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Mudslinger Ceramics

What Do You Do With Your Pottery 'seconds'?

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Hi

 

 

Found this while looking through old threads on the site: http://ceramicartsdaily.org/community/topic/2590-what-do-you-do-with-the-pieces-that-just-dont-make-it-july-24-2012/

 

...............many relevant answers there, same theme........'Smash lots, Love few'.

Getting the message!

 

Irene

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I had had a friend who was an artist (painter), who would make some drawings and would throw it away if he didn't like them. 

I'd pick up the ones I'd like and keep them. They look really good in an appropriate frame. 

But when it comes to the pottery, I hate it when I keep something that I do not like. I think of seconds like of a contamination of the environment. 

... If only I could come to one of my coworker's home and brake what she took from my garbage can into small pieces! 

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I don't mean the really horrible 'seconds' which deserve a new life as mosaic .....but those with a small fault that are still functional but not 'good enough' for the regular outlets where high quality and reputation are essential to good business.

 

Talking faults like.......small 'S' crack under the foot ring, pin hole that won't heal in refire, post fire warp, glaze not the 'right' colour, pre-loved experiments....etc

 

Aw, heck. I just use them myself. I can never have enough bowls and plates in my house, because I hate doing dishes.

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there is a wonderful potter in florida,  Ira Burhan, whose seconds and thirds have become the borders of his garden.  the shards became insets in the concrete stepping stones in the many paths.  i am going to try to post a couple of pictures of how he does this.  i am lucky enough to have one of his mugs.

 

AGAIN IT says the file is too big even though i took it down to 47 whatever the h...

ShellS likes this

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I don't mean the really horrible 'seconds' which deserve a new life as mosaic .....but those with a small fault that are still functional but not 'good enough' for the regular outlets where high quality and reputation are essential to good business.

 

Talking faults like.......small 'S' crack under the foot ring, pin hole that won't heal in refire, post fire warp, glaze not the 'right' colour, pre-loved experiments....etc

 

Aw, heck. I just use them myself. I can never have enough bowls and plates in my house, because I hate doing dishes.

 

LOL as long as they are structurally sound I do the same!  We have 4 children (and one on the way) in our house so things are constantly being broken or overly used.  If it something we can't use then it is garbage.

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there is a wonderful potter in florida,  Ira Burhan, whose seconds and thirds have become the borders of his garden.  the shards became insets in the concrete stepping stones in the many paths.  i am going to try to post a couple of pictures of how he does this.  i am lucky enough to have one of his mugs.

 

AGAIN IT says the file is too big even though i took it down to 47 whatever the h...

 

I would really love to see pictures of how he uses the pottery in the garden.  Sounds like a cool idea.

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I send the items (mostly bowls, covered dishes, casseroles, and platters) that do not measure up to my standards to a friend who runs a plant nursery.  There they make planters out of them - usually covering up any flaws I found, and the plants become the main focus. I barter the pots for plants so we both win.  

 

I find there are people who appreciate different things in every pot and have been surprised how some pots I just was disappointed in are admired by others.  When the pot is no longer the element of attention but in partnership with other materials/plants it is a good symbiotic unit.  If I don't feel a flawed pot is good enough for turning into a planter I use it for target practice at the gun range.  

gg94 likes this

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I have just tiled a birdhouse my husband made, putting shards around the art cottage door (a work in progress) and now we are going to tile my upstairs bathroom with my mistakes. I am only doing this for 3 years, so I have a LOT of mistakes. I played with color yesterday, so today another 10 pieces are headed to the tile pile!!

 

Oh, and I tried to donate them to an artist who is doing a town mosaic, but she only accepts cone 10 or higher. I asked why, and she said she wants the mosaic to be around 100 years from now. I thought cone 6 was pretty tough, but she doesn't think it is tough enough. ???

Nancy

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cone 6 is totally tough enough....don't be offended, I have people trying to give me stuff all the time, if i took everything I would be like one of the hoarder people on t.v and my friends and family would be having an intervention. actually maybe i am one of those people eckkkkk! T

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If you don't smash them, someone will pick them out of the garbage and put then in a garage sale for a buck. My mother-in-law will see them ,buy them and give them away as gifts, telling everyone that her son-in-law is the potter who made them.

True story.

TJR.

muddylove likes this

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I give any really 'good seconds' to close friends and relatives or use them myself.  Any of the bad ones get pinged off with a pellet gun for target practice or smashed with a hammer before being disposed  Lately, I have been using them around my studio/gallery to make things look more artful and interesting for visitors.  Some are in my fish tank in my gallery, some are in my garden as outdoor art.  I use construction adhesive to glue them to boards,  and mount bowls/platters outside on the wall of my studio.  They look nice, and a few pinholes or glaze flaws don't seem to matter when they are part of a mural/decoration on the studio.  I like the idea of a garden wall or gluing them together to make a cool sculpture.   

