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setting up an art pottery business/haiti sample

updated tue 21 feb 06


marianne kuiper milks on mon 20 feb 06

Hello Centa,

I just (3 days) returned from a working trip to Haiti. I was at the Hopital Albert Schweitzer, which is a functioning village within itself. They had (had..) an operation such as you described. i will try to relate what I know.

They used molds for all pieces. The design was really unique; simple but something I had not seen. I liked it. Something that would be suitable for sale at Pottery Barn or Pier 1. Single colors on each piece, but at least 6 colors used. The clay, imported from Miami, was US. They have 3 very large electric kilns (very old) and fired with power off the over-sized generator from the hospital. There was an attempt to make more art-type (folkloristic) items by hand, but the foreman was opposed to it.
So: it could work that way, provided (they told me) you have outlets for your products available before you go full-swing.

One of the problems was that the workers were paid by the piece, with 2 daily meals and fam. medical care included. Now they wanted to have an annual salary. Given the work ethics, accompanied by possible lack of quality and production quantity control, this wouldn't work. So it was shut down.

I am going back (but I sure could use some help!!) to see if that problem can be solved. One thing needed is to replace the original (40 yo, still working) kilns. They are pushing for diesel. I can't imagine, but I have to read much about that.
The hospital is also converting to something else, probably 3 much smaller generators, one for back-up. (The town's people steals power with tiny wires through the trees. Interesting. One guy was blown off the pole last week)

So. That's as much as I know. I do know that their glazes are high-fired and oven-proof...they don't have too many microwaves or DW there to test, but there was a Mcrw in the house I stayed in. Can try.

Hope this helps at all. Let me know how you fare!

Marianne Kuiper Millks

Centa Uhalde wrote: I'm trying to focus this year on coming up with prototype designs for an art
business: in part, functional art pottery that I'd probably have reproduced
by way of molds, as I'm not a production potter. I've been scoping out the
commercial stuff. Of course, no comparison, but in terms of functional use,
I wonder how they make stuff microwaveable, dishwasher, and in some cases
oven proof? I imagine it is just high fire,or very high fire probably
stoneware? But that really wasn't what I wanted to ask. Does anyone have a
template of action steps for setting up an art pottery business that would
lend itself to production on some level?


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