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CactusPots

Repaired Items

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I'm intrigued by the legs of the post on selling repaired work.   I wonder what the purists think of the purity of my particular situation.  My work is strictly  functional, but has no direct ergonomic  contact.  Plant pots , for a specific crowd.  Not kitchenware in any sense.  Any repair is non structural and largely not noticeable.  The functionality is never compromised.  Here's a real tech tip.  With Soldate 60,  a product from JB Weld, called WoodWeld, a 2 part epoxy, is almost indistinguishable, that is, it is almost the same color.  Filling in a superficial crack, it's really not apparent.    I'm not big on selling repaired items, but anytime I have, I've pointed out the repair and gotten a big, "So What".   My question is " Does this meet the highest moral  standard, or even one or two levels below?   So could these repairs be sold as first, or must  they remain forever seconds (or less)?   Mostly, I give them away to friends, if I don't use them myself.

 

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I give a box of seconds away at xmas every few years -on a take one basis depending on the issue -usually its to customers but also anyone who sees the sign-nothing thats hurtful or going to not work well. Just pots that are a bit off. I usually do not want anything for them I used to never do this but at my xmas booth if I have a pile of true seconds I have done this before.Its ben a good feeling for those who cannot afford the work as well, during the holidays. This year I do not have any. Seconds are best left to the hammer most of the time.Repairs on functional ware will not stand the test time so why bother.

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1 hour ago, CactusPots said:

Possibly, there is confusion regarding the difference in our work and the quality of the repair.  Here is a good example of what I'm talking about.

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The quality of the repair isn't the issue for me. It's the fact that there's a repair at all. I won't sell something that was broken and then glued back together. Quality control.

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For me, I wouldn't sell anything repaired, but I make dishes. If it's going to last for a long time, it can't start out damaged. I have turned some glaze mistakes into planters, but it was an error that only I would have thought of as an error, and I don't make a habit of it.

That said, there are some that work in a much more decorative vein who have capitalized on breaks, and incorporated them into the piece, making it more effective. I'm thinking of Mariko Paterson, who makes a lot of really involved, detailed work. She had some platters crack while in process, so she wound up filling them with hot pink epoxy and glitter, which assisted the subject matter of the piece. Since it was never intended for food use, in this instance something like that worked. 

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The only reason I don't sell a pot like this is that I need a good number of pieces for trade for plants, or such.  When I point out the "repair", my friends laugh at me for overly fussiness.  Actually, the other reason is that I mostly wholesale and don't want my retailer to be in the position of a customer finding fault.  That said, this pot was not broken.  A piece of the decoration separated at the foot.  The filler is 2 part epoxy which is as permanent as the clay, discounting refiring the piece.

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I agree with Liam that just absorbing them into your own garden is a great way to go and trash the rest. A fail is a fail and just a cost of doing business. There is always, always going to be a failure percentage and if you start trying to eliminate or reduce this by repairing cracks or allowing obvious flawed pots hit the market it is a slippy slope and really seems like a bad way to go. That said we have done a box or two of heavily reduced two of 2nds with really really small defects and nothing 'repaired'. Personally I think 2nds should mostly be small glaze defects that keep it off the shelf but otherwise a perfectly fine pot. The defect is perfectly noticeable and the person picking up a 2nd will often ask why its reduced and you can point it out. A slash across the bottom with a sharpie might be a good way to make sure most others know its a 2nd if your worried about rep. I think a lot of people that buy pottery understand the slash or 'x' on the bottom indicates a 2nd. 

One bright spot is that clay and glaze is cheap so it's just time, spread the labor cost across the pots that make it through the process and price accordingly by using a plug percentage for failures.

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just read your post while I was typing, nah I would never send a repaired piece to a wholesaler. Epoxy is not near as infallible as you think. We've used a couple over the years for designs that used epoxied parts (I forget the brands off the top of my head but they were 2 part and the 'right' ones to use) and we had a few failures and stopped selling those designs. Very popular and profitable but didn't like that they could separate even though they were solid when made. Fortunately the the failures were ours and a family member and we never had a customer complain. Over time there will always be a chance of the repair failing and it just seems unfair to sell that to a retailer for them to resell to their customers. I would also bet that if one of your retailers got a pot back that clearly had a repair by you that account might be in jeopardy. Don't mean to be preachy, just an opinion.

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Well, here's another thought .  Anything short of smashing the pot will put them on the "market".  These pots will have a travel life long after we are gone.  If you're so concerned about your legacy, then by all means smash away.  I read in one of the Brother Thomas books that he smashed the vast majority of any kiln load. I'd like to have access to his shard pile.  That attitude certainly helped the Pucker Gallery make a fortune off his work.

