Friday, August 16, 2013

Turtle and.....

Now I remember why I don't do large (for me) animals.  They're a complete b#tch to do.  I start with a slab of clay over a bowl that is approximately to shape and size of the shell.  It has to be soft enough to drape easily but dry enough to hold its shape.  The first step of drying has to be watched carefully as the whole thing will crack if it dries to much. Sometimes I take it off the form and place a smaller bowl under the curve.  Once the clay has set up enough I reverse it into a shallow bowl lined with several layers of a towel.  I rough in the head, legs and tail and wait for it to set up a bit.  The hardest part is finding the patience to let it set properly.  I've been going out to work in the yard in short bursts.  I set a timer so I won't lose track of what is going on with drying.  Once it's set up enough I add the bottom shell and make sure it's well attached all around.

I turned it right side up so I could work on the feet and head  with eyes.  Later I will work on the bottom and post a photo of it.  The main thing is go slowly without losing the gesture of the turtle.




Below is a photo of the way not to do it.  I started building one the inside of the bowl.....well, it has been a while since I've done one of these.  Needless to say, it was a disaster.....and I couldn't find my notes on making a turtle.  As I started, it didn't feel right......so I broke it down and started over, more successfully this time.  Sometimes the memory is in our hands not our brains.


Below is a long ago calamari platter that I made on commission. I found it when I was cleaning some unused shelves.  A nice little surprise to put out as a bird bath.  Actually this is a glaze failure.  I made two and fortunately the octopus was defined and clear on the second one.  For more thoughts on the perils of commissions read Gary's post for today.  He sums it up very nicely.

Now if a customer wants something, if it's at all feasible, I make a bunch of stuff and invite the customer to have first choice.

Does anyone out there do commissions?  If you do, what are your criteria for accepting and how do your arrive at a price?


This post will also be over on Mud Colony.  Everyone should click the link and see what is happening world wide in clay.

It looks like a real summer week end ahead.  I doesn't seem possible that we are halfway though August.

Enjoy the sun, moon and stars.  As always, thanks for stopping by...........*s*

18 comments:

  1. Dearest Suzi,
    Your turtle will end up looking really nice, this time around. Yes it is hard remembering how we did certain things at a time. Even though I am not working with clay, I do admire you for even taking commissions! That is tricky and even more so for the pricing.
    Hugs to you,
    Mariette

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    1. Hi Mariette...Thank you. Providing I can do the finish work, get it through two firings my toes will be crossed that all goes well.

      I am so glad I no longer do commissions.....I have enough crazy making in my life.

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  2. Well worth the time spent on the turtle, so great!
    I am doing only commission work right now, I make it, they buy it. So far everyone has been happy and I have had no problems. I do make two though, because when they think they are special, they like to blow themselves up along the way to completion!

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    1. Hi Tracey.....It was the having to make at least two of a commission that got to me. Pieces were always accepted, but how right you are about the special pieces blowing themselves up. It's no wonder potters are a superstitious lot.

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  3. Love your turtle. I can see why it would be difficult to create, that's a pretty good size piece of clay. xox

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    1. Hi Corrine....Thanks. It's one of those things where it has to be broken down into small steps and having the patience to wait to continue to the next step. Once I get into it, it's kind of fun to do them.

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  4. Can't wait to see your turtle finished! Are you familiar with Glen MacInnis's turtles? He is at Sunapee every year. I love his turtles. He has started to do collaboratives with Stephanie Young.
    Jeff and I do commissions. Right now he is working on two trophies for a golf tournament sponsored by Chiquita Banana. As I type, he is in the studio hand carving their logo on a very large pot. He is going to be well paid for this one. It involved creating smaller prototypes before they settled on a design. They also wanted it done quickly and were willing to pay extra for it.
    I haven't done anything that elaborate, but have created some new pig designs as commissions. I often make two as well.

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  5. Hi Michele....Glen's turtles are beyond fabulous. I wanted to take them home with me......alas budget restraints.

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  6. there was an older potter here who use to say,
    " if I had any brains they was in my hands."

    As you know we do a lot of custom size lamps and vases, it sure helps.

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    1. Hi Meredith....What a Great quote!
      I 'I shouldn't say (write) 'I never do commissions' Several years ago I did a backsplash behind a kitchen sink. I think pricing is my big bugaboo!

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  7. I smiled to see your turtle...It's looking good, more serious than the turtle in my Mud Colony post this week!

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    1. Hi JB....Thanks, but your turtle is such a cocky little guy with a great expression!

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  8. Wow - you set yourself some difficult tasks! That Turtle does not look very easy to me, but it is looking good. I love the soft colours in your calamari bowl - that's a beautiful piece. Happy potting! xCathy

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    1. Hi Cathy....Thanks. Turtles are not easy, but I break it down into many little steps and go slow it works out well. The calamari platters double quite nicely as bird baths!

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  9. What a cute turtle. He can move to Sweden *smile*.

    Hugs

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    1. Hi Elna....Are Swedish turtles different from North American ones? Thanks for stopping by.

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  10. It sounds like a 'hanging upside down to get a feel of what it will be like when you turn it over job'. Not easy. I look forward to seeing it later.
    Commissions- I find most of them a nightmare with the occasional gem. I spend an inordinate amount of time on them and always undercharge. The criteria for taking them on seems to be how hard they twist my arm! I do insist on as much artistic freedom as I can negotiate. To be more positive - it is rewarding to please!
    Good luck with the turtle.

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    1. Hi Christine.....Exactly! Thanks for the thoughts on commissions.

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