Total Pageviews

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I got help!

Today I got back into the studio and got to work. I feel great about what I got done, but of course I wanted to do more.

I am ready for BIG production though because I got highly productive Studio help from Cristin who we met when she was working at Webster's. She wedged a lot of clay today and did a pretty good job of it for her first time. I have 4 buckets of wedged clay for the weekend. It was nice to have the help. Ro and I both got a lot done for different parts of the business at the same time.

Ro's mission today was to send out thank you notes and a discount coupon to our customers from the year. If you want to receive this sort of thing from us, you should go join our  mailing list. You have to opt in :) we'll never send out mass mailings without the list again. We did one today to invite people, but that's it!

Today I made 35 bowls, most of which will end up as Soup Mugs. You can't see then because they are under all that plastic.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Mugs I like on Etsy

I hear a lot about how some potters don't want to be associated with Etsy because of the overall quality of the work on Etsy. True, it is an open market, any first-pottery-class entrepreneur can sign up for a shop and sell, so yes, there are quite a few bad pots. BUT there are also some really fine pieces.

Here are 7 mugs all from different artists I'd be willing to pay for. Click on any of them to link to their respective shops.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

YES we can get it there in time for Christmas!

I was really concerned about our sales this year through the holidays. A lot has changed for us this year. We started using Etsy and we dropped a few of our regular events. As we finished our annual fall sale we had to decide what was next. Did we want to get involved in some small local events? Did we want to have an in home sale like we have for the past couple years, or did we want to rely on Etsy and the online sales? Relying primarily on one source of income is risky business, but based on our sales history and researching other successful Etsy sellers who had been at it a while we decided that it was likely that we would do well enough on Etsy to make it through the month and we concentrated on getting pieces ready to post and taking special orders. So far it has been right on track for our predictions and if anything we've failed to maximize our sales by being somewhat understocked. We're already plotting next years season and when I start throwing again tomorrow morning it will be for post holiday sales and stocking for next year. By the time I reach retirement I'll have it all worked out so we can make a decent steady income 8P

Truly I feel like the online sales through Etsy has made it possible to be a potter and have time to have a life outside the studio. The last 15 years has been frantic and I think Etsy has given me an opportunity to make a decent income without sprinting back and forth between a show and the studio, never having more that a few days off and hardly ever in a row. We will see how the next year unfolds as we intentionally try to widen our online audience and be stocked well in advance of any shows we do on the road. Looking back I am pleased with the direction our business has gone and can't wait to see where it goes in the future.

But right now the answer to all the questions is "YES, we CAN get it there for Christmas"

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Scattered. Pots, shipping and Thermocouple FAIL

I haven't felt very focused the last couple days in the studio. There is a lot going on and I am not sure where to put my attention, so sometimes I put it on snoozing on the couch when I should be working :) That said.

I had a Thermocouple burn out in one of the kilns about a week ago, luckily I had ordered one in advance and was expecting it soon. I then went and ordered another one and complained to the seller that the first one hadn't arrived yet. She agreed to send it priority mail at no extra charge, which was mighty fine of her since she was already charging men more than priority mail would have cost. $8 for shipping! (total of $16 for both of them even though the actual postage on both totaled barely $8) Well the priority one arrived in 3 days and the one she had sent by first class still had not. It arrived today. Then I discovered I had ordered the wrong one. Yep..all that waiting and I got one that was too short.  Ro and I looked at it and decided that although it was not going to stick as far into the kiln as it should it would probably do for a bisc.. We ordered some more through Bailey and she installed the short one for now.  Speaking of get Bailey to ship in less than 3 days you have to pay them a RUSH fee of $5, then if you want it shipped fedex or via express mail they overcharge a lot. As someone who does a lot of shipping I know that a couple thermocouples shipped overnight shouldn't be more than $25 from NY to PA, probably $20 by Express Mail.. But they wanted $45! I don't mind an extra buck or 2 for packaging etc..but that was just greed.

Back to the positive

Ro is such a blessing to me. I have very little fine sensitivity left in my fingers and she has learned how to do many of the repairs I find it difficult to do without much sensation in my messing with wee little screws and wires.

I have no idea if having it barely poking into the chamber will affect the way the thing reads or not, but we're going to give it a try tomorrow.
I spent a lot of time yesterday pulling handles, then throwing some assorted requests including some big bowls, plates including plates that were supposed to get medallions. Today I threw butterkeepers and then this evening trimmed them as well as the pieces I threw yesterday and added handles to the XL soup mugs and some XXL round mugs. When it came time to trim the plates I realized they were too wet still and they would have to wait..and I noticed I put the wrong rim on the plates to get the medallions. UGH. More plates tomorrow, then I'll be be throwing sugars and creamers too. AND I should start glazing. Etsy is hungry and needs more pots. We took 2 shopping carts of boxes into the Weis Market USPS counter today. Looks like I have at least one cartload for tomorrow already. My shipping supplies are dwindling so I ordered more boxes, peanuts and bubblewrap today. This should get us through the holidays, but I won't complain if it doesn't.

You see...scattered, not much focus.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Great Flood of 2010

Imagine my surprise when I found this is the basement and studio this morning.

Ro put on the brown dairy boots and fished out the sump pump.we got it before the water hit the bottoms of the kilns, though the pedals on the wheels will have to dry out before they are used. The work will certainly stay wet for a while. The skies  must have opened up last night. When we went to bed 11ish all was well.

We're pumping out the hole in the window where the exhaust from the kiln usually goes. I guess this is more important and makes more sense than sending it through the septic system. As you can see from the last photo our neighbor's backyard stream is being fed by drainage from the development on the ridge above his house. It looks like a waterfall right now. And of course, it just started snowing.