Tuesday, November 5, 2013

French Butter Dishes

I've avoided these things for years. At first I wasn't too sure what they were, then I was told about them and told that they kept the butter cool, which I didn't believe so I discounted the whole idea of them, and then I turned against them because of a bad customer experience.

It's been long enough now that I think I can tell this story without incriminating the guilty.

Two Ladies (I use the term not as it is normally used) asked me to make them a sample item. They called and were determined to come out to the Studio. They had a sketch of what they wanted.... all of about an inch square, with dimensions marked in pencil. I squinted and agreed to make one. They refused to tell me what it was and why they wanted it. I should have known better but went ahead and made it.

They came out again and brought their poodle. A tiny thing, apparently called a Teacup Poodle. Whatever it was, it was nasty. They had it on one of those retractable leases but after a few minutes of gushing about the dear dear dog they pretty much ignored it. It went about anointing every vertical object in the Studio, and if you are only about 6" high, there are a lot of them.

This time they wanted another piece made. Same story - a sketch about an inch square, measurements I couldn't read - and again they refused to tell me what it was. But they did let slip that they wanted me to make a prototype for something they were going to mass produce and sell at home parties. I asked them if it was a French Butter Dish (but a badly sized one) and they denied it vigourously.

They came again. The poodle did it again.

I told them that if they were planning to mass produce French Butter Dishes they should hire a company that does that and they should do some serious thinking about the size and design of these things. We did not, as they say, part as friends.

I washed and then sprayed all vertical objects with bleach up to the 6" line, again.

Then there were a few years that you couldn't sell a butter dish no matter what you did. People wouldn't admit they ate butter. Butter was Bad. I resorted to calling my butter dishes margarine dishes and making them to fit the little plastic containers margarine comes in.

Now, butter must be back in favour because I have sold many this summer. And I have been getting requests for French Butter Dishes. So I made a few, and we'll see how they go. I think they are a bit silly, they don't hold much butter and I would find changing the water every day a pain, but if they'll sell, I'll make them.

Here are a few, not dried yet. The idea is that you pack the butter (when soft) in the top, put a bit of water in the bottom, and place the top into the base. The water seals off the butter and it doesn't spoil.

I won't tell the customers that such a small amount of butter without a water seal also won't spoil before it is eaten!

And I'll try not to think of poodles while talking about them.

P.S. Those things in the background really are mittens. They are terra-cotta and will get bunches of greenery and red ribbons to hang them on doors and they are a pain to make but very popular and very Christmas-y. Super Helper does not like making them, and after this week, neither do I! But they are nice, and it wouldn't be Christmas without 'em.