Saturday, June 12, 2010

Unloaded the kiln today

I unloaded the kiln today. I was fairly pleased with the results. None of my worries panned out!! Shwew! Of course not all the glazes behaved as I envisioned, but nothing too hateful. I think some of the pots have so much speckling it's almost pretentious. Need to adjust placement in the kiln.

I added some blue pours to some of my wall pockets. I was afraid that a whole kiln full of brown, speckled pots would just be too much brown speckled pots. And even though I'm not a big fan of "blue" it seems like customers find it attractive. And if I don't start selling some of these things soon, I'm going to have to figure out where to store them all (and get a paying job!!)

So, I'm telling myself that "blues" can complement "earthy".....sorta like the sky and the ocean complements the trees and earth. for me!

My friend, Scott, stopped by. (the designer and foreman of my kiln build.) He said some nice things and gave me some good advice. It's so nice to have a knowledgeable potter around who's willing to share his wisdom and experience (are you reading this, Scott??!!) Seriously, I think it would be hard to stay inspired with no other potters around.

And I love my kiln. It fired so nice for me. I had a few panicky moments during the firing. I wish I understood the process more. I don't have a lot of technical training since I only took a few classes at a community college. And I've gone to a few workshops. John Britt's workshop was great, but way over my head!!
I'm sorta like a cook who can follow recipes but doesn't do much tweaking and definitely doesn't start from scratch!!
Thank goodness for neighborly potters and those online who so willingly share their experiences and processes!

So, I will shut-up now and attach a few photos of the pots. Haven't gotten
the photo cube out yet, just took these under the shop lights. Oh, the first one is unloading the kiln. Yes, I got a little carried away with draw rings!!

I apologize for the layout. I haven't been able to figure out how to control where the pictures end up!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

First Annual Summer Pottery Open House

The kiln is loaded and I'm planning to heat it up tonight for a couple hours, let it soak all night, then fire it off tomorrow!

I haven't been feeling stressed out until this week. It seems like so much of the preparation is going to have to wait until a few days before the event!! I can't prepare the food too far in advance (and I'm not sure how much, or even WHAT I'm going to serve!!!)

No reason to clean the house yet, it'll just get filthy again. The studio's not ready, Steve's still working on my exhibit. Most of the work I already have made is priced. I'll need to have some cash on hand for change.....well, hopefully I'll need change. I'm wondering if I should have made arrangements to accept credit card payments. From what I've read about fees, it may not be worth it at this point.

I have sent out an event invitation via facebook and am considering using Constant Contact. It's an email marketing tool that we used when I worked at Bear's Mill.

Here's the part that's probably got me stressed most. I ordered post cards from an online service called "Overnight Prints." (Again, a business I dealt with when working at Bear's Mill.) I ordered the cards by a date that I thought would give me enough time to distribute them. I ordered them May 26 and they estimated my delivery date to be June 4. That should've given me 2 weeks to hand-out and mail the postcards. I don't recall that we ever had a delivery problem with this company when I worked at Bear's Mill. Unfortunately, my order didn't get "processed" in a timely manner.

Even thought I kept checking my online status, I wasn't too concerned until last Friday when I realized that the cards should've arrived in that day's mail. Of course I didn't realize this until after business hours. Which means that my problem wasn't addressed until Monday. I was loading the kiln that day and didn't check my email until after hours again.

They had responded to my inquiry, apologized for the delay, refunded my shipping cost and assured me that they were "working around the clock to get us back on schedule." Unfortunately, no mention was made of when that might be!! So I sent another email thanking them for their response and asking if it might be possible to get an estimate of when my postcards might be arriving.

I received an email yesterday stating that my order had "gone into production." OK, that still doesn't tell me when it's shipping, or how. Suddenly I'm getting panicky (note to self..........panic sooner next time!!)

Here's what I've learned from my experience:
  • Place printing orders early enough to allow for mistakes and delays
  • Check order status online and by phone if necessary.
  • If the estimated delivery date and the order status don't seem to correspond - CALL!!
  • If they haven't sent me tracking information a few days before my estimated delivery date - CALL!!
  • The squeaky wheel gets the grease - CALL!!
Yesterday I started debating whether or not I should change my Open House Date to the following week-end and put computer labels on the postcards with the new date. I decided not to do that. Hopefully it wasn't a mistake.

I'm glad to have had this happen for my Summer Open House. I will utilize what I've learned and apply it to my Christmas Open House which I'm hoping will attract more customers. I'm sure I'm going to learn a heckuva lot MORE once I've actually had my Open House!!!!

I need to make a trip to Bear's Mill to pick up a few more pots to beef up my inventory. And, for some DUMB-@$$ reason, I agreed to start teaching a pottery class at the local Art Center. It starts next Tuesday (IF anyone signs up for it) and I'll be teaching Tuesdays and Thursdays for 4 weeks. So I need to pick up clay for the students before the first class. I think in my mind I was envisioning being able to tell students and parents about my upcoming Open House. Now I'm thinking it was not a smooth move.

OK, DEEEEEEEEEEEEEP breath. maybe another deeeeeeeeeep breath. Burst into tears. Cry on husband's shoulder. All better now.

I will end with a quote that helps me keep things in perspective:
"Do what you love, love what you do, leave the world a better place and don't pick your nose."
- Jeff Mallet, Frazz, 08-03-04

(I would add, " public.")