Thursday, July 16, 2009

too bad "sawdust and dirt" is taken.

Well...I'm still here, though not doing much in the way of pottery. I apologize for not keeping up with this thing but I've been working the past week on a kitchen remodel and I'm sure it's not of all that much interest here. I didn't really need the work but I don't have much to do right now so I suppose it's best to stay busy and make a little money to boot. I've made all new cabinet doors and new drawers & drawer fronts along with tearing out a wall, everything should be installed in the next week or two. Sawdust is not as nice as clay dust...but it's a working man's dust all the same. Beats a desk any day of the week.

The show in Rockport a couple weeks ago was a total bust. We came home in the hole, the second time ever that that has happened to me. This is the first time I've been thankful for the teaching gig, had a paycheck waiting for me when we came home. The crowds were there but they weren't buying squat except for jewelry and multi-thousand dollar sculptures(no joke!) It was a pretty miserable experience...Texas heat, sandy wind( =sandblasted for 8 hours straight)and to top it off we had several total douche-bags come through our booth, my wife almost took a pot to somebodies head. I don't like to complain so I'll leave it at that.

Our showroom is completely stocked right now and I have about half a kiln load sitting on the shelves waiting to be fired. For some reason I'm completely unomotivated to make pots when the showroom is fully stocked, it's easy to get down when the pots aren't moving so I just turn my attention to other things. I'll be mixing clay here within the next few days so there will be some pots being made in about 3 weeks or so. I have some porcelain waiting to be made into a couple dinnerware orders. They were supposed to be done about right now but I've really had difficulty forcing myself to get in the studio, hopefully I'll get them made and fired off next week.

In other slightly cheerier news, the wife and I are drawing up plans to build a studio on our property sometime...hopefully soon. She really wants some darkroom space(she's a photographer) and for me working out of the tiny jail cell sized studio at the university isn't cutting it. There is a space on our property currently where I used to work that can be seen here. It's an old concrete building with no insulation, heating or cooling, or running water. The roof is in poor shape and it sits slightly below grade so when it rains the walls and floor becomed very wet(not flooded but rather as if someone had hosed it all down.) The ceiling in there is only 7 feet, I'm pretty short but it drove me absolutely nuts! Needless to say it's not suitable as a working studio. So anyways, this one's going to have to be done legally(unlike the showroom) so it'll probably be awhile.

So long for now.

ps: just heard about Otto Heino's passing. Kidney failure I think? I didn't really care for his pots(or his rolls-royce) but he did have a great impact on the arts and crafts movement and pottery in general. The dude had a great energy and made tons of pots...sad to see that go.


Dan Finnegan said...

Hi Brandon, I'm not a big commenter usually, but I do enjoy reading your blog regularly. Here's my idea about inventory, for what it's worth. Mostly adapted from my great friend, Toff Milway.
Very few of us have a lot of financial resources to back us up, but once a pot is finished, I look at it as money in the bank. We have to have faith that we'll sell them eventually (and after 30 years or more I know this too be true). And if anything happens to us that keeps us from making, you won't survive very long on a couple of kilnloads of pots. So, my own strategy is to have at least a year's worth of pots on hand at all times, so that, whatever the circumstances, I will continue to have an income for that year. Toff is actually getting close to two years!
I know that it's a very different way of thinking than most of our peers, but if we are to continue to make pots we have to be good business people too.
It also takes away the crazy pressure that we put ourselves through as we frantically work for an upcoming show.
So, enough of my lecture.
Why not put a few photos on your blog of all those pots...I still want some!

Collin said...

indeed it does beat a desk. take it from one who knows!

klineola said...

I know what you're saying about the ill-motivated fully stocked pottery. And I like Dan's advice, too. I've taken to putting only the best pots out and boxing/storing the rest.
My storeroom is about as thin as it's ever been, though, not particularly from sales, rather, because I've only fired once this year! The first part of the year was more sawdust and drywall dust!

Joe and Christy said...

Well, usually I post comments about the post (and I do hope the kitchen comes out well, and you get your drive back to make pots), but I have to say that Dan, that is a entirely new idea to me to have that many pots in stock... I have to think about it for a while, but it's a very interesting idea... certainly would take a little stress out of getting a kiln load through.

Ron said...

That is a new idea to me too.

Although I feel like I have a good amount of pots on hand most of the time, after a while I start to feeling like some aren't so good and I want to be rid of them. I think after a year for sure. I know I have pots out there right now I'd just as soon throw in the ditch. They may have been the best I could do at the time but now they seem lacking. I'm sure part of that may be just my perspective, and customers would not feel the same.

I sure don't want to box them up as Michael mentions, heck they'd never see the light of day again and just end up in the barn. However if I did ever have an injury or something, they would be there to sell.

Well that's a bit long winded. I mainly wanted to say I know what you mean Brandon.