Monday, November 29, 2010

A Life ......and a 3400 year old mug

So the 5th Annual Solo Pottery Show was a success and Dave helped with both days, was very pleasant to the customers and packed every tub back into the car once I had carefully packed each pot into the wrapping. A lot of my regular customers came and bought christmas presents and such for the holidays. A few cute people were VERY sneaky, asking Dave and I to set aside a group of pots for them to come to the house and pick up later when their spouse wouldn't know and one from Victoria whose wife described the perfect mug for her hand and then I went and got it for her from the mass of mugs, to the astonishment of the group only to have them put it back and leave with a different pot, the husband emailed later and asked that I put the mug aside (luckily I still had it) and we will meet somewhere or I will mail it to them. Sigh, how sweet.

I went through my costs for this year and was happy to see that getting rid of the POS machine used for processing debit cards saved me a LOT of money and the fact that the new tax system has dropped my little business also meant less cost for the second half of this year. Not so much if you sell food in a restaurant as the tax increase is a few dollars on each meal out.

I realized today that if things stay relatively stable in the shows that I do and the amount of pots that I make, I am going to be able to continue potting. The studio rent (heat/lights/kiln costs) is paid for along with all the clay, glazes and supplies that I use and there is a little bit for wool and material for new clothes and a little money in case the kiln melts down or I need some unforeseen thing to keep potting.

I save a lot of money with the cycling and trailer, it also earns me a lot of respect around here in a place that rains more than it doesn't. I show up at Farmer's Market meeting dripping and wearing rubber pants with booties over my shoes, a toque and I have to blow my nose at least twice at the start of each meeting but they are all used to the bike attire and simply ignore it now. I also show up to adjudicate the new vendors who would like to join and get a few looks as though I don't belong but that soon ends when we are introduced.

If I am running a TINY business that is holding it's own in this world of 'dual-income-mortgage-payments' what does that mean for my life. Is it possible to do this? To really do this? Without charity, or pity or craziness but for real?!

I was once again really humbled by the show and thought it was very cute that one of my regular customers husband and kid came in and asked if I could recall what the wife had wanted while taking into account what they had already bought in the summer for her. Of course I knew what she had wanted! The youngster paid for half of the mug and I gave them the regular customer discount on the other pieces and was warmed spiritually by the interaction.

I came home, vacuumed the gallery shelves, did a lot of laundry and tidied everything and then unpacked all 15 tubs and found the best spots for each family of pots. I have been building shelves of all different heights and widths and a pot should look like it fits the shelf not be drowned by empty space around it or crowded by its cousins. I tidied the throwing studio today too and washed the floor again as it must be kept perfectly clean so that we don't fill up with silica and drown in our own lung guck.

Now, sitting on the couch at the end of the day, with a warm mug (too flawed to sell but not too badly to love) the rain pelting the house so loudly it interrupts conversation, and I am thinking that maybe, just maybe , on some level I am exactly where I am meant to be, doing exactly what I was meant to do.

People always joke that the two oldest occupations are... well if you don't know the saying never mind... and being a lawyer and I was going to offer a third one to add to the list. I found a blog post today that had a photo of a mug that was made in 1400BC. I have borrowed the photo and put it at the top so you can decide for yourselves about the occupations of the past.

Maybe if the earliest people were able to make sweet little pots for other people and survive then maybe so can I. Well, off to bed then back to work in the morning...maybe I'll make a nice little bowl with steep sides and a round "hara" and the perfect spout for pouring pancake batter or an omelet from... or maybe I'll make a dozen of them!

Thank you to everyone who came to the show and to Barbara Sobon who helped so much with the staging of the display and wonderful Dave who works for me for two days every year without a single complaint and all for a nice dinner and a cup of Coffee on the Moon coffee!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Where is the Show?

The photo op made me laugh! I was touching up the signs from the last few years and giving the black some time to dry and when I turned around I knew I HAD to take a picture. This is really how I feel about the show this weekend, things are everywhere and I can't seem to accomplish anything.

I went out to Black Coffee at Whippletree today and chatted with Russ who bought the coffee shop maybe a year ago and he was holding and commenting on each of the mugs he uses of mine. He was holding one of the new ones that I had delivered and he said that the mugs make him happy. It isn't common for me to blush from the inside with pride and humility at the same time. I was totally honoured that he felt so much towards my little mug 'babies' and I reach for that thought like a warm kitten lying on the couch beside me, and it re-warms me each time I find that comment.

Also, tonight I had a phone call from Barbara Sobon, a decorator and paper artist, who was offering to help me set up my show!! Who volounteers for that sort of thing?? I was again humbled and warmed all at once. Such a great day for me, I hope someone sends a little bit of positive energy to you today.

