Recommended Care Most of my functional wares can be washed in the dishwasher, top rack preferred, if they don’t have any gold (yellow or white) luster on them. However, hand-washing with a soft, non-scratching, sponge or cloth and a mild soap is recommended and will be the gentlest way to clean your piece, keep it in best condition and lengthen it's functional life.
Microwave Safety I do not recommend any handmade wares be used in the microwave. Some potters will list their work as microwave safe and you should listen to their recommendations for their wares, as I do not speak for them. However, I do not recommend it for my work as there isn’t a tried and true way to test for it or to predict how microwaving may affect the piece in the future. The issue gets more complicated because how people use the microwave greatly affects the longevity of the piece. For example, while one person may be warming something for 40 seconds to microwave baking a lava cake for 10 or trying to reheat a frozen puck of soup. The other common misgivings among potters in bestowing the "microwave safe" title are that handmade, solid, ceramics are inevitably going to become much hotter than thin ware made specifically for the purpose of microwaving- which is actually usually opaque mold-formed glass (think Corell). Also, if there is any water that is trapped in a pinhole or tiny crack and the clay isn't fully vitrified, it could explode, and lastly because there is the possibility that microwaving over time can lead to the ceramics becoming brittle and cracking and possible glaze leaching issues.
Food Safety My pieces are made with lead-safe glazes with careful consideration in construction and use of colorants and other materials to make ware as safe to use and leach-resistant as I can. If pieces are used in the manner they are intended for and cared for properly (see above information), ware should be safe to use for many years. This topic is more thoroughly covered in the paragraph about "Intended Use" but, if you have a concern, please discontinue use of the piece and contact me.
I use pyrometric "witness" cones in each firing, as well as my kilnsitter (the mechanism that turns off the kiln only when it reaches the heatwork (heat + time) required for that cone). Using cones is a more reliable way to know whether you are firing to the correct temperature and for the correct length of time recommended to mature your glazes and clay, instead of relying simply on pyrometer (essentially a thermometer) readings. However, my pieces are handmade and I would want to be notified of any flaws that escaped my attention or that may have come to light after repeated use.
Shipping It is unfortunate that shipping can be pricey but I do my utmost to pack well and professionally so that your item(s) arrive safely. I will not send ceramics by any other method then Priority (or the UPS equivalent, if to Canada) because I believe the less time the package is in the care of shipping agencies, the more likely it will reach you in good condition. However, overcharges on shipping of a dollar or more will be refunded asap. It is your responsibility to have entered your address correctly into the online checkout in my webshop or Etsy; I will use it directly off the invoice.
Returns I do not accept returns because I do not feel right about then selling that returned item to another customer; never being completely certain the item was not used or dropped, developing some kind of damage that I cannot see. Also, there are the hazards of putting it through the mail system again, to return it to me. Please thoroughly examine all the pictures of the item available on Etsy and review the size before purchase. If any sizes stated are unclear or you want further information about an item before purchase, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or via the Etsy message link. I am particularly careful when selling seconds, pointing out, in the pictures and description, the flaw that caused the item to be reduced so there will be no surprises.
Breakage During Shipping Please alert me straight-away of shipping breakage. This is not a guarantee of refund by me. Depending upon the shipping service, it may be you that are the party that needs to seek a refund through them. Regardless, having a few pictures before you open the package (if it looks pretty beat-up) and during the unpacking will help in the quest to refund money from the shipping company.
Breakage After In-Person Pick-Up As soon as a piece is purchased from me in person, it becomes the purchaser’s responsibility. I wrap my work extremely well with specifically chosen packaging material to help you get it home safely. However, good packing does not make a fragile piece invincible. Whether you use your own bag or one of my own, you still need to be careful of your purchases, whether that means holding a bag by it’s bottom if full or heavy, being cautious of adding other purchases to your bag, setting it down gently, etc.
I cannot afford to replace or repair items broken by you and I will not do so on principle. I craft each piece with great care and attention to detail and if you drop a piece (or knock it into something else, etc.) and it breaks, it is not due to my craftsmanship. Ceramics and pottery are fragile by nature and even in the category of “ceramics,” there is a spectrum of fragility from sturdier, chunkier, stoneware to delicate and thin porcelain. I have a mug from great potter who makes awesome pieces that look like they were made from cardboard that not only cost me a pretty penny (worth it and he totally should be asking the prices he does), but that I had to stalk his online sales to get as they sell out so quickly. Sadly, after not very long, I knocked it over and smashed the handle to bits. I was crushed! And mad at myself. But I’ll tell you what I wasn’t (and what I didn’t do); I wasn’t mad at the artist nor did I contact him to repair it or replace it nor to imply that somehow his craftsmanship was lacking because I thought it shouldn’t break so easily, yada, yada, yada! There is no breakage algorithm for ceramics. They can break from a one-inch drop and not break from a five-foot drop. It has to do with a combination of materials, the contact surface of the fall, the design, the angle of contact, on which edge it may have fallen, and....LUCK. There is no minimum threshold of abuse that a piece of pottery should be able to tolerate before breakage.
