Finding folks....

Just a quick post.....

I snuggled into bed the other night with the new Ceramic Monthly and enjoyed reading a "studio visit" with a potter by the name of John Baumen. I enjoyed what he had to say about making work, his studio and how he felt about the web for a long time. Of course I got curious and looked him up. Sure enough he does have a blog and I wanted to support his efforts since we all are in the same boat. I think its cool how years ago I wouldn't even look at others potters work that was not at all like my own but now I find that if I enjoy what another potters has to say, I tend to really respect the work even if its not something I typically would venture towards. I think blogs have done such a great thing for getting everyone to connect who normally, most likely would not. The funny thing is the more we write and read what each other has to say, the more you can see a similar thread between us all that not just clay.

Just a side note....( when I get more time to iron out my thoughts I'll give my own thoughts on this subject)...Ron Philbeck's last post was about shows and forming groups, which of course I think is really a great thing. If your interested in this information click over there and see what he has to say along with the comments!

Happy Wednesday everyone!



I gave everyone a mug Christmas eve so they could have some hot chocolate before they went to bed in hope of grand things from St. Nick. Gary Rith made these mugs for the kids. I think I posted earlier this year about these and here is proof that the kids really enjoyed them. Joey got a beaver mug from Ron because he was having issues with some pesky beavers at a work site he's be dealing with over the course of two years. ( Nothing better than a little "razing" from your wife!) We are busy cleaning out rooms and closets this week. I'm always eager to do this when I feel so busy with work, kids and school but when it comes time to do it....I'm not as eager.

Yesterday I managed to break-down a lot of shipping boxes, sweep my studio and get clay ready to pug this week.

I have big plans to make some soup and bread this evening. I feel the need to freeze all sorts of food this January and hunker-down for a cold winter. I know some of you are laughing at this but we do live in a house that is over 100 years old and the breeze and chill seems to blow through the cracks from one end to another and none of the fireplaces work. Such a bummer!

I'm eagerly awaiting a reply from Skutt about parts for my kiln. I'll be checking in with everyone in a few days.

By the way, last night I got a chance to catch up on some blogs and added a few more names to my list. Once again, please forgive me if you don't see your blog listed on my sight. Its not that I don't care, it just takes me a while to update and go "oh yeah...I know this person from my blog" once I sit down and start reading. Many, many apologies for that!


Pretty paper, pretty ribbin..pretty bows

( Does anyone out there know that tune??) Its that time of the year where I get seduced by all the wrapping paper that you can find. Endless amounts of glitter, color and patterns. My favorite image at Christmas time is the night before Christmas when the tree is surrounded by boxes dressed up in all sorts of colors and images. Yesterday when we were unwrapping gifts I stashed away some paper that came off of a box my sister had wrapped and sent to us. She has the same fixation on paper that I have so I can always count on her for some nice graphics to horde away!
Sadly today I'm putting away all the wrapping and convincing myself that I don't need to go out with all the rest of the crazy people to buy my wrapping paper for next year at 1/2 price, even though its killing me not to do this!
I instead thought I look on the web for vintage wrapping paper images and save some of these images for a later time.
Maybe I'll print them out and tape them in my sketch book.

Today I was thinking how last year I didn't feel the need to get out to my studio for a few weeks after Christmas. This year my mind is turning and thinking sooner than it did and I think I may get out there next week and start on a few things. My kiln is in real need of parts and repair so that is first on my list. I'm hoping by the end of January we can move some things around in the house and have a central location for all my books, teaching material and work stuff - more of an office enviroment I hope. At the moment my "work" area is sort of stretched along a long hallway.

Joey and I also have plans to get my etsy site up and running. From what I've read and learned from many of you, this may be a good avenue for someone like me to explore. I enjoy changing things so much that at times I think galleries have a hard time keeping up with me and my lack of consistency. Since I like working this way I think marketing my work myself may be a good thing and hopefully Joey and I can keep up with the posting that need to be done on Etsy. We'll see!

I hope today everyone is having a good time playing with all the Santa toys they got!


Twas' the Night Before Christmas..potter style

Twas' the night before Christmas

and all the potters around here

where no longer working,

they just where worn out from the year!

