Sunday, February 28, 2021

There's Something Happening Here

 About a year and a half ago - seems much longer; I guess because so much has happened in between then & now - I introduced Dotopia, a line I designed specifically for wholesale. The design is easy to replicate (well - "easy" within the limitations of soda firing, which is by nature a bit random) while still communicating the joie de vivre I want my pots to impart. Because the shapes are simple, and the decorative elements consistent - throwing lines, stamps, rib cuts, slip trailing at leather hard; flashing slip, glaze dots, interior glaze either white or yellow - I can make these relatively quickly, and charge a bit less for them than a more elaborately decorated piece. 

I'm still making Dotopia, and expect a majority of my orders to be from this line. It's the one I offer to wholesale accounts, with a product sheet & samples. But my love of excessive decorating has not evaporated, and predictably, it's back! Check out this new work I am making. 

I made a bowl like this, a couple weeks ago, with a frieze thick with sliptrailing. I have sometimes told students that sliptrailing is a two-person job; one to do the work, another to bonk em on the head when it's done. But there was nobody there to do the bonking so I just kept decorating. I think there are the makings of another line here! It'll have to have a higher price point; it just so happened that I was keeping track of my studio hours this week, and between wedging, throwing, handles, and decorating, it took 6 hours (wetwork only)  to make 10 mugs. They'd have to wholesale for ...idk, $20? Maybe $25? OK, that's not all that much, in the world of handmade mugs. 

I also will save a little time on the glazing end, as these - I think - will not even need flashing slip. I am hoping for the peachy-grey of Bmix + soda glass for the background, and the porcelain slip to be a somewhat-glossy white. Probably white inside, although my mind keeps tugging me towards a pale iron-chromate grey. Not a glaze I currently have but easy enough to alter a recipe. 

Friday, February 26, 2021

The Postcard is Ready!

One of the most fun duties of organizing the Maine Pottery Tour every year is creating the postcard. I took advantage of my gallery sitting turn at Monkitree to get that done. Lots of great photos this year! I am always tempted to squash in as many as possible, but I have learned from past experience to be more selective, and let the images have their space. 

The artists, clockwise from the upper left: 

Josh Rystad, Bethel

Jeffrey Lipton, Litchfield

Fine Mess Pottery, Augusta

van der Veer Studios, Lincoln

Jody Johnstone Pottery, Swanville

Tyler Gulden Ceramics, Walpole

Delany Arts, Yarmouth

The Pottery Tour Road sign!

Friday, February 19, 2021

♫ We're S-H-O-P-P-I-N-G, We're Shopping! ♪

 Reminds me of old times! Today I am shopkeeping at Monkitree, a fine crafts store in Gardiner which carries Fine Mess Pottery. The owner is ill - recovering! but still not quite back on her feet - so needed some help to keep the store open. When you are self-employed, you don't get sick time! 

Anyway, here I am, behind the register at Monkitree. The first sale of the day did not go that well! I am lucky that the customer was very kind and understanding, and we did eventually get the deed done, but because the register system and item codes are new to me, it took longer than it should. Anyway, I think I've got it figured out now. 

And in between customers? I'm shopping! So many lovely things to covet. Let's have a look! First, so cute things for the house: 

I mean...tea towels! Is there anyone who 
couldn't use tea towels?

Then there are the clothes! And jewelry! 
Ok this? Is SO me. Purple, floral, fancy but cazh, stretchy, comfortable. Want. 

I could wear the hell out of these! 

I might not actually be able to resist these fingerless gloves. 
They're only $24!
And finally, reading mateial!
Mostly interested in this one for the "Chasing Frozen Waterfalls" headline,
which is not a thing I would have said before I started Hiking with Yowie, who has all the good equipment! 

I *really* need a new book. How many times can I read A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms? Maybe one by a Maine author! This one looks good!  

Sadly, I will (probably!) not buy any of these things. 😞 Between cancelled classes due to snow and vicious oil and electric bills, this month is a bear. It won't last forever & we'll recover soon enough by while we're in it I really can't indulge myself. Luckily Monkitree will still be here!

And now it's 2:30, my retail day halfway done! 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

The Year of the Ox

 I guess we shouldn't have been surprised that the Year of the Rat was a rough one. Rats have different meanings in the modern world than when the Chinese zodiac was created more than 2000 years ago, but after all we do live in the modern world! I am hoping for better things in this, the Year of the Ox. 

The Ox is a symbol of diligence. hard work, and reliability. That seems at least promising! Things have already begun this way, as I have more orders in February - mostly not due until spring - than I have ever had before. Clearly the sellers of fine handmade items believe this will be a good year. I will need to be diligent, hardworking, and reliable to get these orders out on time. What I will need to avoid is waiting until a month before they are due & then scrambling to do them all at once. 

I am doing pretty well with this - yay me - which is, I hate to say, unusual for me. My more typical mode would be to tell myself, Plenty of time, that's still months away! and then go into panicked, 12-hour-workday mode when I realize it's actually only 5 weeks away, barely time for a firing cycle. My plan is to make a couple kiln loads of pots while the weather is wintry, then bisque-glaze-fire, bisque-glaze-fire, 2 firing cycles in succession. 

Wishing everyone a successful Year of the Ox. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Decorating Day


While I love every part of the making process, I do love decorating best; followed closely by throwing & altering. Slip trailing is my favorite form of decoration. My only trouble is timing. I am trailing porcelain slip (no alterations, just water) over a white stoneware clay. The stoneware needs to be quite soft, or the slip will shrink too much & pop off during drying or firing. (Yes, slow drying helps with this.) If I trim a little too late, the slip won't fit. If I trim a little too early, I risk trimming disaster. 

But when I hit the moment just right - firm enough to hold shape easily, soft enough to accept slip, with plenty of time to spare - I really go to town with the pointy-squirty (what regular people call the sliptrailing bottle.) This is one such bowl! 

More trimming & decorating to come today, and a virtual meeting with the owner of a new store that will (hopefully!) carry my work; and answering a few email queries about the Maine Pottery Tour. 

Happy Wednesday!