We're going to the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival next! What a fun event.

FAQ

Here are Cat’s answers to some of the most frequent questions we get with regards to Claymonster Pottery. 

Is your pottery microwave safe? 

  • Stoneware is! Low-fire is not.  They are two very different types of clay and firing temperatures. When in doubt send us an email and we’ll verify which type of clay your Claymonster is. 

Is your pottery oven safe?

  • Low-fire is not!  Stoneware is sort of oven safe.  Oven rules for our clay body are: do not preheat your oven and do not broil.  If you put a cold pot in a hot oven you could crack it. 

Is your pottery dishwasher safe?

  • Stoneware is but low-fire is not.  If you aren’t sure which type of clay your Claymonster is, get in touch and we’ll let you know. 

Is there anything that should not be done with a Claymonster? i.e. Don't put it in the freezer or wash with bleach or put it in the oven?

  • Stoneware pots: I’m not sure about the freezer. I’m sure they wouldn’t enjoy it but it’s not likely to break them. I wouldn’t do it if it's full of liquid for sure. Expansion will break the poor thing. Bleach should not be necessary but shouldn’t damage them. I use vinegar and salt to remove stains. 
  • Low-fire: Don’t freeze, don’t bleach, don’t bake. They’re more fragile and less durable. 

Do Claymonsters hold liquid?

  • Absolutely. All Claymonsters get sad if you don’t use them often. Stoneware loves any kind of normal and frequent food and drink functions. Low-fire is perfectly food safe but may eventually get stained by use with wet things like coffee or oil-based foods. Best uses for Low-fire are dry things like tea bags, cookies and cat treats etc. 

What kind of clay do you use?

  • Low-fire is Standard 105. Stoneware is a blend of Miller 50 and Little Loafers. 

Do you use molds?

  • Never. No how. No way. We hand make everything. 

How are the pieces made?

  • See our Process video but the short answer is: it’s complicated and time consuming. 

How long does it take to make each piece?

  • Standard answer is ‘a really long time’. This is a more complicated question than it seems because we work on so many monsters in groups and layers and do you count firing time or how long it takes to manage sales… it goes on. BUT on average I’d say we handle any given monster about 3-4 hours from wet clay to fired product. Some monsters may take approximately 5-8 hours individually but this is just a guesstimate.

What is your inspiration? Where do you get your ideas for monsters, dreams? Will they start looking more like roosters soon!

  • Funny answer: A lack of sleep. 
  • Real answer: 
    • My approach on the monster theme that Rich started is adapting historical monster lore to common animal features and integrating all that with very well made functional pottery. I grew up around farms so I like to add things like pigs’ ears and tails, chicken feet, dogs’ fangs etc. 
    • For Rich: I’ll let him answer…
    • Everything looks like roosters and chickens to me.

Can I repost your images on my Pinterest page or other social media?

  • We really really discourage this. We like to know where our images are and what they are being used for. After all, they are ours. (Small sidenote, if you look at the legalese in Pinterest, you are legally responsible for obtaining permission to post every photo that gets ‘Pinned’. Giving credit or sharing the source link doesn’t count.)
  • If you’d like to include us in a blog or article please contact us directly. We love interviews! Thanks in advance! Send email to monstermanager@claymonster.net.

Do you accept special requests?

  • Kind of…  Frequently people come to us with ideas, some brilliant and some way outside our abilities. While I’d love to fulfill everyone’s wishes, I’ll just put it out there, I’m terrible at getting orders completed. Absolute rubbish. So this is a multiple part answer.
  • What we can sometimes do:

    • Cousins! If you have seen a monster you liked but it sold, email us a photo and we might be able to make what we call a “cousin”. Similar but not the same. Glazes change, old monsters may have evolved. We’ll try to get close but monsters are like people, always unique. 
    • Event specific monsters. We have and are honored to do cremation urns. This is the only item we will rush for obvious reasons. Turn around depends on the style and complexity of the piece. We do wedding-themed items such as cake toppers, centerpieces and wedding party gifts. Please plan at least four months in advance for these. 

  • What we DON’T do: 

    • PETS! I am unable to turn your beloved cat, dog, squirrel into a monster. I’ve tried it and it’s not my skill set. If you’d like to meet an artist who can, go visit https://groundhogblues.com. They are amazing at rendering animals, especially dogs.
    • Themed monsters. We don’t do ‘golf monsters’, painter monsters, monsters that match your grandad’s personality. Sorry. 
    • We do not make chip’n’dips. 
    • Monsters don’t like to be flat so no plates or platters. I’m happy to make standard plates but not monster plates. 
    • Salt and pepper sets frustrate me. The holes keep filling in with glaze. GRAAA!

Can I commission a piece?

  • Send an email with lots of information to monstermanager@claymonster.net.  We can then get back in touch to let you know if it seems doable. Just remember that I’m really not good at getting special requests done. Honestly. 

Can I buy the one I saw on FB/Pinterest/website/business card?

  • That exact monster is 99% likely to have already sold. That image might be something we just made last month or 14 years ago and we may have stopped producing anything like it. Best way to find something you can actually buy is to go to our sales page on the website and see what's there. 

Is there a waiting list?

  • For some items, especially seasonal items, yes. I think we’ve made the Monster Turkeys three times in collective memory and some people have been waiting four or five years for us to make those again. So if there is something you’re looking for and you know we have made it but you don’t see it on the site… send a request to monstermanager@claymonster.net .

