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Well I had a strange experience this past month-I took the high road

Story started with a pottery order adding on to some 30 odd pieces ordered over the last 20 years. Customer wanted 8 more cereal/soup bowls a with lips and a 4 small miso size bowls straight lipped.

During the photo exchange she mention her dinner plates wearing out, and asked if she could add a low fire glaze to them and fire them-that freaked me out-I said NO

That did not sound right to me. I know my work does not wear out. It breaks yes but wear out??

My plates have been in daily use since 1975-not worn out yet.

Send photos I requested-time slides by. She is not photo savvy

A few weeks and her nephew send a detail close up of worn spot in glaze. Looks very strange. I see some unusual crazing. I request her to send down the plates in question-she says she has a few-2-4 that are worn. 

Now I should should add that I have had customers tell me some pretty crazy stories on pottery-like it turned colors or change shape-never Have I actually seen any of this as in a returned piece. I had a person tell me that my liner glaze stains but after she actually washed with a pad the tea stains came right off

I told her that I would either refire them, if indeed she has worn the glaze down, or replace them if they had a problem that needed that-but mainly let me see them.

I gave her a full page of packing lessons so I got them undamaged-I said that if I refired any they could die but most definitely would change color. I said If they died I would gladly make new ones at no cost. Standing tall here in the studio.

I asked about any use that could damage them that she may have done with zero results . We talked about thermos shock- hot water dish washers where fine as was 200 degrees in oven with pancakes. She said that if they change colors she would want all 8 to be changes the same. I said send them all down two states away. I’ll pay for shipping both ways.

Packing was too much and they took it to UPS store.

The box came, about the size of a small compact car. OK I’m exaggerating Enough bubble wrap to wrap up a small town-really each plate was inside a plastic bag then small bubble warp then large bubble wrap-on each plate.

They paid 30$ to send and another 20+ to pack it.

Pots showed up   3 days later and after a few hours I had cut them loose, saving all packing materials to keep it from becoming an Alice’s Restaurant deal and to reuse them on return trip north.

Inspecting the plates, they were all crazed badly -they felt wet. One of them had a very small high spot with the worn thru glaze spot. The rest where just crazed. From thermos shock. I asked her how these again where thermo shocked.

Not a clue until I asked if she ever thawed things in a microwave on them-well yes for 20 years been heating cold or frozen things in center-Bing  Bing Bing uneven heating.

I heat things like coffee in a mug in a microwave but nothing is good about thawing frozen foods even on these porcelain plates.

I found the problem now what. I know that refiring plates is a bear and the loss rate is high.

I put her set in our large commercial oven-slow at 200 for a night warming the next 25 hours to 500-I could tell these wares was soaked in meat juice Meanwhile started to throw replacement plates. After 1.5 days in oven then slow and cool to room temp. I knew these plates held the small % water that this body can hold if left unglazed as in the crazed glaze after 20 years.

I ground the backs where they may run as refires will run more. -I heated the plates again and put a very thin glaze on top only wiping the backs clean.

I loaded them in the middle of kiln and preheated slowly all night taking them up very slowly.

Trimmed the new set and loaded a bisque with them in it. I made her bowls as well and biqued them. Took two day to cool the load.

Well The color was fantastic-better than the original-zero crazing once again.

Only had three with tiny lip cracks and all f had bloating-big ugly boils.

Oh well move ahead I always say. Glazed up the next set of 8 with no spares (as this is not a stock color for me in flatware) and I want no extras-this means usually that some will fail and I held back two bisque blanks.

Today that set came out-16 bowls-8 for her the rest for a gallery-the small bowls all perfect

The plates where fantastic. I packed it all up today into that huge box. I gave her 60$ credit on shipping threw in a sponge holder . Along with a care note-no more microwaving and chalked this up to doing the right thing.  The boxed weighed 37# .I will get a few bucks back on the new bowls but I feel like I took one for the team.My team

I know she will be happy-Her plates where gone less than 3 weeks

In my life its not all about money and in this story that really rings true.

