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Customer Pieces Management In Commercial Ceramics Studio


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#1 biskuit.ru

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 05:29 AM

Hi there!

I was wondering how do you guys (if you work in public access ceramics studio) manage customer pieces, identify which one belongs to whom after firing?

We have like a couple dozen pretty similar pottery mugs made by our guests every week here. And after unloading kiln we have to sort them all out.

So far we use those little post-it sticky notes with the name of the author, his phone, date of production and most important little hand-drawing of his masterpiece. So we could identify it after firing.

It's not quite possible to make them all put their initials at the mug bottom. And post-it thing has its disadvantages too.

Can anyone share their experience?

 

Cheers!

 

 



#2 Colby Charpentier

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 06:30 AM

Every piece must be marked, and each mark is identified to the studio. We do not waste time and firing space on unmarked objects. Work from outside the studio is accompanied by a firing slip which lists everything from the clay type to dimensions and all that good stuff. But again, the work is either marked, or it's not being fired, unless a client is renting an entire kiln load. What makes your situation such that you can't have your customers mark each piece?



#3 biskuit.ru

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 07:43 AM

Well, we've tried to enforce physically marking their stuff, but in a lot of cases it doesn't work all right. Ideally I'm trying to invent some foolproof universal solution on this issue, which suit all sorts of our guests.

We have a number of look-alike mugs, plates and pots being made here every week on one hand. And digital database of our guests with their names, contacts and other stuff on the other hand.

So the problem is to connect particular mug taken out from kiln with particular individual who made it. For several reasons: sometimes author simply couldn't recognize his piece, 'cause he is newbie, sometimes we want to call a person to invite him for glazing, when his bisque is ready, 'cause it's good for business.

 

95% of our guests are first-time newbies to ceramics. There are dudes, who visit us single time just to throw a mug, a gift for their girlfriend with heart-shaped mark if any. They say marking it 'Peter Smith 05.05.2014' is beyond their concept. There are James Jameson and John Johnson, who both want to mark their stuff 'JJ' and nothing else because 'I mark stuff JJ all my life'. There are people who easily ruin their pot, just holding it in hand. There are 8yo kids, who want to mark their mug 'Pikachu' today, with fancy star the other day and do not want to mark at all tomorrow because 'Me do not want that's why'. And this kid is listed under his mom's entry in our database and that's too much to modify it with his stars and zigzags every time he comes.

 

So now we enforce them to sign those post-its with their contacts and little drawing of their mug. It's working but looks a bit lame. And I have a feeling there could be a different approach. Sort of barcode-printer connected with photocamera, barcode scanner with display and everything paired with some database maybe. 

 

Or maybe I'm just giving this thing too much attention :)



#4 Stellaria

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 09:44 AM

An identifying mark doesn't need to be initials or a signature, and certainly not a date. They just need a mark. And yeah, you can enforce it. "No mark, no firing" is a rule that you, the kiln operator, are entirely in control of. The customer cannot be blamed if you fire the unmarked stuff anyway.
A mark doesn't need to be scratched or impressed, either. Slip or underglaze or underglaze pencil can also be used.

#5 Chantay

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 10:20 AM

I participated in a community studio.  All pottery must be marked, or it didn't go in the kiln. The owner would return after a week and there stuff would still be on the shelf.  They usually remembered next time. This is especially important if some one puts low fire glaze into a cone 6 firing.  Or even low fire clay in a cone 6 firing or something still damp in a bisque. If everyone knows whose fault it is that the entire kiln load was ruined, it is usually a one time event.  Also, there was a master list with everyone's markings.  So multiple people with initials "CP" had to add a number or something to identify each person.  Non compliance wasn't an option.  If you can't follow the rules, find another sand box.


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#6 Pugaboo

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 05:29 PM

I belong to a group studio as well and you mark your pot or you take your chance with someone else thinking its theirs and walking off with it. Putting all that work in just to lose your piece is generally a one time thing and they remember to mark after that. We have a list and use 3 initials and if there are more than 2 people with the same 3 initials the 2nd person later arrived person has to come up with 3 that they can remember and it's marked in the book next to their name.

To make it easier for you maybe buy a set of rubber stamp letters? They can be used to press gently into leather hard clay OR you can even dip them in underglaze or red iron oxide after the pot is dry. Just stamp the bottoms of all pieces with the persons 3 initials at any point during the creation process. Another thing you can do is use your cell phone or cheap digital camera and take a snapshot of the person holding the pieces, you'd have a picture of the person to match to the piece, wouldn't even have to necessarily print them out just pull up and say yep that's yours or no yours was more round see? Show them then grab the correct piece and everyone is happy. A picture says a thousand words as they say.

Terry
The world is but a canvas to the imagination - Henry David Thoreau

#7 Chris Campbell

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 10:18 AM

> Or maybe I'm just giving this thing too much attention.

In a good way you are. You want to serve these people well and get repeat business.

BUT ... It's just not possible to match everything up with a tidy bow for them. Nine out of ten newbies do not recognize their work after firing unless they have somehow marked or signed it. Signing your work is not too much to ask. Finding your own work on a table after firing is not too much to ask either.

No mark, No firing ... a great rule.

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#8 oldlady

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 01:52 PM

I agree, it is your rule, you enforce it.    macaroni letters work well with kids.

 

for kids, learning that someone ACTUALLY ENFORCES RULES is a lesson in itself.  an 8 year old should have already experienced this but with today's lax everything you may be the first unbending person that kid encounters.


"putting you down does not raise me up."

#9 biskuit.ru

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 03:01 AM

Thank you guys all for your feedback, appreciate it!

My bad I didn't state it quite clear - we actually DO have a rule about marking and it is strict and without exceptions.

Some time ago we came to conclusion, that physically marking stuff (the way we need it) is not always an option. So now we are using little post-its with required info (full name and phone, date of production to be totally sure when it's completely dry and general stuff time-management, optional author's comments, like 'please do not fire yet, wanna do engobes').

 

And now we are looking for some bullet-proof universal solution, 'cause those post-its sometime get lost or confused or duplicating. So far it looks like something with photo-camera and barcodes or QR-codes will do the thing.



#10 neilestrick

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 05:14 PM

I think your are really overthinking this. Your studio should have clearly marked areas for pots in different stages of completion. For my studio, the students keep them on their shelves as long as they are still working with them. When they're ready for bisque they go onto specific shelves. When they come out of bisque, onto another set of shelves, etc. No way would I deal with sticky notes. They are adults, and as such must take responsibility for their work at all stages. It's not my job to track their pots for them.


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#11 Mark C.

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 05:23 PM

I think your are really overthinking this. Your studio should have clearly marked areas for pots in different stages of completion. For my studio, the students keep them on their shelves as long as they are still working with them. When they're ready for bisque they go onto specific shelves. When they come out of bisque, onto another set of shelves, etc. No way would I deal with sticky notes. They are adults, and as such must take responsibility for their work at all stages. It's not my job to track their pots for them.

This is the only way I have seen it done and it works well.

No need to reinvent the wheel.

Mark


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