 

A few years back one of my friends told me he would collect up all his seconds and he would invite local groups to have a smashing party.  They would 'sell' the seconds to smash.  The money raised would go to charity.  Everyone involved would wear safety gear of course.  Some pots were dropped, thrown, hit with bowling balls etc.  I'm sure there are lots of stress relieving creative ways to crush pots.

Stonethrownpottery likes this

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I feel so badly throwing them in the trash. Not because I'm upset that it didn't turn out, but rather it seems such a waste. It seems people do try to sell boxes of their shards for use in mosaics on both Etsy and Ebay, but I cannot tell if they are successful in selling those. I was considering on maybe putting a box of shards on Craigslist once I get a full box. I would at least feel like my mess ups were useful to someone ;o) 

 

I've seen videos on youtube of people haveing smash parties at studios :)  Definitely looks like fun. They set up an area outside and take turns throwing the pots, lol.

 

I'm sure my teen son and teen daughter would very much like the smashing part ;o)

 

Wanted to add that my pens/pencils on my desk are in an awesome jar that I made. It has a gallery for a lid, but the lid didn't turn out. I couldn't throw the crock away because I love it, lol.

 

I have 3 mugs/cups in my kitchen that also hold various writing utensiles. Two of them underfired and couldn't be used as a cup, but they're so pretty. The mug had a glaze inside that didn't work right. There are several other things around here that didn't work as their original purpose, and I couldn't give them away/sell them, and it seemed a shame to trash them when they could have other uses in my home :)  I have a bowl that I plan on putting some sort of plant in.

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It is hard to smash your own work. 

 

Keeping seconds and selling them or even just giving them away can be a dangerous thing to your overall career as an artist. If you are a hobby potter and don't care to ever attempt to make a living, then disregard this.

 

When we put forth effort and create something we tend to get glossy-eyed at the object and we see all the hard work put into it. We start looking for ways to keep it or talking ourselves into being able to get some profit out of it, because golly we put so much hard work into it we should be getting paid, right?!

 

Well, no, I think we are giving ourselves too much by saying we deserve that. I say smash all but your very best work. I am no leader at this, I have failed many times and now regret giving away the seconds and selling them too, even to my family. I am glad they went to a good home, but now those are the only pieces many of these people have. I have found that those who get seconds hardly ever actually buy your good pottery, and instead just hope to continue getting freebies or are satisfied with that one piece you gave them when you first started out. (This makes them sound dull or selfish or mean, but these are good people with good intentions I am talking about.) Do you see how this is dangerous? Now anytime someone comes over to their house and sees the pottery and your relatives (friends, etc.) tell them your name, you get a bad rap in those people's minds because your old junky pottery is all these new potential customers see.

 

On top of this, people tend to just begin expecting that you will give seconds or sell cheap pottery that "still works well" and will only come for those pieces. Your customer base will begin to build based on reasons I hope you don't care for. Pretty soon you will realize that your junky stuff only sells and your good stuff you are proud of no one really takes a whole lot of notice. 

 

You are only as good as your weakest pot. :)

 

If you struggle with a piece and perhaps you see some potential in it, set it aside and come back to it in a couple weeks. Keep doing this until you decide it is junk and smash it or until you realize that sometimes you just needed to grow a little in your mind's eye and you have a real gem on your hands. BUT be careful, don't give yourself too much credit here and if in doubt, take a photo of it, smash it, and let it go.

 

One more thing. If you give someone a pot, why not give your very best to them? A gift is supposed to be something wonderful, maybe even sacrificial. You should be proud to give the pot away, and if it is a second, you can't be truly proud or it wouldn't be a second so don't give me that bull. If you give your seconds as gifts, what does that say about you and about that other person? 

clay lover likes this

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Now my kids have finally left home I break them..Before that ,seemed to go thro' mamoth amount of mugs etc.  And then there were the Uni apartments which seemed in ingest a huge amount of pottery.I did go out of my way to provide food in seconds for all the birthday and other social occasions attended by the above people as they never ever brought a plate/casserole home after such occasions....

Break them! Can't think what future archaeologists will think on viewing my on farm land fill.....What rotten potters existed here :blink:  but hey, I won't be here to endure that.

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If you do choose to glue that fish platter, you can add some black iron oxide to D/E 3000 glue and it will appear like a raku clear glaze crack.

 

Currently repaired using urushi laquer... just waiting for the bond to finalize so that I can apply the gold powder.

 

Incidentally... I used the hypo-allergenic urushi, wore gloves, rubbed vasoline into every exposed surface... and still earned myself a poison ivy-esque rash. Nasty stuff!

JBaymore likes this

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