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Client Testimonials

Josh White, Production Manager at Syzygy Tileworks

Silver City, NM


At Syzygy Tileworks we are dedicated to producing a truly handmade, aesthetically pleasing product that is durable and environmentally safe, and benefits the local community artistically, economically and environmentally. Advancer shelves help us to meet these goals. Because Advancer shelves are thinner, we are able to fire more tiles in each kiln. The kilns complete their firing cycle and cool down more quickly which allows us to increase our number of firings each week while we use less electricity in each firing. Advancer shelves have allowed us to make larger tile sizes than were feasible for us before, and we have also lowered our loss rates because the tiles stay flat. They are a sound investment for so many reasons: lower cost of firing, increased capacity, lower loss rates and they are virtually indestructible. Donna and Marshall at Smith Sharpe Fire Brick Supply are a joy to work with. Their level of service is rarely seen these days. I simply cannot say enough good things about these shelves and the people that make them available.

Denise Kleiner

Blue Heron Pottery
Otisville, MI 48463 


At Blue Heron Pottery, my life as a potter has become much easier since purchasing Advancer Kiln Shelves. The shelves are so light – causing less strain on my wrists and back when loading my deep kiln. Warping is not an issue, since the shelves do not warp. When glaze occasionally runs onto the shelves, it comes off easily and does not leave an uneven surface. They are amazing...a little sanding and voila. 

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Richard Bresnahan

Saint John’s Pottery Studio
County Road 159
Collegeville, MN 56321

Overall, the people at Saint John’s Pottery have been very pleased with their Advancer shelves. Here’s what Richard Bresnahan, director of Saint John’s Pottery Program, had to say: “Advancer kiln shelves have been a very good investment, and haven’t shown any serious signs of wear. They have been very flexible in loading, and have saved us time and space in loading. We have been working with Smith-Sharpe for 31 years, and both customer service and technical assistance have been far above what we have experienced with other companies!” 

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Motawi Tileworks 

170 Enterprise Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Their Work

  • “Dependable product with no unexpected issues.”
  • “Durable and easy to keep clean, helping lower our kiln debris related defects.”
  • “Advancers® last longer than kiln shelves made with other materials.”
  • “Advancers® all allow us to get more square footage in each kiln load.”

Their Lives

  • “Advancers® are easier on your body because they are lighter than other kiln shelves.”
  • “Advancers® are easier and safer to pick up, less shape shelf fragments.”

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Eric Jensen - Studio Artist

I own approx. 50, 12x24" Advancer® shelves. I estimate that they’ve been fired 200-250 times in the 8 years since I bought them. In that time I believe I've cracked 2, one through personal clumsiness; one hairline crack which I spotted, cause unknown. I fire to cone 9 in reduction.

My assessment of Advancer® Shelves:


  • A considerable portion of my production is porcelain dinnerware. Loose kiln-wash and rubble from deteriorating shelves was once a major headache for me. I've eliminated the problems almost entirely with Advancer. They are very structurally sound, no noticeable erosion after 8 years of use.
  • They are still perfectly flat: I checked them with a straight-edge to be sure.
  • They are much lighter than the 1" thick clay shelves I once used; no small thing to an aging potter.
  • They're only slightly over ¼" thick. In a stack of 15 shelves, I've saved close to a foot of stacking space over the 1" shelves I once used. I store them all on one small cart on wheels.


  • I use them without any form of kiln wash, wanting to eliminate as much loose stuff in the firing as possible. Used this way, they are a bit "sticky" with the feet of some of my smaller porcelain ware. I deal with this by using a small amount of alumina in wax resist as a coating on the feet of the ware.

I consider them the best investment I made when moving to my current studio. I'm sure they've paid for themselves many times over in time and effort saved. It was a significant purchase which I've never regretted.

Eric Jensen
Studio Artist

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