The galleries where closed, the sales

where all done.

It was finally time to enjoy

some real Christmas fun.

So they soaked their poor feet,

put the lock on the kiln shed

and decided to relax because

they had nothing to dread.

A new year was coming

Plenty of time to plan and clean.

New glazes to try and articles to read.

There is clay to reclaim, sweeping to do, pots that need homes,

there is always plenty to do!

So many hats that we wear it is hard not to fret,

But for now, I'll just sit on the couch , put up

my feet and relax!

Merry Christmas Everyone!


Time is drawing near....

Only a few days left before St. Nicks makes his annual visit to these three very excited folks!

The last few days have been great just being with them and doing stuff like playing games, hanging out and not feeling like I have to rush anywhere. I vowed last month to let each child pick a special activity they wanted to do with Mom for a day and I stuck to it. Last weekend Mckenna and I went to the mall shopping and then out to dinner, last week Quaid and I went to movie together and yesterday Aydan and I went ice skating.

Today my pottery "buds" came over for some lunch and Julie used my pug-mill for her porcelain scraps. As always this was fun just getting together to talk shop. In the afternoon, I glazed my last special order for the year and this evening I enjoyed the couch all to myself and a documentary about fashion designer Valentino. Yet again a great creative mind with a strong cantankerous personality and absolutely no business sense. People like this always make me feel better about myself.....if you like stuff like this, rent it - very enjoyable.

Such an enjoyable day!


The Mural and Last Thoughts

Thanks to everyone who commented on my last post. Wow...there where folks I haven't seen posting on here before. Thanks! I think everyone had great comments and I love to hear all sorts of advise and ideas about things. I think its great to hear from all sides of any argument and blogs are such a wonderful way to learn from each other. We are such a small community and I've always felt like potters, for the most part, are great at sharing marketing tips. ( Maybe not glaze recipes...hahahaha but we are always there to lend each other sounds advise and how to and where to sell our stuff!) Bravo gang! Its good to have an opinion about things...free speech..right?

Now...here's the photo of my pillow tile mural that I promised over a month ago. I just now found the image on my card. ( Crazy me!) I was proud of myself after it got finished and displayed and like I said it brought a ton of people in my booth and boy did I sell some groupings of my pillow tiles! Now I have plans for more things like this which seems very exciting. Once again I'm venturing down yet another path but I need to do stuff like this weather its a good thing for my business or not. It keeps me happy and some days, I can't stop myself from just wanting to do something new.
Its is super cold and rainy here. We even have some ice coming down. I'm still content and slowly ( still ) knocking out my list. I'm looking forward to a shopping day with my Mom tomorrow. Nothing is better than spending time with your Mom even when your a big kid!

Those of you who could not open.......

I had a few folks tell me they couldn't read the email post that I listed below so I thought I'd just go ahead a cut and copy it for you all.

I want to say that by no means am I making fun of this person who is trying to give this workshop and I know the things that are stated in this email/advertisement are all valid. My only point to this was that it doesn't work for everyone and I'm one of the biggest advocates for those of us who like doing business with gallery owner who understand that many artists are not great business people and also have another life outside of working all the time. All of us have to admit, we spend an enormous amount of time at what we do. And if your really driven like I am, you have a hard time staying away from the studio and trying to make your next pots better than your last group of work. Adding endless hours of marketing always takes second shift for what we make. But I do know some people who have the time and the energy to do just this and I think that is so comendable. Just don't tell me that I'm not doing it right until you step into my shoes. ( Or so the saying goes...)

Today I was talking to my buddy Ron Philbeck about this email and we both agreed at how reading suggestions like these or even listening to someone talk about this can be a real downer in a way because you feel like you just not doing everything right as a business person. I think for me, I sort of look at information like this as another form of critiquing my work. After endless hours of sitting through critiques in what seems like 100 art classes that I have taken you just get to a point where you say to yourself , "well, not everyone can like my work and that's ok...its just their opinion". And really, all these people who tell you what you should and should not do are just critique what they think is right. Unfortunately not all of this works for everyone and that is Ok.

So, read down and please leave any thoughts you wish to add.

