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rayaldridge

Selling Imperfect Pots?

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I had a somewhat disastrous test firing yesterday.  On unloading the little kiln, I found I'd gotten some pretty magnificent glazes.  Unfortunately, almost all of them flowed off the pot and on to the shelf.  This was a new bucket of an old glaze, which I tested on tiles before using on actual pots, and the tiles were identical to the old bucket of the same glaze, so far as I could tell.  Maybe the glaze was too thick on the pots; maybe I didn't have quite enough titanium in the new glaze-- it was a 10,000 gram batch and the titanium component was 30 grams short-- I ran out while mixing, but no difference could be seen in the test tiles.

 

So here's what I'm wondering.  I have a grinding disc that fits on my wheel, and I was able to grind off most of the overflowed glaze, leaving footrings pretty much intact.  I cleaned up any sharp edges with the Dremel.

 

I'd really like to offer these pots, because they're beautiful, in my opinion.  But I wonder what others think of selling pots that have had glaze ground off the foot.  Bad?  Okay?  I know that this is standard practice for macro-crystalline potters, but that's necessity.

 

I'll attach an image of one of the mugs, and its footring.

 

 

post-65900-0-60130800-1433283412_thumb.jpg

post-65900-0-12959100-1433283424_thumb.jpg

post-65900-0-60130800-1433283412_thumb.jpg

post-65900-0-12959100-1433283424_thumb.jpg

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To my mind if it does not look like some terrible screaming flaw and the piece is beautiful, and it is not produced as (forgive me, John B. LOL) a Japanese cultural treasure of the very highest purity of standards, what's the issue? Seems to me it is just clay being clay, and isn't that what it's all about?  To me, the simple clean up is just part of the process. 

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I'm like Min, if you have to ask, don't. They would make great house mugs. Could always gift them.

 

On the other side of all of this, Christaline glazes are fired on/in small bowls, that are broken/ground off to reveal the foot. This because the glazes run in the firing and would glue to the kiln shelf.

 

My last concern may be that the glaze fired enough to run, might have or will craze and may not be food safe.

 

best,

Pres

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Refiring at a slightly lower heat would remove the appearance of grinding. Refiring is also an opportunity for brushwork decoration. I found it much easier to paint designs on glaze that was already fired. When firing pots that are already vitrified, you have to go very slowly past the quartz inversions.

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Use one for a while.  See how it works/find out if you current discomfort level is confirmed or diminished.  My first impression as someone who had no expectations for the pots, I would not hesitate to buy them.

 

-SD

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I appreciate the comments, everyone, and the kind words.

 

I may not have been clear.  I like these pieces a lot, and the ground-off glaze doesn't make me think the less of them.  I wish they were perfect... but they aren't.  I still think they are extremely nice, despite the glaze flaw; maybe my best glaze work in a while.

 

Maybe what I'm asking is whether or not you would regard these as seconds, and therefore would not want to buy them, were you looking at them on a shelf with other mugs that might not be as pretty, but which did not run..  I might still not be clear.

 

The glaze is food-safe.  It might craze someday, but as these pots are fully vitrified porcelain, I don't really care.  I know the pot would be stronger if it never crazed, but these are pretty sturdy forms.

 

I like the glazes enough that I'm considering using the approach that macrocrystal potter use-- a high alumina soft bisque bowl to catch the overflow.

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I think as far as calling them seconds it is up to you. I mean who are we to say your pots are seconds. If you think they have defects, then I would assume they are seconds. If you don't think it hurts the pot or makes it look like it has a defect then I wouldn't call it a second. This is your preference, your work, your visions. 

 

I have seen potters that sell a beautiful pot with a single pinhole as a second, and I have seen potters with pots full of pin holes sell them as is, and not even consider them seconds. 

 

Choose your standard of quality and stick to it!  B)

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They're lovely Ray. I agree with SD - only you know that you expected something more perfect. Quality is a spectrum after all - my perfect mug might be someone else's second or even third (or even in the trash!). As Grype says, I've also seen professional potters' pieces with minor glaze flaws that I (as a mere Newbie) would consider failures if they were mine. At a throwing workshop last year, I kept on and on turning one of my pieces because it wasn't good enough to my mind and I was chastised by the 'tutor' (a highly successful, renowned potter). - "it's handmade so why are you trying to make it look as if it was mass produced".

