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QothW: how often do you introduce new forms, and does that change throughout your career

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Callie Beller Diesel recently posted the following in the QotW pool: how often do you introduce new forms, and does that change throughout your career? 

How many new designs do you come up with in a year, and what's that work cycle like?

As a functional potter, of late, I have not come up with a whole lot of new designs. However, as a teacher 10 yrs ago, every month was a new piece, handbuilt or wheel thrown, or as a combination piece. Projects for students were often "tested" out by some sort of piece in the beginning. A theme like "crazy plumbing" or "crooked houses" for something like an extrusion piece would be planned out and assembled by me before ever introducing it to the kids. Then there was the demonstration piece, and when starting a demonstration, I usually would carry that to completion also. So every year there would be as many as 10 or 15 new forms. 

When working in the studio, I am not as much concerned with new forms as refining or modifying existing forms. An example of this may be Berry bowls that came about as I found myself using a lot of fresh berries for dessert in the Summer, and decided to do a berry bowl with a shallow plate underneath for drainage of the rinse water. That ended up as a Christmas gift that year for some relatives, and then the following year for others. Teapots may be done with tilted galleries one year, and another with regular galleries, one year rounded forms, next wide kettle type forms. None of these are really new forms just morphs from previous thoughts and ideas.

 

best,

Pres

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I usually have about 35 forms in my line-If I add one its because of a  buying trend or a ton of people asking me for them-not less than 25 requests ever .If I decide that its worth trying I work thru the design process and  introduce it into my line and  then take a form out that is slow moving-For example 

In the past few decades I gave up planters,oil lamps-soup Tureens-pin cushions-all because they slowed way down. Casseroles are on the verge of being cut soon

I have replaced them with forms like sponge holders-soap dishes-lotion bottles and salt cellars.

A large part of my forms list was published in last years  February issue in CM if you want to see the list.

Sometimes I have a form that went away and comes back like a french butter bell -made them in the 80's stopped and started again in late 90's.

I do not have a plan like 1 a year or any plan like that. It usually started as a request from customers and if I get enough asks then I consider it. I also need to like the idea and its needs to be a solid functional form that is not to fragile. I dislike broken pottery and the ill feelings that go with that so I make sure its solid durable form that will bring joy not sorrow to customers-This is often over looked by potters.

As to working a new form it takes me a month or two to get it into the line as a solid addition and this also depends on the season. I usually do not introduce new form in my christmas rush for example .

I also have few items that are sessional -they are candle holders and to some degree salt cellars now.

 

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35 minutes ago, Mark C. said:

I usually have about 35 forms in my line-If I add one its because of a  buying trend or a ton of people asking me for them-not less than 25 requests ever .If I decide that its worth trying I work thru the design process and  introduce it into my line and  then take a form out that is slow moving-For example 

In the past few decades I gave up planters,oil lamps-soup Tureens-pin cushions-all because they slowed way down. Casseroles are on the verge of being cut soon

I have replaced them with forms like sponge holders-soap dishes-lotion bottles and salt cellars.

A large part of my forms list was published in last years  February issue in CM if you want to see the list.

Sometimes I have a form that went away and comes back like a french butter bell -made them in the 80's stopped and started again in late 90's.

I do not have a plan like 1 a year or any plan like that. It usually started as a request from customers and if I get enough asks then I consider it. I also need to like the idea and its needs to be a solid functional form that is not to fragile. I dislike broken pottery and the ill feelings that go with that so I make sure its solid durable form that will bring joy not sorrow to customers-This is often over looked by potters.

As to working a new form it takes me a month or two to get it into the line as a solid addition and this also depends on the season. I usually do not introduce new form in my christmas rush for example .

I also have few items that are sessional -they are candle holders and to some degree salt cellars now.