Did you know on an average week I may be approached by as many as 20-35 artists looking for gallery representation? Most of them are ineffective. Are you making the same mistakes they are? Before I explain, let me introduce myself. My name is Jason Horejs. I have owned Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona for more than eight years. Last week I sent you an invitation to my upcoming workshops in North Carolina, "Starving" to Successful Get into Galleries and Sell More Art.
I want to take just a moment to personally invite you to join me in January. I am writing you because I saw your work online and thought this workshop would benefit you. This workshop comes from my experiences with artists. Several years ago, I began to wonder why artists were inept talking to galleries. I quickly realized most were unsuccessful because there is very little information explaining the best strategies. That lack of information leads to these blunders:
Mistake #1: Presenting an inconsistent body of work. Artists generally love their freedom. They want to experiment. They love a challenge. They crave variety. All good things, except when you are presenting your work to a gallery. The work you present to a gallery needs to be unified. It doesn't need to be repetitive or formulaic, but it must present you as a consistent artist with a clear vision. Often I feel I am looking at the work of multiple artists as I review a single portfolio. To avoid this problem you need to find focus in your work. If you work in several media and a variety of styles, focus on just one for the next 6-12 months. Create a body of work that feels like a "series". Once you have 20-25 gallery-ready pieces in this series, you will be ready to approach a gallery. You can further create consistency by presenting the work in a consistent way. Use similar frames for paintings and photographs, similar bases for sculpture, similar settings for artistic jewelry. Make it very clear all of the work is by the same artist. If you simply can't rein your style in, consider creating multiple portfolios, one for each style. Don't confuse the galleries you approach with multiple styles in your portfolio.
Mistake #2: Producing insufficient work to sustain gallery sales. Many artists create marketable work, but in quantities too low to make a gallery relationship viable. Successful artists are consistently in the studio creating artwork. You may be surprised to learn the results of a recent survey I conducted. I asked artists how many new works they created in the last twelve months. Painters responded that on average they were creating 53 pieces every twelve months. Sculptors 31. Glass artists 500! A gallery owner needs to feel confident you will replace sold art quickly and maintain high quality. They want to know if you are successful the can replenish their inventory. Don't despair if you are far from reaching this goal. Rather, look at your creative production for the last year and set a goal to increase the production by 25% in the next 12 months.
Several suggestions to increase your productivity:
1. Dedicate time daily to your art. Maybe your schedule will only allow for two hours daily, but you will produce more by working for those two hours every day than you will by waiting for big blocks of time.Treat your studio time as sacred. Train your family and friends to respect that time. You don't interrupt them when they are at work; ask them the same courtesy when you are in the studio.2. Set a production goal. If I could tell you the secret to producing 50, or 100 pieces per year, would you listen? Here it is: create 1 or 2 pieces per week.I know it seems overly simple, yet few artists work in a concerted disciplined way to achieve this goal.(A common objection I hear to this suggestion is that quality will suffer if an artist works this quickly. In my experience, the opposite is true. A certain level of quality may only be obtained by putting miles on the paintbrush, spending hours in the darkroom, moving tons of clay or stone.)

3. Remove distractions from the studio. Move your computer to another room. Unplug the telephone. Nothing kills an artist's focus faster than the constant interruption of technology. Your inbox and voicemail will keep your messages safe while you work.
Mistake #3: Delivering a portfolio in a format inconvenient for gallery review. Often your portfolio is your only chance to show your work to a gallery owner. Poorly formatted portfolios are rarely viewed. Your portfolio should be concise, simple, informative and accessible. 25 years ago, formatting a portfolio was simple. A portfolio was either a literal portfolio with sheet protectors and photos, or a slide sheet. The choices have since multiplied. CD? Digital hardbound photo-book? .Pdf file? Email? Which format is the most effective? None of these, actually. Each has drawbacks limiting effectiveness. They are either too much work for the gallery owner to access, too easy to delete, or too hard for you to maintain. In my workshop I will show an example of a perfect portfolio. Easy to maintain, easy to share. Successful. A couple of things to keep in mind with your portfolio:
1. Your portfolio should contain no more than 20-25 of your most recent works. You should not create an all-inclusive portfolio. A gallery owner does not want to see your life's work. They want to see your best, most current, most relevant work.2. On each page you should include pertinent, relevant information about the art. Include the title, the medium, the size, and the price. Don't include the date of artwork creation.3. Place your bio, artist's statement, and resume at the back of the portfolio, not the beginning. Your artwork is the most important feature of the portfolio, don't bury it behind your info. Limit press clippings, and magazine articles to 2-3 pages.4. Include 2-3 images of sold artwork. You should try to include at least one photo of your artwork installed. These images will establish your credibility more rapidly than any resume ever could. In my upcoming North Carolina workshops I will teach you how to create a powerful portfolio. Your new portfolio will end up in gallery owner's hands, rather than in the garbage can.

