Saturday, June 8, 2013

Wait, Earthenware?

Well, yes. Kind of.

Just what I needed, another claybody to keep track of. I made myself a special stamp for the ^6 test pieces, because BMix 5 looks alot like Bmix 10 - unless you fire it to ^10, and then they look substantially different! But that's another post. This post is about these earthenware jars.

Remember I said I was going to have to say goodbye to some of my accounts? I thought one of those would be an account I've had for years with a veterinarian making urns for the ashes of cats. I was sad to do it - it seemed right to me that the urns should be made by a committed cat lover like me - but as I discovered at the end of last year, my old pricing was actually costing me money; and I didn't think they would be able to support the new price points.

Time for some creative thinking. But first, a story:

A couple of years ago, my husband and I lost a pet turtle to pneumonia, but ultimately to old age. His name was Big, to differentiate him from his smaller co-turtle, Red, who has a red stripe on his face. (They don't come when you call, anyway, so the names might as well be practical!) Big was an aquatic turtle, and I couldn't bear to put him in the ground, although I know his spirit had already moved on. What I had was just a shell, so to speak. But still.  So I made a container for his remains out of clay, surrounded him with blueberries and raspberries - his favorite foods, and Doug and I brought the unfired "casket" to the river. We placed it on a passing ice floe. The current carried it away. When the warming day melted the ice, Big's remains were consigned to the river. The greenware casket would of course just dissolve.

It occurred to me that folks who have lost cats might want to do something similar. A container which would hold the cremains until the owner was ready to let go, and then just dissolve in the ground once buried, might be something people would want. It would work for me with only a tiny price increase, because I wouldn't incur firing expenses. I made this suggestion to my contact at the cat doc, who agreed.

These will be stamped and adorned with slipwork; some will be burnished with terra sigilata.

By the way, I was wrong (imagine that!) about one thing: in addition to carrying the unfired urns, they also agreed to also continue to carry the fired urns, at the steep hike I found necessary. Important learning moment: so far no one has said no to the higher prices.


June Perry said...

I love the story of Big - particularly the fact that you put him in the water. A spiritual teacher of mine once said that it's better to put a dead bird in a bush or tree rather than bury it, which is pretty much what you did by placing Big in his familiar environment.

DirtKicker Pottery said...

Such a sweet story about Big. The urns being greenware is a neat biodegradable idea.

The Wynhill Potter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Wynhill Potter said...

I was wondering if the greenware urns should be made with paperclay to give them a bit more green strength. They would still biodegrade, but might be less subject to breakage from handling before the final release to the wild.

I also love the story of Big.

Lori Buff said...

Even buried, the unfired urn is a good idea for the environment.

Love the story about Big.