Thursday, August 25, 2016

Marbling technique - learning curves :)


I am excited, I just pulled another successful load from my kiln. In it I had 6 marbled cups, a flower pot with plate, and a plate, bowl, cup combo. Well, and a tall vase, but that was just for me - it has a crack in the bottom that does not go all the way through - i will keep it because it still looks good and is functional, just not sell worthy :)

I am excited overall with how the marbling came out, or agateware, people call it different things. I think of it as marbled.

Some lessons learned from it - go far darker, for bolder. I had gotten a light blue and a medium blue. The medium came out decent, but the light blue is barely visible. Part of that is also related to my stingy ways - again, a learning curve here. I had only gotten 1/4 pound bag of each stain, and used it sparingly, wanting to make it last. The reality of that is, I got 6 cups (2 barely visible) and I used it to make several other pieces (probably 6 other pieces) but it was so faint that I will just glaxe over it like normal. So lesson learned, go for darker, and do not be stingy!

I already ordered a new blue, one that was slightly cheaper so I got a full pound for only slightly more. It is between a medium blue and dark blue, so hopefully it being slightly darker and also me using more of the stain will make some pieces that POP! :) We will see :) I am loving it in general, but do want to work on making pieces that have a more pronounced pop of color. I would also like to expand and get some other colors, but getting the stain can be expensive, so we will see how it goes. Overall though, I am really happy with how this wave of cups came out. Sure, I need to work on my form and proportions, but hey, I am happy!

I also created a plate, cup, bowl combo on a whim with a splatter of blue, green, and purple on it, and LOVE how it came out! I did this random splatter because I am very low on my green, and I was like, huh, why not try that? And I really enjoy how it came out. I think I will do more like this in the future, with different color combos - I am thinking yellow, orange and red (not that I have a red), things like that. Anywho, happy overall with how it came out! :)

*** I initially planned on posting this during the first week of August, and my internet was being wonky so I did not post it, and just realized it as I came on to post again. So this is three weeks late, and I have included some photos from this discussed firing, as well as a firing that occurred after the one mentioned above.

New projects and transitions

It has been a while since I have posted, a couple weeks. Some really wonderful things have been happening with my pottery, while simultaneously I have been pulled many different directions; making it hard to accomplish all that I would like.

I made several new sales through the Creatively Maine Pop-Up shop that I am part of, which is wonderful. It was spurred by my decision to start a sale at the shop - 20% off for the rest of the time that my items were at the shop (through the end of the month until the shop closes). I started that back almost 3 weeks ago, so it has helped with sales, which is always the goal!

The big news from the shop is that I received two custom orders. One individual who wants a set - 4 plates, 4 bowls, 4 mugs. The other would like 4 plates and 4 bowls. I am SUPER excited about these orders, because they are the first large orders I have received. I am nervous about these orders, because they are large, and because I am still learning with my throwing and being able to produce items that are the same shape and size - that is HARD. I have made the 8 bowls, and have them in the kiln as we speak with the glaze firing. I have the plates and mugs drying and readying for the bisque firing tomorrow, and then plan to do glaze firings over the weekend into monday. My worry is that I underestimated how much clay I would need, and am currently completely out of clay. I have some on the way, but at this point it is too late for it to be helpful for me to get pieces done by the identified deadline. So if any of the pieces have an issue... then I do not know what to do. So cross your fingers that things go great! :) The other struggle was that I was given a short time frame (in the pottery world at least) where I had to make, dry, bisque fire, glaze, and then glaze fire all these 20 pieces in just over a 2 week span. So needless to say, the combination of the time crunch, my internal worry over the pieces being "similar" enough, and the reality that I am transitioning back to work full time next week (and have had to work 1 - 3 days a week for the past 3 weeks leading up to school starting) has left me stressed. Regardless, I am hopeful that everything will come out well, and that the individuals who placed the orders will be happy and will see that even if the pieces are not exactly the same size that they were at least made with my full heart and soul and intent.

Related to the pop-up shop, I have a new "custom" order from one of the owners, who is requesting me to make her 12 or so soap dishes. I made her 7 different types/examples, and she is going to pick out which she likes best and have me make her some soap dishes that she can sell with her hand made soap, which is exciting :)

I did an event over this past weekend and sold some pottery. It was not a craft fair, but a local event that was not geared at crafts, so I was happy that I did have some sales (even though I would have loved more). My goal once I have my custom orders taken care of, and once I have everything back from the pop - up shop (Which closes a week from today) is to put all my items back on Etsy, and then to start researching what craft Fairs I can be part of this fall/winter to make some sales going into the holiday season. I feel like I am more likely to make sales at craft fairs because I feel like people might buy my items as gifts for others. My goal over the next couple of months is to really narrow down my focus on a couple select items - people really want mugs, in particular LARGE mugs. So i am going to work on making a bunch of variations of large mugs. I have also sold every chip n' dip platter that I have made, so I need to make some more of those. Beyond that, I will have to think about identifying a couple other options/key items to focus on as the fall approaches.

A worry I have is that I am headed back to work next week. I have been lucky to have the summer off to be so active with pottery. But it is time, and school is calling, and I start working with students again starting next week. Tomorrow is my official last day "off" of summer. But overall, I Cannot complain, it has been a great one :) But I do hope that me transitioning back to work does not lead to me not throwing or creating art; I think it will just have to be a balancing process.

The only photo today is of the soap dishes
, but I will plan to pop on in a couple of days once I have the full sets complete to post photos of the finished product :)