Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Finding A Home

I mentioned in this post earlier last year that, counter to my fears of an impersonal, isolated means of selling pots -- via digital images and words on a computer monitor rather than the face-to-face meetings I had with my customers at art fairs -- I actually was connecting with a number of my new-found customers. I find that quite rewarding.

Well, it's happened again as a recent customer from down in Georgia posted the above photo -- a tea set nestled in its cozy new home.

I was actually very hesitant to get into selling online because of just that fear -- that it seemed so impersonal. I'm glad I was wrong.

Honestly, in all my years of selling pots via art fairs, I rarely ever saw my pottery in its final destination point. I really like that function of Etsy that allows a photo to be posted in the "Feedback" section of each site. It really enhances the connection made.

And thanks for the photo, Susan!


  1. hi john. the blogpost made me go to etsy to get a closer look at the teapot (really amazing) which then got me to look a picture of your kiln...is your arch on it's last leg? how many firings on this baby? does it reduce well or let in a lot of passive air?
    i'm only on firing number 15 of my gas kiln and am noticing subtle brick shifts and what not.
    enjoy your evening.

  2. Hi Heidi,

    Yes, that kiln has some miles on it. And the arch is in pretty bad shape. You can read about the kiln here...


    But it fires wonderfully. And that's pretty much why I leave well enough alone. I've found over the years that less and less reduction is required to get the good effects (good iron reds, especially).

    Like most potters of my generation, I used to do a body reduction at cone 010-08 with orange flames belching out the peep holes. Then at the top of the firing -- cone 9-10 -- I'd do another reduction with orange flames belching out of not just the peep holes, but extending 2 feet above my 15 ft high chimney.

    Somewhere along the line I started reducing my reducing (<----my wit kills me!) so that I guage whether the body reduction is sufficient by whether I have blue flame backing slightly out of the burner ports.

    Then, from the point of body reduction up to temperature, I just make sure that I have a blue-turning-green flame coming from the peep holes. And I don't do a heavy reduction at the upper end at all.

    Doing less reduction has given me considerably more intense colors as well as saving me a bundle of cash on the gas I use.

    The other thing I do differently -- I believe in relatively long firings. Specifically, I believe that cones 8, 9, and 10 (if you fire that high) should take one hour each to bend. Most glazes require that kind of time. And I also found that an hour and a half at cone 9 will usually net results that look like a flat cone ten that's been fired faster.

  3. thank you for your insight, john. i'm having a bugger of a time figuring out what reduction/cooling cycle suits me best. last night's firing was a cone 10 oxidation because i have a turquoise that likes to go vomit pink and only likes a small part of the kiln if i am reducing (by the door where the air comes in) so i've got 2 full dish sets in there cooling now. it took longer than a normal reduction firing-i think because i kept the damper too open for quite a stretch and the heat was probably going right out the chimney.
    i'm firing primarily celadons and am interested in getting copper red and a decent orange shino. i also am interested in the slow cool but am never done early enough to wait a couple of hours and then light her up again. 3 am is when i shut her down this morning (dork :) )..must not start the kiln after noon.
    enjoy your wednesday and thanks again.

  4. If you weren't selling online many of us would have never found you. So glad that you chose not to deprive us of your gift!

  5. What a nice thing to say!

    By odd coincidence, I just watched "Narnia" last night. I like your moniker. I've been a C.S. Lewis fan since I first read "The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe back in my pre-teen years.