Do you have a physical store?

  • We do not. I have a studio basement… in my house. Events of 2020 have motivated us to have a proper website where you can regularly shop and we hope someday the craft shows will happen again. Maybe next spring.

Do you have a mailing list?

  • We do now! You can sign up right here on our amazing new website. And I promise to try to use it. Scroll down to the footer of this site, enter your email address, then don't forget to click "confirm" in the email that comes your way.

What is the best way to contact Claymonster?

  • Please send all inquiries of any kind to monstermanager@claymonster.net. We can’t promise that posts on FB, Instagram or any other social media will be noticed or seen in a timely manner.  Email is best!

Is there a calendar that lists the events you will attend?

  • We do currently list our events on FB but our amazing new website will also have this information soon, someday, when shows start happening again.

How much is shipping?

  • Shipping/handling fees are a product of distance x mass. If your monster is very heavy and has to travel to far and distant lands then it will cost more. If you would like a featherweight monster to travel to our neck of the woods it’s lots less. At the moment we include an estimated shipping fee with the cost of the monster but we’re working on improving this so that shipping is calculated accurately upon purchase. 

Do you combine shipping if I buy more than one?

  • Yes. Since our current approach is to include an estimated shipping cost with the price of the piece, if you buy multiple items and have noticeably overpaid shipping we will contact you and sort it out. As soon as we can get a better shipping system up and running this will happen automatically. I hope.  

Can you ship internationally? Do you ship outside the U.S.?

  • Yes but it frequently costs as much as the piece. Someday, we might try to open up the international shipping option on our new site. For now, please email monstermanager@claymonster.net with inquiries. 

What happens if my order arrives broken?

  • First, we are all very sad and tears are shed all around. Second, please let us know as soon as possible that a monster was damaged in shipping. Please take a few quick photos of the poor broken monster in its packaging and of the box and email them to us. We need this to communicate with the PO and to ascertain how its tragic life ended and see if they are paying for the damage. We will then discuss the options of refund, remake or replacement. In the end, we will do whatever it takes to bring you monster happiness. 

How do I fix a broken piece?

  • I’m going to do a whole blog post on this. It seems to be the most requested FAQ. But long story short, use a two-part epoxy and minimally coat both sides. Press parts together firmly and carefully until all excess glue squishes out. Don’t clean off, just let it set and then cut off the excess later. If a break has multiple parts, do one part at a time. Do not use this pot with food if it comes in contact with the glue. This monster should now be helped to find a new purpose in life. Done carefully and correctly, some breaks can be repaired almost invisibly. 

Does Claymonster offer a repair service for injured monsters?

  • I suppose we could do this. It would depend on the type of damage and what kind of repair it needs. We are really good at glueing things. Claymonsters can not be repaired by refiring unless we just need to cover a chip with glaze and refiring can be problematic. But email us lots of good photos and we’ll see what we can do. Send inquiries to claymonsterpottery@gmail.com.

 I chipped a horn! How can I protect the raw edge?

  • Claymonster pottery can be sanded! Take a piece of high grit sandpaper and gently sand that offending edge until it’s no longer likely to injure its owner. When in doubt, send us photos and we’ll give more specific advice. 

What do the monsters eat? Can you feed them after midnight?

  • A monster’s diet depends on the species. Mugs generally prefer Zeke's coffee or whatever tea you love. Ooglie Eye Bowls love ice cream sundaes with bananas and chocolate. Spoon monsters love whatever you’re cooking. Just ask them...
  • It’s best not to feed them after midnight. They get a bit rowdy. Oh, and never give them EggNog! Just don’t. The results are disastrous. 

 What do you do with seconds? Can they be purchased?

  • First, ‘What is a second?’ you ask. A second is any pot that does not turn out as intended, has a flaw, is discontinued or was an experimental piece. These seconds are usually sold at really affordable prices. We used to sell them at the Monster of a Show or the Towson University pottery sale but lately we’ve just been storing them in boxes. The poor things are miserable in there, I hear them whining at night. 
  • Eventually we will find a way to make them available to good homes. We do not sell them online for multiple reasons having to do with safety, cost and a clear understanding to the customer of why it’s a second. 

What specific seasonal items are there and when do they come out?

  • We have in the past made many many Happy Monster Pumpkins, a few Monster Bunnies, a couple batches of Monster Turkeys and the Holiday Elves have gone through various years of evolution.
  • When seasonal items fit into our schedule we try to make them around that holiday. They invariably take longer than planned and are not ready in time. Cat takes all responsibility for this. 
  • Contact monstermanager@claymonster.net for more information. 

What are the dimensions of ... (bucket, mug, toothbrush holder, etc.)?

  • All Claymonsters are one of a kind and I have a short attention span so stating dimensions for specific items isn’t an exact science. Since we’re doing so much with online sales, we include the average and estimated dimension for that particular batch of monsters. Sometimes when it’s relevant we also include an approximate volume. If you have questions about an exact piece please email monstermanager@claymonster.net.

Do you sell wholesale?

  • No. Sorry. We price our work for retail meaning... we try to keep the prices affordable for our known and beloved customers. I also think of our monsters almost like kids and like to know who is adopting them. We hope you love them and treat them as well as we would. If we sold wholesale we’d have to drastically raise our prices to be able to make a living. I mean, I have to be able to afford food for the chickens!