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Origins: Calamityware Plate 3

I captured some of my insights and discoveries during the creation of the first four Calamityware plates. I thought you might like a glimpse of the creative process so I decided to do a four-part Origins series for the Calamityware Blog. Here's how the sea monster plate came to be. Obviously, this also inspired the Sea Monster Jamboree print.

 

1

On a shopping trip to a fish market, I saw this impressive fish with an open mouth.

2

Since I was thinking about big fish, I drew my own version.

3

An article in The Wall Street Journal drew my attention to work by scholars studying the monsters that inhabit the empty spaces of early Renasissance maps.

4

Inspired, I spent many delightful days drawing my own collection of sea monsters.

5

Some of my favorites were new to cryptozoology.


6

But it’s hard to beat the uncomplicated drama of a really big fish with a really big mouth.

7

Drew a preliminary version of a Calamityware plate with a hungry fish and shared the drawing on my Flickr site.

8

Drew crisp versions of the temple and bridge to contrast with the hand-drawn quality of the monster. Added borders and refined a digital file for production as Calamityware plate 4. Ta da.

 

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Rate A Plate Giveaway Winners

The Rate A Plate Giveaway has concluded and three lucky winners have been awarded $50 that can be used on any current or upcoming items from Calamityware.com. Free mugs maybe?

This was a huge success for us. We wanted to jump start the new ratings feature on our website and you all delivered. 379 of you rated our products and most of you chose 5 stars which makes us really happy. Not only that, many of the reviews were very intelligent and witty—exactly what we would expect from our customers. They were a lot of fun to read.

Another 174 of you entered by joining our mailing list. In total, we had 553 entries. Thank you and stay tuned for more giveaways in the future.

The $50 Calamityware.com gift certificate winners are:

1. Meg from Oregon

2. Morgan K. from Maryland

3. Sarah M. from California

Congratulations winners! Check your email for details.

 

 

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Origins: Calamityware Plate 2

I captured some of my insights and discoveries during the creation of the first four Calamityware plates. I thought you might like a glimpse of the creative process so I decided to do a four-part Origins series for the Calamityware Blog. Today is Giant Robots!

 

1

My sketchbooks are filled with different versions of giant robots—a theme that has been revisited over and over.

2

When I started drawing old plates with new calamities, this sketch with a robot threatening paradise appeared.

3

Robots need shrubbery to lurk in, so I sketched a variety of plants.

4

Experimented with some fancy chrome robots but decided a simple, boxy silhouette with a stippled gradation would work best.

5

Make sure the giant robot is looking directly at the resident.


6

Reaction of a panicked resident ensures that the robot looks threatening, not benign. Reaction is a little funnier when the cat remains oblivious.

7

To hint that we are actually rooting for the giant robot, I added robots in the ornaments of the plates border. He also appears on the back of the plate.

8

To reward people who are looking closely, I included a face in among the ornaments of the plate’s edge.

 

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Rate A Plate Giveaway

Calamityware is giving away three $50 gift certificates that can be used on any merchandise at Calamityware.com. Entries must be submitted by March 31st. Winners will be announced soon after. There are 2 ways to enter:

1. Rate any product you own from Calamityware.com. We recently added a Customer Ratings section to each item on our website and would like to give you a little extra incentive to let everyone know what you think of your plates and bandanas. Any meaningful review submitted in the month of March will be automatically entered in the drawing. Be sure to include your email address or you will not be eligible.

2. For those of you who don't yet have any Calamityware products and therefore can't rate anything, you can enter the giveaway by joining our mailing list below. Only one entry per email address. No purchase necessary. If you are already on our mailing list, you may still enter the drawing this way.

We are no longer accepting entries for this giveaway. Winners will be announced soon.

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Origins: Calamityware Plate 1

I captured some of my insights and discoveries during the creation of the first four Calamityware plates. I thought you might like a glimpse of the creative process so I decided to do a four-part Origins series for the Calamityware Blog. I hope you enjoy it.

 

1

Started by re-reading L. Frank Baum’s classic book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and sketching my impressions of the flying monkeys. They are obnoxious little scamps with long, animated tails.

