Etsy Shop Name And Address: NKP Designs http://www.nkpdesigns.etsy.com/ and NKP Beads http://nkpbeads.etsy.com/
What you sell: Original Pottery and Pottery Beads
Tell us about your featured item: Currently I am developing a way to put my own drawings on my pottery as well as my pottery beads. I’ve been steadily working on this process since November of 2007. It started out as a simple, “AH HA! I can draw something, scan it into my computer, and print out a b&w decal!” Of course, it was not that simple. The decal didn’t fire well or consistently and just when I think I have shelved the idea for the last time, I think of something else. I suppose I am now in phase ‘Decal Drawings 4.0’!
The new plan is to fire it as normal and go over the broken or fired out spots with a teeny tiny brush loaded with underglaze. This does add an extra step, but the first cup is set to go into the kiln later this week (Friday or Saturday as long as there is no rain.)
Link to your featured product: http://nkpdesigns.com/ (look at the whimsical flower drawings on the masthead. These hopefully will eventually be on many of my pieces).
Do you believe there is any relationship between the number of sales a shop makes and the number of hearts they have? Usually, I do not. However, when the ‘heart’ is ‘anonymous’, it is usually because they are coming back at a later time to purchase. I thrill inside when I see an ‘anonymous’ heart, because to me it points out a serious buyer.
How do you decide on the price of your products? When I first began pottery I simply looked at the cost of the clay (minimal) and the cost of firing the kiln (cheaper back then) and the cost of the glaze (commercial is more expensive than DIY) and priced accordingly. Now when I first began pottery I wasn’t so good, either. My throws were a bit heavier than they are now. The glaze on the product was what potters laughingly describe as a ‘Pottery Lottery’ … if the glaze came out great, ‘YEA, I won!’ … if not so great, ‘BUMMER, I lost!’ I now try out new glazes and glaze combination on beads to gage whether I like them enough to go on something bigger, like a bowl or a mug. It makes winning SO much easier!
I still sell an occasion mug for $5, but it will usually be one that I have come across in the back of the studio. Or it will be a mug that was easy to throw, no trouble to sand … easy dip glaze, and fired nice the first time. Basically, the more time I spend on a piece the more I am going to charge for it.
For example, to make three mugs, it takes about 5 minutes to prep the clay by wedging. Some potters wedge only a few times, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, when I was beginning in pottery I read a Japanese Potter’s interview in a magazine and he was explaining how and why he wedged porcelain 100, 200, even 400 times (each push down is a wedge). He explained, in detail, the chemical makeup of the clay and the spiral that happens during the wedging process. He also explained how he threw in the same direction as the spiral (why fight the clay?). His basic premise was that the clay behaved better the more it was wedged. Most people, he said, wedged 40 times. So he started wedging 100 times. Then he decided 200 was better than 100. Then 400 better than 200.
When I work in stoneware or earthenware clay, I wedge at least 200, more if I am working in porcelain. From the beginning I was told that my throwing was considered ‘light’. Some say this is a ‘talent’. I despise the word ‘talent’. I think I throw light because I take the time to wedge. The reason? Because when I don’t take the time, my pottery is heavier. Now sometimes I WANT it to be heavier. Other times, I want it to be light. I wedge accordingly.
After wedging comes the throwing. That is a fast process for me. Three or four pulls now nowadays. I have an online video of me pulling up a pot from about a year ago (January 2007). I have gotten faster since then. Go to my webpage and click on ‘You Tube” to view it. Throwing is the fun part for me. After throwing comes the drying and altering part. Sometimes I will spend an hour or more altering a thrown piece. The question to ask now if you are a college graduate is, “How much do you make an hour?”
After a piece dries, it is put in the kiln to bisque-fire. When it comes out, it requires sanding and glazing. It takes me about an hour to sand 3 good sized mugs. Simply dipping a mug into the glaze takes a few minutes. The more elaborate the glazing process, the more that mug is going to cost. Again, the question becomes, “How much do YOU make an hour?” I have one mug that I spent three hours glazing. Yes, three hours. That’s how I decide on my pricing, How much time have I put into this piece?
I do want to keep my pottery affordable and so I try to always keep some pieces minimally thrown and glazed in order to do just that. I think a shop should have affordable, moderate, and expensive items in it, with more of the affordable and moderate items available, think of a pyramid with the most expensive item at the very top.
One of my favorite potters makes these teeny tiny teapots – and charges $400 or more for them. She has held shows in Japan and taught for many years. I have done none of that. I am a beginning potter and I price accordingly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a great find for me! Beautiful and unique beads.
Thank you!