Welcome to Creek Road Pottery!
We are happy that everyone has stopped by for a visit and we have been working on the website to get it ready for for future content. We would like to thank everyone who took part in the pilot order program. It was a big help as we find our areas of strengths and opportunities. It was always my dream to open a ceramic pottery and work clay. Running an operation is hard work and keeping track of everything has been both fun and challenging. I have a full time job so the pottery is a part-time endeavor for now.
Currently I am working many areas of the business at once. Making the pots is only about thirty percent, the rest is learning to market yourself to customer segments that you would like to target. There are many areas we need to improve in. One area is to add more glaze colors to the pallet I have. When I started out running tests and composing a glaze I at first wanted to keep it simple so it would cut down on cost to the final prototype when it came to raw materials. I was able to find a recipe with only four ingredients. However, this had to be modified to the clay body I was using. The clay body had large amounts of Iron in it that would come out during the firings and interact with the oxides in the glaze.
Also there was, and still is, the issue of to much reduction in the kiln, causing both the clay and glaze body to go much darker then planned. In the future I plan on allowing more space and air flow through the kiln to allow the glaze to oxidize and this should bring about the nice blue/green colors I am trying to achieve. Once I am able to get a few more of these challenges worked out the color should be more stable and add value to the ceramic ware.
A huge help was having small electric kilns that could be turned into gas updraft kilns by purchasing a simple kit (shown below). This allowed me to have two kilns that can fire off twenty pound propane tanks with little effort. With the lower gas prices I am able to get two firings off one tank. The kits were easy to use and by cutting a simple hole in the center of both the top and bottom of the kilns and the process of firing was simplified.
Another big cost savings that happened quite by accident was the small gas kiln that I had in storage is built in sections. This allowed me to run smaller loads of orders without using extra gas or waiting to fill a large kiln load like some of the larger potteries. I was able to simply take a ring or two off, place the lid on and fire one or two orders at a time. This add value to the customer experience because it cuts down on wait time, which I found when researching, can take up to 6 weeks for an order to arrive from a larger pottery. My goal is to get custom orders down between two or three weeks.
In the next few weeks we will be trying to mail out new orders and also researching how to improve packing and shipping. Shipping charges currently are quite high due to the weight of the pots and extra packing material that is needed to ensure safe delivery. We will be looking at some packing techniques used by others in the trade and also be researching some ideas that can simplify the whole process but still manage a high degree of quality. Currently the cold weather has delayed some firings. With the sub freezing temperatures it was a worry that the small kilns would cool much to fast and cause cracks and crazing.
Stay tuned to win free pots as we do more prototype testing to find out what is important to people and what they like. Craftsmanship, Quality, and Customer Service are the big three items we are working on. We appreciate any feed back or ideas you may have.
Once again we thanks everyone for stopping by. I have a long way to go but am having a blast working with you all. The guys have been upbeat about getting their pictures on the website. There are even links to their Facebook pages so you can learn more about the team. Once we get all the administrative things out of the way and streamline the process things should get mush easier. Once again thanks for all your support! Be sure to leave a comment below and say hello!
– Al Wayman,
Creek Road Pottery