Arrgh, Talk like a Pirate Day: Piratical CraftFail

By Heather, Dollar Store Crafts

Arrgh, mateys! Happy celebration of “Talk like a Pirate Day” to all ye land-lubbers, swabbies and mates! Here be a tale of piratical craft failings that would make Davy Jones weep.

<end pirate speak>

First let me start by saying I have an unofficial crafty “life list” of techniques I’d like to dabble in. Pottery was always on the list, but I figured I’d have to wait until later in life to do it because it’s expensive and time-consuming to learn. Well, I made a friend who is a potter and taught pottery classes at our local YMCA. Community classes. Classes were cheap, so I decided to take one.

If you know anything about pottery, you know it’s something you have to practice a long time before you make anything good. One two-month community class isn’t gonna net you very many potting skillz. I could probably show you photos of every pot I ever made here at CraftFail and you would giggle uncontrollably.

About the time I was taking the class, my first son’s first birthday was approaching. I planned a dress-up pirate party for his birthday. I came up with a brilliant idea for party favors: handmade pottery Pirate Medallions.

At least a month before the party, I rolled out a slab of terra cotta clay, cut out circles, painted black underglaze on them, and then etched out piratey designs of all sorts: skull & crossbones, ships, piratey sayings, etc.

Okay, I told you I made them about a month in advance so they’d be sure to be fired, etc. in time. Well, a week before the party, I found out they STILL hadn’t been fired… I scrambled around and had my potter friend fire them at the last minute for me with a load in her kiln and she over-fired them so they puffed up and got bubbly, and the terra cotta showing through the black got REALLY dark… basically, you couldn’t see much of what I’d etched.

This one here is one of the best ones. It doesn’t have a bubble in the middle, and you can actually read the etching. Most of the others weren’t as successful. I didn’t even give them out at the party. I was so disappointed because I had put so much planning and effort into making the perfect handmade party favor!

This handmade tricorn toddler hat was also a fail, but that's another story

Where are they now? My son used to play with them like money, and stuck them into slots all over the place (heater vents, etc.), so I have no idea where most of them are… Either that, or I threw them away. I kept this one as a memento of all the work I did on them!

Me and the pirate prince are distraught about our craft fails

9 Responses to Arrgh, Talk like a Pirate Day: Piratical CraftFail

  1. Melissa H says:

    This reminds me of my pirate b-day party. I think it was when I turned 8 and the costumes were something else.

  2. Kathy V. says:

    It was still the best Pirate First Birthday Party ever!!

  3. Fanboy Wife says:

    I teach pottery, and I still have some failures. It gets better over time; I promise!

    It’s too bad that the firing didn’t work. Did you wedge your clay enough to get all of the air bubbles out before you made a slab? Sometimes, glazes just get weird in the kiln too. Unpredictable things can happen with ceramics, so it’s very important to not get too attached. (My first ceramics professor had us destroy our first project to teach us this lesson.)

  4. Notagirlymom says:

    Still looks cool and if you can find where the rest of em went, maybe you could stash them in geocaches as prizes?

  5. Notagirlymom says:

    I dunno if you can use a Blackberry or not..maybe with some of the more urban caches (see for more details). I have a small Garmin Geko 101 which was donated to me and I’ve found it fairly easy to use. There is a hiking trail system in a woody area in our town and I’ve found that while I don’t often find what I’m looking for, at least I don’t get lost now.

  6. Nathalie says:

    That’s a shame about the firing :( I recently took a ceramics class and thankfully my work survived the kiln, but a lot of the others’ didn’t.

  7. Tammy says:

    Well, the good thing is, he played with them, right? When my kids were little it was always an adventure finding the things they hid in the heating vents.

    I always wanted to take pottery classes, too… but it was really humiliating seeing the primitive looking things I created. Oh… yeah, I can use that for a craft fail post in the future I guess!

    I wonder if you’re going to keep at it though?

  8. Well, I wouldn’t mind keeping at the pottery, but it’s not convenient now because I live too far away from the YMCA that had classes (I moved!)… I hope to try it again sometime. It was fun, even though my stuff was far from perfect. I still gave almost all that I made away for Christmas… that was my main motivation for doing the classes, so I could make xmas gifts – my family always tries to give handmade!

  9. Pingback: CraftFail » Blog Archive » Pirate Gingham Reverse Applique Embroidery Fail

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