You’ve probably noticed, but I have a thing for color.
Some potters – and I admire them for this – have a simple palate. It’s part of their look, part of their brand. Probably the same clay all the time, and then one or maybe two colors of glaze, and that’s what they use. That’s their look, and you can spot one of their pieces in a jumble of pots.
I can’t do that. I just can’t narrow it down. My favorite color is brown, but if I chose to only work with one shade of it? What about the other shades? What if I choose a reddish brown….? How do I say goodbye to light brown? To yellow-brown? Not to mention green… or purple… I just love color too much. I can’t choose.
But then sometimes I wonder… do I offer TOO MUCH color? Is that why some things don’t sell? I’m giving too many choices?
When I first started out on Etsy, I allowed myself to do things in sets of four colors. I know that might seem random, but it makes sense – Etsy photos were four across in one row. So to make an impact when updating, I decided to do things in sets of four, so I would update an entire row at a time. Then when I moved to Shopify, I stayed with four colors per item because I could have five photos per item — so I would have one main photo with all the items, and then a single photo per item showing off each color.
Then I discovered that things … this is so strange, but… things sell better if I have an odd number. Things sell better if I offer them in threes, or fives. Strange, I know. And of course I defaulted to five because oooo, then I could have more colors!
Sadly I am discovering that I need to dial that back and default to three (and for some listings, a custom option) because the reality is that with more space, I’m making more things, but perhaps I am making more than I need to, or more than I can quickly restock when everything sells out at once.
Also, as I get more into throwing and handbuilding, and move away from slipcasting, I’m changing clay bodies. I’m slipcasting with a low-fire clay, but throwing and handbuilding with a mid-range clay. You can use low-fire glaze on a mid-range clay, but you can’t use a mid-range glaze on a low-fire clay — it gets fired to a higher temperature and the clay would melt into pudding at the bottom of the kiln.
The fun news about changing clay bodies is that I get to buy a whole bunch of new glaze colors! Huzzah! The frustrating news is that then I need to narrow those down, and also figure out the easiest way to tell y’all that not everything is going to be available in every color any more, since the low-fire colors I have been using give a different finished look than the mid-range colors. Mid-range colors also aren’t as repeatable as low-fire colors are, at least not consistently. The same glaze can look different or behave differently depending on how many coats and how thick you layer it. So overall my look may change a little just because things may look different each time I take them out of the kiln. At least the mid-range stuff.
I definitely don’t want to completely phase out low-fire slipcasting; just cut down on things I’ve offered in the past that don’t sell well. If I can sell some of the molds on eBay or through Florida pottery circles, even better — that’d free up shelf space and if I’m not going to be using them I might as well get them in the hands of someone who will use them. So don’t feel like this is a blog post about big major changes! Just small changes. New colors. Some unpopular colors being phased out. And some repeatable products being moved around and being done in different colors…. this is also the time of year when I look at things I make dozens of times a year (butter dishes, deviled egg trays) and I think, “I’m getting really tired of these colors”. So I might switch out some things early next year – mostly things that I also offer a custom option, so if you missed the one color I’d been doing for years, you can still custom order one.
Now I’m all excited about color and want to go over to the studio and get some glazing done! Is it time to go to work yet?! (And who else is lucky enough to think that on a Monday morning!)