Clay, Blog, Tweet


            Clay flows naturally. The feel of moist de-aired stoneware being manipulated by my fingers, awakens me. The smell of wet earth saturates my soul and elicits me to listen to the clay body. As I slowly pull the malleable form from the left lower bottom, the energy between my fingers and the clay gently guides me along the inner thigh, over the slightly curved belly, and finally gliding up to the neck of a now ceramic berry bowl. Clay seduces me. So do words. My traditional approach of using a medium blue ball point pen embracing the white writing paper engenders fluidly with a soothing current rushing with salacious content. Words impassion me when my fingers frolic across the laptop keyboard with a click chasing echo, enticing readers with the slightest familiar visual touch, the breeze of a seasoned woman’s inflection, and the well-crafted sound of strong punctuation. Taking clay and transposing it into words is like developing a blog for me with a ceramic twist. Clay blogging implores tweeting. And Twitter, a micro blog (Rogers, 2012), puts my clay in the hands of the reader.

A rubber band snuggly keeps the clay bag sealed from the Florida humidity. Before I take to a 2” wedge of clay, I determine the goal of its form. Like blogging, I focus on what I want to announce or produce. I research and listen to what my competitors are creating (Li & Bernoff, 2011). I etch out a plan targeting a season, a celebration, a purpose for the consumer to purchase perhaps my berry bowls in various colors. Like in blogging, I “ask for participation” (Jantsch) on the style, are they too short or too wide? I invite feedback on color combinations, are they too bright or too dull? I organize my space, my time allotted for the project, and then, I begin. I construct the berry bowl. After glazing and firing the bowls in the kiln, I list them on my Extrudergirl shop. Just like in my blog, I give the reader a visual focal point to accompany my words (Egan, 2015). I display the completed piece with a crisp eye catching photo to lure the Etsy viewer to buy it.  Like the personalization of content in a blog (Sprung, 2015), the mark of the potter can be seen and felt. The Etsy buyer can appreciate the quality of the craftsmanship as they unpack the berry bowl from the box and it is in their hands.

I often hear quality is better than quantity (Schaefer, 2012). This is especially true when it comes to clay and tweets. I could cheaply mass produce my ceramic pieces but it would diminish the level of expertise it takes to create the bowl, choose the correct color combination, and dazzling presentation on the Extrudergirl shop. This focus on quality starts with the name for a berry bowl or a headline for a tweet. The description of the ceramic piece or the main topic keywords of a tweet should be in the first three to five words (Schaefer, 2012); “red berry bowl” doesn’t capture an audience like my “Handmade Fifth Avenue Christmas Red Ceramic Berry Bowl”. Engaging content can capture a buyer or lose the viewer. With a 140 characters for a tweet on Twitter (Jantsch), it is a little harder and exemplifies the craft of listening to what followers like and want. I recently tweeted the following which achieved 67 Twitter Impressions:


This meant that 67 people were interactive or engaged with the Tweet (Doctor, 2013). On the listing page of my berry bowl, I am not as limited to specific characters. However, I want to swiftly engage the consumer with clever wordage and provide a purpose for them to buy the bowl as noted below:


If  “tweeps” (Schaefer, 2012), fellow twitters, send me a direct message on Twitter or  a consumer starts a conversation with me on my Etsy account about the berry bowl, it is imperative to have a “timely response” (Li & Bernoff, 2011). Good communication delivers authenticity and demonstrates that you are listening to the consumer and your tweeps.

            Clay, blog, tweet is a powerful combination that has helped me and fellow potters build our personal professional brand identity and acknowledgement of expertise. Potters can reach an audience with not just their ceramic pieces but words about clay production, life as a potter, and ceramic technical information (Schwartz, 2015). The ceramic world has a vast presence on Twitter. With the use of hashtags, Twitter networking, lead generation, and a platform for quick product development feedback, Twitter can get the potter back in the studio and not consumed by the social media landscape. A consumer can look at my berry bowl and recognize the quality once they own it. A reader can read my blog and become engrossed with the craft of my words; and Twitter followers can retweet my context that they like. I implore . . . clay, blog, tweet, repeat. It works.

Works Cited

Doctor, V. (2013, July 13). Understanding Twitter Impressions: Why Are They Important? Retrieved from

Egan, J. (2015, 1 6). 9 Tips for Making Your Blog Better in 2015. Retrieved from Huffington Post:

Herzog, A. (2014, 2 24). 10 Best Practices for Tweeting in 2014. Retrieved from Huffington Post:

Jantsch, J. (n.d.). Let’s Talk Social Media for Small Business. Retrieved from Duct Tape Marketing:

Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing.

