Ceramics showcase!!

April 22, 2012 at 5:31 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Ceramics showcase is coming!  I just spent a week putting up posters.  As many potters have already noticed, it is hard to come by good pottery posters.  I now have several extra posters featuring a beautiful ceramic sculpture.  If you want one, send me a note on etsy and we can work out getting one to you. 🙂  

This year I’m taking Trilobite and Ammonite work to the showcase.  I’ll be in the group booth which means a lot less frenetic work on my part, but a lot more in time spent at the showcase working.  

Here’s some samples of the work that will be there!

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Pasta Jar! 

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Sake Set!

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Talking with successful potters

August 23, 2011 at 4:08 pm (Business story) (, , , , , , , )

Success, of course, is often in the eye of the beholder. So for this experiment I’ve defined it as “people who have managed to make a living from pottery” as that is my end goal. Pottery all day, every day, except maybe Sunday and Saturday and then its pottery as needed on those days. Clay clay clay clay clay glaze clay glaze!

Why yes, I AM just a little nuts for my craft. Thanks for asking. *hugs a giant pile of nice squishy clay*

So, as part of this goal I am taking the Business Fundamentals class at Mercy Corp NW. Since business is my weakness the class has been great for me. One of my assignments was to e-stalk a “competitor.” Now, if you’ve ever interacted with potters, you’ll noticed that we aren’t very competition driven. Sure, we enjoy our juried shows, but when we get together its a community, not of rivals but of like-minded people; we all benefit from the support we give each other. It helps that we’re in a field that driven by individual creativeness. So instead of just e-stalking my competitors (which is fun) I’ve also decided to go and ask them about their business experience, and then (With their permission of course) share it with you!

So with out further exposition I present to you my first e-stalked ceramic artist: Charan Sachar!

Reason for stalking? I love his Bollywood inspired style.
Dancing Divas

The colors and the slip trailing get me all giddy inside, proffessionally speaking.
Butter dishes gallore!

Within the last year Charan has quit his day job and managed to get a lot of attention to his work, including a feature in NY times.

Q: You have 30 seconds to describe your business to a stranger in an elevator, what do you say?

A: I make handcrafted pottery inspired by Indian fabrics and embroidery. My love for color, pattern and Bollywood shows in my work. Side note: “The mention of Bollywood usually brings a laugh and is good ice breaker.” Then I always mention that I do local art shows and also sell online, giving them my business card.

Q: What type of business do you run? (Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, LLC, ect.) Why did you choose to structure your business that way?

A: Sole Proprietorship. When I started, like many other crafters, it was a hobby that was turning into a business. I didn’t have initial intentions that this would be my sole source of income, but would loved for that to happen. I am glad I am in that position now. Currently I am the sole person running the business, so sole propritorship seems like the right business structure for me.

Q: What is your typical daily schedule?

A: Wake up around 6:30am. Light exercise while I make my tea and oatmeal. Sit with my tea and oatmeal and sit in front of computer, checking emails, stats for shop visits, going over calendar for orders scheduled. This can go on till 10am.
I keep a daily and a weekly calender. This way I have goals to complete that day and goals that I need completed that week. This all feeds into completing goals of the big calendar of the year.
From 10-noon, I would work in the studio, then lunch.
Then 2-5pm back in the studio with email checking always in the background.
5-8pm watch TV, have dinner.
8-11pm– Back to the studio and then sleep.

Q: I read that you spend 70% of your time on business, and 30% in the studio. How does that 70% break down for you?

A: The 70% comprises of all the administrative work that does not involve my actually making my product. It is hard for me to break it down as to how much time I spend doing what because it changes significantly daily. Below is a list of things that I consider administrative work.
This includes email correspondance, creating promotional ads, checking stats on what ads work in getting traffic to my site, facebook correspondance.
I try to have at least one entry a month in my blog, sometimes that is more.
Contacting galleries for wholesale, payment, delivery schedule and getting traffic to my wholesale site also takes up a lot of time.
Packing and shipping orders really adds up when business is good.
Calendar updates, scheduling what to make and when to make it. This takes up time but I believe is very necessary to be efficient while working in the studio. With only 30% of time spent in the studio, I need to be effective to make full use of that time.

