Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A glimpse in the Nate Berkus Show

Who would have thought? Well I always wanted my work to make it to the Nate Berkus show. And to my surprise I get a note from facebook friend "Scott Reed", saying he saw my work on the show. What??? Really???
Do I dug up Nate's website, and did find the clipping of Nate talking about Etsy. Check out the video and one third of the way when she says "1 billion", you see my work flash for a fraction of a second. Really.. don't blink or you will miss it.
Even though just for a fraction, I am amazed that someone saw that and recognized my work.
The two pieces pictured are still available in my store. Go get the stars of the show. LOL!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cyber Monday Etsy Sale + Free Gift

Season Greetings and a FREE Gift with every purchase!

This year has gone fast. I am going to complete my one year anniversary being a full time potter and I thank you all for the support.
As a special gift from me, from November 26th - December 20th, every purchase in my
store gets one of my Favorite things!! Take advantage of shopping early and get a FREE gift with every order placed on my online shop.
Yes, I said FREE gift with every order. If Oprah can give away her favorite things for free, so can I. LOL!

What is the FREE gift? A reusable foldable waterproof Tote bag. Great for your trip to the farmers market or to your local art show. Be Green, Reuse and Save the environment! Available in different bright colored prints, every order gets a FREE bag.

I have added several NEW items in my shop for this holiday season. Browse through and you are sure to find something special.

Lidded Mugs

Perfect for brewing your tea

Small Teapot

For the Tea Lover

Act Fast before your favorite item from my shop is gone!

Thank you and have a great Holiday Season!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Potters Council 2012 Calendar

I am thrilled to learn that my platter has been accepted to be part of the Potters Council Calendar (Form and Function) Among 750 submissions it is great to be part of this calendar. Click on the link that says View Calendar Pages and check out the month of August!
So begin next year with one these calendars in your studio!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Packing pottery for wholesale

Making pottery is an art and I beleive packing pottery is an art as well. Packing individual pots is not that hard. You can bubble wrap it and put it in a box full of peanuts. But for wholesdale orders, multiple pots need to be packed together. You want to pack efficiently so you can fit several pots in one box and at the same time make sure it is not so tightly packed that the pots hit against each other and break.
Also keep in mind that you can get bigger and bigger boxes to pack more and more pots. I don't recommend that, because if the box is large and awkward, the likeness of it being dropped is higher. I usually use two sizes 17"x13"x13" and occasionally a 18"x18"x16" box. Of course this depends on your size of pieces and the number of pieces you need to ship in every order.
First the tools of the trade.
A good heavy duty packaging tape
Fragile Labels or tape. I sell these rolls of tape at great wholesale prices here.
Stretch wrap. This is my life saver. I couldn't live without this stuff.
A good blade
Bubble wrap (Use recycled only if it is in good condition)
Scrap cardboard
Packing peanuts (I use recycled clean peanuts that I get from a local electronic store)

I wrap each piece (in this case my mugs) in bubble wrap. Then using stretch wrap I wrap pieces together with cardboard in between them. This way the pieces don't touch and have a cardboqrd buffer in between. The stretch wrap is wrapped tightly to make sure the pieces don't move.

With 2 inches of peanuts in the bottom layer of the box, the mugs are placed with enough room on the sides and between the two packs of mugs. Then pack peanuts around the corners and edges with another layer of peanuts and more mugs.

Finally it is topped with more peanuts, invoices, business card and info about my work.

 Try not to overfill the boxes and tape them securely with tape. I also label the boxes with my pottery labels.

 I am sure every potter/artist packs their work in their own way. I would love to hear of more ideas you have and what works for you. Do comment and share with your social networks.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Corner Booth Design

It is time to make changes to my booth design again. Nothing significant but just something for a corner booth. I had got great suggestions on my blog for booth designs and shelves, so I hope to get more recommendations for a corner booth. The picture above is of my in-line booth with shelves on one side, wall panels at the back and pedestals to the other side.
Here is a computer sketch of my current in-line booth design.
For the corner I am thinking of two options. The one above which is similar to my in-line design and would encourage people to walk in and give more open space.
One thing I have noticed is when people just stand at the edge of the booth and fear coming in... As though I will hold them at gun point till they buy something. LOL! So to give them an opportunity to browse without commiting to come in my booth, I thought of this design with shelves along the open sides of the booth. Advantage is that I get lots of storage space, but I think it will be hard for to talk to my customers, or tell them about my work or point to something or pull something off the wall.
For an outdoor show I know this design can be bad with bad weather. No way for anyone to look at your work while it rains on them.
Do you have any recommendations? I will have a corner booth at the upcoming Best of the Northwest show Nov 18th-20th. So any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New Butter Trays

Many of you have seen and purchased my lidded butter dishes which are still my best sellers. With a suggestion from the Luna Sea Gallery in Pascadero, CA, I am introducing my new butter trays. They are still charming and colorful with a different design and a great price point.
They can also be used as spoon rests or serving.
Check them out in my Etsy shop.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Potters Council Show NCECA 2012

I am thrilled to find out that my Pillow Bowl has been accepted for the Potters Council Show, "The Chormatic Edge" at NCECA 2012 which is in my hometown Seattle!!

