Interesting article about "ceramic casualties"

This was shared on the Amaco Cone 5/6 Exchange Facebook Page.

Sometimes our pieces don’t survive the greenware stage. Sometimes they crack or crumble in our hands. Maybe they don’t survive the kiln and if we do get them past the bisque stage, it doesn’t guarantee that they will live through the final firing. :slight_smile: It bites, but it happens. We bounce back by remembering not to become too attached to anything we make. We’re better the second go around.


And all the times I have done clay work I do not ever remember losing an hour an item in a bisque firing are in a regular glaze firing. Because somebody else has lower fireclay melted onto mine. I have lost a few items in a Raku firing. They were never a complex fees they were always simple flat trivets we speak. From doing more reading I believe that to make something of that shape I actually do need to paddle The Climb to make it more compact. If you see pictures of people making tiles in developing countries the clay is beat into a square mold. It seems it needs to be compacted if you’re going to have a flat unsupported surface.

Well, it sounds like you have been very lucky, indeed. I am sorry to hear you were one of the ones affected by the low fire clay.

A potter friend of mine back in Alabama says “It’s just dirt.”

Helps keep things in perspective.


Don’t get attached to your stuff especially when your learning. In college I took to the Wheel quickly and pumped out a ton of bowls after the required cylinder phase. My instructor at UNT used my mediocre bowls as a chance to teach a lesson to the class about not getting too attached to your learning pieces and smashed a good 40+ bisque fired bowls citing errors in trimming, throwing, weight, and shape. It sent shivers through the class as no one knew he had spoken to me before the incident. I ended up walking out as even though I knew what was going to happen it still hurt to see so many pieces trashed, especially the ones with minor errors. But, I made many more and the later ones were of much higher quality. Also, the instructor helped me sell many of my pieces when they were of higher quality well making up for the lost effort from his lesson.

1 Like

well I am glad I didn’t have that he says th I am glad I never encountered that professor. To me what that Professor did shows a total lack of respect for his students and for their work. Pointing out errors and maybe asking a student do you think this one is really worth keeping would be one thing. Like gesture destroy someone’s work. To me that is wrong and should not be promoted. It’s in the same category as pulling a student now and going you’re stupid you’re an idiot you’re a moron. Sonic’s new. In other words that’s my opinion I want to add problems there.

I disagree,
I very much valued the lesson in the long run. It taught me that I had to be my own quality control if I wanted to make money as a potter. I wasn’t doing pottery as a hobby, I was trying to be a production potter, I made bowls and plates in mass to sell. By holding on to imperfect pieces to the stage of bisque firing, I was wasting clay I could recycle, I could of wasted effort and money to glaze the piece, and for what? The chance to have a stack of seconds or mistakes that I couldn’t sell for top value?

As a production potter, when you bring seconds to the table with your majority of perfect pieces, you show possible clients what you feel is not acceptable. Then a portion of those possible clients take that as an opportunity to fine tooth you pieces and demand a discount for the most minor of variation. Secondly, it puts your brand on a piece you are not proud of and wouldn’t want to speak for you for what? The chance to make back a 5th or 10th the value of your time?

This is a lesson successful artists often learn the hard and expensive way and unsuccessful artist often never learn. I gave production pottery an honest go for 4 years at UNT. My profits from the endeavor paid my large college debt of 30K, and put another 30K towards my home loan and paid my bar tabs through college. I sold ceramics all over the US due to the quality of my work and even got to see my work on TV commercials and featured in experimental fancy restaurants. I ended up losing my love for the craft not because of success, because of repetition. I found that simple clean lightly organic shaped bowls and plates that could be purchased at most Bed Bath and Beyond stores are the easiest way to make money. I got tired of making those and I had a printing business that scaled in profitability much more than I could in ceramics. But, the lesson of not passing on failures and mistakes has served me there as well. As I’ve seen the long arm effects of lost business from letting those thing through and the gained business from eating the costs and not passing my issues into the hands of my customers.

@Cairenn_Day, who knows maybe you would be on a different path had you had this lesson early on. I feel I learned it at the best time that I could in my development. It really helped me in perspective and effort.