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Friday, September 23, 2011

My Fridays just aren't what they used to be

It was a pretty productive day here at Hughes Pottery. I woke up rested and feeling pretty good. Made some lovely leftover roasted fingerling potatoes into homefries, cooked up a couple eggs. Stashed the leftovers for the lovely Rowan who got to sleep in a little bit longer today and was just waking up when I packed up a couple of Etsy orders and headed out to run a few errands.

Errand number one was getting the packages to the USPS. That accomplished, I decided to head around the corner to the hair salon, so I could get this mighty mop on top of my head trimmed down. It looked for a while like I was going to have to wait a week as my usual stylist was booked and then closing on a house early next week. I put on my most pitiful puppy dog eyes, and aided by the shaggy mop that makes me look like an ungroomed English Sheep Dog she relented and squeezed me into a slot tomorrow morning just before a bride.

I promised her I would try to be low stress and then I went on my way to the next errand, an oil change, then to the discount store for one more plastic tub for glaze chemicals. and finally home. Where I was greeted by Rowan who had a steely glint in her eye and laid out the story of how her mission of fresh photos for the Etsy shop had been abandoned in favor of organizing and cleaning the office.

I retreated to the safety of the studio.

In the studio I organized a bit, transferred the 25lbs of Rutile into the new tub and got started using up the buckets of wedged clay that awaited me.

Today's work!

Overall it was a successful throwing day, but then I realized the biscuit kiln was almost cooled, and I had all these pieces left over from the previous firing that hadn't made it into the kiln.

So I suspect tomorrow morning and afternoon will be me trimming and finishing pieces while Rowan unloads and waxes the bottoms of the biscware, and tomorrow evening into night will be glazing and loading a kiln. It's funny how it all seems to need doing all at once.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Making of our Oak and Acorn Plates

An Oak Leaf and Acorn Plate by Rowan Rose and Charles Hughes of Hughes Pottery   
Follow this link to our Facebook Fan Page to see step by step photos!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Turning of the seasons

Ahhh the summer has passed and Fall is here. Looking back to late spring and the beginning of summer it seems like a whole new world for us.

In June and July we were dealing with some online sales problems that had us terrified. There is always a summer lull in online sales since folks are out busy doing the summer folks do their pottery shopping at events, and our early summer events were hit or miss.2 in a row at the same site brought us beautiful weather and strong sales for one, and a heatwave so strong in the next that no one could stand to be out and moving during the second one.

 Looking back I think we didn't have a chance. First thing was the Google Panda update, we had to optimize for it, It seems better now, but it didn't solve our problems. The biggest problem we had was the internal search at Etsy was being experimented with.

August was better, great in fact, and magically the online sales started to reappear. Towards the beginning of August Etsy announced they had hired on a team of search engine specialists to make relevancy the basis of search results. Previously it was weighted strongly towards renewed and recently listed relevant items. They say that the site overall had record sales during July, but our records show we were down by over 65%.

As we went into September we had high hopes for business at The PA Renaissance Faire, but the hurricanes on the east coast had other plans.Fortunately the online sales are back to normal levels. and the weather has been steadily improving and now that the hurricanes have subsided, folks are coming back to the Renaissance Faire and are loving our work.

This is the most gratifying thing about making and selling pottery for us. We love making things, we love making them well, and constantly searching for new expressions of beauty and functionality in our work. It's humbling to think that folks love our work enough that we can make a living from it

Our Fall Pottery Events

Weekends Aug - Oct 31 we have the PA Renaissance Faire, the booth is beside the Privies on Privy lane.

 Nov 5,6 we have our Studio Sale 9-5 both days, with a huge spread of complimentary goodies. All are welcome for the food, pottery or both!

We're working on special orders for some individuals, several local businesses and a large special order for a Church.

We're stocking up for our studio sale, and trying to get Etsy stocked up for the upcoming holiday season. Last year we barely kept up, This year we're thinking ahead.

With all that on the agenda I just got a ton of clay and we're going to get into it this week. I anticipate another one in late October

And now it's time to get to it :) It's time to make beautiful things for you!