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How good is good enough? (Read 2,705 times)
 
Andrew Abercrombie
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How good is good enough?
Nov 28th, 2015 at 12:30am
 
Hey everyone, starting to turn some things and having tons of fun making shavings. I am curious if anyone has some suggestions on when do I deem my turnings/designs good enough to be brought to a farmers market, etc.

TIA
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A:) Let's take roll call to see if we're all here.
B:) Well now, it could be that we are all here, then some of us aren't all there.
A:) Right, let the record show that we are here.
C:) Who?
 
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Ron Sardo
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Re: How good is good enough?
Reply #1 - Nov 28th, 2015 at 8:19am
 
Without seeing your work this is a hard question to answer.

Over the years I've noticed that "good enough" usually isn't.

I would suggest to make sure you have accomplished a good form without any tear outs, tool marks or sanding marks along with having applied a good finish.
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Bill Neff
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Re: How good is good enough?
Reply #2 - Nov 28th, 2015 at 8:54am
 
I've seen a couple of turners at art shows that don't sand their bowls.  The tool marks are part of their designs.  One used a foot powered lathe and his are rustic looking. Both these guys had very good tool control.  They both had very nice work (one had been featured on the back page of the AAW journal). 

To me it's a case of knowing the rules and how not to use them in design.
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Re: How good is good enough?
Reply #3 - Nov 28th, 2015 at 11:19am
 
Go to other art/craft shows.  Visually compare your work to what you see.  I have found, over the years, that we are either our own best friend or our own worst enemy.  Giving yourself a decent performance rating is not easy.  Keep striving for improvement.
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Ed Weber
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Re: How good is good enough?
Reply #4 - Nov 28th, 2015 at 1:12pm
 
Andrew Abercrombie wrote on Nov 28th, 2015 at 12:30am:
I am curious if anyone has some suggestions on when do I deem my turnings/designs good enough to be brought to a farmers market, etc.


It really depends on your competition, in which case you need to check out what others are selling, not what they have for sale, but what they actually sell.
If you are the only one selling items of a particular type you don't have any problems.
if there are others that sell similar items at the same venue you either need to.
Have the same/equal quality and sell at slightly lower prices
Have better quality and sell at competitors price
Have a better/different selection than your competitors
Price your items for the venue you're selling at
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Gary D Baker
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Re: How good is good enough?
Reply #5 - Nov 29th, 2015 at 6:34am
 
Andrew,
You aren't selling to woodturners.  If you have pretty, rustic, interesting wood in an object that has a purpose you will do well.  They aren't worried about thin walls, aren't interested in artsy fartsy.  They want something that they can see in their home that looks nice and is useful.  Finish is very important and they want to feel it.  A story about the history of the wood is good too.  Give it a try.  It is a learning process.
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Tony Rozendaal
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Re: How good is good enough?
Reply #6 - Nov 29th, 2015 at 9:36am
 
Andrew Abercrombie wrote on Nov 28th, 2015 at 12:30am:
Hey everyone, starting to turn some things and having tons of fun making shavings. I am curious if anyone has some suggestions on when do I deem my turnings/designs good enough to be brought to a farmers market, etc.

TIA

I agree with almost everything written before - here is my suggestion. Go to a local club meeting. Watch for the guy/gal who brings in a really nice piece without a lot of special embellishments for show and tell, but who doesn't have a lot to say about it. Another way to select your mentor is a local club member who does a demo that you find to be really valuable.

Approach him/her one-on-one and ask him/her to critique your work. Make up your mind not to be defensive about their comments or suggestions. Make your decision about craft fairs from that conversation.

