Monday, January 2, 2017

The Nest Collective. My (Graceful) Pottery Studio Evolution

It is time to change. I suppose it is always time to change but now is time for a large change for my tiny pottery shop. I have been making pots since 1996 (when I graduated high school and dinosaurs roamed the earth ie: there were no cell phones....) Hubby and I moved to the Island in 2006 and I started to make pottery for my livelihood selling mostly at the Duncan Farmers' Market with a slow gathering of regular customers and students that would come to the studio. 

So much has changed since those early days with totally endless studio time. I have gotten a lot more disciplined both in the pots that I throw and in the way I use time. I have a 4 year old and twin 1 year olds that are a huge part of my every day life. We also moved out to Cowichan Bay in the spring and LOVE it here. 

With so much change comes more change. During the first year of being a mom to twins, I took a huge step back from making pottery. Not so much as a choice but simple time management dictated this. When we moved, I set up a brand new studio and kiln shed (reusing the old materials) and I was able to find the time to prepare for one craft fair and my first open studio (10th annual Christmas sale) which were both a wonderful break from the day-to-day at home. 

The studio time was refreshing and sweet for my soul. It makes me a better mother and wife. As our new time opportunities begin to shine through, we are planning out this year and have come to a few conclusions. I need to use the Saturday time for making pottery instead of being at the Farmers' Market. I am able to sneak away a few times a week during the twins' nap or later in the evenings but a bigger block of time is needed to do larger jobs like loading the kiln or glazing a batch of pots. 

The big announcement is this. I have been accepted to join the The Nest Collective as a partner artisan!! I have signed a contract for a space and will have my pottery availlable there for the year. I know it will be a huge change for all my customers and I think it will be an excellent one. 
The Nest Collective is open 7 days a week from 10am to 5pm and is loaded with really neat artisan booths that are stuffed with vintage treasures and original art. I have rented a booth at the bottom of the stairs and encourage everyone to stop in and have a look at their leisure. Take Bench Road if you're heading southbound on the highway then follow the frontage road around to Whippletree or take the exit to Whippletree just after Koksilah Road if you're heading northbound on the highway. My official start date is February 1st but I have been working on getting all set up as soon as my time will allow.....twins;)


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

FIRST ANNUAL OPEN STUDIO SALE (ten years in...LOL) PS: WE MOVED

December 10 and 11, 2016
10AM to 5PM both days
4695 George Road
Parking is limited so please park beside the post boxes on Wilmot and walk up the 50 feet to the studio.

This is such a different year from the last ten holiday shopping seasons. Since 2006 I have been ramping up to warp speed in September with frequent firings, pottery packing parties and endless driving to shows. (I can't haul enough pots for a craft fair on my bicycle trailer) This is the first year I have taken things easy and decided that I will remain calm and allow space for my little toddlers inside the craft fair show circuit. It turns out that that looks like one craft fair (Christmas Chaos under the big stick in Duncan) and an open studio sale. 
Knitting bowl dipped in glaze but not fired yet; neat light and shadow.


Since moving out to Cowichan Bay, I have fallen madly in love with my new studio space. I have several major differences that will finally allow me to host the open house at home. My old studio was inside three doors, which was fine but I didn't want to have customers in the way of the suite occupant. The new studio is larger in that all the sections are all together (previously I had a throwing studio/glaze area/gallery space/kiln space all separately) so I will strip out the extraneous studio equipment and put up a nice display in my working studio. The hall rental fees will be used on advertising instead so I can reach lots of people (the clements centre became unavailable a few years ago). 

An open studio sale can be really fun and it allows me to be active in the studio while the show is on so I can make a few pots or do studio chores. The best part is that I take 10% off all the pots in the sale! 