Q: What have you found to be the most successful way of promoting your work?

A: I believe any opportunity to tell my story proves to be the best way to promote my work. Blogs, facebook, showing progress in the studio of new work etc.. all have proved to be very effective. As artists we are selling our stories, so any channel that helps you tell your story, is great for promotion.
I do invest in Google and Facebook ads and they get me sales too, but all those ads come at a cost.

Q: Have you ever considered getting someone to do some of the business work? If so, in what field (book keeping, accounting, marketing)? And why that field? If not, why not?

A: I would have to say marketing. I do enjoy that part myself too, but it is time consuming. I can land up spending hours on the computer learning and trying new ways of marketing my work and getting new customers. It would be something I would like to work with someone to learn more and make it more efficient.

Q: Who are your best customers? (General , nonspecific)

A: 98% of my customers are women and the 2% are men who are buying for the women in their lives.
People who are fond of fabrics, color and pattern get immediately attracted to my work as well.

Q: Have you ever had an unhappy customer? How have you dealt with that?

A: Haven’t come across an unhappy customer yet, touch wood. Once there was a breakage in shipment and I gladly replaced the item at no additional charge. The customer was thrilled and has purchased more after that. Good customer service is always important.

Q: Who’s ceramic works do you like? Who’s business do you admire?

A: I am really fond of Ginger Steele’s ceramic work (www.insomniapottery.com) Her use of pattern and construction techniques really fascinate me. And then salt firing just enhance the look of her work even more.
It is really hard for me to pin point whose business I admire. It is hard to get insights into the actual workings of a small business owner to know how effective and profitable their business model is. Best is to keep your eyes open and see everything as an opportunity to learn.

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Colaborative crunch time

July 29, 2011 at 3:57 pm (Studio and Environment) (, , , , , , , , )

Its different having to do a crunch time for someone else. I find myself both more focused on the goal and also less stressed out about it. I suppose knowing that I’m being paid for the work I’m doing has something to do with it, where as when you’re doing a lot of work on your own payment is far from certain. Also, its a much shorter crunch time, and I’m not making all the decisions.

Its kinda’ nice. Relaxed, even if I’m working my finger tips off.

I find working with someone else to be very inspiring. I have some ideas to play with, when I get the time in August. I’m also being sold on commercial underglazes. The ones I have cooked up for the most part are much more finicky and difficult to use than the commercial underglazes Cori is using. The exception being the nice bright red I have, which was also cheeper when I made it myself.

So back to work for me. I have to sponge pots and glaze today. Yeay!

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The power of sleeping puppies.

June 3, 2011 at 5:24 pm (About my process, inspiration) (, , , , , , )

I spent an hour trying to wake up this morning. Literally, I was dreaming about trying to wake up because I wanted to wake up but couldn’t. Those are the worst dreams because your brain gets all confused and wonky as it tries to behave like you’re awake when you’re asleep. It tries to convince me I can see whats going on even though my eyes are closed, that I know the time, that I’m getting up and getting ready as the world shifts and moves about me in a dreamlike fashion. Or that I’m trying to get up but I litterally can’t move because I’m in REM sleep and my body is paralized at that point.

Anyhow, today is a work day in the studio. Pure production effort for Cori, who is showing up next week ready to work on her part of the production. I’m going to be very happy to see her. I made sure to have all the large pieces that will take a long time to do properly done for her right off. After that its going to be cups and bowls.

Last night was the last night of my class. Makes me sad because I’m not teaching again this session. 😦 Suck.

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Cups and other recent pieces

June 2, 2011 at 8:03 pm (Showing off results) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

So normally when I blog, I blog on the studio’s old dinosaur which doesn’t have access to my files, and I don’t want to strain it by going to graphic heavy sights while I blog. Seriously old dino, but hell, what else would you have in an environment where there is dust and paint fumes galore? Sure, its kept from most anything, but it’d be a waste to put a good computer in there.