The big question is did I learn anything-well yes -tell my customers not to thaw foods on my flatware -Thermo shock will cause death sometimes it a slow death.

 

Edited by Mark C.

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GOOD FOR YOU!  though it is hard to tell people every possible thing all the time they can really come up with some doozies you would never expect.

there is a sign on my cabinet door to use the corelle plates in the microwave.  4 of the 8 good plates i inherited have been ruined by just heating normal stuff, not frozen.  

 

MARK, i noticed you have over 8000 forum posts.  and your new avatar looks like you have over 8000 posts.

Edited by oldlady
add

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That is my post rack next to car kiln

The compartments are made in various lengths to hold the posts

When the kiln is loaded there are always a few compartments that are near empty

I also use these in my other kiln which I often fire at same time

They are up high at the perfect height to use.No on the floor piles for me.Made this rack in 1978. Its used every week almost

thing is it holds about 1/2 the posts that I own-I have two other racks going as well.

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Mark,

High road for certain. I have had pieces come back to me over the years. . . .mostly chalices or patens that folks have broken accidentally. For me it is best to ask for a picture of the remaining piece and throw a new piece to match it along with matching glaze. I don't charge but for shipping on the replacement as the standing order now is over 30 years.

 

best,

Pres

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I have some mentors that have been making pots for a similar amount of time as Mark. Their policy was if someone brought in the pieces of one of their pots, they could pick a new one, no questions. Bob said it earned them way more in good will than it ever lost them in cash. 

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28 minutes ago, glazenerd said:

you can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaraunt

No lie! Great anti war song (which some folks tend to miss, have gotten distracted by the 8X10 glossies and implements of destruction and too busy sounding chipper while singing along.  :rolleyes:

Edited by LeeU
to insert the rolling of the eyes

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Well this story had a bit more to it it turns out.

She got the new stuff and at first was not happy with the plates as they where not the exact same color as 1st set.(theyt where better by far I thought but hey what do I know?)) In my reduction cone 11 world colors always look a bit different  every fire. Thats the beauty of it really for me. She on the other hand did not understand this even though she has over 30 pieces that all look a bit different but match in a blending way collected over 20 years. She though maybe if she paid more I could get an exact match. Anyway after a few cordial e-mails she now gets that money will not help the varibility of my glazes in reduction. No matter how much it could cost.Now after a few days shes loves them.

I on the other hand am moving on and making sure all dinnerware customers always know this as I have always told them but they still do not get it at times.I need to maybe say it three times now.

 

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When I worked for a company that made all bespoke glass work, we would often spend a lot of time with each client being very clear what was and wasn’t possible with any processes involved in creating their piece. There was a lot of emphasis placed on the variable nature of certain handmade things, and that the outcome would be within a range of possibilities. In that particular setting, we could really upsell the fact that they were getting a truly unique piece that no one else would have because of that range.  If I have to remake a thing, I try and tell all my clients that they’ll get a sibling to the piece they’re replacing, but not an identical twin. A big part of my sales patter in my booth is about the subtle differences between items, and how the customer gets to own a unique piece that shows off their own taste when incorporated into their home. 

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On 3/31/2019 at 7:14 PM, Mark C. said:

I need to maybe say it three times now.

Any chance you have not put it in writing? A simply worded description would at least document that they were informed. Of course, no guarentee that people actually read anything and bother to pay attention to what it says! 

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On 4/1/2019 at 6:58 PM, LeeU said:

Any chance you have not put it in writing? A simply worded description would at least document that they were informed. Of course, no guarentee that people actually read anything and bother to pay attention to what it says! 

People read less now than they used to which was not much back in the day. I post signes on every dispay section and no one reads them . When they ask me if its this or thast I just point at the signs and say they are all thesew things-thats been going on for a solid 30 years now.Maybe if I had a I- phone scrolling they might take a look at it?

Edited by Mark C.

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This story keeps on giving as I just got home from a two day trip to SF and had a check from her for way more than I billed her-$200.

Nice surprise really. Still in the hole big time but the sting is less-and the good will still flows freely.

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