Monday, June 29, 2009

Custom Orders, Part Two

Last week's posting on custom orders was advertised in an email I sent out to the seven hundred or more people on my mailing list. I managed to get some interesting orders and the pictures of these items speak for themselves. Like I said last week, I have mixed feelings about these kind of orders. They are a lot more work than my standard items, but it's really fun to see what people come up with. And the people who order these items are really thrilled to get them, so it's fun to get the rave reviews. Sales are still pretty slow this year, so this is a good way for me to squeeze some extra sales out of a slow economy. If you like what you see here and want to place your own order, just check out the "custom items" section of my webstore. You might want to get your orders in before I raise my prices on this service. Our next kiln comes out in about three weeks!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

It's kind of like making custom birthday cakes, only on pottery.

My apologies to my faithful readers for my lapse in blog postings lately. I kind of dropped the ball on my blog last month and I'm finally getting back in gear here. This week I'm putting together a pair of email sales pitches to my retail customers and my wholesale accounts for a niche market I've been cultivating over the years: custom cartoons on pots. It's a service I've been doing for years, and we always get rave reviews for these items. It's always interesting to see what kind of designs people come up with. Last week, I received a great little cartoon for an order for a commemorative bowl for a dog named Toby who passed away this year. I'm looking forward to putting this cartoon on a salad bowl. To me, this is the perfect custom order: simple, fun to draw and very sweet.

Over the years, I've done dozens upon dozens of these kind of pots. Commemorative wedding gifts are a popular item. One of my all-time favorites had Wally jumping a Harley Davidson motorcycle over the wedding party, on the groom's side were scary biker types and on the bride's side normal middle-class people. It's a timeless story: the good girl falls for the bad boy. For some reason, I seem to have gotten a number of custom orders from Deadheads and Phish devotees. These cartoons are as cryptic as Grateful Dead lyrics: "Harry meets Sarah dancing in The Phil Zone". Unfortunately, I haven't taken many pictures of these items, but perusing my collection of pics this afternoon, I did find a good one that illustrates this point perfectly. If you happen to fall in love at a jam band concert and you want a commemorative item, I'm the guy you need to call, OK? !!!!!
So I kind of have a love/hate relationship with these pots. I've been known to grouse about how much work it can be to draw them. Those "Holy Shit! That's good coffee!" mugs are so easy to draw, I can do them with my eyes closed. Conversely, the graphics on these custom orders are a real challenge. And I don't charge nearly enough as I should for this service. Right now, it will set you back and extra five dollars for a custom order. Pretty cheap, huh? I suppose I should charge more. But when these pots come out of the kiln or when I get that glowing email telling me how the plate with the goofy cartoon made the birthday girl cry tears of joy, it makes me realize I can't stop making these pots for people. To order a custom item, you can go to the "custom items" section of my webstore.

Father's Day SHOUT OUT to Walter G. Edwards: My dad turns eighty this year and he was the early inspiration for my odd style of drawing. When my sister and I were kids, he would always leave us silly notes with lousy drawings on them. I'm pretty sure these lousy drawings were stuck in my subconscious when I picked up a glaze pencil back in the 1980s and started this line of work. Thanks, Dad, for teaching me how to draw like an eight year old!