Artwork by Crystal Nolfo~Brown - Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ and Need to Know

Layaway Program

Purchasing Pottery

Save on shipping and purchasing more than one item.

 How do I care for my pottery?

What type of clay do you use?

What is Sgraffito?

What is Smoke Fired & Pit Fired Pottery?

What is an Ikebana?

What is a wall pocket?

About Bottles

Do you ship internationally?

Is your pottery signed?

How do you take measurements for pottery descriptions?

Matching pottery

Custom Work

Returns

Damaged items in shipping

 

 

Can I put pottery or paintings on Layaway?

Yes. I will be happy to set up a layaway plan upon request. Send an email to me listing the item descriptions and Item numbers you would like to purchase and how many months you would like me to hold them on layaway. I require an initial 10% deposit as good faith that goes towards the purchase but is not refundable in the event that you change your mind two months down the road or the payment plan is not honored in a timely manner. I'll be flexible if needed, but I'd prefer not to hold a layaway longer than 6 months. Once I receive your request I will total everything,  package the items, figure exact shipping costs and send notice to you showing the total amount that's due and your payment plan.  Once you verify the order I will send an invoice each time payment is due according to your layaway plan. You would be able to send payment with PayPal or in the mail.  I will hold your layaway till the final payment is made as planned.  I will package together as many items as I can to save shipping costs for you and will add insurance costs to protect your purchase in shipping unless you waive the cost.  Please be advised I will not take responsibility for uninsured  items damaged or lost in shipping. The cost is minimal so it is very much worth it.

 

How to Purchase Pottery:

I accept checks, cash or PayPal. If you would like to pick up your pottery to save on shipping costs please contact me and I will send an invoice to you excluding shipping. You can pay the invoice though PayPal online or pay with cash or check at pickup. PayPal is private, safe and convenient for my customers and I don't have to worry about handling your credit card information.  As soon as payments are verified I ship packages out immediately.

 

Save Shipping and Purchasing several items:

*** "Buy Now" buttons temporarily disabled due to functionality problems from changes through PayPal. Please contact me for purchases. See contact information below. Sorry for the inconvenience.

I've set up "BUY NOW" buttons for customer convenience. This way you can make an instant purchase of a single item.  However if you would like to purchase more than one item I believe it would be better to contact me with a list of what you want so that I can possibly save shipping costs for you. Many times I can send several items in the same flat rate box so that I would not have to charge additional shipping. For small items  it might be cheaper to send regular mail or Priority Mail. Unfortunately this can not be figured into a "Buy Now" button so it would require an email or phone order. (Email is more effective for initial contact. I often have my hands full of clay so I usually have to call you back anyway ) Once I've figured the total cost I will contact you with the information or send an invoice via email. You would have option to pay directly from the invoice through PayPal or send payment through the mail. For now I do not have a shopping cart set up online.

GIF

 

How do I care for my pottery?

All pottery made as functional pieces are made to be food safe, dishwasher safe, microwave and oven safe. This holds true for most of my pottery since the bulk of my work is made with stoneware clay. Hand wash delicate pieces. As with all pottery that's meant for the oven, it should be filled with food and put in the oven as it preheats to avoid thermal shock. Food on platters can also be kept warmed in the oven .  Never put a piping hot piece of pottery directly in water. This could cause thermal shock. Wait till it cools down before  washing it.

Smoke fire and pit fired pottery need only be dusted with a clean cloth. You may  wipe it with a damp cloth if you like. Never put this type of pottery in a dishwasher or submerged in water since it is a low fired  and unglazed piece. This pottery is not intended to hold water so do not use them to hold live flowers. Also since it is low fired it will be more delicate than my other work and should be handled with care.

 

What type of clay do you use?

Most of my pottery is made of stoneware clay. However, I do make an occasional piece from porcelain or earthenware. Everything listed is made of stoneware clay unless noted otherwise.

 

What is Sgraffito?

Sgraffito is an Italian word meaning to "scratch". It is a laborious technique that is use in pottery. Basically a clay pot is coated with a contrasting color. The coating is scratched away to reveal the clay underneath and to create a design, pattern or image. The image can take hundreds to thousands of scratches before completion. This is a labor intensive process done with small tools. Depending on the design the sgraffito process can take many hours to complete.

 

What is Smoke Fired and Pit Fired Pottery?

Smoke Fired pottery, often called Pit Fired, is an ancient technique of firing pottery in a bonfire type situation. The results are uncontrolled and you never know what you'll come out with in the end. The firing is fast and harsh therefore the loss is usually high.

This type of pottery is not raku. The raku firing process is different. In raku a glaze is applied before the final firing and it is fired in a propane fired kiln. Smoke fired and pit fired pottery do not have a glaze on their surface. If the surface is shiny, then it has been polished in the raw clay stage.  This is an extremely laborious technique and requires great skill. The colors on this pottery do not come from glaze but from flashings of mineral oxides in a bon fire type situation.  This can be either in a pit in the ground or in an above ground container made of brick or simply using a metal garbage can.

Before the firing, the clay pot has to be prepared. Between each stage you have to let it sit and wait for the  correct dryness. The clay is smoothed and often several coats of a thin clay coating called Terra Sigillata is applied. Once it's ready, it is  polished to achieve a shine. This is done with a smooth rock or tool which takes great skill and lots of time. I bisque fire to a low temperature and then it is ready for the smoke firing. I fire with wood and sawdust, and use metal oxides for random color flashings. This pottery is unglazed and always intended for decorative purposes only. After firing, the pot is coated with a paste wax to protect the surface. Cleaning this type of pottery just requires a light dusting or a wipe with a damp cloth. Never submerge in water or put in the dishwasher. It is also said to never keep them in direct sunlight just as other types of artwork are kept.

