Monday, December 18, 2006

perfect : not perfect

Trying to solve an old problem can often create new ones, and then in the process of trying to solve the new problem, a whole new idea can emerge. A while back I wrote about trying to solve the problem of efficiency with my dogwood pieces. I have been experimenting with sculpting the dogwood flowers separately from the piece rather than sculpting them directly onto the piece, then attaching them after they have been glazed. Well, it's still in the testing phase, because sometimes it comes out perfect, sometimes... not perfect.

The main problem is the flowers sliding off during the firing. I mostly solved this problem by throwing the bowls flatter on top so the flowers don't have a little hill to slide down. But still, I have this piece that's great except for the flower hanging off the side. I know some people will find this charming and buy it anyway, but then there's this empty spot where the flower was. And then on a couple of pieces, the flower started to slide down but got stuck early on, so the flowers is still on top, but flipped up on its side.

To fix up a few of these pieces, I sculpted some dogwood flowers and glazed and fired them all by themselves, with the intention of epoxying the flowers to the empty spots. Not perfect, but better then throwing them away. When the flowers came out of the kiln, I thought how gorgeous they looked, just sitting there by themselves. Then I started imagining a beautifully set table, with vases of flowers and the ceramic dogwood flowers scattered all over the table, like they had fallen from trees. Perfect for somebody having guests over for a special dinner!

Now that I have a new product, it's a question of how to sell it. I made as many flowers as I could in three hours, and they come down to $5 a flower... wholesale. Not likely to be a big hit with most of my customers at that price. In my daydream time in the coming weeks I will be thinking about how to bring the price down: have the flowers molded? make them bigger? hire some oompa-loompas to live in my studio and make them? One way or the other, sometime this year you will be able to buy a package of ceramic dogwood flowers to scatter on your table, and I hope you don't have to gulp as you hand over your credit card!