I have a busy spring and summer once again thanks to Fresh Fork Market! I will be designing a few new products for them along with making more of the popular French butter crocks. I love working with companies to make their visions come to life. My favorite thing about this project is that I get to work with a local company whose mission I support. They promote local family farms and healthy eating. I highly recommend looking into their program. They have vegetarian and vegan options as well.
This year’s project includes honey pots and my favorite, the corn cob plates. These little guys will be sold it sets. I have have a few special edition items for them but you have to wait to find out more. Sorry! A little anticipation is good, right?!
In 2012 I began my first collaboration with Fresh Fork Market. It was a great experience. I learned new things about mass producing items, met new people and become stronger and quicker at throwing. I will be continuing my collaboration with them in 2013 (but you will have to wait for the exciting new things we have planned).
My second collaboration is with Terra Verde Handmade and The Burning River Candle Company. For Terra I will be designing soap dishes and other ceramic goodies. And for BRC I am using my tree trunk and cherry blossom containers as candles. They are not officially available until we work out a few more kinks but I wanted to give you a preview.
I am often approached for custom orders. I welcome such inquiries but find that customers except me to just walk into a “stock room” and grab what they need. I thought I would take the time to explain the process of what I do and why an order takes 3-6 weeks.
First, I have to throw the piece on the pottery wheel. Next I trim the bottom of the piece to refine the shape. This can’t happen until the piece firms up to a leather hard state. It has to be ready to stand upside down without collapsing. In the summer things can be leather hard a day after throwing. In the winter it can take up to a week. This is also when I add handles, decoration, etc. (So far we are at 1 week).
Next the piece needs to be bisque fired. Before this can happen the piece needs to dry out. This is a slow process to prevent warping and cracking and takes 4-10 days based on the size of the vessel and the weather temp. When the piece is finally dry it goes into the bisque firing which is a slow fire. All water needs to be driven out along with the natural impurities of the clay. A firing is around 12 hours with about a day to cool down afterwards. (We are now at 3 weeks).
Now the piece is ready to glaze and fire (if it has survived the previous steps!). The piece is cleaned off with a damp sponge to remove dust and debris then glazed. Next I glaze the piece which is a multiple step process. For example, the cherry blossom pieces first need an under glaze of the blossoms, then two glaze colors. The plate in the image was mishima (This means carving the piece, inlaying under glaze, scraping it when it dries, firing it, adding under glaze to the letters and glaze to the whole piece – a 2 part glazing process both before and after the first firing. The image is step 1, 2, & 3). (We are now at 4 weeks.)
Finally the piece is glaze fired. This is a quicker firing. It is typically 8 hours with a day plus to cool. The temp is hotter by 400 plus degrees compared to the bisque firing. (We are now at 4.5-5.5 weeks to complete the transaction and delivery/shipment of the piece.)
And then poof, your handmade ceramic vessel is complete. Unless it cracks before or during one the two firings. Or the glaze bubbles or crazes or runs. This is why I give an eta of 3-6 weeks. I want my customers to be happy, the piece to be perfect and allow enough time for the process and potential room for error. Its not easy doing what I do. Ceramics is about patience and orders should be too!
With all this being stated, please make sure if you want a custom order for Christmas that I receive the order by November 4th. Thank you!
Its been a busy summer at my studio. I have work in an upcoming exhibition at Valley Art Center. You’re Invited: Artful Entertaining opens Friday, September 7th from 6-8pm. The show is up through October 11th.
My show calendar for the holidays has been updated. No extra workshops this seasons or shows until my November open studio. This is due to the fact that I am one of thirty artists selected to be part of the Etsy Pavilion at the One-of-a-Kind Show in Chicago! I’m very excited to be part of such an amazing show full of talented artists, many of which I will be shopping from with my earnings.
I also have some things on the 2013 calendar already including curating an exhibition and doing some larger scale shows. Its been an exciting year thus far and I can’t wait to see where it takes me. Be sure to check out my show and class pages for more information on where to find me this fall.