 

Price them sensibly and the answer will be in your sales. If I liked something enough to buy it, I wouldn't care if the maker considered it a second as long as it was functionally sound. Whether or not you call them 'seconds' is your only issue. If they're being sold alongside other clearly more successful versions of the same design, then yes, you probably need to do that. Otherwise - well that's still your question!

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A little grinding and overall cleanup with a diamond pad is something we do as routine and although we are getting our glazes better and better in the drip department there are still a few here and there. Large drips that leave a noticeable unattractive area after grinding we would either not offer at all or as seconds but those don't look like they rise to that level.

 

Your work is not produced in a factory setting, it is handcrafted and you as the artist get to always make the 1st call and your customers get to make the final call. Everyone coming into your booth is going to usually pick up and handle the pots they buy first and they are going to buy the ones they like/love. If any of these hang around through a few shows then maybe drop them to the 2nds bin but I bet they don't.

 

Nice work!

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If we weren't not allowed to sell, I would be trying to buy. I cannot tell that you did anything to it. What would make it undesirable?

I think it is wonderful that there are standards, both from within and without, it is important. This is a hand made  market, and  I believe very strongly in the hand made market, I would rather drink out of a 6 year old hand made cup that was food safe , than anything else. 

An aside, my daughter cannot wear any makeup made in china, she has a severe reaction. Anything from any where else we are fine.This made me think, they are not policed for "food safety" or anything safety over there, probably a lot of the countries we export from the same. a great deal of my old bone china is crazed. Until I met you , I thought tat was what it did. That this site tells people to make items that are food safe and more likely   to stay together is a boon to the hand made. 

another a side story:  I was living near a buffalo farm , their undercoat is close to quivit or cashmere. So I went to the farm,got some wool, washed i, dyed it , spun it , re dyed it, wove it , felted it, redyed it  and sent it off as a scarf for my sister. Now my sister was  always sick.  she started having this terrible rash , she was in nyc,I was near buffalo, so I couldn't see it, but after two weeks it hit me. I called the farm, they used an extreme pesticide to keep pests off the buffalo. Even after boiling at least 5 times, it was still in there. 

I think my point is that clay workers are a lot more on the ball than other artisans I believe. If I had sold that scarf it would've really caused trouble without me having a clue. Maybe some clay artists are selling toxic things, but not if they are on here for any length of time.

I don't believe in perfect. I think the off kilter is either beautiful or leads to beauty. I believe humans love the imperfections in with the beauty because it is theirs then. Nothing more disappointing than showing up in the same dress as someone else. That dress is instantly no longer the favorite. Only things that can be the same and not chastised are things that wear differently for each user, like boots. People get rich just to be able to be the only person who has one like that. So as long as as no one is poisoned, and it doesn't crumble after a hundred washings, I am all for it. Still wish i could buy it!

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I wouldn't hesitate to buy the mug. It is gorgeous. The grinding is hardly noticeable.

 

Sincerely,

 

Arnold Howard

Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA

ahoward@paragonweb.com / www.paragonweb.com

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Paul, it's true.  I often find the work of other potters to be much more beautiful than my own.

 

Everyone, thank you for your kindness.  I wish I could give the mug to all of you.

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Min, I think I'll sell the best of these, and give away the less beautiful pieces.

 

I have to go by my own reaction.  I keep picking that mug up and fondling it.  It's odd.  In the past I didn't trim foot rings on mugs, believing that I couldn't get a price that would cover the extra labor.  But now that I am doing it, I find that the mug is more pleasant to the touch-- the ring is a pleasant tactile sensation in the hand.  The ground off bumps of glaze seem to add another dimension to that tactile experience.  The slight irregularity is, I think, a little more interesting than a perfectly trimmed foot.

 

That's not to say I would want to deliberately court the flaw.  I hope I can get the surface without the overflow.

 

We''ll see.

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