Sunday, November 26, 2023

3 Days in the Studio

 Yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Yesterday: Packing & shipping! I think I mentioned that in the last few months, online sales have finally become a significant income stream for me. Keep in mind that "significant" probably has a different meaning for me than for most folks; this month my online sales will be about $500. For many people that would cover their lunches out, or their wine consumption, or something else fun but trivial. For me, if it sustains, it is life-changing. Well, at least a little life-changing! Obvious best part, more money. Less obvious: connecting with these folks online who love handmade ware. 

Of course, it's not money for nothing; I have to photograph & list all these items, then promote them online before sale. After sale there's packing, & shipping. Not complaining! I've never shied away from work. I might have to teach one less class in the spring, though, because there's just not enough hours in the day to do everything. This makes me sad even though it was the plan all along. 

Today: more packing & shipping (yay!) and then re-arranging the studio into wetwork mode. Then I can sit down at the wheel & make stuff. I always have more on my list than I can actually do, but I am sorta hoping I can carve out time to make another batch of soap. 

Tomorrow: Mondays are teaching days, from 10 am to 9 pm. Not really time to get anything else done. This will be the last week for 2 of my classes, as Portland Pottery is winding down into the holiday break. 

I hope all is well with you, clay friends, & your holiday season is delightful. 

Monday, November 20, 2023

Chonky Cats & Rustic Pots


Another firing is in the books! This time the excitement came when I ran out of propane at the very end of the firing. I don't know if other people fuck up as much as I do, but I always try to be honest about it, because if we're all pretending to be flawlessly professional, then we all secretly feel like losers. I make mistakes, but somehow I'm still afloat as a potter, & doing better all the time. So, if you are also a screw-up, welcome to the club! Pretty sure it contains everybody. The fun people, anyway. 

After many years of having to explain why I needed propane in the middle of the summer, or shortly after a delivery, my LNG company had gotten on a good automatic delivery schedule - their algorithm or whatever was correctly assessing when I would need a delivery. But then I started firing more often, because I am selling more pots! & that threw everything off. 

Anyway. Cone 10 was already down, & I was letting the kiln fire a bit longer. I came out to check it after the last soda application, and - huh - it was firing in oxidation.  I suspected bad news then, but I just pushed the damper further in, until I got the backpressure I wanted, & went back inside. Checked again 10 minutes later, and again, no reduction. I knew then what the problem must be & that it would not sustain a reduction, so I just shut it off, closed up all the ports & damper, & hoped for the best. 

"The Best" is, of course, subjective. When I first opened this kiln I was not entirely thrilled. The surfaces were more rustic than I've previously gotten - drier & more mottled, gray, bone, & tan rather than peachy-gold. I took advice I have often given to students: live with it for a while before deciding. Well, those rustic pots have grown on me! I've been using some of them & I find the subtle surfaces intriguing. 
Anyway! Long story short (too late LOL), I've listed the new pots in the online shop! They'll be available online until December 14th. 

Oh, one more weird thing: Facebook has started to send me money. I don't exactly know why, but I did fill out some kind of online form to be able to take payments thru fb; I thought it was to sell directly from the site. I still think it's something to do with that but what happened instead is, facebook sends me money I guess based on engagement? Not a lot but still, yay money! Especially money that doesn't cost friends & followers anything. So, if you enjoy this blog and want to see work in progress, unloading photos, a few demo videos, follow Fine Mess Pottery on facebook. Like & share stuff if you like it & think your friends will like it! 

I hope I didn't break some kind of rule doing that. 😄