If you have been following my blog, you must have read about the learning experience I had with these pillow bowls. I had titled the blog entry "Try Try Try till you succeed". Being accepted for this show does show a measure of success. So if you have an itch to try something new, keep at it and you will achieve it.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Handbuilt Lidded jars/ mugs

I have been experimenting with a new idea of decorating my surfaces which is a conbination of my slip decoration and adding color in a different way.

These are my initial pieces with which I made the surface of the mugs by rolling on to a textured surface that I slip slip decorated. And then I ran a brayer on the raised surface to add the black color to the raised surfaces. Don't know how this will look when finished but I like the look so far. What do you think?

Since I am still experimenting, I think these can make cool lidded cups or even sugar jars. Do you prefer sugar jars with the lid cut out for a spoon to go in?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Charan Sachar in The New York Times

I am very excited to share that I have been featured on the Front Page of The New York Times (SundayStyles Section) today (August 14th 2011). Grab your copy today!

Here is a clipping from the article with some great pictures taken by Stuart Isett
"Charan Sachar, 37, a former software engineer who lives near Seattle, used to spend his downtime perusing Etsy, the D.I.Y. crafts site. He daydreamed of an unfettered life at his kiln, creating Bollywood-inspired teapots and butter dishes.

In January, after 12 years in software, he quit to devote himself full time to his online store, Creative With Clay, which sells stoneware he designs and makes. (Last May, he told his story on Etsy’s “Quit Your Day Job” blog.)

Now, instead of spending his free time absorbed in visions of clay, he spends as much as 70 percent of his day on administration. He is not only his own boss, he is his own accountant, sales director, marketing manager and shipping clerk."

I have listed several new items in my Etsy shop. Thank you all for your support through out these years. I wouldn't have been able to do it without you.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

New Booth Setup

Almost every year, I make changes to my booth. This time the change is big and it costed big too $$$. After a lot thinking, the Caravan Canopy was just not working for me. It has been very strong and stable for the shows I have done over the last few years. The thing that annoyed me most about it was the cross bars at the top. They blocked the view of platters and dancing Divas which were hung on my back wall. Very distracting. So after a lot of research, I purchased the Light Dome Canopy. I like the open high ceiling and bright light in the booth. This gave me the oppurtunity to add some color to the top as well.

They are a little time consuming to setup, but I bet it gets better with time. The most annoying this has to be putting the top on. With two people it is a breeze but with a short guy like me, it is a challenge.

Would love to hear about the canopies and setups other artists have. Feel free to tweet and leave your comments.

Monday, June 13, 2011

New techniques and New work

I am so excited about this new way I am decorating my work. Of course it is a lot more intricate and lot more time consuming and I wish I had warned myself what I was getting into. :)

I am liking the slip decoration in black and then filing in all the colors. I feel like a kid again, painting in my coloring book with my mom asking me to stay within the lines.

As you can see the designs are a lot more intricate and detailed. Very inspired from henna tattoos. I like the tightness of the designs and how I can give it multiple colors in the small tight spaces. Takes me forever to decorate these. I will probably use this technique on my larger high end pieces like my platters and dancing divas. See pictures of some finished work below.

I will have all the new work at the upcoming Edmonds Arts Festival (June 17th-19th)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Quit my Day Job

I am glad to annouce that I finally quit my day job and I am now a full time potter. It is going to be interesting to see what unfolds.
Etsy did a feature on me last week with my story and here is the interview.
Thank you all for your support!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Pantry Storage

I am thrilled that we finally have pantry storage in our kitchen!!
Ever since we moved into our house (few years back), we have been struggling with storage. The kitchen is big, but the cabinets dated pre-Costco, so all shelves are fixed and nothing fit in. So we were storing stuff in our garage. Have gone back and forth several times thinking about remodeling the kitchen, but the expense always is a shock!
I found this pinkish brown corner armoire on craiglist and which would need some work but would be a perfect addition to our kitchen. It is all solid wood and was in excellent condition. And for $40, a steal!
It had some missing hardware and the color was weird. Instead of repainting it another shade of brown to match our existing boring cabinets, I wanted to go wild on this one. Went with a soft lime green with chocolate brown accents which goes very well with the backyard and brings the outside colors in.
What do you think?