 

What is an Ikebana?

Ikebana is the Japanese Art of Floral Arrangement where you use very few flowers arranged in an asymmetrical way.  It is now becoming popular all over the world.  Greenery and other materials such as branches are incorporated in the arrangement. Ikebana not only showcases the flower's bloom but also celebrates other parts of the plants like the stems and leaves. It is a minimalistic form and usually only consists of a few blooms in the arrangement. The materials in the arrangement are placed so that they are balanced. The design is often made using a  triangular pattern. I enjoy the concept and I use the basic idea to make my own arrangements. I find it easy and inexpensive to pick a few flowers and some greenery from my yard, stick them in pin frog and I have a beautiful display. A small selection of flowers in a local floral department can also make a nice arrangement.

For more information go to this informative link: All About Ikebana

There are many types of containers and I offer some on my Ikebana page but you can also use many of the items on my "Open Vessels" page. All you need is a Kenzan (pin frog) which holds the stems in place. I send one along with pots listed on my Ikebana page. Please note that Ikebana containers that are tall and cylindrical do not use a Kenzan.

 

What is a Wall Pocket?

A wall pocket is intended to hang on a wall and is usually used for dried or live flowers. Depending on the shape and size they can also be used to hold knick knacks. I sold one to a lady that wanted it for her toothbrush and one lady for a pencil on her bulletin board. It's up to your imagination as to how you would like to use them.

 

About Bottles

My bottles are made to be a decorative pieces but I also create them with the customer's intentions in mind. All of them can be used as a vase or bud vase , but many of them can also be fitted with an oil pouring spout. I use a bottle to store salt on my counter. 

I glaze the inside of all bottles with a food safe glaze and as with most of my pottery, they are stoneware unless noted otherwise. Sgraffito pieces are also carved on the back. Sometimes a pattern, sometimes a reed design, sometimes a scene.  The bottle tops sometimes have a design on top as an extra accent or also on the back. If you are interested in purchasing feel free to request more photos.

**Double asterisk in the description next to the photo denotes that it can be fitted with a pouring spout if requested at purchase.

 

Do you ship internationally?

I would consider shipping internationally but I would have to figure the shipping and handling fees manually. Please contact me with a list of what you are interested in purchasing, include item number, description and your mailing address.  I will send an invoice with the correct total where you would be able to make payment through PayPal. I require payment in US dollars and purchaser will be responsible for all additional clearance and custom fees that may occur when the shipment arrives to your country.

 

Is your pottery signed?

Yes. I sign most of my pottery but there is an occasional piece that I either felt unnecessary to sign or it was just forgotten in the making.  I have made it a point to make a note on all unsigned pieces but I could possibly have had one slip by.  If it is important to you that your pottery is signed, please  send inquiry before making a purchase to avoid disappointment. I can print and sign a personal card to go with any unsigned piece if you wish.

 

How do you take measurements?

All measurements are given in inches and are very close approximations. I take measurements from their tallest and widest point. I usually do not include handles or spouts on teapots, pitchers, bowls or cups in the measurement and I usually measure at the widest point of the body which could be either the belly, lid or base. I decided this is the best way to give my customers an idea of the size and what it could hold, along with where it could fit in your home. If you would like additional measurements that would include the handles, spout, etc. do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Matching Pottery:

Matching pottery is virtually impossible. There are many factors affecting the outcome. I strongly advise that if you love a particular piece and feel you have to have it EXACTLY as is, that you buy it while it's available or put it on layaway and I will hold it for you. I've seen to many disappointed people when the piece they loved was sold and I couldn't duplicate it. I do not make any piece of pottery exactly the same as the one before it. Every piece is made individually. I do not cast pieces so every shape will be different in some way. Even if I use the same glaze, on the same clay, most times pottery colors and designs can not be duplicated exactly or matched exactly to prior pieces. They can be similar, but not exact. I've come up with works that I was never able to even come close again. You never know. Every kiln firing is different and glaze colors will come out differently depending on the kiln firing, kiln atmosphere and depending on the glaze application. The Sgraffito designs are all different because the bulk of the designs are made up as I go and done free hand. 

 

Custom Work:

I'm sorry. I do appreciate it, but at this point I am not taking orders for custom work.

Everything available is listed for sale. Every time I fire new pottery, I will list the new items for sale as soon as possible, on this website or on my blog.

 

Returns:

I want my customers to be happy with their purchases. Once you've received your package, if you are unhappy for any reason, please contact me right away for return. I will allow returns of unused, undamaged pottery returned within 2 weeks, with the exception of holiday gifts. For holiday gifts I will allow 2 weeks after the holiday is over for return.  Once received I will give credit towards another piece or refund the purchase price. I'm sorry but I can not absorb any shipping costs and returns do need to arrive back to me undamaged before I send your refund.

 

Damaged or Lost Items in Shipping

I have not had any damages or losses to date but in the event that this happens and your package is insured, please let me know right away so that I may contact the carrier. Since my pottery and paintings are all one of a kind, I would not be able to send an exact match for replacement. It would be your choice to receive credit towards something else or receive a refund. In the unlikely event you waived the shipping insurance I can not be held responsible for items damaged or lost.