So today I’m writing from home and I can share photos of recent work. Yeay!

I like naga, you may have noticed, so here’s a cup that I love: Naga cup

A very large bowl: large bowl

a nice cup: cup!

and some henna inspired hand painted bowls. 🙂 bowls!

Thats all I got for today. 🙂 Enjoy!

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Tis hard to get worked up about

May 23, 2011 at 5:12 pm (About my process) (, , , , , , )

having a day of production throwing ahead. I have my clay all ready to go, 21 1 lb balls, 3 10 lbs and 2 5 lbs. Of course, throwing is the easy part. Its trimming that I can’t get into. Its my least favorite part of the process, alas. So today I’m going to do bottles, which generally don’t need to be trimmed. Yeay me!

On a side note, I watched Thor. Far better than it had any right to be. It only worked because it had so many Shakespearian people involved, and a damn good director. They should give Kenneth Branagh more comic book movies. He does a good job without falling into crappy mistakes. Even with a terrible script.

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having trouble getting up.

May 18, 2011 at 4:28 pm (About my process) (, , , , )

Right now my husband is unemployed. Before I used him to help me get up and into the studio. Now, its a bit more difficult. Especially with puppies sleeping on me, I find it hard to get out of bed when I want to. My body rebells and pushes me back into dreams before I can blink. Fun dreams, mind you, but still. Its annoying to spend an hour of my morning trying to wake up.

So here I am getting ready to work. I’ve still got trimming to do, and a little bit of glazing. Those two things I will get done today, but I would love to get more throwing done too. We’ll see.

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Back in the studio again.

May 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm (About my process, inspiration) (, , , , , , )

So now I’m doing more work for Cori. She wants a lot done, which is pretty awesome. Knowing that she did well with the shop makes me very happy for her.

I’m getting some work done still on my own art as well, but I’m totally using my class as an opportunity there. This week we did tripods and I made this cool doublewalled tripod that is going to have teeth and some sort of lacey detail on the outer wall. Gnom gnom gnom.

I really need to work out how to make my tripod legs even. *sighs* but to be honest, I’m really happy this time with the uneaven legs. I think even would have been booring.

Still, I’ve promised my husband that I would spend less time in the studio, so I’d better get my ass in gear. Ciao bellas!

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Simi vacation time!

May 4, 2011 at 4:41 pm (Etsy Mud Team) (, , , , , )

So I’m taking the time after that crazy push to be a little relaxed and lazy. Hang out with the puppies, eat a giant omelet, watch movies with my husband. That sort of thing. Playing Civ V and other video games. Tracking down the list of items I lost while getting ready for the show.

That doesn’t mean that I’m not doing anything at all.

Check it out!
http://www.etsy.com/listing/73385767/red-rice-bowl-set

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Day one of Ceramics Showcase

April 30, 2011 at 4:55 am (Sales and events, Showing off results) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Well, starting out I had my usual show funk. It consists of worrying too much about the bottom line, and needless feelings of desperation (which just makes my ability to interact with people complete crap.) Then I figured out that writing bad poetry somehow makes me feel better. I think its because I am doing something creative and even if I’m not a good poet, it helps me vent my feelings and so I laugh better, and can be happier for everyone else.

Wierd. But hell, whatever works. And maybe someday I’ll get good at it. (Ha!)

Still, once I was able to pick up myself, I started to do better in sales. Not fantastic, but not miserable. I had a good time too, and the music at night was pretty rocking. 🙂 So very much despite myself, I had an awesome day and am feeling pretty darn good right now.

I have some lovely pictures of my booth to show with you, along with some of my new works. ^_^

As you can see, I’ve got a whole new line of work. It is, admittedly, easier to make and I’m really enjoying the drawing right now. I’m going to keep doing my sea creatures as well, but this is the sort of thing where I can do a large batch quickly and then spend more time on sculpture love. Tomorrow, I’ll post pictures of my sculpture pieces in the show. :}

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