Saturday, May 2, 2015

Recent work & Packing and Mailing Communion Sets

 It has been a long Winter here in Central Pennsylvania, with lots of snow, ice and cold to keep me from working in a garage heated by an electric heater. Electric bills are just to high to justify much time in the Winter. We had a break in this weather a few weeks ago, and as I had orders to get ready for shipping, time to work.

I had several pieces that had not been glaze fired, so I started work with some glazing of mugs, bowls and Communion Sets. I have not been entirely happy with the glazes that I have been working with, especially the white, as it never seemed to fit the pots right with some pinholing and other problems. So I have added a new white glaze, and a blue green glaze. I have also started working with a glaze program called Insight(Level 2) to help me understand more about my glazes, and modify intelligently the ones I am using.

 So here you will find some of the new Communion sets, and other items from the first load.
Many of my glazes were from Bill Van Gilder, a prolific potter that has been generous enough to post and publish his glazes online and in some books.
Cream Rust on the first coat is a Cinnamon brown, and  on the second coat is a creamy beige.

The pots above have been glazed with Cream Rust of his, and the new white based on a glaze from Mastering Cone 6 Glazes by John Hesselberth & Ron Roy. The glaze is Glossy Base #1, with an addition of 4% zircopax, and 4% tin oxide

The pots to the rt have used the same glazes with the addition of Caribbean Green, from the Mastering Cone 6 Glazes book.
 On the left the new white and the Caribbean Green.

The bowl below is using Rutile green from Van Gilder, and the new white and the Caribbean Green along with the Cream Rust. The mug next to it for size comparison is using the same combinations.

Over the years, I have several occasions to discuss how I packed the Communion sets for shipping. As I seem to be doing something different in the way of shipping, I will elaborate a bit here. Below are series of images that show the box getting prepared for shipping.
Bubble wrapped paten upside down on 3" layer of popcorn

The popcorn, Yes, popcorn is falling into the box from the dry popper.
When you compare the cost of Styrofoam  beads to the cost of popcorn, you will be astounded how expensive the beads are. True, the electric for popping is still a factor, but in the long run popcorn is cheaper. I will not send anything overseas in popcorn, but in the States arrival is within 3-7 days so nothing is a problem.
Chalice added after 4" of popcorn

No I do not double box the pots. I use 14"X14" boxes, and make certain the pots are wrapped with a layer of good bubble wrap for cushioning, and pack my boxes full.
Box nearly full, but popcorn will be added until doming 3" above box

The final secret to doing this well is compression. The box at the left many people would believe is sufficient to close up and tape closed and ship. I still will add at least two more loads of popcorn from the popper to fill that until it is peaked above the edge of the fold line on the box at least 3".

Box compressed, taped with mailing labels

I use USPS for my shipping, not any of the other shippers out there for basic reasons. It supports the post office, which I believe in. The post office is down the block from me-convenient. Sending many pieces out standard and priority are the same price, and priority includes $50 insurance.

In all the years of shipping, excepting the one year my son sent out the orders while I was away, I have lost none of my orders to shipping or damage in the shipping. All have arrived when expected, and in good condition. I don't change anything if it isn't broke!