Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Open Studio - The First for My Little Pottery Studio

Photo by Richard Boucher
Photo by Richard Boucher


This past weekend, I joined with many other potters throughout the USA and world for National Clay Week. I had heard about this event which is in its second year on a podcast I listen to called Tales of a Red Clay Rambler. I hemmed and hawed over whether I should give it a try. Where I live - which is kind of the middle of nowhere - isn't the best place for an Open Studio event.

In my mind I said to myself "Oh no one will come. Why bother. My work isn't good enough..." Generally all the self doubt that artists have running around in their heads about taking a leap and putting yourself out there. But then I decided to go for it. I knew that - as a very deadline driven person - if I had a deadline to make a lot of pottery to show, I would pull it off. That is the confidence I have in myself when deadlines loom. I can make it happen even if I do it totally by myself and exhaust myself in the process. 

I did exhaust myself, I will admit. Besides making and finishing pottery I had to clean, organize, and make pretty my little pottery studio. I had to paint signs for the road so people could find the Little Pottery Studio in the middle of nowhere. I had to make fliers and post to social media. I had to send out newsletters and do blog posts to create excitement. I had to bake some snacks, purchase paper products and beverages, move tables, set up tablecloths, and display pottery outside, do glaze firings, price work..... The list went on and on. It's funny how when you or I get an idea and decide to do it - we may forget about all the pre-work that needs to happen. I say you or I because I'm sure some of you do this too. I also see how my mom was able to entertain so often when we were young - she had 5 helping hands to help. 

Saturday morning rolled around. The "event" didn't start until 11 so I had lots of time to organize the Lamb Farmstore, price lamb meat, sweep it out, un-load the kiln that had been cooling and then price the work. All this and I wasn't sure anyone would come. I asked my friend Alyssa if she could help for the day - not knowing if anyone would come and if her help would even be necessary. I had hoped that Julia would be able to help with sales and running the credit card sales on my phone but after some practice runs, we both decided it was too difficult for her. Her job would be to be nice to people. 

It was a two day event. It was an incredibly beautiful fall weekend with the hill behind my little pottery studio turning lovely autumn shades. Saturday was much slower in traffic than Sunday. In the time that no visitors were here, Alyssa and I cleaned greenware so it wasn't a lost day of work. I have all this greenware plus more to paint and glaze for the holidays. Greenware is the term for ceramics made out of clay that has not been fired. It is very fragile and can break easily if held incorrectly or treated roughly. 

Our first visitors were my friends Shalee, Emme, and Marlee who are long-time family friends. The girls were so excited to see the pottery studio. I gave them some clay and helped them try out my potter's wheel. They ended up covered in clay and their excitement was so contagious. It is one of the most precious memories I have of the weekend. 

Photo by Richard Boucher

Visitors came and went. It wasn't too busy that I couldn't spend time with each visitor. It made me feel good that many people enjoy my pottery enough to come out and support my work. My friend Richard came on Saturday with his wife Laurie and took some lovely photos - some of which are included here. Sadie, our Gt Pyrenees sheep guard dog was on great behavior as was Kate the Border Collie who couldn't stop eating bees (is that normal - she must have eaten 100!). The dogs were a hit with everyone. 

Photo by Richard Boucher

As were the sheep who wandered around in the background.

It was a very nice weekend - even if it was gobs of work. But seriously, isn't everything a lot of work to make it come out the way you plan it in your mind. Work is good - it keeps me grounded and focused. Photos from the weekend follow. I will think about celebrating National Clay Week next year. Over the next few weeks I have got to paint, decorate, and fire all the greenware pottery I have been throwing in order to have it ready for my Holiday Sale on December 2nd and 3rd. 

Thanks to everyone who came out and made my first Open Studio such a fun, memorable and successful weekend. XO 


Sally said...

Absolutely glorious!!!!!! :)

Allison Williamson said...

Discovering your work and farm has made me think " I know what I want to do when I grow up" on several occasions! I need to come for a visit soon. I'm already 34. ;-)

Judy Pierce said...

I had a wonderful visit and so did my daughter. It may be off the beaten path but it’s well worth the trip, so thank you! I’m looking forward to visiting again for your holiday sale.

Auntie Shan said...

Good to hear that things went well! Hope you managed to SELL enough to make all of the efforts worthwhile..?
ALL of that "prep" work! - Something that most people who DON'T do "craft shows/fairs" are absolutely clueless to! The "selling" bit is just the TIP of the iceberg! At least being home, you didn't have the worries of having to solo jenga-origami the off/on loading of a vehicle. [What I'll be doing in a couple of weeks!]

Anyhoo, GOOD LUCK with the NEXT gig!


Kristin Nicholas said...

Oh that is so cool. Glad to be an inspiration. Follow your dreams. It may take a while but it is possible.

Kristin Nicholas said...

Hi Judy. So great to meet you and your daughter. Thx so much for coming. See you in December.

Kristin Nicholas said...

It was good but tons of work. I think I need to find some craft and art fairs for next year. Good luck with yours this wkend.

Adaliza said...

Congratulations on your Open Studio. I did my first in September and had all the usual doubts before the event. Like yours, it was lovely to meet people. I'm planning another one in November - I've got the Open Studio bug! Well done.

The Joyful Quilter said...

My boys loved nothing more than spending time at the pottery studio when they were younger. LOVE your bowls, mugs, and plates!! Such a playful sense of style you have. Makes for some seriously FUN pieces!!

Book Review - Henry Wilson's Floral Patterns Of India

This past January when we were starved for color here in western Massachusetts, I discovered the book Floral Patterns Of India via the Qui...