2

Flying in formation like WW2 bombers is part of the sinister quality.

3

My first sketch of flying monkeys in formation. Oops! Forgot the tails.

4

I wanted the monkeys to look similar but not like identical rubber stamps. Instead, each should have a different face and tail.

5

Reaction of the innocents is vital. But here the levitating hat is a bit too silly.


6

In the final drawing, the figure reacting to the sight of a squadron of flying monkeys is separated slightly from the background by a thin, white line to allow him to stand out.

7

I started the tradition of decorating the back of each plate by including one angry-looking monkey. He also had a role in some of the project updates on Kickstarter.

8

Before making the first prototype, I used cut paper to simulate how the design would look on the physical plate.

 

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What's the Deal with these Postcards?

Logical, Captain

To give Calamityware supporters a pleasant little extra surprise, I include a few postcards in each shipment of Calamityware plates and BADbandanas. It makes opening the package more fun. The mix of cards is random. I know because the Amazing Karen and I sort bazillions of them into envelopes at night while we are watching TV. There are twelve different designs so far. The "Spork" postcard generates the most thank-you notes. And, yes, I plan to continue adding new designs to be included in future projects.

One of the postcards is very rare. So rare that I don't even have one to photograph. Are you one the the lucky Calamityware supporters who owns this postcard?

If not, you can try again by buying more stuff at Calamityware.com!

Don

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Where is Plate 5?

Bumps in the road. We've learned a lot about plates and the china industry during the production of Calamityware plates 1 thru 4. Things go wrong. There are too many problems to list here but, if you have been following us, you probably know what some of the problems were. In the darkest period, we learned that no one wants to wait six months to receive a plate. In turn, we discovered that when our customers aren't happy, we aren't happy.

We don't ever want any of that to happen again. When you pledge your hard-earned money to Calamityware plate 5, we want you to know exactly what you are getting as a reward. So we are taking it slow and trying to squash some calamities upfront.

The first step we took was to find a new production shop—one that will communicate with us and tell us the truth—even if it’s bad news. And we think we found a winner. More about these porcelain wizards in a future update, but we think you are going to be thrilled with the slight upgrade in quality without the need to charge you more.

Plate 5 is currently in the proofing stage. The design is complete. Now, we are concentrating on getting the blue of the vitreous-ink transfer to match. This is a big deal because we want this series to look right when these new plates are on the table next to the plates from the first series. They may never match exactly, but we'll do our best.

We’re shooting for a March 1 launch of the Calamityware plate 5 Kickstarter project. Our original plan was to start the project in January. But, because this initial proofing stage is so crucial, we decided to wait until we had a plate in hand that we loved. Once we are satisfied, we will start the Kickstarter project for Plate 5 with the knowledge that one of the biggest, scariest hurdles is out of the way. Maybe this will also help us more accurately predict when you will receive your rewards.

And the good news is that, once the color proofing is done, we won't have to do it again for upcoming plates. We are confident that we will be able to deliver plates 5, 6, 7 and 8 in 2015.

      

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BADbandana 1: Ready to Ship

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BADbandanas Have Arrived

BADbandanas are surprisingly heavy. I had to unload the truck and discovered that a box of 500 bandanas is big, heavy, and unwieldy. I can barely lift one.

Since the Kickstarter project was funded so quickly, I authorized production to begin early. By doing so, the BADbandana production run was unexpectedly slotted into an early opening in the factory’s production schedule. As a result, the BADbandanas have already arrived. They look great. Just like grandfather’s bandanas but with monsters, bats, angry paisleys.

Bandanas from the factory come flat and must be folded and packed into sets of three. The envelopes arrived on Friday, so I got busy folding and packing.

I’m not doing it all myself. Friends are helping but this effort is still going to take awhile.  Regrettably, there may already have been some slight violations of child-labor laws. Unfortunately, cats seem to have no interest in folding or packing.

Once all of my Kickstarter sponsors have received their rewards, there will be some extra BADbandanas available at Calamityware.com.

Don

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