The Impossible Commission

This is in response to an item at Linda Starr’s. She has just fired her new kiln for the first time successfully. This is a salutary story of how not to do it.

I have been known to make fire and glaze a pot in 3 days. Over 9 years ago I had an order that was so great I couldn’t turn it down; the problem was I had to deliver it within 72 hours. It was for 50 personalised mugs. The brief was fairly free, the design was completely up to me the only condition was they all had to have “The Graduate” written on them and be individually boxed and gift wrapped and delivered to the stage door of the Gielgud Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue by 5.00pm in 3 days time. I worked all morning of day 1 making 80 mugs on a jigger jolly machine, put on handles 4 hours later, in the afternoon I dipped them all into slip and lost about 15 to handles dropping off. Then I force dried them through the night. Day 2, bisquit fired them still damp in 6 hours, crash cooled (lost none) and in the evening dipped all into majolica glaze while warm to drive off some of the water. Threw every colour of stain I had at them then devised a cradle and sign wrote them all (lost another 10 at least in this bit, 51 survive). Back into the kiln (still damp) for a 7 hour glaze fire (about 1.00 am by now) unpack on day 3 at 400 Celsius in gauntlets (all survived, hairs on arms didn’t). They were wrapped and in the boot of the car with a 3 hour dash to London to deliver before the curtain went up.
My client was Jerry Hall; the price I charged was astronomical, the London West End custom is for the leading lady to give a gift to all the cast and crew on opening night or bad luck will prevail for the run of the show.
A picture of the 51st mug above with link back to this Linda. So you see, you can break the rules when they really HAVE to be broken!