Sunday, July 5, 2009

Steps involved in the creative process!

I read something awhile ago that I think is worth a repost.

When we look at items for sale that have been hand-made or hand-crafted, we often wonder, "Why so expensive???" Well here are some reasons why this is. In fact, we can ask the question “Why is the price so LOW?”

Courtesy of Adornyourself ( ) , one of the fabulous artists on Etsy, I have quoted her post as of August 26, 2008 :

“Adornyourself says:I think we as craftspeople don’t always do as good a job as we can at letting buyers know what actually does go into producing a handcrafted item.

A pottery friend of mine has done and hands this to customer’s who ask why a handmade mug costs to much!

I challenge all of you to do this for the items you create and post it here.

Here’s Sams’..

so glad you asked!!)
1. Drive to Oakville and pick up the clay – 2 1/2 hour tripEACH WAY.
2. Unload load clay into basement studio.
3. Weigh out amount needed.
4. Wedge (knead) clay.
5. Centre clay on wheel and throw the mug shape.
6. Remove from wheel and let dry 24 – 48 hours; depending on humidity.
7. Put mug back on wheel and trim.
8. Hand create handle.
9. Let handle dry 1 to 5 hours; depending on humidity.
10. Attach handle to trimmed mug
11. Cover handle in hot wax to slow drying on very dry days.
12. Let mug dry 1 week minimum. If mug cracks at this point,re-cycle clay and start over at step 3.
13. Take mug upstairs to kiln in the garage and fire to 1850 F -about 15 hours.
14. Take mug back downstairs to studio for glazing. If mug hascracked during first firing, discard and write-off.
15. Mix glaze(s). Each glaze require approximately 3 hours tomix and sieve.
16. Put hot wax on the bottom of mug so it does not stick tokiln shelf.
17. Choose design and glaze mug.
18. Let mug dry thoroughly.
19. Bring mug back upstairs to kiln in the garage and load. If glaze scratches or gets bumped on journey, wash with hot water andstart back at step 13.
20. Fire glazed mug to 2400 F. This takes 24 – 28 hoursdepending on electricity demands.
21. Hold at 2400 F for approximately 25 minutes. Make sure allshelves reach the exact same temperature.
22. Wait approximately 14 hours for kiln to cool to under 400 F before opening.
23. Remove and check mug. If cracked, start over at step 1.24. If mug has miraculously survived to this point, clean sharpbits off bottom with grinding stone by hand, and put out for sale.
25. Last, but certainly not least instruction; try not to attackthe foolish person who innocently asks “Why does this mug costso much?”

AND, let us not forget all the hidden steps NOT numbered in here.

- Answer phone-
Sell pots
- Pay Ontario Hydro
- Develop new glazes and slips
- Come up with new pots and ideas
- Pay Ontario Hydro
- Put out signs on road
- Have MTO take signs off road
- Pay Ontario Hydro
- Re-cycle clay
- Pay Ontario Hydro
- Attend conferences and workshops

Thank you for your time and attention.

Feel free to modify to your routine, and hang where everyonecan see it!! “

So, in the spirit of things, I thought I would put in my 2 cents worth, and post some of what is involved in my sculpting with Polymer Clay. Whether it be a Gift Tag Topper Ornament or a full sculpt.

“The steps to making a mug seem to be similar to sculpting for me, only I can bake it in my oven
Think of what I want to make
Draw it
Choose the colours
Condition the clay (by hand or by pasta machine)
Mix the clay (for colours) and hope to get it right the first time
Start the sculpt
Scrap the sculpt
Start the sculpt
Try to get rid of all finger prints or crease marks from surgical gloves
Heat the oven (only 230 though)
Bake the sculpt
Let it cool completely in the oven
Sand it
Paint the sculpt (if applicable)
Glaze the sculpt (usually 5 – 10 steps)
Make the base (if applicable)
Glue on any embellisments to base and sculpt
Take pictures
Edit pictures
Decide you do not like the pictures and take more
Edit new pictures
Measure sculpt, and base in inches and centimeters
Write up the description
Figure out the tags
Guess the approximate price I HOPE to get
Make the box for the item (if applicable)(which involves, measuring, cutting, glueing, embellishing etc)
Weigh and measure the boxed and packaged item
Get the shipping quote for Canada, USA and International
List the item
Market the item
Put it into my inventory books
Finally sell the item "

So, I for one will no longer be thinking in terms of “Oh, this is too much money” it will be more like, “I do hope they are making Some Money off of my purchase!!!”

Have a great day all! And, please do not forget to stop by my shop to see all the polymer clay creations, bamboo windchimes, catnip teddy bear toys and other great gift ideas for your loved ones! I also have a limited supply of commercial made supplies left, so come get them now while supplies last!

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