Rogers, J. (2012, April 5). The Social Media MBS: Part 3: Social Media Landscape. Retrieved from Maximize Social Business:

Schaefer, M. (2012). The Tao of Twitter. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Schwartz, B. (2015, Jan 3). Top Pottery Blogs 2014. Retrieved from Pottery Making Info:

Sprung, R. (2015, 1 15). 4 Ways to Create an Engaging Blog Experience. Retrieved from Social Media Examiner:

Watch Out for the Mud Sharks


One of my favorite tools to recommend at Christmas time or when a newbie potter comes in to the ceramic store is the Mudshark. Michael Sherrill designed as series of tools called MudTools which he created out of necessity to suit his ceramic needs. For non-potters you might not see the brilliance in this tool name and design or understand the versatility of its tail, nose, and mouth. The tail is used when throwing a pot to trim or create a 45 degree footed angle at the bottom. This part can cut away any waste sitting at the bottom of a pot or on the bat which the pot is being thrown on. The needle, or nose, can be used for trimming the top of a pot. It can be used to make designs on a pot or plate and for the artist to sign their name on the bottom of their handmade piece.  The mouth of the tool can be used to make the rim of a pot, bowl or pitcher. When your done using the tool, the needle nose folds inside and can slip into a pocket, clay bag, or into a tool caddy. Another cool feature like many of the other Sherrill Tools is it comes in six different colors.

Mudtools has gone to great lengths to take their brand social. It was going to be hard bait for Sherrill to get into the ceramic tool market swimming upstream against established companies like Kemper, Dolan, and Chinese Clay Art.  They needed social media to snag consumers with videos and pictures of their tools not just typical word of mouth promotion or traditional marketing strategies. The company wanted to turn tool trollers into loyal buyers.

Demanding a strong social media presence, every page on their website lures the consumer to the social media landscape to support their brand image (Agius, 2015) as seen here:


Michael started out his a social media campaign as his bite indicator on Facebook with pictures of his product. Over the years, Facebook has become his honey hole with a strong following and the launching pad to the other social media networks. He incorporated videos on creating with different Mudtools on YouTube channel and crossed over onto Twitter with tweets of pictures of potters using their favorite Mudtools. Google+ is alongshore of Facebook reiterating special promotions, pictures of their product line, their blog, videos and customer’s working with their tools. Their LinkedIn presence is more lie bank-fishing with a specialized traditional slant of Press Releases emphasizing their support to social and global responsibility. Instagram intertwines their professional and personal side giving a human approach to the company image. Although Michael has a Pinterest account, it is not directly related to MudTools. It is a minnow in the social media marketing strategy at this time.

By uniting product pictures, product how-to videos, and advertising promotions on the social media channels, the Mudtool brand identity has defined its value and the company ideals (Botts, 2014). The success of branding can be seen through consumers endorsing the tools and inviting prospective buyers to use them as well. MudTools consistency and frequency on the social media networks allows for credibility, authenticity, and likability. Capitalizing on the mud aspect of ceramics and the quality of the tools became the neutral buoyancy to sustain the brand. Social media branding keeps Mudtools consumers restocked with the necessary clay studio tools as seen below.


Mudtools has remained in the uprush of growth by concentrating on increasing Facebook followers, optimizing YouTube videos, and maintaining Instagram attention. They assist consumers in navigating to their website, product pages and social media platforms. Michael spends time interacting on Instagram, Twitter and Google+ with their followers (Hemley, 2014). There is no daily limit on how brand social can make a company and its products. Once a consumer gets bitten by a MudTools brand, it’s hard to forget how great the tools are.



Agius, A. (2015). The 4 Essentials to Building Your Brand on Social Media. Retrieved from:

Botts, S. (2014). Building Identity Loyalty Through Social Media. Thinking With Google. Retrieved from:

Hemley, D. (2014). 26 Ways Brands Succeed With Social Media Marketing. Social Media Examiner. Retrieved from:

Sherrill MudTools Page (n.d.). SherrillMudTools. Instagram. Retrieved from:

Mudshark Product Page, (n.d.). Mudshark. Mudtools. Retrieved from:

MudTools Facebook Page, (n.d.). Mudtools. Facebook. Retrieved from:

MudTools Twitter Account, (2013). Mudtools. Twitter. Retrieved from:

Sherrill Studios Page, (n.d.). Michael Sherrill. Pinterest. Retrieved from:

Using Your MudTools, (n.d.). Do All Demonstration from Michael Sherrill and MudTools. YouTube. Retrieved from:

