What About White on White Pottery?

So I’ve written on my blog about blue pots selling well.  Now I want to talk about white pots not selling well.  This pasta bowl pictured below has sat in my studio for about three years.  It is so subtle… white on white glazing, with hints of pinks and greens… so, so subtle. This and other white on white pots just do not sell for me.  Well, last week I was about to put it on my discontinued shelf and sell it for half the price, but could not bring myself to do it, I just figured it will serve the family better in the kitchen rather than giving it away!

I remember being at a show many years ago with Andy Shaw.  People were just walking past his booth, it was filled with white on white pattern pots.  (If you have never seen Andy’s pots take a look at his website, he does gorgeous work!) Well I suggested to Andy to get some color like an apple or something.  He went to a local store and picked up tomatoes.  He put them in some of the pots, and the next day people were stopping at his booth! What is it about color that draws people right in?

I think maybe white on white requires too much work from the customer.  They have to take the time, come up close, pick up the pot, patiently examine it.  Where as the blue pot, shouts here I am, look at me!  Yet when you bring that white pot home, your food tends to look a lot better than it does in the blue pot.  Sometimes I think the only people who truly understand white on white pottery are chefs, and potters! 

So here is my beautiful white on white bowl, in my kitchen, with my lunch in it!  I’m enjoying it!

Glazing for the Open Studio/Holiday Sale

glazing-for-the-holiday-sale1

The bisqueware in process.  The plates have there first of five layers applied.  This first layer is with a glaze pencil, the next layer will be copper carbonate, then a clear glaze, wax resist over that, then finally dipped in an blush white glaze.

The past few years I have wanted to add more drawing to my pottery… the past few months I have.  When it comes to crunch time before a studio sale the drawing, painting, (stains) and layering of glazes becomes all consuming.  I am one tired potter… I am looking forward to my last firing tonight, and the preparations which will transform my studio into a gallery for this weekend’s sale.

Locally Grown, Garden of Mugs

Still working on the photo’s.  I must say it is so nice to photograph my own work whenever I please, and just play with it… delete it…try again. 

These are my latest mugs.  Mugs tend to be everyone’s favorite.  I have really decorated these… I love to draw and many people love to have color and imagery on the pottery they buy.  Some people don’t understand the extra work that goes into it and wonder why the price of these mugs are higher than my plain mugs.  As potters we should always remember the worth of our time.  Today I was saying to my apprentice Pam that my past students make the best customers because they understand how difficult and time consuming pottery is. Pam replied I think we should offer free wheel time every once in awhile to your customers just so they can get a little hint as to what goes into the process of making pots!

Being my own photographer

… I think I’m finally getting the hang of it.  I have all the proper equipment and have been practicing over the past couple of weeks…. but taking your own pics of your work is quite tricky.  Thanks to Kristen Kieffer for looking over some of my photos and giving me feedback, I think I’m finally getting it.

Here is a shot of my new mugs.  Any feedback is appreciated!

What I learned from farming…. diversity

There were a few years in there between making pots and having babies where I farmed.  To survive as a farmer I learned a lot about diversity.  Not just to grow one crop,  but to grow many, including flowers (lots of them).  I learned to stagger my plantings, to have different markets, from wholesale to a CSA, to have chickens for meat, eggs and manure… etc.  It was a learning experience I now bring into my pottery. 

I laughed today as I photgraphed my tiny little garlic grating dishes.  Two days ago I photographed my large 12lb urns.  I thought man…. people who look at my blog must think I’m all over the place.  Well,  in one sense I am.  It’s the diversity thing.  The different markets… wholesale, retail, studio sales, galleries, web sales, farmers markets. The teaching… classes and workshops.  The making…  larger sculptural pots, to tiny dipping dishes, teapots, mugs, butter bells.  True utilitarian pottery, to pots that sit on a shelf, or at a memorial service for your loved one.  The one common thread is that they are all functional even those that hold flowers… (lots of them).

I’m sharing a photo of my finished garlic grating dishes, and another photo of them in process.  They are not yet on my website as they are quite new to me.  I made my first ones for my May studio sale and I having been making them for the farmers market.  I pretty much sell them as quick as I make them. They are a pretty neat item. The bottom of the little dish is a rough surface, (I use a colored slip).  You grate your garlic clove on this surface then you add olive oil, salt and pepper and wa la, instant delicious dipping oil.  I hear you can also grate ginger then add soy sauce for a sushi type dip. 

    

Start of Summer at the Market

Last week I did the farmers market for the first time. I went with my berry bowls, garlic grater dishes, butter bells, flower vases and a sampling of my work that you can find at gallery/shops.  I would say garlic grater dishes were the hit of the day.  Sorry to those of you who expected me there today, but severe thunderstorms wind and heavy rains were predicted for the whole day… wouldn’t you know it, not much happened till later in the day….oh well live and learn, next time I will not listen to the weather reports and brave it out like the farmers!  Here is a photo of a customer checking out one of my sunny day mugs.

Thoughts on Pottery Workshops

 

I have been thinking about workshops, as I am preparing to teach workshops this summer.  Even though I have taught pottery for over twenty years I am just branching out to the workshop scene.  Workshops are a great way to get charged up… you walk away from an intensive couple of days, your mind filled with ideas…your just ready to make the most creative pots imaginable! 

I have been to many pottery workshops through out the years. The most recent was with Val Cushing. Val was one of my Alfred teachers… the man who taught me how to make good functional pottery.  When the Asparagus Valley Pottery Guild brought Val here for a workshop I couldn’t pass up the chance to sit with him again and soak in some of his wisdom and knowledge.  Well it ended up that I was his assistant for the weekend just like the old days at Alfred.  Back then I had a great work study job as Val’s glaze calculations lab tech.  

I have not seen Val in more than twenty years, never did I think I would be assisting him again. It was an blast from the past!  And so nice to be with this gentle, articulate and talented man again!

 

Pottery Buzzing

Butter Bells

 

It’s been awhile since I last wrote…the studio is still a buzzing from the Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail.  I have been busy filling orders and restocking my supply of pottery.  This past two weeks I made more butter bells, berry bowls, garlic grater dishes, mugs, and vases.  Most of these items I will be selling at the local farmers market.  My friend and fellow potter, Tiff Hilton sells her pottery each spring/summer/fall at the market.  She asked me if I would fill in for her once or twice a month.  I thought that would be a great place to sell my farm related products such as butter bells, garlic keepers etc.  So my first farmers market gig is the next two saturday mornings, May 24th and 31st at the Greenfield Farmers Market, Main St. and Court Square.  Here is a photo of my butter bells… to find out more detail about these little wonders visit my website.