Clay Changes & More - 2024
Each & every one of us have changed in the past few years. Whether it has a direct correlation with the COVID 19 pandemic, or because of the indirect chain reactions set off by it, there is no denying that each of our lives are different than they were 4 years ago. For businesses, this change has been even more obvious.
For years now we have bobbed & weaved, reacting to news about the economy, trends, pandemic protocols, and demand. We have run out of boxes and bags due to supply chain disruptions, have had to square with paying triple the amount for basic shipping supplies, and shouldered the extra workload when our supporting staff could no longer help us. But by far the biggest issue for us at Dirty South Pottery has been the inconsistency & the exponentially rising cost of our clay.
We love our porcelain clay. Years ago when we were developing our first collections we settled on this clay body because we adore how bright of a base it provides for our glazes. These colors sing when layered on such a lovely clay as porcelain. But behind the scenes for the past 3 years we have struggled. Chunks of silicone & other unmixed raw ingredients in our clay, the clay being unavailable for purchase for long periods of time leading to us rationing our supplies (forcing us to cancel or delay wholesale orders), all while the manufacturer increased the price of the clay. We are now paying substantially more than what the cost was when we first started using the clay in 2017.
Our way forward leads us to three options:
1. Significantly increase the price of our work.
2. Call it a day on our little pottery shop.
3. Switch to a different clay.
We have chosen to change our clay.
Without going into the boring details of the nuances of ceramics, our best path in this change is to go from one end of the color scale to the other – meaning that we will no longer be using porcelain or white clay as our main clay body.
Let’s break down what this all means for us & our shoppers:
- All of our Kitchen + Table Collection glaze combinations (Ocean Jade, Shades of Blue & the seasonal Amethyst) will be discontinued at the end of 2023, and will be replaced with new colors on darker stoneware clay for 2024.
- The Fireside Collection will be changing, but it will not be completely gone. The new clay that we will be using is extremely similar to the clay used for the Fireside Collection, so we will just be seeing a new version of it emerge in the new year. We recommend purchasing all items needed to complete your current collection before this change, since the new version will be noticeably different.
- The Watercolor Collection will remain for now, but prices will have to increase in 2024 due to rising cost of clay & the cost of firing these pieces on their own moving forward.
- Our specialty mugs will transition to the new clay as well, most notably our ‘this might be bourbon’ Mug. Those of you who remember a few varients that we have made will know the look that they will be going toward, though our new clay will be different than what was used on those special releases.
- We will encourage anyone who has been collecting our work over the years to complete their collections by the end of the year! The holiday season is the perfect time to do so. After these combinations are discontinued at the end of the year, we will no longer keep the glazes in stock in our studio. Therefore, we will not be able to take custom orders for items in discontinued glaze combinations in the future.
- We will have an ALL NEW lineup of pottery rolling out for you in the early parts of 2024! This is an exciting time, and you’ll be able to see new versions of our classic designs.
Questions that we do NOT have answers for right now:
- What about the future of the Holiday Collection? – For the 2023 holiday season, we absolutely have a new design for you! But for 2024 & on, it is unclear at the moment. This change in clay will be massive for our studio, and we are unable to predict how challenging keeping these items in porcelain will be.
- What do the new collections look like? – We are still formulating our options! We will likely release one glaze combo at a time, starting with one in January/February of 2024
- Will prices be the same for the new items? – We are striving for that, but we have to let the numbers drive that decision for us.
- What about specialty mugs that HAVE to be on porcelain, like the Spectrum or Inhale, Exhale Mugs? – Designs like these have a future that is foggy at best. We will do what we need to do to keep our shop afloat, and that very well may include saying goodbye to some of our favorite designs.
While it would be easy for us to feel nothing but sadness & nerves about this move, we are choosing to see the exciting new journey ahead of us. We have been working behind the scenes for months testing new glaze combinations, falling in love with new glaze textures, and reformulating our core lineup. It is a new chapter for our work, and we are eagerly outlining what it will look like.
We want to invite you in on this journey into the future with us, and thank you all for supporting our work. Hopefully you will tag along with us & enjoy the new pottery that we have coming your way!