See you all at the show!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Week of my Solo Show

Amazingly the rain has changed to a bright, sharp crunchy state that sticks to everything!! It is making the roads quite challenging and a lot of confused people are driving around faster than usual and more aggressively as this reduces collisions and deaths, but it puts my cycling a little higher on the insurance rating. (hahaha)
I am putting up the Show Posters all over town at Coffee on the Moon and Black Coffee at Whippletree where they graciously babysit a small family of mugs until the public decides to adopt one of them, then they babysit my money until I ride down there on my bike to pick it up! It doesn't get better than that!!!!
I am looking for paper bags for the show this weekend and am madly packing up EVERYTHING in the gallery. There is a gorgeous huge jug that I have never taken out of the house that will be packed up and be taken to my Solo Show for the public to see.
I have already been working on different pots for next year. I threw a slab on the wedging table and slumped it over a 9X13 glass pan and then built a box into a slab/slump mould and then built up another baking pan over that. They flip over off the form by holding a ware board on top then flipping them over quickly while considering the weight carefully with the hand that holds the top board.
I will take lots of photos of the Show and put them up right away!! I hope to see you all at the Show this weekend and I don't expect everyone to buy something as it means a lot to me for people to attend the event as you would any other art show.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Craft Show update

Okay, it's Monday morning and I am having a coffee with Dave and the dogs in our usual slow morning way. I am going to unpack my weekend show tubs and then prepare a huge load of dry ware to fire today. I am also working on my speech for tonight's AGM for the Duncan Farmer's Market and I still haven't decided what to make for the potluck.

We are going to vote on adopting a new Code of Conduct that two of our very seasoned Board Members have drafted, if it passes tonight we will be able to let people know that we are very serious about being warm and kind towards everyone involved with the Market. Such huge changes in the Market since someone decided to nominate me for 'prez', and it is truly gratifying to see that I was able to withstand all the shouting until people started to really listen and now there is so much respect at the market and meetings. The real issue here is WHAT am I going to cook for tonight??

The Christmas Chaos 4 days were such a huge chunk of time and really stretched my patience! It was the endless conversation and crap lighting that wore me down and sweet Dave came in with a coffee and treat on Friday and then came to help me pack up and load the car after things were all done. The show was really good as far as sales went and I gave out a lot on invitations to my SOLO SHOW so hopefully a lot of people will attend that. Speaking of that I have to make more posters and take them everywhere on the bike and phone the papers to order the ad. I had a request from the Valley Voice Magazine to ask if they could send a photographer to my show to get a set of shots of my work for the upcoming year! How lovely, and they want an article for the December voice about buying gifts at the Market, I'll get to that when I have a few minutes.

Thanks for stopping by to catch up with me and I will upload some more photos to the blog in the coming days, now back to the salt mines, hahahahahahaa. I love being a potter!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

And so it begins...

The first Craft Fair of the season for me was in Nanaimo at a large community centre and was very successful...which means that I have put away the money I need to pay rent on my studio for January! Everyone defines success differently but that is my way.

I loaded the kiln this morning and every pot fit exactly into the kiln with the last tiny bowl sitting up on a tiny stand made of two stacked kiln stilts so it is jutting up above the other pots like a tiny tower. This load will fire all day and then cool for another day and a half and be unloaded possibly this weekend before or after the craft fair that I am in this weekend.

My work and I am in Duncan this weekend for Christmas Chaos which is 12-9 Thursday and Friday and 10-5 Saturday and Sunday which amounts to 32 show hours with about 10 hours of setting up and display maintenance in the next four days. I have a food plan for Dave in that I am taking the evening to make a huge lasagna (meat free of course) that he can throw in the oven or reheat as needed. I made some jokes on my way down to the grocery store on my bike, that I had made a shopping list that just said frozen pizza!

I unloaded the kiln last night and lost only one mug and priced all the pots (which I hate doing) and paired up all the french butter dishes so they slide freely inside their mate as well as having just enough overlap of the base so it is easy to lift off. The work is strong despite the seasonal pressure and I was happy to see that the three wild teapots that went in the kiln came back out with only kiln love and not in many pieces!

I will get a few pictures before they get packed up today for the show. I can't possibly take a dozen tubs of pottery down to the show on my bike trailer so we have made a plan that I will drop Dave off at work and then go set up around 0845, giving me plenty of time. He will then get a ride to the show after work and take the car home, odd you might think that we would care where the car was or who had it as we are died-in-the-wool cyclists but his hospital in it's stupendous foresight---decided that they would not allow anyone to take their bikes into the hospital anymore!! They require you to lock your bike out in the rain to one of the old rusty railings by the side entrance, now I'm not sure but I can guess that Dave's bike will NEVER be treated as such because the shiny little guys cost more than most people's transport.

With the show season underway and my damp rack empty but for two very funky teapots I was feeling a little lost (as most workaholics do I'm sure) so signed up for a Level II Yoga and had my ass handed to me as I haven't done any yoga in quite a while. It was with amusement this morning that I observed my hamstrings and lats screaming as I bent low to put the bottom shelf in the kiln this morning and I can't wait to get on the bike to go get another ball of "capricio" wool to knit into my project this weekend at the show, and feel what my quads have to say about last night's yoga!

Monday, November 1, 2010

My article was published!!

Hey web-world,
The BC Potters' Guild has published the article I wrote! You can find a profile of me at the link: the November Newsletter was 18 pages and I was page 8 and part of 9 with my show poster on the ad page. And now I must get back to work.
I have taken a few sets of before and after photos to show you guys and will download them onto the computer later.
The first show of the season is this weekend.....already!!! I am at the Nanaimo Professional Show, Friday (set up + 12-8pm), Saturday (10-5pm) and Sunday(10-4pm).

I have to go out to the Salish Sea Gallery in Cowichan Bay and collect my work from them this week hopefully tomorrow to fill out some of my shelves and tables for this month.
Back to work, tonight I will price the ware that just came out of the kiln.