Sunday, March 11, 2007

Fragility, Rigidity and other stuff...

I thought I would elaborate a little bit more about the nature of the ceramic shuttle.
I would like to start out by saying again that I have been a tatter for 17 years. I tat with my own shuttles and I am my own #1 biggest critic.
I tested the market before I started selling them and got a lot of great feedback and suggestions, which I have since implemented in my design.
Never has it crossed my mind that my shuttles would revolutionize tatting or that they would ever replace the utility of the mass-produced plastic shuttles.
My goal behind every shuttle is foremost that I would make a beautiful one-of-a-kind piece of art. Secondly, but not less importantly, that it functions well in its purpose as a tool.
When I first thought about making ceramic tatting shuttles I thought they were going to be heavy, and rigid.
Fortunately those thoughts didn't stop me from giving it a try.
The shuttles are surprisingly light. As a potter I have always been known for my thin work. (That is a good thing.) That light touch with clay translated very well into the creation of my shuttles.
I never really worried about them being too fragile. I work in high temperatures (1900 to 2200 degrees) which gives a lot of strength to my work. I tested several shuttles by dropping them from a distance of 6 feet onto the carpet 10 times in a row.... And they all passed the test without even the slightest chip.
Granted, if you dropped one from a distance of six feet onto concrete it would break, but so would many other types of shuttles.... And I can't think of many instances in which that scenario would occur.
The short answer is yes ceramic shuttles are fragile...but not nearly as fragile as you would think. I have not had one break during use yet.
Finally, they are not as rigid as you would think. Even Mark Myers wrote in his blog that they have some "flex quality" (Thank you Mark for putting that so well). That is the quality that I find so remarkable about them.
Naturally they are not comparable to plastic shuttles in their flexibility but they do have some "give" as the thread clicks in and out of the shuttle.
My newest shuttles have fairly tight tips if the user finds them too tight for their liking that can easily be remedied by taking a very fine sand paper and running it through the tips until it suits the user's needs.
A ton of work and time goes into each shuttle. I have a huge percentage of loss with every batch because they are so difficult to make. I will never get rich off these shuttles but that is not why I make them. It totally makes my day when someone tells me how much they love my shuttles. I love bringing joy to my fellow tatter. You can't put a price tag on that!
In conclusion, I am an artist making a piece of art that also happens to be functional. That is what my shuttles are all about!

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