Monday, December 30, 2019

The Making Cycle

In an effort to better plan my production, I am trying to realistically detail the phases of my making cycle. I am lucky to enjoy all phases of the making cycle, although not, of course, equally! (ETA: I lied. I do not actually enjoy kiln maintenance, including shelf-grinding. That shit can suck it.)

Anyway, the cycle looks like this; all of these are interspersed & overlapping with my teaching days, not to mention art fairs & other sales event, so it's actually a lot less tidy than this will make it look:
2 1/2 weeks of wetwork: throwing, trimming, decorating, handles. This usually takes the form of one throwing day, two finishing. This is not carved in stone (or even in stoneware!) of course - if I am making more highly decorated piece, I might need a third day of finishing between throwing days. When people think about what a potter's life might be like - assuming the get past Ghost, which, no - they usually picture a life at the wheel, but in fact I only have four or five throwing days in a cycle. Things aren't divided up as tidily as all that - it's rare that I would throw more than 3 or four hours in any given day, so most wetwork days contain both throwing and decorating, and sometimes nothing is at the right stage, so I'll go mix glazes or (UGH) grind shelves. 
3-4 days of drying: This is when I am most likely get a day off. I mean, I take days off like normal people do, but if I am able to schedule them, I try to make them land in the drying time (Kiln-cooling days are also good for this!). It's also a good time to mix glazes, grind shelves, make cone packs, list items online. 
3 1/2 days: Loading, firing, cooling & unloading the bisque. During the firing or cooling day I will rearrange the studio for glazing.  
3-4 days of waxing, slipping, and glazing: This is quite variable also! If I am glazing Dotopia pots, I might only need 2 1/2 days. A kiln load of OOAK pieces might even need 5. 
4 1/2 days: Loading, firing, cooling, unloading the glaze kiln. I try to clean the studio during the firing/cooling days, and arrange it into a wetwork space once again - put away the glazes & the folding tables, get any leftover bisqueware out of the way. 
 A week of grinding, sorting, pricing, packing, shipping, and delivering. 
That all adds up to about 5 weeks, so I really should be able to fire more than I do, even assuming I give myself a week in between to breathe - not exactly a vacation, because I still teach my classes, but 6 weeks a year of working less hard, and 2 actual vacation weeks, as in, not working.

More firings mean more pots - yay - and more pots mean more work on the other end, selling those pots. This is a natural consequence, because shelves full of pots motivates me to go out & find outlets. This is backwards, I know: I should be making to fill existing outlets, but that's not how I roll.
Maybe I could work on that, in the new year. I have a lot to work on! I'm coming up with my "20 for 2020" list, since "19 for 2019" was so helpful. Not entirely successful, but I made more progress on things that matter to me than I would have without it.


1 comment:

ريحانه said...
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