Added new hardware and shelves and finally have storage in the kitchen!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Extruded and Pulled Handles

As potters know, a comfortable and aesthetically balanced handle is a goal we all strive for. And for many it is a dreading part of the whole process. It is a constant learning process and now I actually enjoy pulling handles. I have kept experimenting and changing my handles to get them consistent and the shape that I want.

Since I love my extruder so much, potters at shows and online always ask me if I pull or extrude my handles. Well.. I do both. I extrude mostly for getting a consistent shape for all my handles and also it is a lot faster. But plain extrusions and result in a very lifeless handles. So then I go ahead and pull my handle.

I cut my oval shape extrusions to 5" in length. To make this a more pleasurable experience, you clean warm water for pulling. My left hand is always dry to hold the handle. Dip the handle in water and taper it with your right hand.

After tapering, I run my thumb in the center a few times to create a curve. When finished, this slight curve makes a good place for the thumb to rest.

Check the video below to see the whole process. When attaching the handle to the mug, I cut with a cookie cutter as this lets me join the mug to the curved surface of the mug without distorting it. I got that tip from Ginger Steele on one of our clay play dates.

And here is the finished result.

Below are pictures of pots from Ginger Steele and Kristen Kieffer whose handles I really admire.
Feel free to add your tips on handles in the comments.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mother's Day Sale

The one thing that my mom loves is a good deal! And I am sure there are many like her.

So if you haven't shopped for your mom yet, this is a great opportunity to make her proud with a good discount.

Purchase any item in my shop and get 25% OFF shipping.
Any two items and you get 50% OFF shipping
Any three items and get 75% OFF shipping
Any four or more items and absolutely FREE shipping.

Just mention "Mother's Day discount" in Message to Seller when you purchase.

Discounts will be given as refunds via paypal as soon as payments are made.
Items will be shipped via USPS Priority Mail or Fedex ground.

Act fast as this deal only lasts till May 2nd, to ensure that your gifts reach in time for Mother's Day!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Soap Dishes with New Recycled / Upcycled Glaze

I have been making soap dishes for a long time now and I love their simple design and at the same time they are very practical.
The deep grooves help keep the soap high so it drains and dries the soap well. They have very smooth glossy glazes which makes them very easy to clean. And if you love automation, just stick them in the dishwasher to clean them. :)
And the feedback I have got for these is just amazing. Custmers love them and keep coming back for more.. either for their other bathroom, kitchen or as gifts. Read through some of the feedback I have gotten with pictures sent by my happy customers.

"Well made, sturdy, great design and functionality. I love the two tone veriation that looks great with the tub and am so glad I got two for my master bathroom!"
"Wonderful product!!! So well made and generously-sized, these soap dishes are more like beautiful piece of art. Seller was great to work with - attentive and responded quickly to my request. Highly recommend!"
"Love my soap dish! I used it today for the first time. Awesome quality! Quick shipping. Arrived safe, all in one piece.I will definitely be purchasing more from this artist!"

The main reason of writing this post is that I am introducing a new glaze color for my soap dishes. And it is just not a new glaze recipe.. it is very special. While working in the studio and clean up glazes, I always saved up the glaze which came from spraying glazes or cleaning pots. To this I also added glazes that I wasn't using any more. Rather than just dumping this in the environment, I tested and tweeked it. Low and behold, I have this beautiful deep blue grey glaze which has some specks of brown. I looks beautiful over the white glaze and also has some white specks in it if you look closely.

I cannot replicate this glaze ever, but I have 5 gallons of it. So I should be able to make several soap dishes.
So don't waste your glazes. Mix them up and see what you get.
I would love to hear what waste material artists recycle in their studio and upcycle it to create truely unique work.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Pushing the limits

If you have been following my blog and my work, you would have noticed that I have a big fascination for patterns and textures. The patterns on my work can get detailed but I felt I could push my slip decorating skills further. I always wanted to try the hanna patterns applied to the hands of the Indian bride.

I started with this platter for which I made a floral pattern inspired by Arabic henna designs. I love the flow of the pattern with the shape of the platter.

I got great feedback on facebook with that platter and wondered, "Can I push myself further?"
So, I took a slab of clay (16x12 inches), put some lines on it as general placement of my pattern and went to town with it. I spent my entire Sunday doing this, so it did take me forever.
I will make a textured mat with this, so I can redo this pattern on other pieces of my work. I still have to figure out how that is going to work.
This might be moving my work in a new direction and hope it is a good one.


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