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Carolyn Dorr

What do you do with the pieces that just don't make it? | July 24, 2012

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Many years ago, when I was just starting out, the method that was used to use to get rid of unwanted pottery was to toss it as far out into the nearby river as possible. I'm sure that there are many sub-standard pieces still out there, covered with silt, just waiting for some future archeologist to come along and rediscover these 'treasures'. ;)

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You may sell seconds, you may not, but surely you don't sell "thirds".

 

What do you do with the pieces that just don't make it?

 

Do you smash 'em, trash 'em, bash 'em or stash 'em? Whether you destroy, recycle, or hoard, we want to see pictures--email them to editorial@ceramicsmonthly.org or attach the picture here.

 

Looking forward to seeing your pics and responses on what you do!!!

 

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I break my oopsies into bits. My husband and son mix cement, adding Elmer's glue to their mix. I collect aluminum pie tins or buy them for a dime each at thrift stores. We pour the cement into the pie tins and top with broken ceramic. I have about 30 stepping stones in my garden punctuated with shards of color from god knows what went wrong.

JustaWhittle likes this

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There's an old joke about this.

 

A potential buyer asks a potter about the exhibited pottery: "So, do you throw all of your work?"

 

Potter: "Yes, and sometimes I throw them twice."

 

Buyer: "Twice? How is that possible?"

 

Potter: "All of them get thrown on the wheel. After they're fired, some of them get thrown off a cliff."

 

 

I didn't say it was a funny joke!

 

 

Shirley

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I have decided to nip this in the bud as best as I can. I had examined some of my greenware, if it was too thick, if it was too thin, if the foot was too thick or the entire vessel was not really 'upto snuff', it has been broken for reclaiming and starting over; they have been busted up. Many of them were much too large for a test piece. I have decided it is better to do this while in the greenware state rather than after the permanency of the firing. By the way, I do this when my daughter is not around she freaks out. I was going to bust up one small vessel that just irks me and my daughter yelled, "NO!!" So I have kept it. But I still look at it from time to time with one eye closed.

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You may sell seconds, you may not, but surely you don't sell "thirds".

 

What do you do with the pieces that just don't make it?

 

Do you smash 'em, trash 'em, bash 'em or stash 'em? Whether you destroy, recycle, or hoard, we want to see pictures--email them to editorial@ceramicsmonthly.org or attach the picture here.

 

Looking forward to seeing your pics and responses on what you do!!!

 

 

 

 

Over the years, I have come to realize that what I have made in the past and sold, I would consider seconds today, actually they would not even be fired. A friend of mine that has been collecting chalices of mine for over 20 years showed me his collection a while back. I was rather embarrassed by the first of these, after seeing them. It brings to mind the questions-when is something a second, when should you decide to sell, how good do you need to be to sell? Will something from your early years come back to bite you even though at the time you might have been proud to have produced it? All a matter of relativity.

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I think there is a difference between "seconds" and "thirds" and what might be called "subs".

 

To me a "second" is a perfectly good piece aesthetically that has some sort of technical imperfection that renders it non-saleable. A "third" is an instant "smash in the shard pile" piece due to significant technical or aesthetic insufficiency.

 

To me, a "sub" is a technically sound and OK piece that is aesthetically below my CURRENT standards. One that "should not have been born". Yeah,.... we all screw up from time to time! Subs head right to the shard pit too.

 

In my philosophy, eelling seconds is not a good way to make a career. Seconds are OK for commodities..... not so good for artwork

 

While older work may not be up to current aesthetic standards...... it was the best of the objects at the time. Looking back with the current eye... they would be "subs". But back then... they were the best of the objects made. Yeah... they can be enbarrasing when you look back at them.... but they mark the development of the artist over time.

 

HOPEFULLY there is an obvious progression there over the years in skill of execution as well as aesthetic merit! If not, well..... you've got some other issues to address. ;)

 

best,

 

.................john

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.........While older work may not be up to current aesthetic standards...... it was the best of the objects at the time. Looking back with the current eye... they would be "subs". But back then... they were the best of the objects made. Yeah... they can be enbarrasing when you look back at them.... but they mark the development of the artist over time.

 

HOPEFULLY there is an obvious progression there over the years in skill of execution as well as aesthetic merit! If not, well..... you've got some other issues to address. wink.gif

 

best,

 

.................john

 

 

 

This is assuming all things remain the same. If you change the clay building techniques, and the clay body is not being used in the way your use to, and your designs have been changed then any of these factors can reveal the rudimentary skills that have yet to be developed for the new techniques.

 

Vessels that are being produced in new techniques are ok to keep for a while (unfired) and if the work continues in a new technique your skills will increase; you will know when you have a keeper.

