100 Tea Cups

This project started when I received an email from my website titled “100 Tea Cups.” I receive online scams all the time and the title of this email had me thinking it was yet another attempt to extract cash from an artist. Some of you may remember the blog post I wrote about online artist scams awhile back, if not, here’s the LINK. I opened the email to read a query for someone who was referred to me by a “friend.” There was no mention of who that friend might be. This email was an inquiry as to whether I would be interested in producing 100 Tea Cups for a zen study center in New York. The work would have to arrive at the study center 2 weeks from the date of the email. I did some research on the center and found a very impressive website that seemed to match up with other details in the email. So I started to feel this might be a legitimate inquiry. But I immediately thought about the schedule working back allowing time for shipping, packing the work, firing and glazing time (2 glaze firing as I fire my tea wares in my small kiln), bisque firing, drying time, trimming time, throwing time, I had to subtract several days that I would be teaching a workshop and time for other ongoing duties here at the studio. No way I thought…I decided I would not be able to deliver the project on time.

I sent an email back respectfully declining the project with a mention that if their schedule could accomodate a few extra days that I feel I would be able to do the work. Almost instantly I received an email back with an affirmative response. That was too easy, I should have asked for more time…

I started to work early the next day constructing a daily schedule to get the work out the door on time….To make a long story a bit shorter, I got the work done and with the help of Denise we managed to get the boxes out the door with 15 minutes to spare for the UPS pick up…It was a good feeling.

Trimming finished.

100 Tea Cups, selected, cleaned and the foot rings have been polished, ready for packing.

All bubble wrapped with easy release tape so the wrap can be used again.

Shrink wrapped in bundles of four with cardboard dividers.

The bundles are then shrink wrapped to a 12″ x 12″ piece of cardboard cut to fit snuggly inside a 12″ x 12″ x 12″ box which isolates the cups to the center of the box. I put two bundles per box. Please note that vertical cardboard dividers are taller than the wrapped cups, this is to allow space between the two bundles of cups and to help support the bundle above. I put a few inches of biodegradable packing peanuts in the bottom of the box and slide the first bundle down to sit firmly on the first layer of peanuts. I then fill the space between the bundles and the sides of the box. I’m a big believer in firmly compacting the peanuts for a “firmer” finished box. In goes the next bundle to be supported by the peanuts and the vertical cardboard dividers below. Again, I fill and compact the remaining voids around the bundles, close the lid and tape using a good packing tape. Note: I like to over fill the top of the box with the packing material, just a bit, so that when the lid is taped closed the lid cannot be depressed. Postage paid and labels printed, online, they are now ready to leave the studio…Now to wait to hear of their safe and timely delivery.

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20 Responses to 100 Tea Cups

  1. Wow, you are my hero and they are lovely! I want one… where can I order a cup?

    • shyrabbit says:

      Thanks Toni, you are the best. Generally I would direct you to my Etsy shop but my inventory is nil. I generally have 75+ pieces there but this has been a busy season. I will have new inventory in my easy shop within the next few weeks I can let your know when that happens or check my shop at the link below in the next 10 days or so. Thank you for your interest in my work, I appreciate it.


  2. Nice. It does feel great to finish a big order like that. I ship a lot too and do some similar packing.
    Card board in between wrapped pots is a must for me. I use all of my clay boxes for that.

  3. John Boyes says:

    Congrats Michael. They look beautiful.

    • shyrabbit says:

      Thanks John, I appreciate you taking the time to comment here. Also, I did receive the images of your lighting set-up, they look great, I will post them to my blog soon. Thanks for sending them.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations Michael. Excellent job.

  5. The above message was from me. i.e.: “Congratulations Michael. Excellent job.”

    Wishing you the best,


  6. shyrabbit says:

    Thanks again Shiloh, I appreciate it…

  7. They are all so beautiful…I’m actually pretty close to hyperventilating…lol! Your blog posts always inspire. What a great project and so glad you did your investigative work first. Congratulations! Tammy Jo

  8. Sharon says:

    Love the photo of all the glazed cups. This must have been a very gratifying project. Thanks for the info on shipping!

  9. Bill Shattuck says:

    I thought, when I started reading, that you were going to relate a bad scam that had fallen into your lap. Nice to know I was wrong, the work looks good and out the door on time…Congratulations.

  10. Bev Haas says:

    Michael, your tea cups are so beautiful! And your packing is a work of art, too 😉 Thank you so much for sharing. You are an inspiration and good role model to us all…Bev

  11. wabler says:

    So this was a bonafide order? I am suspicious of the short turn around time. You didn’t mention any financial details. Was it stated or did you negotiate? Did the tea bowls arrive oay?

    • shyrabbit says:

      Yes a real order…It came to me through a recommendation of a mutual friend. There was no negotiation, they paid my price and payment in full was received before shipping. All the piece arrived on time and in go shape. Thanks for following…

  12. wabler says:

    Sorry…it automatically put the wrong email address in. Is it supposed to?

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