Saturday, August 28, 2010

My Review of Free Freight Pottery Supply

I just have to give a shout out to Alex and the others at Free Freight Pottery Supply for their really awesomely helpful and friendly customer service. I originally purchased some Coyote glazes from them last year for the purpose of making some food safe utilitarian wares. Occassionally it is fun to divert from art pottery and turn to things that are useful too. Making my own glazes, I was unable to achieve some of the colors or finishes I desired, and still have them be food safe. Thus the veer towards commercial glazes for mugs and such. Then I discovered they are also just what I needed for some of my new decorative pieces too. I have ordered 3 or 4 times now.

On Thursday night, I placed an order for glaze that I was low on and a few new ones to try....I have ideas you know, lots and lots of ideas.......
anyway, late Friday afternoon as I was working on some urchins and thinking about some new color combinations I want to try on them when I get my order from Free Freight Pottery Supply, when I noticed a crab claw that I had forgotten about, which I was saving for "inspiration" - (I think they are intriguing and lovely). It dawned on me I would need some orange if I wanted to try to mock the colors in a crab claw and so I quick gave a call to FFPS. I asked if they already had my order packed and ready to go/or shipped, and found out that yes, it had just finished being packed up. I told Alex I wanted to add a glaze to it, but that's okay, I could get it next time I ordered. But instead he said 4 magic words.... "we aim to please" and then went ahead and added the glaze to my package.

I can't say how much I appreciated it, here it was after 4pm on a Friday afternoon, and I am sure the last thing they wanted to do was open up a box they had just finished packing, to make a last minute addition to it. But, they did and that is the true meaning of great customer service! I think any other company would have just told me that they were sorry the order was already "processed". Oh, and did I mention how quickly my orders always arrive! I have waited upwards of 2 weeks when ordering from other companies, but have always had my orders from FFPS arrive within 3-5 business days.

I give them a big thumbs up and know I will be ordering many more times from them!
Click on the topic title link to visit their website.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

English Channel Sea Urchins are my latest love

Every once in awhile I find a new texture or color combination that strikes me and I want to keep exploring the possibilities that it could become. Lately it has been the English Channel Sea Urchin that has inspired me, and along with some smaller ones I have finished a 5" one (real life size) and a cool Urchin inspired bowl. I love the way the spine nubs textural! Next, I want to explore these forms in some other colors, I am leaning towards greens to start with. These pieces have been made with white stoneware clay and slip. Once I move beyone prototypes, I may give them a shot in porcelain too. Be sure to check out my urchin treasury on Etsy by clicking on this posts title.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Works in Progress

I am slacker when it comes to keeping my blog updated, but time gets away from me easily and I will be going back to work in just one more week (may the 2010-2011 school year fly by and summer vacation return quickly!).

I have been rather excited about some new things I have been working on and my favorite, albeit time consuming, projects have been making English Channel Sea Urchins. With my airpen in hand, I can add all the little spine bumps without causing carpal tunnel aggravation. Experimenting with the glaze combos to color them with is fun too. I made a pretty nifty sea urchin bowl this week, along with a sodium silicate cracked pod that is very primitive and earthy.....just the way I like it! Of course you are seeing the pieces in their greenware state....

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fungus On A Stick - what next!

Just got 50 lbs cone 6 porcelain to try working with, a diversion from the same old stoneware. It feels so wonderfully soft in my hands, almost too delicate to use in the manner I am accustomed to working with clay (which amounts to manhandling the stiff and groggy clays I have been using). So I have ideas, I want to throw some little earth sprout weed pots with it for sure, and some other ideas. But all that needs to wait until I clean out my wheel and tools, buckets, etc, so that I have a clean surface. Don't want to turn my nice white porcelain all brown from the residual stonewares.

So I spend a few minutes pondering just where to start in cleaning up my studio. I really need to find a different place for my driftwood. I have a huge laundry basket, plus a big bucket and a really huge bureau drawer all full of driftwood sticks. I do use a lot of driftwood in my pieces, but some "plain old sticks" that are a bit too large or too plain always sit in a pile taking up precious space just waiting for me to either get rid of them or decide how I can use them.

Sitting on the floor, I grabbed one of those "just too plain" sticks, opened up my bag of porcelain and started sculpting some fungus around the stick.

So here it is, in it's wet greenware state (which is surprisingly hard to photograph).....presenting.....
Fungus On A Stick!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dear Mr. Coffee pot designer........

It's been awhile since I have blogged about anything, and I am going off course from pottery promotion for a moment and posting a rant of sorts directed at all you product designers, those particularly that design new automatic drip coffeemakers. Help me out here, please, I beg of you. I am a coffee drinking addict and take my coffee seriously, but I am on a budget too. I can't afford to replace 2 or 3 coffee makers a year just because they fail to hold up to normal everyday use.

So, here is my wishlist for the perfect coffee maker. Of course an aesthetically pleasing modern look is a given. But only if it does its job to perfection.

1). Give me a carafe that pours without dripping back down the pot and down onto my counter (or worse) over the controls on the coffee making unit. A pot I can pour like a man, I am not a prim and proper tea party hostess, pouring into dainty china tea cups. I tote a big burly stoneware pottery mug that begs to be filled in a flash. I will say that Black and Decker is on the right track with the wider opening, unlike Mr. Coffee.
2). I want a stainless steel burner, not the teflon coated one the chips, flakes and wears off. That just looks tacky!
3). Only one overfill hole please. Don't need 2, that just increases the chance that while I am filling the unit, water will pour right through the hole that is for some reason strategically placed right where the widest fill opening is, and where of course, I am pouring in the water. Another mess.
4). Keep the buttons and electronics at the top. The smallest incidents of dripping or filter basket overflow, has been the demise of more than one of my pots. Poor design. If you must have it located at the bottom, then you better find a way to seal it to be waterproof.
5). Adjustable burner heat and brewing temperature. Everyone has a different idea of how hot they want their coffee, and those that brew boiling hot water seem to degrade the flavor of the coffe faster.
6). No cone filters, no cone filters, no cone filters. They serve the same purpose as a basket filter, but cost 3 times as much. Not sure why, but I hate using them for that reason and refuse to buy a pot that only accepts cone filters.
7). A large water reservoir filler opening is my dream. The little 2" slotted hole is too much of a hassle. Make it easy.....oh, and while you're at it, please design the lid to stay open by itself and not fall shut on me while I am trying to fill the unit. I want to be able to see the water level on both sides of the pot too, just in case my kitchen setup is different than your test kitchen.
8). Delayed brew timer is a must.
9). Finally, last but not least,
back up your product with a warranty that actually means something. If you think you have a good product, be confident enough in it that you can give me a 3 year warranty that covers everything short of me dropping and breaking it.

Let me know when you make one like this and you will have a faithful customer who will recommend it to all my coffee drinking buds too.