Mistake #4: Lacking confidence and consistency in pricing. One of the greatest challenges facing you as an artist is knowing how to correctly value your work. Many artists price their work emotionally, and inconsistently. Galleries can't sell wrongly priced art. Worse, nothing will betray an unprepared artist like not knowing how to price his/her work. Many artists mistakenly under-price their work. They do this because they feel they are not established. They do it because their local art market won't sustain higher prices. They do it because they lack confidence in their work. In the workshop I will help you come up with a consistent, systematic formula for pricing your art. Is your work priced correctly?
Mistake #5: Approaching the wrong galleries. My gallery is located in an art market dominated by Southwest and Western subject matter. My gallery stands apart from most of the galleries in Arizona because I have chosen art outside the norms. Yet I am constantly contacted by Western and Southwestern artists. They seem surprised and hurt when I turn them away. They could have saved us both some discomfort by researching my gallery before approaching. Which markets should you approach first? How should you research the galleries? Is it safe to work with galleries in out-of-state markets? During my workshop I will teach you how to create a list of qualified, appropriate galleries to contact (I will also teach you how to approach them).
Mistake #6: Submitting art through the wrong channels. Conventional wisdom, and even some highly respected art marketing books will advise you to send your portfolio with a cover letter to the gallery. You may also hear it's best to call a gallery and try and make an appointment to meet the owner. You might visit a gallery's website to learn of their submission guidelines. In my experience, these methods all guarantee failure. I will share with you a more direct, simpler approach; this approach will tremendously improve your chances of success. The approach is no secret, and yet most artists don't employ it.Join me onWednesday, January 13 in Greensboro, Thursday, January 14 in Raleigh, or Saturday, January 16, 2010 in Charlotte. In addition to learning how to avoid the mistakes listed above, in this four hour workshop you will also see clearly how to effectively organize your work, build your brand as an artist, communicate effectively with your galleries, and much more. I will give you concrete steps you can take to systematically prepare for gallery relationships. The workshop will be held at the following three locations - register for the one most convenient for you:


An Interesting read?????

I got an email the other day and thought it was ironic how I was just talking about my own personal thoughts on galleries and selling my work. I first wondered if someone was "watching me" when I read this and than realised that I"m on a list like everyone else. I'm sure you all have gotten this email about a workshop to "help all of us sell our work". Personally I got a big charge out of this and chuckled to myself because everything this person is saying I need to "learn" in order to be a successful craftsperson...I do not do. In fact I think I'm the posted child for what NOT to do!

Enjoy and leave your comments. I'll have to say that the more I think about this topic the more I feel like each and everyone of us needs to learn by trial and error of what works for each of our specific situations. Weather your a face-paced production potter who is really organized or someone like me who just wants to make interesting work, sell it to people who using it while also trying to juggle a number of various roles in ones life, we each learn by trying different approaches and communicating those to all our peers. I think learning from each other is the best tool I have had in my career.
Read away....

( now...is anyone else out there sort of chuckling??)


Is it 10 more days of shopping?/ Consignment talk

This is me in my imaginary world of what Christmas should be like. Me all dressed in the 40's garb going shopping in New York City and enjoying all the wonderful holiday windows. In actuality I've been driving around the Charlotte trying to piece together holiday sales and comparative shopping to stretch out budget this year.

