adams from Sample Haus. She's mostly known for her entertaining Instagram but we get into so much more on today's episode. We cover how she got into pottery, her recent experience at the Clay Challenge in Tacoma, WA, partnership with West Elm, balancing her workload, Patreon, managing Instagram, and a bit more. Thanks to Diana for joining us on another fun episode! We forgot to talk about the upcoming Clay Con West conference  that Diana and we will be presenting at. We hope to see you there in Saint George, Utah in January 2023. Check out the website at more about Diana's business below-----Instagram - @sample.hausWebsite - - Tok - - Challenge @claychallengePhi Pottery @phipotteryWest Elm partnership reels & QuestionsOn this episode:- How do you guys manage your time with regard to working in the studio and marketing (posting studio pics/ videos/ updates/product updates etc) . Do you create content, save it, &  post it at the end of the day or do you just go with the flow and post it as and when stuff happens? Do you plan your posts and curate them accordingly or they are more of an impromptu thing? @matibani_potterySend us questions so we can answer anything you've been thinking about on a future episode. Send those through Instagram @wheeltalkpodcast or email us at wheeltalkpodcast@gmail.com.Support the show on Patreon for as little as $3 per month: us on Instagram:@wheeltalkpodcast@rdceramics@5linespotteryVisit our website:www.wheeltalkpotcast.comSupport the show