Monday, June 8, 2015

All carved up

Now that I have committed myself financially to the festival of crafts in the fall, I need to commit mentally and physically. I began my weekend on Friday afternoon by throwing a few mugs, trimming what needed trimming and carving a few mugs. I worked one of the last few Saturdays left before the summer at Ceramics Canada so I was only able to finish off the last few mugs that were to be carved that afternoon. Sunday however was the day to throw and carve en mass. I made mugs and casseroles, and carved a ton of ramekins. OK, only 7 ramekins, but they take about 20 minutes each to carve, not counting the time to slip them up with black terra sig. It is amazing how much does NOT get done in the studio though, even when I have a list of TO DO's. I usually arrive at 9am on Sundays and am generally there until at least 2pm, although this Sunday I was there until 4:30 ish. I only managed to throw 7 mugs and 2 casseroles, I think I will need to step up the production rate if I am going to have enough to fill my shelves. This will mean less talking I think. The sale may be over 5 months away, but I will need to get the majority of my stock made and glazed this summer so I don't run into any snags getting things fired in the fall. The student sale takes priority at the studio, so my firings will need to be worked in and around the student work.
This image is just a sampling of what I have been working on. I have changed my mug shape a wee bit, and the handles are way more substantial. The designs are different, yet similar to the ones in the past. I have to find a good pattern or 2 that is simple to lay out and carve, yet still engaging to the eye. The time it takes to carve some of them is way too long, especially if I actually want to make a profit or even break even on this. I should note that these are all free hand, no actual pattern is used, it all comes out of my brain. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it does not. The top right hand mug for instance is not really working for me in terms of the pattern, I do like the bottom 2 though. 
I will finally be able to spend more time in the studio as of July 4th. Ceramics Canada does not open on the weekends during the summer, so I should be able to put some long hours in over those 9 hot, sweaty weeks.

Friday, June 5, 2015

UH OH...What Have I Done?!?

The title sounds a bit ominous, but in reality, it is just my inner doubter/critic in me.

I have news and it is probably good!

I have been accepted into and I have just signed the contract and paid the first installment for ......the 2015 Festival of Crafts at the BMO Centre in Calgary.

This is a very daunting challenge I have set myself. I need to make, make, make until my fingers fall off and run away, tie a grindstone to my head, etc. I have 5 months and a bit to make and carve all the pots I can possibly make before this show.

Have I gotten myself in too deep? Who knows, I sure don't, and I wont know until it is too late anyway, so I am just going to jump head first into the deep end and hope there are no hidden rocks or sharks under the surface. Other people do these things, so I should be able to too, right?

I think the only other thing I need to do besides make lots of pots is to get myself liability insurance. I'm fairly certain that my booth will be injury free, but you never know, someone could pull my display shelves down and die from a thousand small cuts from all the broken pottery...

Wish me luck, I think I will need it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Catching up

The Fairview Studios Spring Pottery sale is over for another year and it looks like we may be in for a change of venue for the next fall sale, so stay tuned for more info to come shortly. Anyway, now that the craziness of the sale is over, I can concentrate on pots. As you can see, I have been up to a whole lot of carving and scratching, and there is more than what you see here. I have even been messing around with slip inlay, or mishima as well as making a whole load of large bowls and platters. Finally, mug handles. They have always been the bane of my existence. I used to hate making them, but not so much now. I am however, always on the search for that "perfect" handle. I think I like these ones. they are substantial, you can't mistake them for anything else. I think Mick Casson said something about how your handles should always make themselves known. That they shouldn't be an afterthought. I agree that wimpy handles that just hang onto the pot like a piece of lint are horrible. Handles should be HANDLES and as that is probably the area that most hands will touch and feel, a well made handle is almost priceless. I love a pulled handle the best, to me they feel like they belong in the hand. Sharp edges are not my thing, thin strappy handles are not my thing, but a lovely pulled handle is something else. I could hold a mug and stroke the handle all day long until I could identify it blindfolded.