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SShirley

Special Orders

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Remind me not to take special orders next year. I have two customers who have talked me into making stuff for Christmas. Both were bisqued last night and today I have to glaze and fire them so they can be picked up tomorrow (Christmas Eve). One guy wanted a HUGE salad bowl. It started out with about 20 pounds of clay and got whittled down to about 12 (don't ask). I showed it to him in the green form and he said it was big enough. I explained about shrinkage and he said he understood. He saw it this morning in the bisque stage and it was noticeably smaller. Still, he said it would probably be OK. I'm just afraid tomorrow (IF IT TURNS OUT) that it will be too small and he'll be disappointed. This guy has been coming in every day to check on my progress. The weather was so damp that it took days to dry. I should have thrown two, but it's really hard for me to make those big ones, as you probably understand. And he wants it in Waterfall Brown, which often pinholes, which is another big worry.

 

The other one is a medium/big bowl with a peanut painted in the bottom. It's a long story.

 

I'm not worried about what to do with the salad bowl if he doesn't want it, it can always go on the shelf in the gallery, but he's been so eager that I hate to disappoint him. I keep telling him that there are no guarantees, and he says he understands, but he still seems to be counting on it working out. The peanut bowl is just strange, but I'm not too worried about that one. She seems easy to please.

Do you do special orders? If so, how do you keep your sanity? Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Sylvia

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You sound really stressed. Take a deep breath and dont worry about it. You told him what could happen and YOU have done everything right so no worries, what happens happens and dont worry about it unless you pull one of the pieces out of the kiln and they are ruined.

 

I think this subject came up before and most agreed that they dont do it. Just from a business view (not as a potter making money) I personally would do it but totally on my terms. If it was a big run of something I would want the money up front before I was ready to start. One off pieces that I didnt have a bunch of time in I would make it and if the customer didnt want it, put it out for sale. A one off that was time consuming, money up front again, just how I would do it, my 2 cents.

 

quick story - I own a small co. and I sell a particular product. I do not keep them in stock over the winter because I sell so few of them. If I sell one in the winter I get the money up front and have the product drop shipped. 2 weeks ago I started talking to a potential customer, tons of time invested in him and he decided he wanted one and several accessories. I had explained to him the first time we talked that I do not keep them in stock over the winter and why I dont and he understood. When he decided he wanted one I made sure he was SURE. I was headed out the door this morning to take it to him and called him because I might be 15 min. late ( I was getting ready to drive an hour +) and he THEN told me that he was sorry but his wife said she spent to much money for christmas and he coudlnt get one and hoped I understood. Beleve me when I tell you it took EVERYTHING I had not to flip out on him. If I dont sell it quick I have a good chunk of money wrapped up in something I might not sell until feb-march. If I send it back it makes my distrubitor unhappy and it will at least cost me shipping both ways and I will have hours tied up with this idiot and it cost me money... sometimes its frustrating having a business!

 

My point is.. if you have something made and someone walks in and buys it there cant be any problems, dealing with custom pieces I am guessing can be stressful and problematic but not impossible.

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Remind me not to take special orders next year. I have two customers who have talked me into making stuff for Christmas. Both were bisqued last night and today I have to glaze and fire them so they can be picked up tomorrow (Christmas Eve). One guy wanted a HUGE salad bowl. It started out with about 20 pounds of clay and got whittled down to about 12 (don't ask). I showed it to him in the green form and he said it was big enough. I explained about shrinkage and he said he understood. He saw it this morning in the bisque stage and it was noticeably smaller. Still, he said it would probably be OK. I'm just afraid tomorrow (IF IT TURNS OUT) that it will be too small and he'll be disappointed. This guy has been coming in every day to check on my progress. The weather was so damp that it took days to dry. I should have thrown two, but it's really hard for me to make those big ones, as you probably understand. And he wants it in Waterfall Brown, which often pinholes, which is another big worry.

 

The other one is a medium/big bowl with a peanut painted in the bottom. It's a long story.

 

I'm not worried about what to do with the salad bowl if he doesn't want it, it can always go on the shelf in the gallery, but he's been so eager that I hate to disappoint him. I keep telling him that there are no guarantees, and he says he understands, but he still seems to be counting on it working out. The peanut bowl is just strange, but I'm not too worried about that one. She seems easy to please.

 

 

Hi there, I so feel your pain.....

 

Commissions are such a two headed sword. Good for biz and ego alike but they are such a pain in the butt and I really like my butt pain free ;) I get myself into your problem time and time again each time swearing its the last.

