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Monday, January 12, 2015

Snow Jobs

Our lovely Tionesta home has been getting a few inches of snow every day. Not a huge dump and go blizzard, but a steady build. My commute has been a cold 20 steps to the studio with a carafe of hot tea and a dog who thinks snow is the best thing ever.

This weather has made it easier for me to decide to settle in, hunker down and be a homebody. I'm loving it. Rowan has been taking the time to create some really lovely homemade meals that we have been willing to go back to and consume every bit of the leftovers. There is no need to go out until we need groceries or the USPS.

Our promise to ourselves to work smarter has been in effect for a week now, it's been pretty good. We've been getting to bed before midnight and getting up between 6 and 8 and getting to work soon after. We work until early evening usually between 5 and 7 and I finally have had some time to relax, reflect and think. Its been a long time since I haven't felt completely exhausted and overburdened. This is nice and I want to keep it up as long as possible.

The best part is we have been getting a lot of work done. Rowan has even found more time to be creative in the studio. She's been making new things, working with me on the Forest Spirit things. We're building good stock and I feel on track for making this year one of working from a perspective of joy rather than burden.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

I'm so excited for this year!

At this time of the year, it's traditional to reflect upon the last year and to make plans for the new year. The funny thing is, I often find that this is one of the only times of the year this is possible for us. This is usually the only true downtime we have!

As I look back the whole year is a blur. Last January we were finishing up some pottery orders and getting ready to move. This year we won't have to move, we also have no big pottery orders waiting. It is a clean slate. Which is nice. Also a little scary because there is no guaranteed income, but we won't dwell on will come, it always does.

 Last year we packed up all our things and moved from State College Pennsylvania to a small town called Tionesta, also in Pennsylvania. You can check out some of our previous blog posts to learn about our adventures in moving and getting set up here.

So what did we do over this last year? It has been a pretty amazing year. We moved, set up the new studio, set up a new house. We opened a new store. We got our old house ready for the market while doing all of these things. We did all the shows we normally do, we did all the wholesale orders we normally do plus some huge new ones. Most importantly we lived to tell about it. Barely. As the year came to a close, Rowan  and I took the time to be horribly sick over the Christmas holiday, which made us stop.


Which is really good because since we started working again, we've been much more conscious  about keeping the work day reasonable. Plenty of work has been done, and we've watched several movies, had evenings of television and have gotten to bed long before total exhaustion.This is new for us. 6.5 years ago we got married and immediately dove into workaholism.I think we can do better for ourselves.

So what is on our agenda for the upcoming year? 

I hope this year is the fulfillment of our goal to work smarter and with more joy. We need to remember that we are a married couple and still in love, and hopefully we can find our humanity again. I feel like we have been operating in crisis mode for several years. People ask what our inspiration for working so hard is, we joke that it is fear of poverty. Its not a joke. We always feel that if we don't work until we're ready to drop we're not trying hard enough. I think that we might be misguided. After 40-50 hours a week there are diminishing returns and no enjoyment of life. That is why not having a bunch of orders lined up right now, is a really good thing. It gives us the chance to work slowly and steadily, to get ahead, so that when all the big orders start coming in we are prepared. We spent all of last year behind and were rushing from crisis to crisis and order to order just trying to keep up. 
Some of the work I am most looking forward to doing, is more of the Forest Spirit Pottery. We actually just made our first new batch of it and we're thrilled. If you have been following along on our Facebook page you may have noticed that we had a one-of-a-kind online-only event in November focusing on the Greenman inspired Forest Spirit Pottery. It was a big hit for us because it allowed us to be entirely creative, we worked outside our normal production catalog and let our artistic spirits free! The best part is it proved to us that we can present one of a kind work to our fans and they loved and approved it! I want more of this kind of artistic joy for us!