Finally, I do not make pieces for children. Even small figurines and such are not intended as toys. I am not responsible for their breakage of fragile items you have purchased. Items such as bells that require a certain amount of interaction still need to be approached with care and sensitivity as there is always an element of fragility to ceramics, even if they are sturdy. Also, there may be sharp edges on decorative pieces. I do my best to eliminate scratchy nubs on functional work but pieces such as lanterns may have scratchy edges inside, where fingers are not intended to go.
Repair For very minor repairs, such as reattaching an earring back or pin back, I recommend clear E600. Follow the instructions on the package. Allow the repaired piece to cure in peace for a day at least. For all other repairs, I recommend a clear, two-part epoxy. I suggest fixing the two largest pieces together and letting that repair dry before attaching the next piece, and so on. Neither of these recommend glues will be safe for food-contact (also, they likely will lose their capabilities if in contact with heat). If you are repairing a cup or bowl and the crack goes through the body of the vessel- you will need to cease using that piece functionally and use it as only a decoration instead. If, however, you have knocked off a handle on a favorite mug but the mug body (the fluid containment part) is unharmed, two-part epoxy may allow you to continue to use the mug with gentle hand-washing…but once again, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are convinced in your heart-of-hearts that your piece can be mended and you would like further suggestions, you are welcome to email me. However, please understand that I am under no obligation to repair pieces that have been damaged through “user error.” If I think I may offer a repair solution that you cannot undergo yourself (possibly a small piece has been knocked off and may possibly be reattached with glaze and run back through the kiln*), a fee may apply. My craft has a very high overhead and my profit-margin is low, I cannot afford to offer free repair services or materials. *A solution likely only to apply to very small, simple, repairs.
Intended Use and Intended Product Lifespan Please use your purchase in the manner it was intended. It may be unsafe to use for other purposes. For example, if a mug is sold with a candle inside, continue to use it only as a candle-holder. A common way to re-purpose vessels intended for drinking that, for one reason or another, were deemed unfit for food contact, is to fill them with a candle. Likewise, pieces sold for the use of vases or flowerpots should not be used as food serving vessels- their liner glazes may not be appropriate to do so. I sell no pieces intended to be mobiles or wind-chimes; all hanging pieces are intended as indoor wall-hangings. These pieces are not created to withstand knocking against each other and may break rather easily. Also, the natural fiber cords are not suitable for outdoor use as they will degrade over time in the elements. Likewise, if you have purchased a hanging planter and wish to use it outside, the natural cords need to be replaced with nylon and you need to follow garden center recommendations for care of your outdoor pots during freezing conditions*. When purchasing “Seconds” at greatly reduced prices, you accept the piece “as is,” and accept the possible limitations of use (perhaps it had a crack and now can be merely decorative, etc.). If you have any questions about the intended use of your piece, perhaps because you forgot, lost included instructions, or received it as a gift, please feel free to email me. *In brief synopsis, if your planter if filled with moist soil and vegetation and freezes, the expanding ice will likely crack the vessel. The easiest solution to this is to keep your potted plants warm enough, using one of many methods (wrapping, pulling them inside...) so that they will not freeze. Probably better for your plant, too!
I offer no guarantees on any of my work. It is well-made with great thought and intention however, it is also handmade which can lead to occasional slight inconsistencies. They are handmade art pieces that are often functional. I take care to use materials in a safe manner and to manufacturer’s instructions. My wares are for the use of serving food and not for use as food storage vessels* or cooking vessels. Do not make quick temperature changes to ceramics, it will result in thermal shock and breakage (cold mug filled with boiling water, hot mug filled with ice cubes, etc.). It is recommended to warm your mug with warm water before use with hot liquid. *I occasional make and sell jars, berry bowls, etc. and these items may be intended for the storage of certain foods however, I avoid making and try to dissuade the use of, handmade ceramics to be used to hold leftovers in the fridge, store highly acidic foods, etc. Prolonged contact, particularly of acidic foods, does increase possibilities of glaze degradation, possibly leading to leaching over time.
My wares are durable and meant to be used for several years and likely even longer if a piece is decorative. However, the “useful life” of food serving vessels to me means about 3- 5 years, depending upon the amount of daily use it sees. Just because we can still unearth pots from ancient cultures, doesn’t mean we should use them for serving food! And likewise, I do not create work intending it to be functional for a lifetime. Certain materials (clay, glazes, etc.) wear better than others and it is recommended to retire any pieces that show wear and tear (discoloration, cracks, some kind of spontaneous change) not resultant from a fall or breakage. If your functional piece is showing exceptional wear and tear early on (say, within the first three months), and you have followed the recommended care guidelines, please email me. I will analyze the situation and we’ll go from there.
Thank you for your respect and understanding, Brenna email@example.com