 

For me the biggest problem is trying to get my vision of what a piece should be and the clients vision to mesh. That is just so hard, plus as you know things in the kiln are also so volatile, you just never know exactly what you are gonna get.

 

Normally now when I get a commision, I always give myself loads of time which helps when things go wrong and I never ever ever ever try a technique or glaze that I have never used / done before.

 

 

 

I hope everything works out for you and I will point my anti pitting vibes in your direction! PS I am firing tonight so will be having my own sleepless night!!! ;)

 

 

 

Take care Trina

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Thanks Buckeye and Trina. The kiln is firing now as we speak, and everything glazed like a dream, so it's all up to the kiln gods now. The peanut bowl looks cute and the waterfall glaze looks thick enough. So, that's the best I can do. Good luck to you Trina, on your firing. Hopefully we will both have good results.

 

Sylvia

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Remind me not to take special orders next year. I have two customers who have talked me into making stuff for Christmas. Both were bisqued last night and today I have to glaze and fire them so they can be picked up tomorrow (Christmas Eve). One guy wanted a HUGE salad bowl. It started out with about 20 pounds of clay and got whittled down to about 12 (don't ask). I showed it to him in the green form and he said it was big enough. I explained about shrinkage and he said he understood. He saw it this morning in the bisque stage and it was noticeably smaller. Still, he said it would probably be OK. I'm just afraid tomorrow (IF IT TURNS OUT) that it will be too small and he'll be disappointed. This guy has been coming in every day to check on my progress. The weather was so damp that it took days to dry. I should have thrown two, but it's really hard for me to make those big ones, as you probably understand. And he wants it in Waterfall Brown, which often pinholes, which is another big worry.

 

The other one is a medium/big bowl with a peanut painted in the bottom. It's a long story.

 

I'm not worried about what to do with the salad bowl if he doesn't want it, it can always go on the shelf in the gallery, but he's been so eager that I hate to disappoint him. I keep telling him that there are no guarantees, and he says he understands, but he still seems to be counting on it working out. The peanut bowl is just strange, but I'm not too worried about that one. She seems easy to please.

 

Do you do special orders? If so, how do you keep your sanity? Keep your fingers crossed for me.

 

Sylvia

 

 

 

I hope your firing came out good! I've been doing this awhile (30 yrs), and my 2 cents is that I only take orders on the types of pots that I am currently interested in making. Also, I give the amount of time I would need to fill my kiln, plus 2 weeks. If I have one spot left in the kiln before it is full, I will give 2 weeks. If I just fired and have to fill the kiln, I will give 3 months. I have a family, and they have the ability to waylay the best of my intentions, so that is why I work this way. All the best to you!

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I use to take custom orders on some specially designed dishes for severely handicapped people. I had designed a place setting for a friends daughter who was hit by a car and only had partial use of one arm. She said it made her sad to set a nice table and then have to put tupperware in front of her daughter. Well the set was a big hit with the other the mothers of handicapped children and everyone wanted them. People in that situation are broke so I basically sold them for cost, it wasn't to bad at first then they started getting picky about color and schedules. I finally decide I have had enough and quit making them, I'm glad I made them for a while. Hope you glaze firing is successful, the shaving scuttles I took out of the kiln this morning came out perfect I hope your firing does as well. Merry X-Mass Denice

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ok, the peanut in the bowl needs to be explained! I love weird stories :-)

I take a 50% deposit for any and all orders.

 

A woman I know slightly came in the shop with a sketch of a round bowl with a yellow and brown peanut in the middle and yellow and brown borders and little blue lines going from the border bands down into the bowl toward the peanut. She said her husband's nephew's nickname is peanut and she and her husband want to give him a giant cereal bowl as kind of a joke. She said she wants a "Jethro Bodine" sized bowl. They said he's already a big eater and they think he's going to be really tall like her husband who is 7 feet tall. He is currently 6 months old, so I think this is a joke for his parents more than for the baby. I painted it with underglazes and used a clear glaze over that. It looked pretty good when it went into the kiln yesterday. Stupid, but good.

