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production methods... handwriting is on the pot ;)

updated thu 31 jul 97


Deborah Redfern on wed 16 jul 97

|----------------------------Original message----------------------------
|On Fri, 11 Jul 1997 22:29:39 EDT in list.clayart, you wrote:
|>----------------------------Original message----------------------------
|> snip... it is becoming
clear that to make a real go of this business will require us to get into
some production methods... I am in the process of investigating these
|>processes to see which is most applicable to our situation..>. snip...

I make slip cast dinnerware decorated with hand painted landscapes in
underglaze. I don't consider the casting to be a mechanical process in the
least. I *do* consider it to be a different set of skills with different
challenges than throwing and trimming. On another note, I am not convinced
yet that slip casting is really a quick production method. I know I don't
turn out nearly as much as some production throwers I know. Maybe I'm
slightly saner - I don't know... Mold making is yet another skill to master
and if you are going to have decent results, you do really have to get
quite good at it. The people who have really excelled at mold-produced ware
have master mold makers working for them. I tried my best to make molds and
finally turned to master mold makers too. And that is quite expensive,
especially to get enough molds to get a good production going. As well,
sure pouring *is* quick, but the finishing takes a lot of time, estimate maybe a dozen mugs a day at Deborah speed>; it is tedious, and it
has to be done properly if the result is going to be any good. In other
words, casting is a zen project.

I sell my work in juried craft fairs which doesn't mean much I know - but I
can tell you the criteria is very particular. Personally the criteria I
use to judge cast pots is the same for thrown pots. It is an overall thing
- clay, glaze and decoration, if any, and how they they all marry together.
If it all works and I like it and there is an honesty to it (by that I
mean an honest attempt by the artist to put their own stamp on it) , I will
buy it.

A book that got me started on all this is *Ceramic Style* by John
Hinchcliff and Wendy Barber. The story of how they got there is
interesting and maybe it would help. At any rate I see Hinchcliffe and
Barber pottery photographed in all sorts of places and that gives me the
confidance to know that what I am doing is okay, legitimate - whatever. In
the end all that matters is that it pleases me and that it sells. And it
does, so I am a happy camper. :))


If not I for myself, who then?
and being for myself, what am I?
and if not now, when?
- Rabbi Hillel -