Monday, July 30, 2012

Why does it cost so much to ship pottery?

Was checking on one of the orders I shipped out last week and got this nice response:

"Hey Vicki,

The shipment came and everything looks great! I have to say you are by far the best pottery packager I have seen thus far. All of the pieces look great and I love how you sign everything with NC on the bottom. That alone is a huge selling point. We put everything out in the shop yesterday and we already sold one of the coffee mugs, so I hope that is a sign of quick sales. I look forward to working with you more as we grow."

Shipping pottery is interesting. Maybe you've wondered why it costs so much. About 9 months ago I was asked just that very question by a wholesaler. The short answer is that it is heavy and prone to breakage. The longer answer is that you have to use a LOT of packing materials to get your precious cargo there safely. There is an art to packing.  Knowing my work well, I put extra bubble wrap around things like handles or any decoration that sticks out. Then I aim for 2 layers of bubble wrap around top and bottom. And a layer of green shrink-type wrap to hold it all together. I like the green stuff rather than tape so that the bubble can be reused. Then pieces packed in snugly together with peanuts in in any open spaces inside a box that has 2" clearance all around in another box and the spaces filled with peanuts.

This is how I recommend packing pottery to anyone who buys my pieces and wants to send them as a gift to another part of the country.

I buy most of my packing materials from an outfit in Charlotte called Box It Up. Whenever I have to go get clay supplies, I try and restock any shipping boxes or peanuts at the same time. What I really love about this place is that they sell recycled peanuts in a huge bag. Two of the bags fills most of my van.

And I'm lucky enough to be able to recycle boxes from Wilkinson Animal Hospital, my husband's business. Veterinary hospitals receive their vaccines and refrigerated medicines in these solid styrofoam boxes with cool packs to keep everything chilled as they are shipped. Those boxes are great for shipping because they have the styrofoam as a super sturdy cushioning material. And they get at least one more use before someone throws them away. In the studio I use them to transport or store pieces and as a damp box. And you can always repurpose them as a cooler for drinks or for fishing.

Well, there's the skinny on shipping pottery.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

All the colors of the rainbow

I was the girl that coveted the BIG box of colors on the first day of school. No 8 or 12 basics would do. I NEEDED periwinkle blue, topaz, emerald green and all shades in between. I still love the sound of colors in English, French, Spanish. They're like poetry to me. So, no surprise that I am working on expanding my palette. Will fill you in on the results plus a great trick I figured out on a quick and easy test that doesn't involve weighing lots of ingredients.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sock Monkey Product Shots

Been working on some shots of these little pendants that I make. I have been using some new glazes and wanted a nice funky photo, so that's where Sock Monkey comes in. This is a sock monkey my grandmother made for one of the children. I have changed the sex (I think), because originally this monkey had little fuzzy furry looking doodads on it's legs. I temporarily removed the said "doodads" (which is Southern speak for a rather useless piece or thing that you know not what to call, but have to give some designation). Got her (him?) all decked out in beach finery, posing with all this pottery bling around her (his?) neck. The other shot shows how I intend to ship these pieces to arrive at a lucky person's door.