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Friday, 6 February 2009

My clay finally arrived!

I spent most of Monday and Tuesday on the laptop, figuring out blogging and creating a profile for myself in etsy!
Not sure about other UK artists who have gotton on etsy to sell, but I think that ceramics and international shipping rates won't be doing me any favours in getting sales. I noticed some potters in the UK send insured and others don't. Man, I checked out Royal Mail costs for various weights to get insured post to the states, and we are talking big money. The sad thing is that the postage will cost more than some of the pots! I wonder if other UK potters are finding this an issue?
Another issue I am debating is using etsy for products I have already produced so once an order comes through, I can despatch immediately OR use etsy to show standard products that can only be made to order, which pushes the delivery of finished product back by possibly 1 month. This would limit potential problems with built up stock, but what customer would want to wait up to 4 weeks for a pot?
I noticed different strokes for different folks on this one and am not yet sure how I should proceed. Need to figure out soon though, as I loaded ONE item on etsy and want to get my policies straight before I do any more posting. It is exciting, but I am wondering if the sale of heavy items to another country is really cost effective or profitable? But, seeing that my new year's resolution is "to try things I have been meaning to do for a long while, but couldn't be bothered", I'm going with it. What is the worst that can happen - losing the 20 or so pence it cost to post the item?

On Wednesday, I had a surprise delivery - my new clay!!! Ordered only 50 kg, as I still have lots of testing to do on the clay body itself, and application of slips and glazes at different application methods, thicknesses, and colour concetrations. I worked out I need 3 different bisques to have adequate testing for the following:
glaze application/thickness testing
colour concentration in slips
cooling ramp experiments

In each bisque, I want a good decent size pack. To spare boring you with the minute details, I worked out I need 60 test bowls of my new clay alongside 50 of my existing clay. The existing clay and glazes are the ones I know best, and will be used to judge deviation in results from the norm I usually get. The new clay is being used to see how best to proceed when glazing, making up coloured slips, and firing.

With that said, I quickly threw 60 test bowls Wednesday night. What was interesting is that the clay isn't the most plastic to work with and it is very tempermental - I only really felt I got a groove going with optimal approach to throwing each bowl after bowl number 50 or so! It is funny how it can take so long to get into that zone when throwing and know just the right way to work that stuff into exactly what you want it to do!

Here is a photo of all of them turned. The turning process with this clay is much nicer than the throwing. I was only going to use the molochite for larger wares, but I may need to incorporate it into all the pots I make with this clay.