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Thursday, 19 March 2009

Colouring clay

Last month, I decided to join etsy. After spending a long time looking at other potter's shops and their policies, I realised that shipping was going to be a big issue for me. I noticed the shipping charges for US sellers to US customers was expensive which had me worried about what I'd have to charge to sell to this US market from the UK.

I "mock" packed various items in bubble wrap, peanuts and a box to get some sample shipping weights. I then went onto Royal Mail to to check out the rates for regular first class international vs insured international. Can you believe the rate to send one mug insured was roughly $30?!! I nearly fell over! The cost to send regular post was $16 which is the cheapest I could get it.

So, out of the two items I managed to load onto etsy, one (the set of bowls) has the $16Us/$6UK regular international delivery charges for an item that costs $40 for set of 2 AND the other (the mug) has the $30US/$10UK delivery charges for an item that costs only $18! Obviously, I decided I was gonna have to sort this out!

In my efforts to get items loaded onto etsy, this whole delivery issue really threw me, so I decided to stop until I figured out an alternative to sending bulky pots over the ocean.

My first option is to look at making smaller, lighter objects. The other would be to go with folksy, a UK alternative to etsy!

I haven't gotten around to getting loaded onto folksy just yet, but had a look around. The great thing is it looks like less than 10 potters are on there right now, so it isn't saturated just yet!

In the meantime, I have been doing some tests to formulate some of my ideas for lighter, marketable items to crack the US market with! I'm gonna keep them a secret for now, but I thought I'd show you the testing side of the delevopment of these items because it is really exciting for me!

Okay, what I am really going for here is coloured clay. I started by weighing out same size balls of clay (all kneaded) and three different percentages of a stain for each colour I wanted to try.

So, 3 balls. 1 ball with 2% stain added; 2nd ball with 5% added and 3rd ball with 10% added. I was testing 6 colours, so that made a total of 18 tests!

A lot of potters on recommend when mizing clay to wear gloves and protect your surfaces with a barrier like plastic. Well, I didn't have anything slightly pourous that I could use other than the table and well, you can see that the gloves didn't work very well either!

These were the first set of gloves I worked with and had to stop. See that texture there, NOT good for mixing clay! You are better off with plain smooth gloves.

This set of gloves were less flimsy but still somewhat textured. They didn't work either! In the end, I used my hands....

Here are the finished balls ready for throwing

Taadaah!!! Cannot wait until they are fired!


  1. i would like to know more about staining and making difrent colours .can you just e mail me.

  2. oops sorry my mail id is
    please contact me if your recive this message as i make jwellery out of clay

  3. very nice, are you posting the fired pieces?