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Emerge, Purge and Diverge: Here Comes Lottie

By Junior Bucks (Owner and CEO, Rascal Ware Pottery)

Chapter Twelve

Rascal Ware Chapter 12 image 1Global market forces, competing fashion trends, uncertain production capacity and a disappearing talent pool all pushed Rascal Ware into Chapter 11 reorganization in 2011. That’s one way to put it. Or you could just say that Georgette Ore had mistaken the rare for the valuable and stayed on too long.

Whatever the case, we emerge in 2013 with new leadership in the person of Ms. Lottie Dipps. It’s not every day that a corporation with international exposure places its future in the hands (literally) of a nineteen year-old young lady. But that’s exactly what’s happening here. Lottie’s credentials include a high school diploma, a Girl Scout badge in Crafts, several years of Saturday work at Hobby Lobby and numerous baking awards at the local Strawberry Festival. These last were won in competition with women who have been baking for three decades, some longer. In fact, one of the contestants was Lottie’s own grandmother who taught her much of what she knows about baking. (That would be her maternal grandmother. They’re Ladles, not Dipps.)

Rascal Ware Chapter 12 Image 2Baking brings me to Lottie’s real accomplishment – she can bake more than batter. It is generally agreed throughout central Florida that Lottie Dipps is a certified pottery prodigy.

Lottie was born and raised in Edgar, Florida. Edgar is the site of one of the world’s unique geological features – a huge crystal-white sand mine that produces a residual clay product known as Edgar’s Plastic Kaolin, or EPK. EPK is pure white, elastic and fully malleable. These properties in a white clay are more than unusual. From a potter’s perspective they are a full blown and blessed aberration. As a result, EPK is found in every ceramics and pottery facility in the North American hemisphere. It is as ubiquitous as Bisquick.

Bisquick is not an idle reference here because Lottie has so perfected her ceramic and baking processes that half-way through the task, most people can’t tell if she is making ceramic art or a rhubarb tart. Her explicit processes are secret but she is fond of telling other potters that the best patching slips ALL contain Bisquick.

Rascal Ware Chapter 12 image 3We call Lottie’s first Rascal Ware product line Full Frontal Faience. These portraits are inspired by characters and events from her childhood. You’ll see individuals from Bible lessons, distant half-cousins met once at a family gathering, folks overheard in line at the video store and employees of the Edgar one-pump gas station.  The differentiation of her characters is clear enough save those cases which are inspired by St. John’s Book of Revelation and seniors at the gas station. In these instances, it’s sufficient to know that Biblical astonishment and the arrival of a monthly government check evoke identical responses.

In addition to her artistic and conceptual contributions, Lottie insists on making Rascal Ware a green operation. Most potteries use energy in enormous quantities. Heating a kiln to near white-heat consumes cords of firewood or megawatts of electricity, this last actually generated by burning and scrubbing high sulfur coal. In contrast, as Rascal Ware resumes production, we will rely entirely on electricity produced at local wind farms. And we will capitalize on Lottie’s nearly impossible achievement of producing ceramics at the amazingly low temperature of cone 0100. To those unfamiliar with ceramic cone designations, cone 0100 is an equivalent temperature to that used for the oven cleaning cycle of your typical gas range. Lottie holds the patent for ceramic cone 0100, a special mixture of baking soda, EPK and Bisquick.

Rascal Ware Chapter 12 image 4Please take note that Full Frontal Faience is a limited edition series. When these are gone there will be no more. As a special introductory promotion, with each purchase, Rascal Ware will include a personalized and autographed photo of Lottie Dipps accepting her baking award at the Strawberry Festival in March. (In personalizing the photos, Lottie is careful not to blot the solemn expression on the face of the third-place recipient. That’s her grandma.) But there’s more. The first one hundred patrons will have their name entered in our first-ever drawing. That winner will receive a five gallon bucket of Lottie’s special formula slip – a slip which is equally desirable on green ware, bisque ware or sweet rolls.

 

 

 

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