I finished my first sale! That was my main ceramics goal for the year, so I’m glad I managed to make it happen. I know yearly goals are arbitrary, but they give me a framework for progress, which is important when time seems to be slipping by more and more quickly now that I have kids.
The sale went well. I came home with many fewer pots and also acquired a chest cold that has slowed me down this week. (Hence the lack of an etsy update. I don’t think it’s going to happen before the end of the year, and that is OK. Making Christmas happen for my kids is important, too.)
What I learned:
- To my surprise, people like buttons! If they don’t do so themselves, everyone knows someone who sews or knits or collects buttons. The problem: these are a low-price item. So, they are nice, but by no means am I going into an all-button business.
- People are not freaked out by handle-less mugs! I sold all my cups, and not as many mugs. Huh.
- If people are confused by something, they won’t buy it. That was the fate of my button bows. Fambly: expect button bows on your Christmas packages this year.
- I could use more shelves/vertical elements in my display.
- The people at the Clay Guild couldn’t be nicer. It was a pleasure to hang out with them all weekend. I was one of the only first-timers, and everyone was very helpful and encouraging.
So, all good things. I’m relieved. And tired. And ready to do it all over again next year.
Today is the big day! I’ll be at the Kansas City Clay Guild’s holiday sale, tonight 6-10, Saturday 10-5 and Sunday 12-5. I’ll have mugs, bowls, cups, wall tiles, ornaments, buttons, and button bows. I’ll be putting the shop on vacation until Monday. I’ll report back next week — I’m sure I’ll learn so much! Like, uh, nobody wants to buy buttons at a ceramics sale, or $30 for a mug???, or five thousand ornaments are too. many. ornaments. You know, useful stuff like that.
My first sale is one week from today! And I have the sleepy eyes to prove it. I think I’ll send one more partial load into the kiln, and call it good.
We’re starting to get into the holiday season here, and my kids are begging me to put out more Christmas decorations. The decorations are coming out of the boxes at a very slow trickle. I’ll be done just in time for them to go back in the basement!
I did manage to get our advent calendar filled and on the shelf before bed last night (at uh, 2 a.m.?). I call it advent, but it’s really just a countdown calendar. The boxes are filled with either slips of paper suggesting various activities or little wooden letters that spell out *CHEERS* on top of the box. We do the same sorts of activities every year: wearing PJs to drive around and see lights, having a picnic under the Christmas tree, doing a craft project, buying gifts for children in need, giving red & green manicures, etc.
Good times, but tired mama.
My etsy shop has been re-opened for business! I’ll keep it up through December 5, and then I’ll put it on vacation for the KC Clay Guild holiday sale. Right now I only have ornaments, but I’ll post pots after the holiday sale. Thanks for looking!
Mere hours before we set off for Thanksgiving in Virginia, I was able to peek into the kiln and see my ornaments. I’m happy to report that my kiln is functioning as usual once again. I added some gold detail to the ornaments when we got back.
We had a busy, somewhat worrisome (some health issues for my niece), but also wonderful Thanksgiving. How was yours?
I’ll be listing these ornaments on etsy later this week. Catch me on facebook or twitter if you want to get a special friendly discount code. I’ll let you all know as soon as they are listed. Until then, here are a few more photos.
I’ve been working hard to get ready for the holiday sale, but I had a bit of a hiccup last week. My kiln stopped working. I had glazed all the ornaments in the photo above, and they were loaded in the kiln. Then I turned it on, and it would either give me an error message or tell me it was -20 degrees in there. I figured it was the thermocouple on my kiln, and that is what it was. I had a new one installed today, and I’m back on track. I’m not sure how practical it will be to list ornaments on etsy at this point, but I’ll do my best, and I’ll have them at the sale.
Trying to get ready for this sale has been maybe a little too much for me. My days are already full to the brim with three small children, and this has pushed me into exhausted/weepy territory. So I expect this small business to stay super small until I can get all the littles into elementary school. That will at least lead me into a realm somewhere between part-time and full-time. Right now it’s more like wee-hours-time. Or during-The-Little-Mermaid-time. Or please-for-the-love-of-pete-stop-yelling-at-me-for-snacks-time.
I’ve been working on Christmas ornaments to sell, uh, soon. (Too soon! I’m running out of time!) Creating the templates for these geometric designs really stretched my dormant spatial reasoning skills. I also dusted off what little Illustrator skill I have. I swear, every time I start a new Illustrator project it is like starting from square one. Use it or lose it, I guess.
I’ve been calling these Gem Ornaments, but really they are a mix of cut gem designs and crystal formations. These are in the greenware stage, so the colors will be more jewel-toned after firing. I considered making them neon, but I hate to make Christmas decorations overly trendy, color-wise. In my mind, Christmas colors fall into one of these categories: traditional red/green/jewel tones, candy colors (turquoise, pink, red, etc.), metallics, white/neutral, and crystal/sparkle/glass. I think those groupings have stood the test of time, and I don’t want to make one-year ornaments! But neon would indeed have looked pretty cool.
Now that I’ve done a practice round of these, I’ll be working assembly-line style, one color per batch. In my factory of one.
I don’t think that’s what Cool Whip is supposed to look like.
Actually, this is my first attempt at mold-making! I have never worked with plaster before, so I decided to start with something small, like this little sprig mold. With the help of this page, it was a pretty easy process. I don’t have cottle boards, so I just used this chopped up Cool Whip container instead, and it worked just fine.
There is some wasted space on the mold. More jewels! But I didn’t have any others to stick in there. Also, the lumpiness of the top of the mold is bothering me. I can’t think of a reason why the mold needs to be smooth around the depressions. But I can’t control my crazy sometimes. Must. leave. it. alone.
Now I can make lots of little jewels to encrust my pots with fanciness. Jewels, JEWELS!
Here’s what I was doing with those giant buttons: button bows! I attached the buttons to elastic cord to make a polished, simple, reusable gift wrap. I would love to set myself up with a roll of white paper, a row of pretty washi tapes and a bin of these button bows, and get rid of the giant pile of disorganized papers and tangled ribbons I currently have going on in my hall closet.
I’ll be selling these at the Kansas City Clay Guild Holiday Sale, and probably on Etsy, too. I’ll keep you posted about the Etsy shop.
I finally have my studio back! That was quite the mess for a while there.
This is probably the cleanest this studio will ever look. I’m hoping that by moving the wheel farther into the studio, I can allow messes to hang out a little longer since the kids and dog won’t be walking through them as much. I have always been an oddly neat potter. All my ceramics instructors have pointed this out, to their amusement.
I managed to clear off some shelves for drying my work, but I imagine I’ll need to add another set of shelves at some point. Maybe they will go where that “Lost in Translation” poster is. That will really close me in though, so I’ll work with what I have for now.
I’m mainly glad that my wheel is no longer in the bay window. It sounded so nice at first: I’ll throw pots and look out at the leafy green trees! No, I’ll be throwing at night, startling at my own reflection and flinging clay all over the woodwork. A plain old wall is much easier to clean.
Because I must clean, for I am the OCD Potter.