These were the scenes in my studio the last few weeks as I finished the wholesale orders and shipped out to the galleries in North Carolina, Connecticut, Oklahoma, and Missouri that had placed them. I breathed a deep sign of relief on Monday as the last of that batch went out.
Over the past few years I have opted to do less retail shows and more wholesale business and I've found it changes the way I make work and especially the way I feel before I open a kiln.
When doing specific pieces--1 maple tray in blue in small--you can't make one piece. I always double the amount and usually triple or quadruple it now. Murphy's Law certainly applies when doing specific orders. And the kiln opening is sometimes fraught with anxiety--did all the mugs come out right or will I have to go back and remake them and I may be watching the deadline to ship them out go right past me?
When making work for retail shows, the pressure was different. I always wanted to come up with new work and always seemed to be opening the kiln on the morning I was leaving for a show, hoping for magic. When it was magical, it was great, but sometimes those pieces sold and I only had a few moments to savour the piece. And if the piece or the firing wasn't great, I had enough work for the show and I could experience the remorse later.
So the pieces seem a lot dearer now because of the work and hope invested in them and because they are already sold/placed.
Today I start some new pieces for the upcoming Claymatters show in October and that's really exciting. And I'm trying to make pieces each week for wholesale that I can "have in inventory" and I plan on basking in the glow of the good wholesale orders that I completed for at least a day or so! Then I'm going to "Get up and do it again, caught between the longing for pottery and the struggle for the legal tender" as an alteration of the Jackson Browne song goes.