I will plan out all the steps.
Hey there lovelies, how’re your days going?
I’m taking a brief break at the moment to reflect and write a little journal entry here on this cute little site of mine.
I finished making all of my pre-orders last night! Albeit I have one little handle to put on one little mug, but all the forms are done and drying aside from that! I am so excited about seeing each one lined up on my drying shelves, just itching to be fired and glazed. I will be taking SO many pictures once everything is ready.
Step one is complete: Make all of the things.
Step two is a little tricky- I now need to gently prepare to drive across town with all of these gentle, fragile forms. The handles are the scariest bit; I think they’ll be safer if I keep them face-up on the car ride. Thankfully, I was gift a truly giant bag of packing peanuts from one of my friends at the gym, and it should be enough to layer items in the boxes. I think I’ll put a layer of peanuts, a few sturdier items like the bowls, then another layer of peanuts and newspaper, and then cups with their handles up. I have several boxes and I’ll need to secure them with towels or blankets so they don’t move around too much either. One of these days I’ll get one of those cars where the seats lay down into the floorboards; that would make this process a good deal easier, haha.
After that, it’s taking them out and inspecting for damage. I truly hope nothing happens because I do feel a bit pressed for time. If an item breaks on the way, I’ll have to communicate directly with the customer and give them some options of what to do next (ie, a refund in October, or I can remake the item and they’ll get it at the end of October instead). Because of all the steps that go into ceramics, I can’t create one piece and then take it to a kiln to fire by itself; there needs to be enough to fill the kiln and justify the massive amount of energy that it uses.
Step three – After waiting a few days for the items to fire and then cool, and working around my (and the kiln owner’s) schedule, I’ll then drive out to see everything and say several prayers and ‘pleases’ on the way in the hopes that nothing popped, cracked, or exploded. With some of my earlier pieces (before pre-orders, don’t worry) I feel like it may be more likely. I didn’t really get into a comfortable rhythm with wedging until after I had practiced a good bit, and getting a work table in my garage also helped. I am definitely not a fan of wedging on the wheel head though I have seen some potters do it well.
So I’ll go pick up the pieces, pray that they’ll be okay, and then take them home in a similar but less worried fashion as the first trip over. At this stage, everything will be the classic ceramic just about everyone knows, but it’s rough and a bit more sturdy. My concern with the trip back then will be if forms ‘clink’ against each other because they could chip. Some newspaper will keep them safe and sound.
Step four, and the one I’m most excited for: GLAZING! Well, specifically underglazing. This is the part I’ll be doing just about every moment I have outside of normal life next week and the week after. Every form’s bottom will get dipped in wax seal to prevent any glaze from getting on the bottoms of the mugs as I paint, and I’ll be carefully painting every mug by hand. This part won’t take as long as making everything and waiting for them to dry, but it will be extensive because I want to make sure everything gets an even coat.
Step five: Commence trip back to the kiln for second firing, easy.
Step six: Pick up items and review my glazing work. If all goes well, I’ll take them back home and coat everything except their bottoms in a clear glaze.
Step seven: Commence third trip to the kiln, easy again.
Step eight: Pick up items, take them home for ship and stock. There are a few items from the pre-orders and the Etsy stock that will have gold on them which is a special luster type of glaze, so I’ll need to paint those and…
Special Step nine: Commence fourth trip to the kiln.
Step ten: Pick up the gold-babies and take them home to ship and stock.
And the boss level? Delivering the orders to my local loves, and shipping the three orders that are out of state!
I bet you didn’t expect me to go through the whole step by step process I’m about to go through in the next three weeks but I wanted to make sure to keep even my brain on track. I originally said I want my Etsy to go live Sept 26th but life has possibly pushed that to a later date? I don’t think it’s possible anymore for me to get all of those steps done in a little over a week. It’s a bummer but I have to be realistic. At least this way I can take time to paint everything for the Etsy shop in spooky season vibes! I’m always here for the Halloween content, haha.
Anyhow, thank you loves for always supporting me. This is an adventure and I’m learning each step of the way what works and what doesn’t. It’s reassuring to know that as I’m working on these pieces, you guys have my back. All of the profits that come in from my Etsy shop will be going straight into my kiln budget so I can work towards not needing to work around another person’s schedule or worry about transporting everything I make, and that’s my goal to have completed by January or February.
Either way, I wanted you guys to know that I pinky promise to plan through all the steps and keep my gameplan handy. It means the world to me that you’re along for the ride!