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This is assuming all things remain the same. If you change the clay building techniques, and the clay body is not being used in the way your use to, and your designs have been changed then any of these factors can reveal the rudimentary skills that have yet to be developed for the new techniques.

 

Personally I am talking about work that "makes its way into the world" here. As in gets sold or given to people in response to Pres's thoughts. If you are making "techincal" changes to your work like you describe... hopefully your aesthetic standards have developed such that you would not decide to release any of that stuff until both aesthetic as well as technical standards are up to the previous level of your work.

 

To do otherwise would be a severe detriment to your career.

 

Work in progress on the shelves in the studio....... if it is a "sub" or a 2nd...... poof... its gone. Til it "makes the grade" commensurate with the prior bodies of work you've been doing .... it is not formally shown.

 

best,

 

...............john

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This is assuming all things remain the same. If you change the clay building techniques, and the clay body is not being used in the way your use to, and your designs have been changed then any of these factors can reveal the rudimentary skills that have yet to be developed for the new techniques.

 

Personally I am talking about work that "makes its way into the world" here. As in gets sold or given to people in response to Pres's thoughts. If you are making "techincal" changes to your work like you describe... hopefully your aesthetic standards have developed such that you would not decide to release any of that stuff until both aesthetic as well as technical standards are up to the previous level of your work.

 

To do otherwise would be a severe detriment to your career.

 

Work in progress on the shelves in the studio....... if it is a "sub" or a 2nd...... poof... its gone. Til it "makes the grade" commensurate with the prior bodies of work you've been doing .... it is not formally shown.

 

best,

 

...............john

 

 

These days, a work in progress that doesn't work out, no matter how many hours are into it, just doesn't get fired. It may sit around for a while, til I figure out what went wrong, but then it gets slopped. Hmmmm, I guess that is one of the benefits of being retired, its my time, no money involved.

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With age and longevity comes discernment. I am no longer eager to commit pieces to the fire. Now it must be exceptionally beautiful.

As a new potter I said, “Oh wow, look at what I made!!!â€

 

As an older potter I say, “I made that?? Wait, let me try that again.â€

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Hey everyone I joined this site just so i could post a cpl thots on this topic! First of all I'm not a potter and have no experience with making pottery! I am a 30 yr ceramic tile /stone worker/ installer! (semi-retired)! Thats not to say I don't respect the art -- on the contrary! Its funny to see some of you or most, to say throw away the 2nd's while for the last 20 or so yrs when we break a pottery plate/bowl/cup in the kitchen if it gets thrown away I dig it out of the garbage. I rinse it of course. then it goes in a box w/ pieces of tile  some broken some not and all colors! Now if i'm not mistaken the first 2 words of this website are "ceramic and arts" correct? Not ceramic "pottery" arts! So unless you plan on changing the name anytime soon I would like to respectfully be considered as part of the group as an artist nothing more nothing less! You see the stuff you throw away I take and turn it into a different form of art! In that way it lives on as art not as driveway gravel! lol! no offense! And the best part of it is -- its FREE! I'm posting some pics of a small portion of some things I've done. I have nvr sold anything I've made but would like to start! My knees and shoulders are tired of lifting ,and crawling around on  floors ! I would love any and all comments and especially  criticisms! I am way past getting all upset if someone doesn't like it! I like it. and my friends who have received most every piece i've done, like it, and thats good enough for me! The pics with the palm trees both have a lot of pieces of a plate and a cpl of bowls that were dropped in the sink by accident! I liked the the lines in the glaze, thinking they resembled (if you use your imagination) waves in the ocean! "I'm O'clay You're O'clay" pottery lives on! Not as a salad plate, but as an ocean! How cool is that? The pics I took are too big to load here so here's a link to facebook . If interested you can view pics there. I dont want to take the time to resize and all that! Thx for reading........................Bill.

 

"https://www.facebook...204261985538625"

 

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Welcome Bill!

I like the pieces ... Lucky for you there is an endless supply of shards! I really like the address ones ... Nice personal work for your friends.

 

You will be a great addition to the forum as an tile installation expert too ... we often get questions on these topics and you might be the person who can give informed answers.

 

I hope you do start selling your works and I am sure you will get lots of custom orders.

nmstoneman likes this

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Thanks Chris! I appreciate the compliments and would be happy to answer any and all questions pertaining to installation! As luck would have it just as soon as I start to get serious about turning a hobby into an occupation I get called back to work on a movie! I will check back periodically however!

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Bill

I used to save all my trashed glazed pots for just such a person as you who made tile murals and such -he moved away then I tried to find another person with limited luck now its grind them into road gravel at the local recycle cement plant.

If you pay for ups  fees I can send them to you in a box-send me a PM if you want cone 10 porcelain-very strong bright glazes.

Mark

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