Yesterday I packed up more pots to send out last minute to some of my consignment galleries. I just sent work to a new gallery in Upstate NY called Imagine That. I'm so excited to have work outside of the South East!

While on this subject of last minute pots to go out I thought I'd start my "view" on the whole gallery talk the Ron Philbeck has written about in the last few weeks. So..here I go!

Consignment and Me!

So, I'm sure some of you think its crazy that here it is December 15th and I'm sending pots out for sale. Your thinking , "Well, she's missed prime selling time for the season"! And, maybe your right but I have to think that there are those folks like me that do last minute shopping or older people like my parents who still have the mind set that in this day and age we start the Christmas rush way to early. People like my folks don't need to worry about that "got to have Santa item", which always gets gone the day after Thanksgiving. My parents generation I think still likes to buy special things for one another and they don't really care for those items placed on a list. So..I'm hoping these folks will venture out to galleries and specialty stores for those one of a kind items right before Christmas or perhaps after Christmas when they are just relaxing and looking around.

So, I'm sort of off the topic at hand...Consignment verses Galleries.

I do think consignment has become pretty popular for retailers since the economy has been weak and for someone like me, it works well. A crafts person like myself that does not keep her inventory the same, can't always keep up with deadlines and at the last minute just wants to clean off my shelves and get that work out there...this is awesome. Trying to keep up with galleries owners how need things right away when your a working Mom is just to stressful for me. Galleries owners can say they understand the fact that I'm a Mom but really when they need stuff, they want it in two weeks and I can not always do this for them.

I love that fact that my consignment shops will take inventory whenever I have it and will allow me to get items if I ever need them in a pinch. The 60-40 cuts I think works out about the same as 50-50 for me. When I have to ship stuff I just ask the consinger to add those few dollars onto my price so I can get back what I spent in shipping. I can make whatever I want and "test it" here and there and I don't have work sitting in a gallery gathering dust that has been bought and for some reason does not sell at the shop.

So..I guess for the time being, as long as the consigner and I have a good working relationship, I think its a good fit for a sort of part-time but serious potter like myself.

I will have to add that I have been burned with consignment shops braking my items or getting things back chipped so these days I do have a letter for new consignment shops that says if something get damaged, they need to pay me for it. I feel that if my work is at a consignment location, I still own the work and should be able to do what I want with it for the most part. They are helping me by selling my work but I am also helping them make money, so a good relationship is important.

Well....that is my first installment for this discussion. I'm off to run to another store. Time to put on my Mommy cape!



Quaid finally had his birthday party last night. He was born the day before Thanksgiving 9 years ago but I had so much going on he was very patient in waiting until this second weekend in December to have a slumber party with all his pals. ( That's Quaid in the red.) They where going to attempt to sleep out in a tent last night but for the first time in a long time we are having a bit of a cold spell! YAH! I can't tell you how many warm December's we have had since I moved down south. This is always so hard for me to get into the Christmas spirit when everyone is walking around in short sleeve shirts. So why everyone is sort of down in the dumps around here because its cold and rainy, I am secretly enjoying it! I love a good hat and many layers of jammies at night!

So Quaid had a blast and Joey and I survived the night and our girls had some alone time with my parents. Today I'm working on taxes...yes...late taxes. Shame on me! I usually don't do this but September and Octobers tax information got away from me and now I've got to pay the piper.

This evening I plan on layering-up and going out to my glaze shed and finishing up my special orders. I was even thinking that I may pug up the ton of clay I'm storing in my studio so its all fresh for me to get going after Christmas.

I'm also planning on gathering some of my thoughts about selling my work and posting my opinion on this subject so....stay tuned for that discussion.

Hope everyone is "getting a little Christmas" out there in cyber-world! I'm slowly hammering away at my Santa list!


My helper

I was grading papers last night and turned away for a minute and Paws jumped right in to help me out. Cats are just so funny. They totally know when you have some important papers....they feel the need to keep them warm for you or maybe in my case, she is reviewing my grading system. Paws also have been a wonderful nurse ( as well as Clayton) with all our aliments this fall.
Now I ask you, would a dog help out this much?


Oovered stuck pots!

