Thursday, February 21, 2013

I'm in the 21st century now

This little doodad came in the mail yesterday. It plugs into my iPhone and lets me swipe credit cards. So now when I have a customer that doesn't have cash on them, I can take their plastic. I will take cheques, but I have run across a few people that actually don't know how to write them.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Getting Ready for Salt

I have been throwing cone 10 clay almost exclusively since the end of December in preparation for my upcoming trip to Medalta in April to fire off their salt and soda kilns. I have made a lot of stuff in that time, but I am in that place right now where I don't know if I have made enough, or if I have made too much. Each kiln is 20cu feet and I am splitting the firing with my friend Susan (aka Sooooozin). So I have a full 20cu feet to fill, plus all the extras like on bag walls, the space under the bottom shelves etc. The end of my last bag of clay was actually where I started to make really good pots (I hope – I still need to trim them). They are gnarly and full of texture just waiting for the salt to juice them up and soften all that craggy goodness. It would be ok if the kilns were here, but alas, they are 3 hours away and I need to transport them down there, and if I have left overs, I really can't do anything with them except wait for another high fire opportunity. I think I may just go for broke and make as much as possible. If I have way too much, then so be it, at least I will have lots to choose from. I got a bit stuck on the sgrafitto, so there is a LOT of it, but everything from now on is plain old clay that will get flashing slips or shinos.

Other than that, a few students and myself are going to put together an open house sometime in early to mid June to help boost the enrolment at the studio. It is located in an industrial area in the city's south east and the feeling is that some people are put off by the location. It is not in a trendy area with lots of cafes and boutiques. It is not in a residential area either. It is in a light industrial/business park area and because of this, we think that some people are nervous about it. It is not a bad area, it just isn't very busy at night, and it can feel a little isolated. The building is a Quonset, and that may not give it a very homey feel either. But you take what you can get in this town. Rents can be a bit steep for small business owners, let a lone a pottery studio owner. If we have an open house in June on a nice sunny day, when the birds are chirping, then we can open up the very large overhead door to let as much light in and make it look inviting. We can have demonstrations going on throughout the day with perhaps a stinky raku demo to attract the pyromaniacs and give away small raku bowls to the attendees. I really hate doing raku firings, but it does have that WOW factor as well as immediate gratification. I always go home feeling like I have been camping and sitting around wet smokey fire pits, but without the added bonus of smores. I usually also look like a bit bedraggled, my face is all red, my hair usually gets a bit fried from looking into the kiln to check glaze melt, and some article of clothing always gets a burn mark or two. Ya, raku and me are not friends. So, if we blitz our FB friends, our twitter followers (of which don't have), our personal e-mail lists etc, as well as advertise in all the free weekly magazines we can, then hopefully we will have a good day. If nobody shows, then it will just be a regular day at the studio. More on this to follow.

Friday, February 8, 2013

New Pots

Here are some of the lastest from the kiln, but more are to follow, I just ran out of time to take the pictures. All but one of these are in Centenial Gallery. The one that did not make it had a few small chips out of the foot.

As you can see, the foot has a few chips out of it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Technology is like Frogger

Keeping up with the pace of technology is like playing a game of Frogger. If you get lazy, or think you don't need to keep abreast of new tech and the inherent changes that invariably happen, you will get squashed like the little frogger by the big TECH Mac truck, or if you are too afraid to even try to cross the Tech highway, you will be left behind and never get to the other side. BTW, there isn't another side, the lanes are endless and the traffic is ceaseless.

In an attempt to help prod the fearless leader of Fairview Studios into the 21st century, I have taken on the task of learning about using a smart phone as a credit card terminal. You might think that this would not be a big deal. If so, you apparently have not met our Fearless Leader. Only recently did he get a cell phone and by cell phone I mean a flip phone that only sends and receives phone calls when the phone is turned on, which it rarely is. Texting is not in his vocab.

The way the studio accepts credit cards is archaic to say the least. Do you remember the way we used to do it? Before swiping? That's right, we run the card through a card imprinter. The cost for using this is huge compared to what these companies charge.

I did some research on various companies that provide this service and I have shown him that he can save approximately 40% on the cost of taking credit cards, but he is still confused. Especially when I tell him it is free to sign up and that the device that swipes the card is free and there is no monthly fee (how can that be? he says). In an attempt to make this clearer, I signed myself up. I really should be able to take credit cards when I make sales, instead of hoping a cheque clears or having to delay a sale to wait for the customer to get money. Not many people carry money anymore. I like money, but it is a pain to have to always go to the bank to get it when you can whip out a credit card or a bank card and be done with it. So now I can track the cash and credit transactions and get a clearer picture of how my own pottery sales are doing instead of just blindly feeling my way along hoping for the best. It is a good thing pottery is not my main source of income.

Long story short, once I get my own little card reader, I will be able to take credit cards.

The moral(s) of this story? Don't think you can ignore technology, and when an old fart asks you to help, take a deep breath and count to 10 when their eyes glaze over in confusion. Don't get frustrated, just have patience because this could be you in a few years if it already isn't.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Fairview Studios Spring 2013 Pottery Sale

I know it's a bit early to post this, but I see that some people are already searching for this information when I look at my blog stats.
The Fairview Studios Spring Pottery Sale for 2013 will be Saturday, May 4th.