White, C. (2011) Branding: How It Works in the Social Media Age [Infographic]. Mashable. Retrieved from:

Soaking Up The Mobile Ceramic Rewards

In 2012, Daily Clay, a mobile off-spring of Ceramics Arts Daily and produced by The American Ceramic Society, hit the iPhone mobile application market. I, like many other potters who use Ceramics Art Daily as a ceramic resource, were hopeful that the app would prove to be beneficial. The extensive website offers books, magazines, videos, educational, blogs and forums. Instead, the mobile app became a daily posting of a handmade piece of ceramic art. Although inspirational, it didn’t serve the same grandeur as the parent website. Daily Clay had a strong potential to be a useful tool integrating mobile ability and social media with the Ceramics Arts Daily website.

Increasingly, I find Instagram connecting potters with their audience and consumers. Instagram is a mobile-only network which means you create and publish from the mobile app only. You can view and  a picture from a laptop or desktop but that is it. Instagram has gone to great lengths to offer the user high quality resolution ensuring the visual of ceramics pictures and videos are inviting. Instagram offers “filters, special effects, and editing tools” (daCunha, 2015). If you download InstaCollage, an app that compliments Instagram with special effect, layouts, and borders, you can create eye captivating pictures instantly as seen here:


It also offers easy “sharing to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr and Foursquare” (Hemley, 2013). This allows a ceramic business owner to expand his or her audience in vast numbers from one mobile social media application.

The Instagram platform used hashtags from its first inception, known as the symbol”#”, to expound on the content of pictures and videos posted (Gonzalez, 2012). It is best for a potter to hashtag their pictures to identify the place it was taken, subject, and description. Some popular ceramic hashtags are #ceramics, #potter, #throwing, #stoneware, and #loveclay. #clay is the most tagged at 1,172,085 posts. If a potter was looking for inspiration from other fellow potters, they could search #cone6, a type of glazing firing range, and find 4,382 posts. If they wanted to find a ceramic supply brand from a picture posted and  with a hashtag such as Amaco, they can use the spyglass on the bottom of the app. Once they find AmacoBrent, one of the largest ceramic supply company’s, they can click the name AmacoBrent which brings them to AmacoBrent’s Instagramer page.  The potter can start following AmacoBrent as well as view pictures they have posted. On AmacoBrents Instagram page they cleverly posted their website drawing the viewer to their shopping cart website as seen here:


Instagram helps businesses like a small ceramic studio like Extrudergirl or a large company like AmacoBrent. Gerry Moran suggests building a strong profile on Instagram as noted in detail below (Moran, 2013):


A well-developed profile becomes the foundation for Instagram as social media strategy. Posting pictures of handcrafted ceramic pieces or products a ceramic supply business is selling to potter allows the business to cultivate a following not just through Instagram but with the cross posting capability to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Foursquare. As a ceramic business builds their brand awareness, they can start following back their new audience. As posted pictures become visual commentaries with hashtags, a potter can create a theme or capitalize on current trends to complement his or her brand and increase credibility. They can engage viewers and consumers with consistent images and by leaving comments on follower’s postings. Developing a posting schedule will entice followers and inspire potential consumers. Over posting could cause followers to abandon your business. It is best to analyze how many posts, the kind of pictures, hashtags followers are relating to, and comments consumers are leaving. Iconosquare is a free tool to measure your Instagram success. It will give you a snap shot of the percentage of followers, lost followers, follow growth, likes, comments, and overall engagement (Lawrence, 2014).


Instagram is a visual experience for your followers, consumers, and perspective fans to learn, like, and buy into your business brand. Instagram will help promote your business, build a community around your photographed work and hashtags, generate leads and encourage conversation with your audience and consumers. I like to think, that with my Extrudergirl shop, once I get attention from my customers with a sponge holder photo on Instagram, I soak up my ceramic rewards.


Ceramic Arts Daily Home Page (n.d.). Ceramics Arts Daily. The American Ceramic Society. Retrieved from:

daCunha, M. (2015) 10 Instagram Marketing Tips to Make People Love Your Brand. Business 2 Community. Retrieved from:

Gonzalez, P. (2012). How to Use Hash Tags on Instagram. Instagramers. Retrieved from:

Hemley, D. (2013). 26 Mobile Apps to Improve Your Business and Networking. Social Media Examiner. Retrieved from:

Lawrence, T.(2014). Instagram Analytics Website Review ~ (Statigram). Tyler Lawrence. Retrieved from:

Moran, G. (2013). How to Build the Perfect Instagram Profile Infographic. MarketingThink. Retrieved from: