a minimal modern handmade ceramics studio by shelley martin. portland oregon usa.
recent photos i posted to my @vitrifiedstudio instagram feed
I am replacing my bone white glaze with this satin white glaze. The last few pieces I have glazed have really had some major blushing happening from adjacent pots in the kiln, so I think this glaze will be better behaved and more consistent. I have not tested it on the sand clay yet, but so far it seems to behave well on the porcelain. I will be switching the name in the color palette from bone off white to satin white. I hope to use this same glaze as a base to add some colorant to to make a satin light grey and satin slate grey. I am still doing many tests to see if I can get close to the gloss versions of those glazes, but I will post if I have success.
I’m definitely feeling like I’m at full capacity with my open orders here. You can see the in progress giant custom dish set that I have been stock piling, open orders to be stamped, a kiln load of urns back there to be shipped, I was up until 3 am throwing and stamping yesterday’s urns, a thick pile of printed recent orders to review, write to the customers with progress and start throwing and stamping, and a batch of orders ready to be glazed and fired. It’s hard to balance all of this with the super cute 4.5 year old and 2 year old who are often in and around the studio (but always out of the photos for their privacy). I am grateful for my studio helper Hana, our crew of part time nannies, and my husband mitch, they all make it possible to balance this crazy business with our sweet and crazy kids. It is not just me here, it’s a team effort. And now back to work!
This week I will be shipping out orders every day as I have smaller waves of orders going through the kilns. It’s less efficient but it keeps the orders shipping out closer to on time as I can fire them as soon as they are dry and ready. Luckily I have 3 kilns of various sizes that can all run simultaneously. My last studio had two kilns but I could only run them one at a time. Just another reason I love my new studio.
Back home after two quick days at the beach. It’s a busy time of year, but also a really great time for trying to relax with the family.
A few more from yesterday’s big send off. This first image shows a new yellow glaze I am thinking of adding to the palette. It’s a nice light and sunny yellow, called butter. I think it’s different enough from the darker sunflower to offer it, and many people ask for “happy” urns, so I think this would be a good option for them. The photos in this batch are pretty washed out. I have been taking all of these photos lately with my iPhone, usually successfully, but not this time. I am posting these photos though as some of the designs are really nice and I hope they inspire others to order similar ones, and then I can take better photos next time!
A few more from last week’s shipment of urns. This first is from a new listing I have added to the etsy shop, it’s one of my favorite designs from a customer. This version is in slate glaze, and it only works best on a size medium wide. Ask me questions about the other photos if you are working on designing your custom order from my etsy shop.
So many great new designs came from customer requests in the last batch of urns I shipped. I will need to do two posts. These photos include a customers special orders squirrel stamp, a special size xs tall, the new sorbet pink on sand, a gorgeous XL brown urn with sunflower yellow. Ask me sizing or details questions if you are trying to order and have questions about the examples.
The same batch, just a little more filtered. I’m taking quick photos of each of my favorites from the set to post here and turn into listings. I think this one will become my etsy shop banner.
Today’s batch was a big one. And there a few more still in the kiln hopefully ready to ship today too. Thank you everyone who ordered! Now time to pack boxes.
I’ve really been loving all of the new font, stamp and color combinations that my customers have been coming up with in recent months. I have been making the urns since 2012, and I feel like they just keep getting better and better. I always post my favorites in my Etsy shop as new listings to inspire future customers, and customers always seem to take their favorite designs and make them even better as they personalize them to make them their own. Thank you to all my customers! I always love seeing what you come up with in each firing that I unload. Today we are about to unload 75 fresh urns from the kiln and ship them all off this morning. I can’t wait to see what will come out of the kiln today.
A few of today’s orders shipping out. I am hoping the next kiln is cooled by tomorrow but I doubt it will be. The big kiln takes forever to cool when it is packed very full.
I am in the process of updating my glazes, basically looking at some of the most difficult glazes to apply or glazes misbehaving in the kiln, and finding an alternative. Here is Sorbet. This is replacing carnation pink. It’s more muted on the sand clay than the porcelain. It also has faint white/ lavender highlights when thick.
This urn is a special urn, with a votive candle holder as a lid. I’m hoping it works out for the special customer. I have made one of these lids for a very large urn before, this is the first time trying it on a small urn.
This weekends orders, I have a few more batches of orders shipping this week.
A spice bottle set finished and shipped. I had a pricing error in my Etsy shop so this customer got this set of 10 for a steal. I have corrected all of my spice bottle prices in my Etsy shop and my website shop. Oops!
I don’t often send progress photos to customers, as usually it ends with extra changes and remakes. But for this customer I really wanted to make sure we were on the same page so I sent these photos right after doing the impressions as there had been a few changes and we both were not sure what would look best . It all worked out! I can’t wait to see it finished!
I love seeing customer photos of urns in their houses. @alexisomyers thanks for letting me share your photo.
We have been working on updating the listing graphics for my etsy shop. We will glaze and fire this, and replace the really hard to read chart currently in my listings. I have to say though, I think the etsy algorithm current rewards sellers doing work on their listings by giving them a boost. Every time I spend a chunk of time updating my etsy shop, I end up with a few orders immediately following it. I might need to just dedicate a chunk of time to listing updates every day!
A few of this week’s orders. I usually don’t photograph all of the urns when I have multiple urns in one order, but today I tried it. People often order multiple urns for a loved one and split the ashes, or they order multiple urns for a few cherished pets. I have been attempting to update my Etsy shop this week, starting with adding more photos to the straight shaped urns. After seeing it, it think I need to completely redo the listings again, they are just getting way too complicated. We have a new idea for the listing redo, now I just need to try again with the graphics. Basically I want to move all the listing info into the listing photos, so you can follow the steps to order and customize as you scroll through the photos. The item details page is pretty much hidden in etsys new layout, and I think most customers are not finding that info. Round two of the shop update coming up. Hopefully this next approach will help simplify the listings!
A few of today’s finished orders. It seems like some days the lighting is just perfect, and other days it just doesn’t work.