Dogwood Ceramic Supply

Ceramic Greenware



What is Ceramic Greenware?


    The common hobby ceramic, semi-dictionary definition of Ceramic Greenware is any item that was cast in a plaster mold until the item is leather hard, at which time the item is removed from the mold and allowed to dry but still remains in the "green" or uncured state, hence the name "Greenware" or "Ceramic Greenware".  Like a raw egg, ceramic greenware can be quite strong, but extremely fragile if miss handled or dropped.  As potters also refer to wet or dry clay wares from the wheel or hand-built as Greenware (usually just referencing "Green" rather than greenware), a simpler definition for Ceramic Greenware would be "any wet or dry clay based object before the first (bisque) firing".



Why desire Ceramic Greenware over Ceramic Bisque?


    There are 3 pretty good reasons to desire Ceramic Greenware over Ceramic Bisque:

    Most customers entering competition will want to clean their own greenware as the requirements for competition are quite high and commercial bisque suppliers can seldom spend hours cleaning a single piece to meet such high standards.

    Other customers enjoy adding details or embellishments to the ware, which is only practical if ceramic greenware is used..... and sometimes only practical if still nearly wet (or leather hard) greenware is used.

    Decorating ceramic greenware offers far greater decorating options than decorating ceramic bisque, including using traditional underglazes or layering and mixing of colors.




Cleaning Greenware? What is Cleaning Greenware?


    Cleaning greenware is not immersing the item in water, but rather carefully removing and smoothing the seam line.  Repairing any surface defects generated by the casting process as well as restoring any lost details generated by the seam line of the mold are also common cleaning tasks.




After cleaning what happens to the Ceramic Greenware?


    The cleaned greenware may be decorated with underglazes (such as Duncan Cover-Coat or EZ-Strokes) and fired to maturity and subsequently covered with a clear glaze and re-fired to completion, or the cleaned ceramic greenware may be fired into the bisque (mature) stage and then decorated with any number of colorful glazes or nonfired acrylics.  The decorating possibilities of ceramic greenware are virtually unlimited.




Is it a problem that I don't own a kiln?


    Not a problem if you don't own a kiln as Dogwood Ceramic Supply offers complete firing services for a small fee. Just clean your ceramic greenware item in the usual manner, perform any desired underglaze decoration if desired, and return the item to Dogwood Ceramic Supply.  In a few days your greenware item will have been fired into bisque and be ready for you to complete.

    Firing fees are very minimal.  Dogwood Ceramic Supply uses a simple firing chart which is based upon the size of the item to be fired as well as the type of clay and actual firing temperature.  Bisque firings for most common sized items, such as 10" Santa's and Fairies, are typically under $3.00.




Can Ceramic Greenware be shipped via UPS?


    Even if you are willing to take the risk, ceramic greenware can not be shipped via UPS or any other small package shipping service including the US Postal Service or FedEx.  The issue is the fragility of the ceramic greenware with regards to impact damage.  One good drop kick around the freight terminal and no matter how well the product is packaged the likelihood of surviving the impact is minimal. 




Ceramic Greenware and Dogwood Ceramic Supply:


    Traditionally Dogwood Ceramic Supply offered a wide selection of the latest releases from the leading mold companies.  To keep our selection of items fresh and appropriate for the ceramic marketplace Dogwood Ceramic Supply would routinely purchases 100's of new ceramic molds and retire an equal number of molds each year.  Of the greenware produced for our shelves, a small portion would have been converted to Dogwood Premium Bisque so that local customers who were in a hurry or lacked access to a kiln could also enjoy hobby ceramics.

    Hurricane Katrina radically changed the regional market.  Radically.  1000's of our customers were drastically affected by Hurricane Katrina with many customers loosing their personal kiln.  Others were affected when their access to a kiln was limited because of the permanent closing of many large storefront and small neighborhood studios across the region.

 

    The needs of the local market would need to be met, and Dogwood Ceramic Supply made the tough decision to stock our showroom shelves with ceramic bisque rather than ceramic greenware. 

 

    Offering Ceramic Bisque to the local customers does not mean Dogwood Ceramic Supply has ceased offering ceramic greenware, rather ceramic bisque is the primary offering and greenware the secondary offering which is always available by advance order.

    Dogwood Ceramic Supply doesn't regret our decision.  Our showroom is cleaner because of no ceramic dust floating around.  And the showroom is friendlier for new customers who are unfamiliar with the fragile greenware.   Oh, and since Hurricane Katrina, the economy incurred a small downturn and there was the matter of the little oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico so the long term recovery of local and regional ceramic studios has been stymied.  Yep, sometimes we make good decisions.




Can Dogwood Ceramic Supply mass produce Ceramic Greenware for me?


    No.

    Why?  Because Dogwood Ceramic Supply does not own hundreds or even dozens of copies of any single mold design much less hundreds or dozens of copies of every mold design we own.  Using multiple upon multiple copies of a ceramic mold is critical for producing large quantities of greenware fast... and maintaining good quality wares with minimal mold wear.  Even if we did own hundreds of copies of every mold, we lack the physical space, layout, equipment and of course the all too critical manpower to properly handle and cast all those molds.

 

     Sure, sure, we could cast everything you need from a single mold.... if you don't mind crappy quality wares and waiting 2 months for 30 units of an item.  Not a good situation and most definitely not desirable.

    Bottom line, if we can't do it well then we don't do it. 



What does Ceramic Greenware Cost?

 

    There is no magic formula to calculate ceramic greenware prices.  At least none that address all the multitude of variables, the biggest of which is business overhead and labor costs (neither of which is decreasing).

    As to the price of ceramic greenware versus ceramic bisque sold by Dogwood Ceramic Supply .... again there is no magic formula... at least none that we can devise... and we have been trying for nearly 25 years.  In one of the great oddities of pricing greenware, in spite of the additional labor and obvious firing costs, an item that we produce in bisque may in fact be less expensive in bisque than the greenware price of the item simply because there is less breakage if the item is immediately cleaned and fired or because the item in bisque takes substantially less storage and display space than the same item being offered in greenware.

 

 

 

Can I still purchase Ceramic Greenware from Dogwood Ceramic Supply?

 

    Yes.

 

ceramic greenware is always available by advance order.

 

    Just visit our extensive showroom selection of ceramic bisque and pick the item you want cast in greenware.  Our entire selection of ceramic molds are always cast and displayed on the shelves in bisque for immediate purchase... there are no seasonal only selections or secret items only for a select few.  Plan on allowing us at least a week for scheduling and production of the item you desire with multiple units of a single item requiring longer production times.  Of course if you need the item wet (such as to cut out windows or whatever's) we will schedule a specific pickup date to prevent the wares from drying out. 

 

 

 

 

 



website last updated: October 2014




Dogwood Ceramic Supply


12590 Dedeaux Road
Gulfport Mississippi, 39503
Telephone (228) 831-4848        Fax (228) 831-3111




Showroom Business Hours:


Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday 10AM to 5PM
Thursday 1PM to 6PM


Closed Wednesday and Sunday