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Plates are shipping! Calamityware plate 4 design is ready!


The labels are going on the boxes and the boxes are going on the truck. The first shipment of Calamityware plates (1s, 2s, and 3s) are going out the door today (Thursday, July 31). More will trickle out each day for the next few weeks. You should all be dining with monkeys, robots, and sea monsters before the end of August.

If you are expecting multiple Calamityware plate designs from our online store and/or Kickstarter, the workshop is combining orders into consolidated shipments. Some customers will be getting big boxes.

If you are one of the people still waiting for orders from back in the spring, they are finally shipping too.

First, eat your vegetables…then you can have dessert. Mom always insisted that we attend to our duties before moving on to delightful pastimes. Mom was right. For those of you interested, I'm postponing the launch of the fourth Calamityware plate on Kickstarter for two weeks to ensure that there are no distractions from the task of getting the current backlog of plate orders out.

I'm going to launch the next Kickstarter project, Calamityware plate 4, on August 15 and let it run for 30 days. If that project gets enough sponsors, we’ll start production near October 1. Our goal will be to get all sponsors their Calamityware 4 plates by December 1—in time for holiday gift giving.

You can receive news about designing, producing, and enjoying Calamityware plate by liking the Calamityware Facebook page. 

And if you want to fill gaps in your Calamityware plate collection, you can find earlier plates at BuyCalamityware.com.

 

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Squish Monsters

Monsters on monkeys—what could be better than a bunch of these soft, squishy, gooey treats served up on your very own flying monkey Calamityware! Imagine the delight of your dinner guests when they lift the last cookie off of the plate to discover the calamity.

If you want to try making these buggers yourself, here is the recipe. When I was a kid, my mom used to make a version of this cookie that she called a Carmelita. In my adult years, I came across this version which had no nuts and were a bit more gooey (I don't know about you, but I don't like walnuts in my cookies, but if you like them, feel free to chop some up and throw them in there). They are almost like eating a candy bar, but with a delectable oatmeal/brown sugar crumb mixture that gives them a cookie taste. They are worth every calorie! And they were certainly worthy of their own unique name.

Squish Monsters

2-1/4 cups flour (separated)
2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 cups butter, cold (3 sticks)
2 cups chocolate chips (12 ounces)
12 oz. jar of caramel sauce

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease a 13x9 pan; cooking spray works fine. Using your food processor, mix 2 cups flour, all of the oatmeal, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Next, slice the butter into tablespoon-sized pieces, add to the food processor, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. If you don't have a food processor, you can use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the dry ingredients, and if you don't have a pastry blender, you can use two knives to cut the butter in. Next, press half the mixture into prepared 13x9 pan, squishing it down to fill the bottom of the pan, and bake for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine 1/4 cup flour and caramel sauce in a small bowl and set aside.

After 15 minutes, pull pan out of oven and top with chocolate chips, sprinkling evenly over the surface. Next, drizzle the caramel sauce mixture over top of the chocolate chips. Lastly, crumble remaining topping over the pan, making sure to cover the entire surface. Bake an additional 18 to 20 minutes, or until top is a bit golden. It may jiggle and seem undone, but once it cools, it will firm up. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool completely. 

Hint for easy cutting: After greasing the pan, and before squishing in the first layer of crumb mixture, cut a piece of parchment paper to fit inside the pan large enough to hang over the two long sides of the pan to make a sort of sling. Continue with instructions for pressing bottom mixture into pan. After the cookies have cooled to room temperature at the end of second baking cycle, put in refrigerator to chill. Wait at least four hours, or until the next day. Take the pan out of the refrigerator, and jiggle the parchment paper to release the cookie bar and gently lift it out of the pan onto a cutting board. From here, you can cut the cookies more easily than if they were in the pan. I like to cut them into six long columns by seven short rows, giving you 42 cookies.

These cookies are best served at room temperature, or heated up in the microwave for a mere 10 seconds. They're also delicious served with ice cream!