Another note about local craft fairs/farmers markets - people who frequent local craft fairs aren't necessarily looking for a gallery quality finish. I do a mushroom form right off the lath with no sanding or finish.  With the natural edge of the branch wood that I use, it all "looks right" - sort of rustic. IMHO, form is more important than finish. As a side benefit, doing the mushrooms is teaching me a lot about tool control on spindle turnings.
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Kat Tomiczek
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Re: How good is good enough?
Reply #7 - Jan 27th, 2016 at 3:09pm
 
Ask yourself as I do: "is this good enough, am I done with this piece." The facts is: if I've asked I've already answered the question. No, it needs more work and I keep striving for perfection whatever that is for me. You'll know when you've reached the point of being good....in the meanwhile 'Have fun turning and don't let selling be your mission'.
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Don Stephan
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Re: How good is good enough?
Reply #8 - Jan 27th, 2016 at 8:14pm
 
For help evaluating your shape and design, look for the design book by Richard Raffan.  Chock full of suggestions, profiles, and examples.
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Ed Weber
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Re: How good is good enough?
Reply #9 - Jan 28th, 2016 at 9:38am
 
Andrew Abercrombie wrote on Nov 28th, 2015 at 12:30am:
I am curious if anyone has some suggestions on when do I deem my turnings/designs good enough to be brought to a farmers market, etc.


For most artists their own work is never good enough, this is why an outside perspective is needed. At some point you just need to do it, go out and try to sell something. You will find out pretty quickly if your work is "good enough"

Kat Tomiczek wrote on Jan 27th, 2016 at 3:09pm:
in the meanwhile 'Have fun turning and don't let selling be your mission'.


Unless selling is the mission


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Breck Whitworth
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Re: How good is good enough?
Reply #10 - Feb 1st, 2016 at 3:29pm
 
Andrew, I will say this first: Do you sign your work? If not then I would say you probably are not ready to sell. I have seen fair turners who sign their work and are happy with the results sell pieces to family and friends and even at craft fairs. A piece that is not signed tells a customer you don't feel good enough about your work to put your name on it. On the other hand when you do put your name on a piece (where all can read it) you tend to try a little harder to do a better job.
quality of work that sells is relative, it depends on so many factors, many of which have already been listed by others. I knew I was ready to try by the number of people I wasn't related to that said they loved my work and I had built up quite an inventory. If you have confidence your work is good enough to put your name on and let people see it proudly then yes you are ready to try to sell your work regardless of how "good" it is. Like Ed said, until you actually try you will never really know. Good Luck, Now swing the bat when you are ready, if you get a few hits you are on your way if you strike out a bunch of times then back to the practice routine.
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« Last Edit: Feb 1st, 2016 at 3:33pm by Breck Whitworth »  

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Paul Roberts
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Re: How good is good enough?
Reply #11 - Jun 11th, 2016 at 4:02pm
 
Been turning for over 65 years, selling for 10 years. Unless your work is intended for the "Rustic", or "Natural" market, I think the finish should be as close to perfect as possible. The galleries we show in prefer a satin finish, so I do a final rub with the finest steel wool I can find.

We finish without any tool or sanding marks. It is extra work, but we get a lot of compliments on our finish quality, even sell some, once in a while.  Smiley
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Ed Weber
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Re: How good is good enough?
Reply #12 - Jun 11th, 2016 at 8:10pm
 
Paul Roberts wrote on Jun 11th, 2016 at 4:02pm:
We finish without any tool or sanding marks. It is extra work, but we get a lot of compliments on our finish quality, even sell some, once in a while.  Smiley


Not to split hairs, but to me, it's a part of the work, not extra.
IMO, A good finish can go a long way toward turning an average piece into a wonderful piece.
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Re: How good is good enough?
Reply #13 - Jun 12th, 2016 at 9:24am
 
"Extra work"? You are right, in our case it is "Standard procedure" I have seen work for sale with turn marks & dry spots in the finish. I don't know if it ever sold?

The gallery owners inspect our work very carefully & we have always received compliments on our finish.

To me, even the most beautiful piece of wood with a poor finish in unacceptable.

While working behind the counter at a co-op gallery it was interesting to see how many women wanted to pick up the bowl & feel it. Smooth is good.

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David Walker
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Re: How good is good enough?
Reply #14 - Aug 3rd, 2016 at 6:22am
 
If people buy it your good enough!
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