I'm going to play catch-up on the images I promised several weeks ago. Maybe this weekend I'll re-ensemble my mural so everyone who did not come to the CDC and get a peek at what it looks like.
Here are those new covered pots that I can hold upside down with the lid on! A good friend of mine was here last weekend and remarked on them when we were looking at stuff in my kiln shed. We had a good laugh when I picked the big one up and turned it upside down. Its all in the engineering isn't it? I'll revisit this form again with some design changes. I'm not happy with the form or curve of the lid anyways so I'm sort of glad they didn't come out. The kiln gods in this case I think where watching over me and decided I needed to think about more about how the lid fits on the pot.Back to the drawing board as they say.....
I'm off to Davidson NC today to deliver those little bottles, which did in fact come out quit nicely. This evening I'm going to try and trim everything left in the studio and get it all in the kiln so my studio can be clean for the holidays. I think this will make me feel like I'm a on a real vacation and can just get right back to my "office work" when the kids go back to school. Once vacation is over with I have a dinnerware order to get started on which for me, is always a little exciting and I look forward to these tasks.
Hope everyone has a good Wednesday.


Baby bottles

I have a special order for a bunch of these little bottles. A bride up in Davidson is giving them as favor gifts. NICE GIFT! So, today they got glazed and are in the kiln.
I'm also working on some cream and sugar sets and a huge bowl like nothing I really do but was willing to try to a friend of mine. Hope it survives the kiln! My luck with big, porcelain vessels is not good. I can throw anything but getting it past that glaze kiln or even the bisque is another story. Some days I really long for just stoneware so I could make a whole host of huge things but....I love porcelain so I just keep trying to make large thing survive and don't really have the time or commitment to either add something to my clay body or really investigate a new one so I can do this. I did as you recall try some different clay bodies this fall and although I liked many of them, it just wasn't convenient for me to have them shipped here. I'm going to re-visit this after Christmas. The last batch of clay I got from my distributor was pretty good and my trusty clay friends pointed out to me that maybe the last batch had not aged enough and that is why I had such a hard time with it. ( Didn't think of that.....)
Aydan was determined the other day to make something for my show. Here is her version of a manger scene made out of shells she found somewhere in the house. Our girls love to start cutting and pasting when we either have company coming over or tons of stuff to do. Aydan will say to me many nights 10 minutes before bed time " can I make something before bed"? If you have kids you know any kind of craft project can turn an entire room upside down. Or maybe that is just in our house hold. Joey is constantly commenting on picking up little scraps of cut paper around the house. I kind of just find it amusing because I love that my kids can make art out of about anything they find.
Did I mention how much paper we go through a week??? Good thing I scored at the local newspaper before my show and got a bunch of huge rolls of newsprint!


Thanks everyone!

Thanks to those folks who came out to the sale today. Next year we will be in a barn at Black's Peaches for our event and it will last the entire weekend with many more craftsman selling hand-made items.
It was fun!
I'm off to finish up some special orders and I'm looking forward to closing down the studio for a few weeks and clean out the cobwebs in my head.
Here's a few more photo's from today.

Hen House Today!

Here a little preview of just a few things to see today at the Hen House.

I have a good selection of pots and even a few pots that have just a little boo-boo but still need a good home!

If you want a little adventure today, come out to York and stop by. We'll have some champange, hot apple cider and lots of free baked goodies while you shop. I think we may even have a live Hen out front having enjoy a little" free range grass" on my front lawn.


Winthrop Sale!

I enjoyed seeing how the sale came together yesterday at Winthrop. The Students did a bang up job of getting that studio totally turned around and filled with pots. I arrived about an house after the sale had begun and was amazed at the lines of people there! The sale went really well and I even purchased a nice little bowl from a student how had helped my kids make clay early on in the semester. Its so great to be on the other end of this whole journey we all go through when starting out in clay. I could remember how exciting it was for people to buy my pots when I was a student. ( Of course its still pretty exciting!!) By the time I got back to pick up my pieces at the end of the sale of course lots of good pots and student work had been bought up. Here is a little example of some salt work a 3rd year student had been working on. She was really into making houses this semester and of course I am too so I was pretty interested in her progress.Here a little example of Jims work. Onto Hen House clean-up today!


