Interesting Care Instructions

King Richard’s Faire is in about a month and lately I’ve been thinking about including information and care instruction cards with my purchases. I wanted to see what other people did, so I looked around on the internet. This opened a huge can of worms as I’ve been reading all kinds of crazy things.

I know. Crazy things written by people on the internet!? Get out. That never happens.

I was hoping that I’d get some easy direction on what to include based on what others do, but instead, I still haven’t decided on whether or not to actually include care instructions. I am leaning towards yes, but I actually noticed that these are completely missing from the online stores and websites of some of my favorite potters. My guess is that they’re relying on common sense and answering questions on a ‘one on one’ basis when they’re asked.

Then there is are a lot of claims that I’ve never heard before, even in the most misinformed and superstitious circles. I plan to blog about it at some point… but I’m not sure I can handle that kind of angry and ranty post right now.

Instead, I want to share some of the other mind boggling things I found: the obvious.

Here are some examples of care instructions that I think would make even the most ignorant of layman face palm. I’ve started off with the worst and tapered off to some that you might see as being necessary when thinking of some people you know.

Maybe you have an Uncle Fred that put laundry detergent in the dishwasher or a friend named Sam who sets the stove on fire a couple times a month.

Avoid Dropping

Let that one sink in.

Hey there! I know you were planning on dropping your pottery ON PURPOSE, because why try to avoid it, right? You bought this specifically for dropping, and you expect it to hold up when you use it for this purpose. So, I’m here to make sure you realize that you’re actually NOT supposed to be trying to drop your pottery. I won’t tell you what happens if you do drop it, but I will tell you: Avoid Dropping.

Furthermore, if I include that, does that mean I need to also say things like, “Not recommended for juggling”? Wow. I’m going to need more space for all of these care instructions!

After I told someone about this, they also helpfully recommended the following: “Avoid throwing, hitting, punching, chewing, attempting to eat, dropping into vats of acid or lava, throwing at people, throwing at pets, throwing at dragons, using to stop cars, using to stop rampaging wild life. Not a substitute for modern medicine, clothing, transportation or travel. Please consult your local pottery expert before use.”

Wash before first use.

…because I would directly eat out of something people at a fair have been picking up all day.

Actually, this is really pushy. Technically you don’t NEED to wash it before your first use.

Maybe you’re one of those people who like to live on the edge. You are the type of person who won’t wash your hands before leaving the restroom. It only says ’employees must wash hands’, and you’re a customer, so that obviously doesn’t apply to you.

So are you going to waste perfectly good room in your sink or dishwasher!? Heck no. It’s a bowl whether or not you wash it before using it. It will hold your cereal just as well either way.


Dry thoroughly before storing.

Wait. There are people who put away their dishes when they are wet!? Dishwashers have ‘dry’ settings. People who wash by hand use ‘drying racks’ or ‘drying towels’ (aka dish towels, as in, for using to dry your dishes).

Who are these people who need to be told both to wash their dishes AND make sure they’re dry before putting them away?

One friend of mine put it to me this way, “Babe. Common sense isn’t common.”

May become hot when used in microwave

Did you know that things become hot when you put them in the microwave?

But wait, ceramic bowls get hotter than a plastic bowl! Maybe we need to let people know that heating up soup in the microwave with their new handmade pottery bowl may result in a really hot bowl.

It is true that some ceramic dishes get hotter than others… but this is not a factor of handmade pottery by any means. For instance, a friend of mine mentioned some dishes she got at Ikea that get hotter than her other dishes. She was okay without the warning. Her first instinct wasn’t to cuddle her dishes full of hot food that just came out of the microwave and is careful when she takes them out.

Sad part is, this is one I’m actually giving some consideration and thought to. Thanks, internet. I think you broke me.

Do not use directly on stovetop.

Apparently some people are confusing pottery with pots. I can see that. These two words use a lot of the same letters.

Yes, I know there are special pots out there that claim they can be safely used directly on the stove top, but this is a special feature. There are also glass pots and pans that can go on the stove, but we know not to put any other glass on the stovetop. In general, if it’s not metal, why would you assume it goes on your stove top?

How are there not more fires and dead people in general?

Dishwasher safe, hand wash recommended…

…and it goes on to say how it’s safer to hand wash things.

Look, I don’t know how things work in your house, but I break more things hand washing. I honestly don’t feel comfortable judging if you’re someone like me, or someone like the people writing this care instruction. That’s right. I found this in multiple places.

Dishwasher means I pick it up and put it in the dishwasher. It stays in there safely washing and drying until I open the dishwasher, lift it, and put it away. I guess I could drop it putting it in the dishwasher or taking it out, but I don’t usually prewash stuff, so it’s not very slippery when I put it in. It’s dry when I take it out.

Hand wash means it soaks and clinks around with whatever else is in my sink being washed (don’t clink too much!). It gets picked up, soapy, and handled while slippery until it’s clean (don’t drop it). Then I rinse it (don’t drop it), inspect it to make sure it’s clean (don’t drop it), and put it on a towel or in a dish rack (don’t knock it off the counter).

