I had a bit of a merchandising setback last weekend. Etsy suspended my site because I was selling water pipes and pipes with carburetors. This, I learned, violated their Terms of Service. I was surprised, because searching Etsy for water pipes yields hundreds of hits in dozens of stores.
But, Etsy doesn’t belong to me, so I have to abide by their rules. I removed the offending items, and they were kind enough to re-activate the site. Unfortunately, it appears that most of my visitors were coming to the store after searching for water pipes, so my traffic has taken a near-fatal hit.
On the happier side, they will allow me to sell effigy pipes, as long as those pipes don’t violate their TOS. Over the last few days I’ve been making pipes that do not have carbs. Here’s a shelf of green pieces, drying out for the next firing.
These were made by forming the body and tail around dowels, letting them stiffen up a little, joining them, and then adding a thrown bowl. They incorporate several elements that I really enjoy– especially the sinuous reserved stripes. Because the body and tail are mostly solid, these little pipes have a very pleasant weight in the hand, despite their small size.
There are also several nice water pipes in this batch, started before the Etsy fiasco. I made a crow, an abstract piece with swirling thorns, and a water buffalo. One trouble with these big elaborate pipes is that they are vulnerable to a high rate of flaws in the processes of drying and firing. They’re like teapots in that respect– not every teapot is going to survive, especially when made in porcelain, a material notorious for the difficulties it gives the potters who work in it. It’s hard to get pieces with modeled-on or joined elements to dry out without cracking, and many times a crack will not be visible until after the glaze firing, because that is when the piece undergoes its greatest stresses.