Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Handcrafted Mugs at Walmart for $3

Went to Wal-Mart today to get a gift for my grandson’s birthday and took a stroll along the housewares section looking for the “$3 mug” someone had mentioned. I found it. Here’s one version of it: there are 10 different styles/glazes/colors. And, actually, it’s not $3, it’s $2.46, 80 cents cheaper than the birthday greeting card I got for Alex’s 2nd birthday. A 16-piece (dishes, bowls, mugs) costs $40. There’s also an $11 stoneware baking pan, a $6 pie pan and a $13 covered casserole. All of it made in China, of course. There’s no way that I can compete with those prices!

Until now I highlighted the “handmade” character of my work. I am the only person involved in the entire process in my studio, from wedging the clay to throwing the piece to mixing glazes to firing to marketing and shipping. However, as the photo shows, now Wal-Mart is selling stoneware pieces made in China that are prominently marked with a sticker that states “Handcrafted: Special Glazing Technique Makes Every Piece Unique.” Wow! This blows me away!

These pieces are not unattractive and they make it possible for people who can’t afford my $18-$24 mugs to enjoy stoneware pieces in any of 10 designs. But they make me sad. Maybe I’ve become a pottery snob, but I feel that they lack soul. The Chinese “hand crafter” has left no indication of his/her presence on this mug; there’s nowhere on the mug that you can say “Aha! Here’s the mark of the maker’s hand!” When I first started this blog, my first postings were about this idea of the importance of handmade pots. I quoted Carla Needleman’s notion that “a mug can save the world.” Now, faced with this reality, the only response I can come up with is to continue to make my pots with even more passion and trust that there are enough people who want to own handmade pots as much as I want to make them. Or, as Kevin Crowe, has said “making pots has become an act of civil disobedience!”

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Glynt Pottery @ Manassas Clay

This is my current display at Manassas Clay (in Manassas, Virginia). This month I'm highlighting platters, as well as brie bakers and "sweetheart" vases. On the top left are two large platters in a tomato red glaze. With the small bowls featured below each platter, they would be ideal for veggies or chips and dip. The platter on the bottom left has a rustic feel because of the different type of clay used. This platter is a bit deeper than the red ones and could be used for pasta or a salad. The green platter on the middle far right is similarly deeper than the red ones and comes accompanied by two plates
The "sweetheart" vases are on the top shelf (and one on the bottom shelf in front of the brown plattter). I started making these as gifts for my daughters' wedding anniversaries (all 3 of my married daughters have anniversaries in the Spring within a period of 3 weeks!). These are two small bud vases that have been smooshed together and are now inseparable!
I only have 3 brie bakers left at the shop right now as the 2 others sold before I could take the photo! But there are many more brie bakers where those came from!
Other items are the highly textured hand-built boxes, vases and tray and the 3 small soy bottles.
Hope you'll have a chance to visit Manassas Clay soon!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Featured in Mellow Tones!

I am being featured in Mellow Tones: Handmade Shopping Guide with this pitcher and tumbler set:

And, oh yes!, the summer clearance sale is still going on in my etsy shop. Don't miss your chance to take advantage of significant discounts on all my pieces!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Huge Summer Pottery Sale

It's summer, time to start clearing out inventory! Everything (and I mean everything!) in my Etsy shop is now on sale. Discounts range from 9% to 61%. This fabulous gas-fired lamp is on sale for $50 (discounted by 17%). Other lamps are marked down even more!

Most mugs are now half-priced!

And, can you believe that this cute casserole dish is only $18?

Also, mark your calendars for the Kiln Club Clearance Sale on Saturday, August 1, 2009, at Bethesda Elementary School (7600 Arlington Rd, Bethesda, MD 20814). Check my website for more details and additional local sales.