Thursday, July 31, 2014

FAQ: Experimental Pieces, Prototypes,and Seconds

owl votive by Lee Wolfe

A. EXPERIMENTAL PIECES: I was never a great production potter because my mind, hands, and heart drift into unknown territory when left to their own devices. Strict replication over endless hours doesn’t appeal to me. A case in point: while making a Raven and the Halloween Moon luminary, this owl slipped in almost on its own. Other experiments are more intentional, like trying out new materials or techniques, mixing glaze tests, or gathering objects to see what kind of textures they make as stamps. I devote at least 5 hours a week to this kind of playful experimentation.

B. PROTOTYPES: Out of the chaotic creativity of experiments come ideas that I want to explore in more depth. Prototypes are made in small series with minor differences over a period of several weeks or months. I first try out different glazes and shapes that may not be repeated, and then work on perfecting the balance and function. Now in prototype are Arabesque, the Fox Casserole, and Nebula. I sell these pieces both in my Saturday Sale and Sale section on Etsy, raising the price incrementally. Once I am sure what the market price should be, I decide whether it is worth my time to continue that prototype as a new series. If so, it is listed for sale exclusively on my website at You can check New in 2014 for the latest pieces. My newest pieces are always at the best prices for first quality work. The more popular something becomes, the more the price rises.

If you are looking for a piece that used to sell on Etsy, it may be available on my website- be sure to check. Here are the website’s categories:




goblets and mugs

keepsake box



planters and vases

platters and trays

soap dish


C. SECONDS: Seconds are flawed or intended as a set but mismatched in some way. The issue can be as minor as a small glaze bubble, slight warp, or teeny crack or major issues such as large cracks, glazes that have run off the pot so that bottoms require repair, or large bare spots. Seconds have a charm of their own and I often like the quirky pieces even more for their peculiarities. Still, I sell them for significantly less than firsts. If you want to catch these bargains, like me on Facebook where sales are pre-announced, check my Saturday Sale and SALE section on Etsy.

Thanks for your interest!