Friday, April 29, 2022

WIPS and Other Needful News

Gawd, I love making jacks!

It's a terrible addiction, really. I'm sure there are folks out there who have been following my blog for a while and are wondering when, exactly, I'll move on to something different. While that's a valid question, my answer is, at this time, "Yeah. No. Probably not going to happen."

I do love sculpture. I have roughly a million ideas for different fine art sculptures and various forms of functional pottery and oh! SO MANY, MANY THINGS! But those jacks, with their smiles and their snarls and grimaces and frowns and most of all, the knowledge that a candle put in their hollow bodies will make those faces come alive... They entrance me. They captivate me. They call to me and beg to be made, to be given life. To be given to others who see their faces and are instantly hooked. 

I don't know what it is about the addition of that live flame makes me so happy, so engaged, while I'm carving the faces they tell me they want to wear. I look at each jack-o'-lantern as I would a fall pumpkin, turning it round and round to find the right spot for the face. A place where the stem I made sits just so and becomes an extension of his visage, adds a kind of animation and expression to the face, itself. 

Maybe it makes our jack look wistful, or comical. But I think ahead to the finished little guy, all glazed and fired and sanded and ready to go to his new home, and I take that one extra moment to think of the light he'll have inside and how he'll look when he's all lit up. I have to imagine how that light will look coming out of mismatched eyes and a huge mouth. Or the flickering from a tiny mouth with enormous and watchful eyes.

And the ones I've included here, fresh from being carved, but still with their original clay color, will be fired and then I'll Raku fire them for their glaze firing, because I love what the crackle does to their surfaces, carbon lightning stabbing through white or aqua or red glazes. They're even more special!

In other news, the Etsy strike has come and gone without any kind of acknowledgement from the company, which is what I anticipated. A friend of mine commented that Etsy has become "Wish" for hipsters, and I have to say, I can see their point.

That and the numbers have made me decide to leave the platform after twelve years. It's just not sustainable for me, and it's time for me to have my own website. So I'm building it through Square, since Square is already my point of sale and they have basic website-building tools. It's been an expensive year for me, si unfortunately, I can't afford to pay someone to do it for me, but I feel like I can cobble something functional together and pay someone at a later date to upgrade or overhaul as necessary.

I'll let you know when the launch will be!

And lastly, Midsummer Scream is on its way at the end of July in Long Beach, California! Remember to buy your tickets in advance and use my code at checkout for a discount!

Can't wait for you to see the jacks, all finished and ready for you! 

Saturday, April 9, 2022

News from the Nest!

It's been a little bit, hasn't it? Have you been missing my gripping and enticing prose? No? I'm crushed, but I will sally forth with the latest updates.

First, I was lucky with my latest firing, as you can see above. I went off the reservation and did a bisque firing and a low-fire glaze firing, in the same firing! All mixed together, willy-nilly! 

And it turned out so well!

You may reasonably ask why it might be such a big deal to mix glaze and bisque. Honestly? I never looked it up! I just never saw it done when I was in school and thought that maybe it had to do with the chemicals released by the heat of the firing. But then I saw someone mix glaze and bisque when glaze and bisque firing were at the same temperature without major issues, so I thought, why not?

Some clays and glaze don't reach maturity until they're fired at higher temperatures. Low fire clays mature between 1945°F and 1971°F. When you fire low fire glazes, they flux at about the same temps, give or take. If you get into super-duper low fire like lusters or china paints, you're looking at around 1283°F, give or take. But this firing had both clays and glazes at the same temp, so no biggie! I love how the glaze pieces turned out, especially the Day of the Dead jacks!

In other news, I had a successful stoneware firing, which results will be in my shop shortly tonight at 6:00 PM PST! I got some more of those Supernatural-inspired cups, mugs, and tankards put together, because:

  1. I am obsessed, still
  2. I love the peace that carving clay gives me
  3. I love making things for fans of SPN, because I know they appreciate my handmade work
  4. Did I mention I'm obsessed with Supernatural?
  5. I love carving "Hey, Assbutt!" because it makes me giggle like a thirteen-year-old kid

But there's other, not so happy, news. Etsy is being a collective, corporate, dickbag, with imminent changes to come on April 11th and how it will affect my shop.

Despite soaring revenues Etsy has made lately -transaction fees are going UP 30%. That makes this April 11 fee hike an increase of 85% within five years. (I literally got $8 for a $50 cup, recently. I'm sure you can see why this isn't a sustainable business model.)

On top of the transaction fees I must pay a flat listing fee, payment processing fees, and other service fees, including a 12 percent advertising commission each time a customer comes to my shop and makes a purchase from an ad placed by Etsy — a program anyone making more than $10,000 a year is required to join.
This means after April 11th I'll be adjusting my prices accordingly. I'll also be searching for a different online outlet for my work, one which is more sustainable for me and makes my work more affordable for my customers.

If you have something in your cart- or was thinking of buying, from my shop or anyone else's...I would do it now. Thank you, as always, for your support.