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Kissing frogs

 

A handful of unlucky people who ordered the first and second Calamityware plates still don't have their shipment. I’m very sorry about the delay. It was not what I intended.

Last week I uncovered one of the reasons. I was talking to Bruce at the workshop where my drawings are applied to the porcelain and fired. He confessed that they frequently talk to artists about grand plans to produce hundreds or thousands of plates but no orders ever come in. He and his team have been frustrated by this experience so many times that they have given it a name. They call it kissing frogs. Bruce said, “We have to kiss every frog we meet. But they never seem to turn into a prince.”

When they met me, the team assumed that I was another frog with big dreams and that few plates would ever be produced. So when it was time to produce and ship my orders, they were unprepared. They didn’t have enough porcelain blanks on hand and didn’t have enough shipping cartons of the right sizes. Most important, they didn’t have enough production time blocked out in their schedule.

Bruce and his team had never heard of Kickstarter. So the notion that I had already found homes for all the plates I ordered was a new concept. They are accustomed to the delays of a long sales process.

I believe I finally have the team’s attention. The majority of the production calendar for the end of June and the start of July is committed to Calamityware. So, the backlogged Calamityware 1 and 2 plates as well as all the Calamityware 3 plates from the recent Kickstarter project will be in production soon.

Once again, I apologize to those of you who have had to wait. You’ll be dining with flying monkeys and giant robots soon.

Don (former frog)

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Proofing

Proofs sometimes trigger changes. Here's a pair of photos comparing details of proof 1 and proof 2 of the first Calamityware plate (flying monkeys) with some of the changes highlighted. These refinements are needed to ensure that details are not lost. As I've gained more experience with reproducing drawings on porcelain, these tweaks are becoming rare. But proofing will always be part of the process to ensure that the design is right.

Sometimes obsessive attention to meaningless details is an asset, right?

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Testing the box

Carton tested. You might be interested to know that the shipping box we will use to send Calamityware dinner plates has been thoroughly tested and approved by both the US Postal  Service and UPS. It has worked admirably in all but the most extreme conditions.

Test 107E

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Monkeys on the truck

 

The first Calamityware plates are shipping. Some are already rolling toward their new homes. The rest will go out the door today and tomorrow. You'll probably have your reward for supporting the first Calamityware Kickstarter project by next week, unless you live in some distant, remote, or inaccessible place.

If you snap photos of your plate in use, post the image on Twitter with the hashtag... #calamityware. 

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Visit to the workshop

I visited the Bryan China workshop on Valentine's Day and saw flying-monkey plates in production. I made a brief video of Kelly applying the rim image to a plate. 

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Great skill is required to position the image elements accurately and eliminate all trapped moisture and air. Kelly is an artist—a joy to watch. Each plate spends more than 4 hours in the intensely hot kiln (1500°F) to fuse the image to the porcelain. After the finished plates are inspected, they're packed in shipping cartons to await labels.

Coming soon: Calamityware Plate 1 in a carton ready to go.

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Workshop visit

I visited the workshop today to check on production of the first Calamityware plate (flying monkeys).

I saw my drawing being artfully transferred to plates. If all goes well, plates will start to be fired next week. Each plate spends more than 4 hours in the kiln. Once they have cooled and been inspected, they will be packed in shipping cartons to await labels.

Here's a glimpse of the production process you may enjoy—plates racked in preparation for firing.

Look for your Calamityware 1 plates in March.

Here's a link to a video of the image transfer process...

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/159974695/calamityware-dinner-plate-1/posts/748243

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Hanging Calamityware plates

If you prefer to hang your Calamityware plates, you need a good plate hanger. Here's one that is completely invisible.

I tested one of these hangers. It works and it can be removed without damaging the plate (by soaking). Unlike those springy metal plate hangers, this is completely invisible—hidden behind the plate. You’ll find them for sale all over the web. The one I tested was 4 inch.

You could also probably DIY with some duct tape and a paperclip.

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