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Remind me not to take special orders next year. I have two customers who have talked me into making stuff for Christmas. Both were bisqued last night and today I have to glaze and fire them so they can be picked up tomorrow (Christmas Eve). One guy wanted a HUGE salad bowl. It started out with about 20 pounds of clay and got whittled down to about 12 (don't ask). I showed it to him in the green form and he said it was big enough. I explained about shrinkage and he said he understood. He saw it this morning in the bisque stage and it was noticeably smaller. Still, he said it would probably be OK. I'm just afraid tomorrow (IF IT TURNS OUT) that it will be too small and he'll be disappointed. This guy has been coming in every day to check on my progress. The weather was so damp that it took days to dry. I should have thrown two, but it's really hard for me to make those big ones, as you probably understand. And he wants it in Waterfall Brown, which often pinholes, which is another big worry.

 

The other one is a medium/big bowl with a peanut painted in the bottom. It's a long story.

 

I'm not worried about what to do with the salad bowl if he doesn't want it, it can always go on the shelf in the gallery, but he's been so eager that I hate to disappoint him. I keep telling him that there are no guarantees, and he says he understands, but he still seems to be counting on it working out. The peanut bowl is just strange, but I'm not too worried about that one. She seems easy to please.

 

Do you do special orders? If so, how do you keep your sanity? Keep your fingers crossed for me.

 

Sylvia

 

 

I do special orders, so long as there is no time frame or an extended time frame. Nothing short of 3 months works for me, so I don't accept any orders without a 3 month delivery time frame.

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Well, it all worked out pretty well. The waterfall did pinhole just a little but otherwise is good. The underglazes bleached out a little on the peanut bowl, but it's still recognizable as a peanut so I think she will be happy.

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Well, it all worked out pretty well. The waterfall did pinhole just a little but otherwise is good. The underglazes bleached out a little on the peanut bowl, but it's still recognizable as a peanut so I think she will be happy.

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Well, it all worked out pretty well. The waterfall did pinhole just a little but otherwise is good. The underglazes bleached out a little on the peanut bowl, but it's still recognizable as a peanut so I think she will be happy.

 

 

Great looking pots Shirley, really like the waterfall look. Took a special order in November for a large popcorn bowl for a friends grandaughter's wedding. She wanted the names and date inscribed on the bowl also. Came out of the bisque very well, good looking names and dates. Glazed inside and top outside in a light brown then the names and dates in a dark color. Sprayed bottom 1/2 with clear. Guess who forgot to wax resist the names and dates? The dark color burned off, but you could still see the names. I gave her the bowl. Oh, well I remember next time.

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Well, it all worked out pretty well. The waterfall did pinhole just a little but otherwise is good. The underglazes bleached out a little on the peanut bowl, but it's still recognizable as a peanut so I think she will be happy.

 

 

 

Beautiful waterfall brown...mind sharing your recipe...mine always comes out to dark...maybe too much rio

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I DON'T DO ORDERS. DON'T ASK ME WHY. blink.gif

 

Is this the Waterfal from Mastering Cone 6 Glazes?

It doesn't usualy pinhold for me. I use it a lot, on all clays, one of my favs. Wonderful on porcelain even tho Hessenberth says not to use it there due to excess runniong, which I haven't had.

Are you bisquing hot enought to burn off junque in clay? That can cause pinholes. I bisque to 1910.

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Special orders can be a right proper pain! Usually the last minute with the order, and certainly not enough time to start with wet clay. Three months sounds good, but what I've done is have bowls of various sizes (or plates, or vases . . .) bisqued and ready for glazing. If someone is in a hurry, they can't expect too much input on their part, so I let them come by and choose from bisqued ware and limit their choice of glaze colors--that's their only input. Shrinkage is minimal from bisque to glazed, and I can usually make delivery within 7 - 10 days. If they can't live with that, they won't be buying from me.

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Yes, it's the recipe from Mastering Cone 6 by Roy and Hesselbreth. I add a little Rutile Green (from Van Gilder's book) along he rim for the green drips. I usually bisque to 06. And the clay is cone 6 porcelain from Flint Hills. Maybe I'll try an 04 and see if it makes any difference. Thanks for the advice.

 

Sylvia

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The waterfall came out great. Looks like something that would sell regardless.

 

I take orders, but usually with the 90 day requirement because I have a really large kiln and I fire only when it is full. I think being willing to take commissions is a good thing. I would rather make something that I knew someone really wanted and it is also a deeper connection between the artist and customer. I also charge 50% up front.

 

Also, I take note of what people do order and generally try to include more of them in my stock unless it is just something really customized like the peanut bowl.

 

 

 

Well, it all worked out pretty well. The waterfall did pinhole just a little but otherwise is good. The underglazes bleached out a little on the peanut bowl, but it's still recognizable as a peanut so I think she will be happy.

 

 

 

 

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