Thursday, September 29, 2011

Weeks of work

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.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

receiving help

A long while back I had an arrangement with a lady who wanted to use studio space and she exchanged cleaning the studio for it. It was great and I forgot about all the everyday things like washing the floor mats and cleaning the toilets and could really concentrate on work. Then she decided to move out west, so I added those tasks back on to my "to do" list.
About a month ago I answered an ad in our clay guild newsletter for someone who needed studio space as a sculptor and would be willing to exchange work for it. We met. Everything seemed to work for both of us as far as the arrangement. My wheel has never been cleaner.
This past weekend I didn't get into the studio until late and she had already gone. She asked me to make up a list of things to do, and I just ran out of time. When I went into the back bathroom, neat stacks of boards, dusted lights, orderly cleaning products were lined up against the wall instead of being strewn all over. My back porch had all the recycled boxes broken down. The little room that I keep the bubble wrap and the huge bags of peanuts in was also neatened up so beautifully that it made me want to weep. My thoughts ranged from amazement at the glory of it to the fear that she might find me so untidy that she wouldn't be able to continue our arrangement.
Sometimes it's hard to ask for help. Sometimes it's harder to receive it. And then sometimes you get exactly what you needed when you couldn't even begin to think how to verbalize to yourself or another what they could do for you that could help.
Sometimes you get very lucky.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Clay dig, or clay dog?

What boredom makes a dog do.

The guilty look. No, I didn't do this. You're imagining it.

Guess I'll have to start bringing chew sticks to work with us. I'm sure chewing clay is not part of a recommended diet. All of a sudden it's his new thing, though.


Saw these great textiles at the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City. I was there 8 years ago, but they built a whole new addition that was pretty great. Really enjoyed it. Will post some more shots later.