You can also purchase pottery through our Etsy store. Visit us on Etsy by clicking any item: SPECIAL NOTICE: Our Etsy store is closed while we are vending at Santa Fe Fiesta Market over Labor Day Weekend…check back on Wednesday, Sept. 4.
What’s Special About Special Orders
I’ll admit–I love shopping online. No driving to town, no waiting in lines, and it’s so easy to comparison-shop without ever leaving my chair. If only shopping for pottery could be done the same way. But as with any handmade item, there are slight to great variations in size, color, and the “feel” of each individual piece. Although we use about ten standard glaze combinations, there is a wide range of results coming out of the kiln. These are caused by variables such as placement in the kiln, firing temperature, atmospheric conditions, and batch variations in glaze minerals. When we get an order for an 8-set of mugs, we typically fire 12 to 16 and select the best 8-set. For a serving bowl in a particular color, we always fire two, and again, pick the best one to ship. This system builds in a back-up for the occasional flaw or imperfection.
When Will I Get My Pottery
Of course, we often have enough stock on hand to pick right from the shelves. When we do, we pick the best pieces to ship. But sometimes, even if we have 8 plum blue mugs on the shelves, there may be enough variation in all of the pieces that we advise a customer to wait for the next kiln firing to get an excellent matched pair.
So how does this affect ordering? Well, there’s just no way to get photos of every single piece of our stock up on our website. Most shoppers already have an idea what they want and they just drop us an email or call. About half the time we can pull something off the shelf to fill an order. We are happy to email photos of individual pieces for comparison, but those who know Rich’s work might just ask him to pick a nice bowl or mug set. We refer to this as the “Potter’s Pick.”
You Can’t Rush Perfection
For requests that we can’t pull off the shelf, we create a “special order.” These orders get placed in queue with the general shop production. People often ask “how long does it take from start to finish?” Well, if the potter worked only on your order, it might take three weeks from start to finish. Steps to build a mug include wedging the clay, throwing the mug body, drying it to leather-hard, trimming, making and applying a handle, drying again, bisque firing, glazing, firing again, and sanding. Whew! Now add to that process hundreds of pieces from saki cups to giant bowls in 10 glaze combos and you have quite a complex production routine.
So you see, as nice as it would be to sell large quantities of pottery from our website, it’s not always practical. When we happen to have exactly what you want in stock, we can ship immediately. When you have the time to wait for a special order, we take the utmost care to create a beautiful piece in a timely manner. But there’s an occasional glitch that changes the schedule–too windy to fire, your item and its back-up both cracked in the bisque, the kiln fan needs replaced. But you can rest assured that the piece we end up shipping to you will be as perfect as possible and a one-of-a-kind work of art.