Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Paw Print Ornament from Mug Revolution

Sometimes you get an idea for the next greatest thing, and pour all your creative efforts and a lot of hard work into making the idea a marketable product. Other times, something falls into your lap. All that you are required to do is to recognize it when that opportunity presents itself.

Such was the case a few weeks ago, when making the paw print mugs on my order list. I normally will make all of the paw print mugs first, and fire them in my little bisque kiln which holds about 40 mugs. This way, if any of the mugs don't survive the bisque, I have ample time to re-make the mug or mugs so that the customer gets the mug on the agreed upon delivery date.

As I unloaded the barely warm bisque fired mugs from the kiln, I noticed something that I'd never seen before–the paw print medallion from one of the mugs had fallen right off the mug. Since the print was completely intact, I was curious about the paw print medallion, and wondered what I might be able to do with it. Being completely swamped with orders, and with a major deadline looming, I put it up on one of my shelves and promptly forgot about it.

Just as I was ready to start glazing the mugs a week or so later, my friend Dee stopped by the studio and gave me an ad from the newspaper showing a product that allowed a person to make a paw print Christmas tree ornament using the paw print from their pet. "You could do these, Owen," she said "but yours would be so much lighter and look a lot classier than the ones they are selling!"

I found the paw print medallion that I had put on the shelf and showed it to her. "That's it! Just drill a hole in it and you have a fantastic ornament!" So, I pulled out my drill, drilled a hole in the medallion, brushed it with iron oxide to make it look golden brown, put it in the kiln and subsequently fired it.

When the kiln was unloaded, I saw that Dee was right–this ornament really was cool. I've shown it to a number of folks in the past week and, perhaps not surprisingly, have already been getting orders for next year's Christmas.

It's really fun, the way that the Paw Print ornament came into being. It's been a lot of work, and a lot of trial and error in coming up with the Paw Print Kit and the Paw Print Mug, so in a way it feels like I've been given a small reward for all of that work.

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