Friday at Winthrop

I'll be spending part of my day Friday here at the Winthrop pottery sale. I dropped off my pots this morning and was really surprised at how clean the studio was for this sale! My students and I worked on a bit of the cleaning Tuesday night but I'll have to say the clay majors really worked that elbow grease and got the place looking like new! I'm pretty excited to see what sort of work some of the upper level folks have been working on. I see things come and go pretty quickly around the studio on the nights I'm there but haven't really had a chance to see who does what kind of work.
If your in the area, please stop on by and see what all the students have been up. I saw a few really good deals this morning and of course, some Jen Mecca pots where scattered around as well!
In the studio today I'm finishing up an order for some small bottles and getting some mugs and tiles finished for my home sale. Tomorrow I'll be loading a bisque and hopefully getting a Christmas tree with the family in the evening. I haven't had a fall home sale in two years so I"m pretty excited to set everything up and see how it goes.
Keep checking back for more information about the sale.


Blurry vision...

We discovered opening night of the show that the batteries had worn out in the camera so all we had for documentation of the show was the Iphone. Looking back on the days or weeks working up to this point, having everything in a blur sort of sets the tone for my post today. I couldn't figure out weather to title it "Live and Learn" or "Blurry Vision". As you see I choose the later...

I guess this post is more about myself than the show. The show was good, sales where good, my cups display was a hit! All my mugs flew out the door, I didn't come back with any! My pillow mural brought in lots of customers and many compliments. I didn't sell it but that wasn't my intention so I did succeed with what I set out to do. (Once again, I am sorry I didn't get a photo of it...but I will at some point since its all packed up and here with me at home. )

So, I have this part of doing shows down. I have the work, I have the display, I know how to deal with customers its the taking care of myself during the preparations for this type of event or maybe just trying to do it is all is what I don't seem to have down yet. Once again I still think I'm in my 20's and don't need a whole lot of sleep. This year I could really see on my face that this is not the case...I need sleep!! I totally wore myself out leading up to this show and my family dealt with the repercussions. Also, looking around at the vendors for this show, which takes place Thanksgiving weekend, I came to the conclusion that most where either older folks with grown children or couples with no kids. Our children spent the vacation being shuffled around and I was not the most cheeriest Mommy to be around even though I did try to put on a good appearance.My extended family didn't enjoy being around me much either because I kept saying was the "I'm so tired!!" Well in the end I got sick and muddled through the show with a lowgrade temp and a horrible cough.

Below is a photo of me Friday night at the opening. This is when the fever started and Joey spent the entire night helping out and keeping me up beat. I have to admit we had some good private laughs when folks came into my booth and said "you must be such a happy person to make such happy pots"! Joey would just smile and nudge me and we'd have a good laugh when they went out of the booth happy with a pot and I would sink down in my chair just watching the minutes click even though I was pretty busy. We both made the point that I had been anything but happy over the last few weeks! Who wants to go through life or their career feeling like stressed out all the time? Not me!

Moral of my story is that I don't think I'm going to do anymore Holiday shows. Life is to short and my kids are growing up to quickly before my eyes to let it all slip by for a few shining moments as a crafts person. Time once again to reevaluate how I can be a potter and a Mom at the same time. Maybe I need to focus on more wholesale orders in the fall and less shows.The biggest thing I've learned this fall is that this spring I need a bit more down time for myself. Thank goodness I have some wise family members who have given me some great suggestions for simplifying my online courses ( these take up a lot of my time!) And now that I'm teaching two days a week, I'm trying to teach the kids to do more for themselves so we can have more fun time together. This takes time but its part of growing up and part of being a parent also. All good lessons.
So, with that and my blurry photo's, I'm sort of just going with the flow this week in getting ready for my home show. I'm really looking forward to next week and only have one very important task to take care of..me and my family.


