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Rachel925

Is There Anywhere To Sell Extra Ceramic?

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Hello! I am looking forward to spending more time in this community. :)

I'm curious if any of you have any ideas on what to do with extra mugs that came out bad for whatever reason? 

 

I have a HUGE "Wall Of Shame" compiled over time, with close to 1k mugs I haven't wanted to send out. I'm wondering if there's some way to make money off of it instead of just having to lose it all.

I'd be very grateful for any ideas, and thank you VERY much!

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Welcome Rachel...

 

I think this depends largely on two things:

  1. Personal philosophy: There are some folks who feel they don't want anything less than their best work out in the marketplace. From what I've seen, most potters in this group tend to destroy their seconds. If you're not in this group, then...
  2. Are the defects such that the mugs remain functional? There are many defects that can disqualify a mug from functional use. If the mug remains functional, you could offer them as a seconds sale at a reduced price. Even have a second bin at a show, or a flash sale on Facebook or Etsy to clear your back stock.
  3. If the work is not functional anymore (i.e. safe for drinking and consumption of foods), then you can go back to step #1 and destroy the mugs for trash, or
    1. Turn them into a sculptural form like a cascading fountain for the garden, and sell it at an even higher price, or
    2. Break them up into shards and use them is a mosaic of some sort, or
    3. Find another artist through networking, who might be interested in the shards. 

At my shop, we don't have much time to do repurposing, so items are either first quality functional and shipped, or second quality functional and held for flash sales. Everything else is destroyed and thrown out in the trash. I once had a mosaic artist ask if she could have our shards, but she never returned to pick them up. 

 

We don't want seconds hanging around, it's too expensive. They start to take up precious square footage, and that's rent. So, they have to go to make room for new designs and first quality work. No-one wants our mistakes laying around on tabletops either, we would rather use first quality pieces for tool cups, and personal mugs, and cups. When a customer comes in we want to create a first quality impression.

 

So, look at it this way. Suppose you took all of your monthly costs and divided them by your studio square footage and figured your cost per square foot. Let's just for fun say that came out to $20 / Sq Ft. So, maybe you have those 1,000 mugs on a 15 foot wall stacked 12inches deep. So that's 15 square feet. Those mugs are costing you $300 / month! So, why pay that much to store things that you call a "Wall of Shame"?

 

That's 15 SQF of space you could use for first quality work, or something that brings you pleasure, or a piece of equipment that makes you more productive. So, I like the way you're thinking... Time to get rid of that stuff, one way or the other... 

 

Hope that helps... Have fun!

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I also make a differentiation between pots that are superficially flawed but still functional, and those that are too flawed to be functional. I sell most of my work at festivals, and these shows typically have rules that say seconds are not allowed. So I save up the functional seconds and sell them at my annual open studio. I can set my own rules there, and this event is semi-private, meaning it is open to the public but people only hear about it through private channels. The attendees are all existing fans of mine. They know me, and they know enough about pottery to understand that flaws happen. I'm not worried about them wondering if I care about quality. They consider it a treat to get my work at bargain prices.

 

The non-functional pots, and those that have been around for years, go in the trash.

 

My suggestion is to hold your own private event, and invite your fans.

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I think the above two posts explain it well on options-my story is about the same

I evaluate them as they happen-I only keep around true seconds for sale later in a specific area-about the size of a banana box

If they are not functional meaning they are sharp or cracked or a safety issue they are destroyed and turned into road fill at a local road fill construction plant.

The next category is refirable-that is can they be fixed? sometimes this may be a bare spot of glaze or a runny glaze or a kin nurd that dropped into a bowl which can be ground out and retired with glaze.

Can I grind glaze and refire it and is it worth it? This all comes with experience on what can and cannot be done. There is a higher die off rate with refires and some glazes just do not like twice baked as well as larger forms tend not to do well again.If it s a clay issue like bloating or the like they are destroyed 

Pots that are functional and do not make the above catagory are sold as seconds once a year at a local outlet

If the refires become firsts again then they go back into the system-An example of a success is a mug with a glaze crawl that get more glaze refires and now is a perfect mug.

I do not try more than the second fire as they get weaker each fire so if they are still flawed after the second glaze fire they are toast and turn into road fill.

The success rate is about 50% on refires so its all diminishing . Refires are always low priority in a kiln load in and usually are put in the bottom so the heat slowly.

I usually toss larger pots as it just not worth redoing them space wise.

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A friend of mine does large format pottery in crystalline glaze. He has several retailers that sell his work as well as his own direct sales. Keep in mind that he does not sell any functional ware; so that has to be considered.The pieces that come out of the kiln with problems like pin-holing, minor warping, or under developed crystals he sells to a resale shop for 1/4th the price. Not profitable by any means; but he recovers some monies and keeps his space cleared out.

Nerd

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Thank you guys, this is VERY helpful!

 

The defects are mostly with print. I don’t do traditional ceramics like most of you - I pre-buy ceramic mugs and then sublimate images onto them.

 

I may have issues with fading, or spotting, or something, and so I don’t ship them out. 80% of them are pass-able by most peoples’ standards and then there are some with more significant errors.

 

I’m getting some great ideas from this and I am VERY grateful for these extremely thought out responses.

 

To answer some questions and make some comments:

 

So, look at it this way. Suppose you took all of your monthly costs and divided them by your studio square footage and figured your cost per square foot. Let's just for fun say that came out to $20 / Sq Ft. So, maybe you have those 1,000 mugs on a 15 foot wall stacked 12inches deep. So that's 15 square feet. Those mugs are costing you $300 / month! So, why pay that much to store things that you call a "Wall of Shame"?

 

That's 15 SQF of space you could use for first quality work, or something that brings you pleasure, or a piece of equipment that makes you more productive. So, I like the way you're thinking... Time to get rid of that stuff, one way or the other... 

 

Hope that helps... Have fun!

 

Haha, that's an excellent way of looking at things. We have 2k square feet total and the Wall of Shame is upstairs, mostly out of sight. :)  You bring up a good point though - even if not taking up physical space, why even energetically have them there?

 

 

My suggestion is to hold your own private event, and invite your fans.

 

 

If I did ceramics the way that most people here did, I would LOVE to do this. That'd be so fun. :) Most of my clients are people online that I haven't met yet. :)

 

 

1,000 mugs ... Do you own your home? You could turn them into the coolest yard feature ever ... A long wall or garden edging.

 

HAH!! A wall of mugs - how awesome. :)

Everyone, thank you very, very much. This is really helpful and I appreciate the warm welcome and detailed responses even though this is my first post. :)

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I think there is a fine line here, and that is what makes it so difficult.  My daughter and I sell on Etsy and also at various markets.  We've asked each other what to do with our wall of shame items.  She has been in this a lot longer than I have, and has related to me how some of the potters at the college studio would toss stuff in the garbage if it wasn't perfect.  I guess if you are taking a college course, and all the materials are basically free, you don't have an issue doing that.  That isn't the case for my daughter and me.  We pay for every ounce of clay and glaze in our studio, so if something doesn't come out just right we (A) try to salvage broken bisque, (B) reglaze something that just looks horrid, and if all else fails, © ditch it.  However, we've been talking about having a discount bin at our vendor tent for stuff that isn't exactly horrid, not 100%, but still sell-able.  I have a beautiful berry colander I got from a discount table.  The only issue was a very slight crack.  It's one of my favorite pieces in my collection.  Don't discount what you consider shame.  Out of the ashes can arise a phoenix.

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