Category Archives: ceramics & pottery

I’ve been in a glaze class for the last few weeks, and am getting really good at finding new ways to mix a brown glaze. There’s nothing exciting to report on that front. But in the meantime I’ve been doing more water etching, I guess in anticipation of a time when I can mix up a glaze that will show it off.

Even with the studio glazes the water etching sometimes comes out just right.

Al these mugs either are or will be on my Etsy in the next few days and the plan is to donate all proceeds to Puerto Rico hurricane relief. As far as I know they’re still don’t have power everywhere.

 

Etsy Learnings

Last week in class we had an interesting discussion about pricing work and how to set up Etsy. There were a couple of key take-aways that I want to share here.

Cost & Shipping

Until now I offered free shipping. I listed at a slightly higher price point, and ate the shipping cost. The instructor made the point that my “free” shipping was costing me twice – not only was I taking a hit because shoppers may have been getting sticker shock before ever seeing the free shipping, but Etsy was also charging me fees on shipping. Having given that some thought, I switched my whole shop to calculated shipping and lowered some of the prices. Based on the estimates that Etsy gave me, UPS has been ripping me off big time on shipping (e.g. $15 shipping on a mug in an 8x8x8 box vs. $8).

Search, Tags

I also didn’t use very many tags as I didn’t see that they impacted my prominence in the search results. I also posted a batch of things at once. I’d take pictures on the weekend and release a batch of work. Well, apparently that’s the wrong way to do it. You’re supposed to tag the heck out of every post and then post one or two things more frequently because that increases your recency score.

Your thoughts?

If you’ve shopped on my Etsy store before, I would love to know… do you prefer free shipping at higher price or lower price and added shipping cost? When you search on Etsy, do you feel like you can find what you’re looking for pretty easily? What kind of search keywords and filters do you use?

Soda Experiment

I just started a new soda class where we’re doing a lot of experimentation with soda slips, textures, and adding sand into clay. Results from the first class experiment are in: I made a few small bottles and did a combination of slips, large sand, and 2 liner glazes to see how the 3 interact.

The tiny vases are available on Etsy, $15 each.

Exhibit 1

I actually have no idea what slip was on this pot and whether it even had sand on it. I left a small drip of glaze on one side and it got hit really hard with soda. I love the striation and shell marks.

Exhibit 2

This one is a new slip called “butter” with large silica sand and a clear liner glaze. The slip came out a very rich and consistent color; makes me want to eat a buttery croissant or a warm pretzel…

Exhibit 3

This one is rutile slip with large silica sand and clear liner glaze. You can see how the slip flashed on one side, but is overall fairly consistent. Somehow the titanium of the slip + sand = black highlights around the grains of sand.

Exhibit 4

This one is also rutile slip but it has a Tom’s purple liner glaze. As you can see, the glaze contributed to some very vibrant flashing. There was another tiny pot with the blue glaze and butter slip, which had almost the same coloration as this one, but I traded it for a cup before I got a chance to take a picture of it.

 

Pat Yourself On the Back

$400 of Etsy sales just got donated to the Chicago Food Depository. They had a matching donor, so the donation got doubled to $800!

This is awesome because so many kids don’t have food when they’re not in school and all my wonderful buyers helped to set that right. So if you got something from my Etsy store in June, you’re awesome and please pat yourself on the back.

Pottery Update

More interested in the pottery side of the equation? There’s something for you too…

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It’s an imitation of something I saw on Pinterest: a wheel-thrown donut on top of a wheel-thrown base, with cut-outs and clay added in a few places for extra volume. Having this piece balance properly was tricky and it ended up with front and back sides. I’d like it to be more even so that it could be used as a centerpiece. I should have made the donut fatter too, to have more room for the dirt to go in. Still, not bad for a first try.

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This is a different orchid pot design that turned out unexpectedly well because of how much soda it got. Normally there isn’t quite so much variation in color and I love those blue drips. Because for a more bowed out shape than my past pots this one has a little extra volume.

 

 

Summer

Spring is over, summer is here with 90 degree weather in beautiful Chicago and once again I’m rethinking my pottery strategy.

Since I started in late winter, I sold about $300 worth of pottery and in May donated the money. Every pot had a specific organization or cause assigned to it, but somehow all the stuff that I sold in the spring happened to be assigned to EJI. This is awesome because EJI provides legal defense for children charged with crimes as adults and educates the public on issues pertaining to racial injustice such as lynchings. But the downside is that my random assignment obviously wasn’t resulting in even distribution of cash and other good organizations didn’t get any money.

The goal, still, is to give money to organizations that has some social justice mission or otherwise helps to provide better opportunities for people who wouldn’t otherwise have them. However, going forward I’ll fundraise for one organization per season and have my readers participate in picking the organizations.

For summer, the options I am considering are Greater Chicago Food Depository, MASK, or Donors Choose:

  • Greater Chicago Food Depository is always a good one because I’m based out of Chicago and Chicago has a huge number of people who don’t have access to healthy food, many of them children.
  • MASK sets up neighborhood activities and food on city blocks with a lot of violence. It’s not a certified organization, so there’s no way to see their budget or efficiency, but from following them on social media, they seem to be doing good things.
  • Donors Choose lets people crowd-fund classroom activities that a school can’t afford, which makes them a great organization to give to in early fall. If we decide on DonorsChoose, you can suggest projects to fund once the school year starts.

I’m open to other ideas, too. Please vote for one of the organizations that I’ve chosen or suggest your own in the comments.

Yarn Bowls and the Long Lost Cup

They’ve been doing a ton of firings at the studio lately and I have a ton of new work to share. If i fit it all into one post, it would be a novel-length post. Nobody wants that. So let’s just cover a couple of things for today…

Yarn Bowls

A few weeks ago an acquaintance agreed to make a crocheted golf club cover for me in exchange for a yarn bowl. Having never made yarn bowls in the past, I made batch of 4. She claimed the first 2, but the other 2 just came out of the firing and are up on Etsy.

Based on advice of some crafty people int he studio, I made them with a wider, sturdier base than I might for a normal bowl. I tried to get a little creative with the threading cut-out b/c from what I could see on Pinterest, they’re all kind of the same shape.

If any of you dear readers crochet, please let me know what you think of these designs.

Long Lost Cup

This cup has story; true story. The day it came out of the kiln it disappeared off the shelf along with a few other items. Last week, about a month later, it re-appeared back on the glaze shelf.

Shows: 1 in, 1 to go

Having a stocked Etsy shop and a room full of pottery at home, I am trying something new to get my work “out there”: submitting cups to a couple of shows.

Nasty Women

The first show I’m doing is the Nasty Women Art Chicago where one of the nasty woman cups I made last
year was already accepted. This show is exciting for a couple of reasons:

  1. All work in the show is for sale and proceeds will go to Planned Parenthood
  2. It’s in Chicago and I will get a chance to go with a group of friends and support local artists AND PP.

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Soda 2

The second show is Soda 2 in Kentucky. I submitted 2 cups, but haven’t heard whether they’re accepted yet. This one is exciting because it’d be my first juried show if I get in, which I think would be an interesting experience.

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Update: I got into the 2nd show too. Thanks to Claudia McGill for your vote of confidence. 🙂