Back Home-Hen House

Today I'm making a few more mugs for the home sale I'm doing with a few of my crafty girl friends. This is the 2nd annual Hen House sale and even though it is not as big as last years, it will still have some great stuff. Next year we are moving it back to a barn setting but for now, it will be here at my home and I'm kind of looking forward to that!
Lots to tell about my adventures this year at the Carolina Designer Craftsmen show. Those of you who are on Facebook got to read how I did the show basically in a fog due some "wee" little germs that got ahold of me. Lots of things I learned about trying to get myself prepared mentally and physically this year to undertake something like this. This drawing below basically says how I felt on Wed. evening and Thanksgiving day. Much to reflect on! It was good sale and I think Joey did get a few shots of the show on our Iphone so I'll talk more about the whole event soon. For the moment, I'm off to make mugs ( joy or bliss!) and this evening back to Winthrop to say farewell to my first clay class of the year!


...and we're off

Out the door to Raleigh.
Pretty good last kiln but my covered jars ended up sticking...darn those rounded edges! Once again, all new forms for me seem to always be learning experiences when it comes to runny glaze and edges. This seems to be a trend and sometimes even if I think I've made adjustments to with wax it sometimes it still trips me up. I love the outcome of the richness of my glaze but you have to pay the price sometimes with form and application.

I have my camera with me so I hope I can post some photo's of the show while I'm there.

Hope everyone has a great Turkey Day!


Quick check-in..

I got my last kiln loaded last night at ...dare I say 1:30am? My kiln sitter cracked while I was loading a shelf and I had to go searching for some Allen wrenches and do some minor repairs. But, I kept my head, fixed the issue and just focused on getting myself some sleep. The kiln is still going and should shut off late this morning. I won't unload it until the morning when its nice and cool. I'm glad I'm done and hope that everything looks as good as the stuff that has come out of the last two kilns. My Masters work tiles are in this kiln so we'll see how they look ( nailing biting....)

Hope everyone has a great Tuesday!


Do as I say...

It has been a busy weekend of pushing to get stuff done. For the most part I'm pretty proud of myself for not having to quick cool anything but I did need to fast dry some pieces yesterday so I stuck them ontop of my cooling kiln load. This is one of those things where I wouldn't suggest this to anybody but I did learn this trick from a friend of mine since I don't have own a dry-box. (Boy that would be a handy piece of equipment Santa could put in his sleigh for me this year.) I have to admit that some of these handles did pop-off, but they tend to do this even if they dry super slow so I got a few mugs in the bisque..better than none at all. I did get several pieces out of two kilns this weekend. Here a close up of a small milk pitcher. The green came out really well this time around. After the holidays I will go back to finding another aqua to use. I'm still not crazy about the color change it does on my pieces.

Yesterday my little boy turned 9 so he was "prince" for the day. Quaid has been counting down the days until his birthday now for the last two week. Something was really special to him about turning 9 and I can tell that my little boy is slowly going away and the fun pre-teen is emerging. I'm sure those two words should be together in a sentence but for now, he is pretty funny.
My final kiln will be coming out Tuesday evening and we will be leaving for Raleigh on Wednesday morning. I'm pretty proud of myself for not pulling anything out the morning we leave. I think I'll be in a much better frame of mind not rushing myself and everyone else involved.
Off to glaze more stuff.


Work for the day..

Basically my world is under plastic today. Here are two shelves worth of things to put together and finish up. If they don't get done for this show next week I will just take them into the following week for the Winthrop Sale and The Hen House Sale. I fear it may get a be a little cramp in there today for working but its such a nice sunny cool day that with some tunes and a little coffee, I'm looking forward to finishing things up.I have a glaze kiln cooling today and this evening I will be loading another one. These two shots below have all my mural tiles hanging around my glaze table.( You'll see some kids pieces also that below to my little clay babies.)Joey's going to work on this display today. I really needed a side-board made to go with my cup display but we couldn't get that done in time so we'll see what magic he can work today. Black stains helps a lot for sprucing things up I've decided!


Cheap Thrills!

Here it is!! So exciting...look at those cups. They now will have little homes to sit in at in my booth. Jon did a great job. It all breaks down easily and pretty light weight. I do need to add some L braces in the back to attach to my display just in case someone comes in the booth and hits the stand. ( Don't we all worry about this sometimes?)

I'm loading a glaze kiln this evening........rollin' along!