It’s not just me either. I’ve had roommates break their share of pottery (and other stuff) handwashing. I haven’t had a single dishwasher casualty yet, and all of the pottery goes in there.

Someone even talked about things ‘clinking around’ in their dishwasher while it was running. Maybe it’s time you got a new dishwasher, or maybe you don’t load things right? If I put a cup in X spot in my dishwasher, it is in X spot when I open it. It’s not a clothes washer… If your dishwasher has a spin cycle, yes, I recommend hand washing.

Now, I do know some pottery is not suitable for the dishwasher and needs to be carefully hand washed, but then your care instructions should say “hand wash only”, and that’s it. If you think your pottery is going to ‘loose life and luster’ over time being washed in the dishwasher (whatever that means), maybe you should say ‘hand wash only’. More importantly though, let’s talk about how your pottery is alive. Personally, if I had sentient pottery, it’d be allowed in the bathtub and shower.

Note to self… Only use literal language when writing care instructions in case someone like me is reading them.

Cove Street Holiday SALE

***21 Cove Street Holiday SALE This Weekend!!!***

WHEN – Saturday, December 12, 2009 – Sunday, December 13, 2009

HOURS – Saturday: 10AM – 5PM, Sunday: 11AM – 4PM

WHERE – 21 Cove Street, New Bedford, MA

Hi everyone! I’m going to be selling my art this weekend. Come down to see some fantastic work and potentially finish your holiday shopping! Artists/craftspeople include MECA Ceramic Alums such as myself, Arthur Halvorsen, Desiree Kramer and Emily Diaz Norton!!! There will be great ceramic/pottery gifts, as well as other wonderful things. We’ll have snacks and smiles. This location is also the studio in which many of these artists work, so come see where the magic happens.

C C Ceramics Store on Etsy

Hi everyone!

The holidays are headed here. I’m not saying you need to start thinking about it yet, but as someone who makes pottery (which makes great gifts) I have started to think about it.

You can now purchase my creations through Notice that the left bar of The Seize now has a mini store window for you to peek into.

When you buy from my store, you can chose to either keep it (no one is judging you!) or give it as a gift.

If your purchase is a gift I can ship directly to the recipient and free include a note from you on stationary featuring a photo of one of my pots. I’ll also include my latest postcard and gift wrap free of charge. If the purchase is a gift, but it is not being shipped directly, I can still include a blank gift card and gift wrap. If you’re worried about being a good Santa, I need the order by Wednesday 12/16 to ensure the package will be there on or before 12/25 (FedEx shipping only).

I’m just starting out on Etsy so I don’t have any feedback or a buyer rating yet. I’d appreciate it if when you did buy that you left feedback so that everyone else who doesn’t know me can be assured that me and my pots are top notch!

Know that everything you buy from this site is one-of-a-kind and hand made. I hand carve each piece of pottery, so no two designs are ever the same! All of my vessels are food, dishwasher, and microwave safe- so you can enjoy them both sculpturally and functionally!

The only stupid questions are those left unasked, so let me know if there’s anything you’d like to know about the pottery or the store! Send me and email ( or leave a comment here (or at my store).

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Sculptor or Potter?

As artists, if we made ceramics just to be functional, we wouldn’t be making ceramic art. We’d be making ceramic tupperware. Think about it. Tupperware is very light, cheap, portable, durable, and stackable. You can heat, store, and eat your food out of it. Plastic tupperware is automatically more functional than any dish made out of ceramic due to the properties of the material.

If your statement is to make things functional, then why make things out of clay? Our statement cannot simply be one of function, it is one of design elements that convey additional content.

As clay artists, we especially cannot be caught thinking of a cup as ‘just a cup’. It’s function is to hold and allow us to enjoy liquid, but its function is also and primarily art. It’s function is sculptural as much as utilitarian. Otherwise it wouldn’t be art, it would be a slip-cast mug or a plastic tumbler from a department store.

If we know this, then why is it when I meet another clay artists, one of their first questions is inevitably, “potter or sculptor?”, “pottery or sculpture?”, separate and concise categories without a thought that they may be the same thing.

What do the tile makers say to this? They are often utilitarian clay artists, but when someone says ‘functional ceramics’ they inadvertently are expecting ‘pottery’. Tile is not really considered sculpture either, existing in both the two and three dimensional realms to varying degrees according to the artist. They are forced to answer to this question with, “None of the above.”

How many clay artists make both pottery and sculpture or consider our pottery to be as sculptural as anything labeled sculpture? To say that something is ’sculptural pottery’ is a misnomer, telling people that other utilitarian pottery itself isn’t at all sculptural. To define pottery as utilitarian is to define it as being functional before being, or without being, art. These definitions are inaccurate for the contemporary clay artist.

With the risk of sounding like a post-modernist saying, “Everything is art,” I’m going to have to say:

“All pottery is sculpture.”

Disagree if you want, but you can’t argue with the functionality of tupperware.