on custom orders

shaving bowl
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
I believe I said that I wasn't going to do custom orders anymore. Well, I don't mean that. I mean that I won't do twenty at one time, or do custom orders to the exclusion of building up regular inventory. And I am still making berry bowls. I just can't let myself get to the point where I am only making berry bowls.

This is a custom order that I was pretty happy with. A fellow in town contacted me about making a shaving bowl for him. He has some very specific guidelines, and he wanted it to be locally made. I threw what I thought he wanted, got his approval, and glazed it last week. Yesterday I reglazed the little white spots where the glaze didn't stick. He hasn't seen the final result yet, but I hope he's pleased. This is a perfect example of what I want to accomplish with my pottery. Something you use every day, something that adds a little joy, beauty, satisfaction to your day. Something you aren't going to just DIE about because it breaks.

I don't use this glaze, Opulence's Antique Iron, frequently. I water it down to make the sepia-toned herb markers and saints icons, but it has literally been years (2-3) since I've used it to glaze a functional piece of pottery. I take that back, I did use it on the Mississippi River clay I dug this time last summer because everything else turned chalky white due to the mineral content in the clay. When I did use it more regularly, men liked it. So when this fellow requested something masculine, I mixed up this bucket again. I do like how it breaks greyish wherever the glaze pools. There's also the slightest hint of iridescence to the glaze, but I only noticed that yesterday when I was spot-glazing in the sun.

More new work to come.

Oh, would you like to see a spectacular failure? I didn't know whether to laugh or gasp when I pulled this out. I had to use a chisel to get the top out, which I did solely because I wanted to see how much butter it would hold. Lidded vessels are so finicky. Next time I will fire the top and bottom separately. They fit together when I made them and when I'd bisque fired them. I'm not sure if one was thrown from reclaimed clay and the other from new clay, but they certainly seemed to shrink at different rates. Oh well.