 

Here's the article for the lazy among us: https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/ceramics-monthly/ceramic-art-and-artists/ceramic-artists/lessons-learned-time/

Nice read but if you've lurked around here for a while it's all OLD HAT! :P

I need to settle into some things, I can throw 30 mugs a night that all look pretty much the same, but for some reason bowls are a total mess for me.  I need to figure out a better way to bring them to the gauge because the way I learned bowls was to V them and then open them and it just doesn't work well with a gauge.

But I am slowly building out my forms.  

Edited by liambesaw

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I think because I am not too far into this clay journey, I do have new forms at least once a year.  Usually it's something I am trying to conquer, and once I do, like Mark, I take some time and fine tune it.  Mostly my new forms are a result of "what would it look like if I....."   

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2 hours ago, Roberta12 said:

I think because I am not too far into this clay journey, I do have new forms at least once a year.  Usually it's something I am trying to conquer, and once I do, like Mark, I take some time and fine tune it.  Mostly my new forms are a result of "what would it look like if I....."   

Interesting!  A lot of what I'm thinking when making forms is "how will the glaze react to this form?" And it still never quite reacts the way I envisioned, I need to work on my vision

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I throw forms to practice and to test crystalline: the bowls mostly go to family members- 0 profit margin. The shows and shops around here are stuffed with $10 mugs, no need to even attempt competing.

i still make geometric tile: I rarely sell jobs; but when I do $$$$$. It works for me at the moment. I am currently working on a geometric pattern consisting of 12, 8, and 4" interlocking circles. The added bonus of having a professional CAD system, with a 24 x 36 printer- I can create  precise cut sheets.  One of my favorite patterns - makes for a beautiful shower.

gallery_73441_1082_2235773.jpg

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Tom how tough is that crystalline surface in terms of scratching asa floor or wall surface?I have some small cyst cystaline pots but never tested them fro scratching.

Mark

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Mark:

I only use crystalline on walls: way too soft for floor use. My porcelain body has zero absorption. The bad news is, I rarely get to see any installs; they have their own people for that. For the floor I use a boro-silicate glaze. The decorator sends me a color palette, and I send back samples in that range. If they want a custom pattern (most are), then I charge 300-500 for design layout,  and  die making. I usually sell 2-3 jobs a year: not really pushed sales -- yet!!  I have one coming up for bid this spring: 220SF of 12" round floor tile, with deco inserts- will take a week to make the clay, die, and fire. 

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3 hours ago, oldlady said:

if all the tiles are round and 12 inches, what fits between them?????

A four point star.  I have a mock up piece floating around here some place. It has some design issues, which I will have to overcome with a special clay blend to prevent warping.

T

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Just startin' out, so there ain' much throughout to gaze back on; that said, mostly two forms have made I - bowl, mug. A few others pop in here an' there, e.g. lidded jar, utensil holder, tortilla warmer, pitcher, however, I'm mostly stayin' focused on just the two for now. Although interested in plates, they take up some room inna kiln, hence I'm looking at the other end of the spectrum - the spaces between larger pieces - for nexts, as in small vases, soap and lotion dispensers, clock faces... 

...an' I only have four shelves (eight halves)

Edited by Hulk
,)

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Plate space is relative. . . in that they do take up W and L, but little in the way of D. So I throw plates, and smaller low pots to go with them, put a lot of pieces in a kiln with a lot of layers. Bad thing is it is better to fire slowly as with so many layers of shelf it is easy to get one shelf faster or slower than the others. In the end long slow bisque, and proper cool down, with careful glaze firing to 1100F.  then speed up to ^6.

 

best,

Pres

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In terms of glaze colors on forms I have so many choices going the color part comes after the design part. I usually offer most forms in all colors so color is not part of the thought process. Also I know color is such a personal choice for the customer I never put my own choice in that mix. I just glaze forms with many choices-they decide what to buy.

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4 hours ago, glazenerd said:

Benz: I have the opposite problem. I see some of the beautiful forms others make and wish I had the skill level to achieve it...but alas I do not. I long ago accepted the artistic gene skipped over me.

Tom

I would disagree.  I've seen some of your work, and there is definitely artistry involved.  Your "sketches" just look a little different... Way more Math...

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