I think that having a way to integrate my logo and business name onto most of the pipes that I produce is an important method of marketing my work to the social connections of my existing collectors. I have a scene play out in my head where friends are enjoying a toke at someone's house, and the visitor exclaims "holy crap this is the coolest pipe I've ever seen! an avocado pipe that looks just like real one! and it fits in my hand so well! where can I buy one for myself?!" The owner can't remember my business name - was it Fern Ceramics? Then they notice the logo on the bottom, surf to my website and find a whole smorgasbord, as well as this very blog post!! How meta...
Anyway, it's been a design challenge that I have not found a satisfactory solution to yet. At first, I tried a third-firing custom printed decal. I didn't like the look, or the extra firing. I tried underglaze stamps, not to any big success. My most enduring solution has been laser cut stamps of many generations of design adjustments, which I press into the clay of each pipe, then while glazing, I use cobalt to make the logo impression pop blue, and wax to protect it from glaze. When I press the stamp into clay, I really need to be able to support the clay with my fingers on the inside of the shape, otherwise the pressure of the stamp on the hollow, fragile clay cracks the form, and I've got to start over from scratch. Sometimes this happens anyway. It's the step where I mess up the most items, so it's a step I'm most anxious to figure out a work around, which means adding it to the mold, so every cast will already have a perfect logo impression.
My design question is now: how do I make a little 3d logo like a fruit sticker, with the precise depth of impression, a clean texture, and the flexibility to stick to different food objects? I've tried a custom embosser on foil stickers. I've tried plasticine clay rolled out thin. I've settled on air dry foam clay, spread super thin on newsprint, then stamped with my laser cut stamps, then left to dry, then coated with polyurathane, then prepped with rubber cement to stick. 🤯 So many little adjustments to fit an exact purpose, but if I can nail it in the mold, my process will be so streamlined.
Here are some examples of my iterations! The apple is the first satisfactory version of my logo sticker, but I'm still finding the best way to use the foam clay stickers.