December 10 and 11, 2016
10AM to 5PM both days
4695 George Road
Parking is limited so please park beside the post boxes on Wilmot and walk up the 50 feet to the studio. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

New House, New Plans

We have successfully moved out to Cowichan Bay and into a new routine. I am making a few pots here and there but mostly I spend my time working with the relentless twin schedule. I have been up all but two nights since December of last year ( it's July) and still have to be awake and parenting our three year old by 7 am.  
The new home has a fully operational pottery studio rebuilt from deconstructed reused studio equipment from my last space and a brand new shiny kiln shed. There have been little bursts of pottery related effort and I still have a list of pots that folks have asked for but the studio has slowed down to a glacial pace. 
  
I have not been able to attend the Farmers' Market in July but should be back in August with a few pots.
Some are skeptical. 

Feel free to call for an appointment to pop by the new studio.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Can we find a home with a grandma and grandpa room?

So, we have lived in this house for 10 years. We bought it after a careful home inspection and consideration of the location and we have loved living here. I have been working (soooooooo many hours)  in my tiny pottery studio here. I have been working on the soil in my garden for the past decade. I have raised my son here and brought my tiny babies here for their first night out of hospital. 

Hubby came home a few weeks ago and said he had been wandering around on MLS and had found a super cute house in the village outside town (13 kms away) that he thought we should go look at. 

Odd, I thought, as we already have a lovely home and large yard and garden. We know which school our kids will go to and besides we had just paid Baker Plumbing (a small fortune) to renovate the main bathroom with a nice new tub, pipes, shower and finally gotten rid of the ugly orange paint! 

We called a realtor and went out to have a look at the Cowican Bay house (ironically on a day when the road was flooding and the mucky bank was schlupping into the sea possibly taking some homes with it)  Indeed, it is a very pretty house but unloved, in need of a super deep clean (like a LOT of clean) and a rentor to make it possible for us. And, what are we doing looking at houses when we have our family home, really? 

We listed our house and gave it a bit of a purge on the advice of our super cool friends whose home always looks really good. I love our home, my studio, the morning light in the master bedroom, my studio, the large laundry room, and the floors that vacuum and wash clean in under 30 minutes from one end to the other!! ....did I mention my studio....

I guess, if we sell, I will tidy up the lovely flower, vegetable and fruit shrub gardens that I have planted over the years and find my way to a new home. I like to shine up and love the home I am in. I was able to make it work with the tiny studio when we decided to share our home and now I love the little studio space. We moved the baby room around, the bunk beds, we built the perfect garage and tore up all the old concrete so we could put in a nice gravel driveway (btw crazy expensive to get rid of concrete junk). The house we want has a two car garage instead of the single we built three years ago so my studio would be all in the same space!

I guess what I'm trying to say is that we will adapt and fall in love with a new house, clean or dirty, near or far, needing changes or ready to move into. The important part is that we all fit in there (I mean 'all' of us) that we don't get hurt feelings in the process and that we all end up together on the deck laughing and playing 'go fish' until it's someone's bedtime. 

We will be fine anywhere, even if we don't sell and anywhere is here......but the other house has a room for granny and grampy to stay over and see all their grandkids. Here's hoping!


I have to accept that selling our house is beyond my control. I need to go put my toddler and two sweet, fat babies down for a nap now. We shall see...

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Simple pots

It is neat to pack up pots that I have made these days as I am unable to really make any with my big belly:) 

I asked a friend to stop by and let our little ones play together while she packed up my tubs for the carft fair this weekend. Who does that?? It was so kind of her to take time to help me and I am humbled by her gift of time. 

Not much walking on the pathways (that we adore) these days but we will be back out there soon enough.
My solo show is November 21st and 22nd at the HUB on Koksilah Road. Hubby is packing the show and setting up as much as possible and we will be open 10-5 both days. I have decided to reduce the prices for this season as I am taking some time away from my tiny pottery studio while I care for our new infants and my amazing "babybuilding" body. This way I can start fresh when I am able to get back down there once the little ones are all napping  together enough!! 
The HUB is found where Bench Road and Koksilah Road meet. There will be plenty of large "pottery show" signs again this year so we should be easy to find and the building is only a few minutes south of Duncan. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

The New Plan

After trying to have another baby for the last few years, since realizing that our first was such an amazing little person, we are finally pregnant. I spent the first three months very sick to my stomach and with a powerful case of narcolepsy. 