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hey sorry I pissed you off, din't mean to. Everyone has to make their own decisions and only you have all the info to make the right one for yourself and your business. I was just tossing out some thoughts hoping they might be helpful. I'm certainly no expert and any and all of my advice might not be right for your situation. 

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One note on JB weld epoxy -I recently found out it let go of some stainless metal I had glued when it got hot in summer sun-so be careful is hot gets near it as it can let go .Cactus Pots your photos do not open for me.

Edited by Mark C.

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38 minutes ago, CactusPots said:

That said, this pot was not broken.  A piece of the decoration separated at the foot.  The filler is 2 part epoxy which is as permanent as the clay, discounting refiring the piece.

So is this what it comes down to in this instance? If the piece of the decoration was attached with a high fire mender or glaze and the fix didn't show would it still be considered a flawed piece? I don't think so.

@CactusPots,could you repost your photo so we can see what you're talking about?

 

 

 

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I would consider it deceptive if the original buyer (recipient)  wasn't aware of it.  I don't consider it my obligation to imagine the journey the pots will take after that.  I have some of my  personal show plants in pots that look great on the bench, but have some horrific repairs on the underside.  My fellow enthusiasts in the cactus and succulent show world are really eager to get my repaired pots.  I'm on this forum to get other points of view, so I welcome (and instigate) disagreement.  I'm not a member of any other local potters groups. You wouldn't believe what some of the "potters" are producing for this market.

My biggest point is that the ceramic world is much bigger than you realize.  There are corners with much higher and much lower standards.  Both are valid, if such is required.  
We aren't all making bowls and mugs.  :)

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(My biggest point is that the ceramic world is much bigger than you realize.  There are corners with much higher and much lower standards.  Both are valid, if such is required.  
We aren't all making bowls and mugs.  :))

I like many points of few myself and can relate to yours.This board is small place for sure and I'm glad you can take other points of view and still be fine with yours. Thats what makes us all better here.

I to have some funky planters that work just fine-most I made some other did and they work fine.Your in such a specialty market many thgings just do not apply.

I think since your buyers are aware of all things its not an issue.

I knew a guy who slip cast bonsai  pots out of a stone ware body-I think I may still have one. That market was all down south from our area. He  has since passed but it made me aware of that market more than I thought before.

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From a business perspective, all personal beliefs aside.  If you are known to sell repaired pots, all it takes is one person who doesn't have that reputation to replace your market.  Especially in niche markets people seem to enjoy exclusivity for a while until someone analyzes your work and fixes your mistakes.  That's why to me it is never worth damaging your brand and reputation by taking short cuts or sacrificing quality for short term gains.  I enjoyed being on the top of a niche market for a good clip and as soon as I hit my stride I was clipped by someone who was willing to do more for the same price.  I learned my lesson and learned a lot about brand loyalty and how it is a myth.  

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Brings me back to an old story when I left over a hundred pots from my Summer raku ceramics class on my back porch. Poorly made raku, in design and process. Never intended to do much with them, as I kept the better pieces, maybe 5-8. However, they all disappeared over the Winter months. I have hidden my embarrassment over the years when seeing one in someones home, on a mantle or other sacred place. As signature now is different, and raku usually did not have a clear sig. . . they didn't know. Poorest thing is when they ask me as a ceramic artist for my opinion. . . then I have to let the cat out of the bag. I never sold them, never intended to do more than land fill them at my parents home, but they have come back to bite me.

 

best,

Pres 

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Regarding the use of epoxy, I would never rely on it for something like a planter or for anything for food/beverage. This is probably a little off point, but I love working with "flaws" and the serendipity of things that happen by the time the piece comes out of the kiln. I love the process of highlighting rips, tears, holes etc.  I like to fill small hairline cracks with epoxy and glitter or tiny, tiny , tiny beads.  I had never heard of Mariko Paterson until this thread, today! I do it to accentuate the essence of the clay as a metaphor for life's vagaries.  The "filler" and retention of rips/flaws is metaphor for surviving and healing, making something from the wounds or the rubble, so to speak.  I don't use these techniques on weight-bearing wall-hung pieces or where structural integrity is essential. I also use wire, metal, wood, beads, hardware, other materials, with certain table top pieces, when the approach adds to the design. I am not selling these pieces commercially as  functional items (well, some of my business card holders may have my "special touch" and still be highly serviceable  desk top decor). I figure the customer can decide for him/herself if that rough funky box with  glitter seams "works" as a dried flower container.  

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