The studio had slowed down to a crawl as I fell asleep at the lunch table, while patting totty's back for his nap, stirring soup, knitting and of course immediately after dinner if I was magically able to make or eat a meal. Now I am back to a bit more of my old pottery self. 
(not my car, haha)

I have let a small stack of custom orders pile up and really get stale before I threw them and it was such a delight to finally glaze and fire a whole batch yesterday. It was our 12 year wedding anniversary and hubby spent several hours on his bike in the glorious weather with his pals and then spent the afternoon with tot so I could finish the orders and load the kiln. We are so lucky to be still negotiating well and happily married despite the statistics (technically i am gen X and he is gen Y so the numbers for wedded bliss are pretty dismal for our cohort). 

A lot of time has been spent training other volounteers to take over all the jobs that I have been doing at the HUB Studio for the last year. When we opened to doors, it was just Franziska and I and there was a lot to do with class registrations, accounting, website, forms and actually teaching. I have tried to seek out people who are really happy doing certain chores that suit them in some way. We have a clay reclaiming voloutneer who is happy for the heavy work in exchange for free access to the studio, she is also perfectly wary of the dangers of clay dust and wears a mask to protect herself.


We found someone that used to do all the books for her own business and was more than happy to take over the money flow and tracking from my rather rudimentary system. I trust her completely with every penny and at our first deadline meeting when we all had to have our receipts in and she would write the cheques, she was prepared and things went smoothly. I have also found someone who will plan and coordinate all the open studio volounteers, someone to do the website and promotions and have a team to keep the glazes in order (don't get me started on the complexities of a glaze committee in a community setting :(

As for the new plan, I am at the Farmers' Market on Saturdays, 9-2. I am doing Arts on the Avenue in Ladysmith next Sunday 10-4. I will be at Christmas Chaos in November here in Duncan and will likely have my Solo Show at the HUB as the Rec Room is just a perfect space to hold a pottery show. I moved the show around a bit over the last few years and I think that if I set the date and print out 
 and hand out post card invites early on so folks can plan to attend it should be okay even though it's out of town a few minutes. We shall see. Of course, hubby will have to do ALL the work for my show as I can barely lift much now and we are just halfway through so I will need to make the plan with him first. 


**on a random miserable note, some asshat stole my handmade chiminea from my front steps, i made it years ago and fired it in the tozan kiln costing over $100 plus an entire night of loading wood into the kiln, i coil built it and then beat it round and built the stand and flange, needless to say i am still very mad that it's gone**


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Photos and thoughts in the studio(s)


It has been such a beautiul winter here on Vancouver Island. We have been having the most lovely warm days and strangely frosty nights. I have been trying to balance out my two teaching evenings at the Clay HUB Collective Studio in Cowichan Station and my own precious studio. 

I have started to make travel mugs after we found some very challenging and clever ones while travelling last summer. Racer Dave bought one and has been using it and I started making testers as I sorted out the order for the steps. They are really tricky so I have been putting them away wrapped so they dry unbelievable slowly. There are clays that are thrown, slabbed, pulled and cut so the slow drying time helps the clay cooperate. I have also found a couple of sources of corks for the cleaning hole and some different hole cutters. 


I have also been at the HUB { www.theclayhubcollective.weebly.com } doing the reclaiming, shelf washinf, laundry, kiln work, grand opening (and all the follow up) and really enoying it. I am definately motivated by a little checkmark on my list or a little gold star beside my chores. It is such a wonderful place for folks to share clay and time. I hosted a training and clean up day last sunday for people who would like to become studio volounteer monitors.