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Day to day in a pottery studio.
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07/03/06
Free…. a good idea or not?
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 10:20 pm

Last Sunday and Monday I was very pleased to host a workshop with Ernest Eryee. Ernest is a talented potter  working in sales at the Shimpo America facility. He was schooled in Ghana, The Netherlands and US. He is a graduate from SIUC whose work is influenced by his travel experiences. His demonstrations include wheelwork for large-scale sculpture and African pottery forms.  Read more about Ernest  and  his International Clay Residency Centre in   Ghana http://www.studiomateceramics.com/who_i_am.htm

I was very surprised when so very few showed up.  Only three people showed each night.  I don’t know if it is because if was free so people thought the workshop had no value?  Or because I don’t know many potters in the area and they don’t know me and if was offered in my studio and and not a recognized guild setting? He is such a talent and has a wonderfully clear way of explaining and showing his techniques.  He had a number of slides from Africa and his residency in Ghana.  It was fun and very informative.  I have changed my throwing techniques and they have improved already.  I can’t wait to work further and make much bigger pots.  People really missed out.  He said he is coming back in the fall for another workshop, I heard they were much better attended at the guild studios.  I will go there instead.

 

 

The gallery still remains slow.  I got a call from the local paper saying they received my email and thought there might be something of interest to write about, but one person was out having surgery and the other lady was going on vacation so someone would contact me near the end of July.  I wrote the Edmonton Tourist Association, we are members, and gave them an outline of what the studio and gallery were about.  We missed the cut off deadline and will come out in the September October issue.  I tried to get in touch with  Edmonton Where Magazine, a publication that goes in all the hotels and tourist spots in the city, it took some time to get some response and missed the summer issue and might make the September/October issue.??  I met a fellow artisan  Shaun O’Brien    http://www.murungogallery.com/home/index.php   the other day and he asked me to join him and other artists to sell and promote our work  July 14 at a  Valley Zoo fundraiser. 

http://www.edmonton.ca/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_2_261_208_0_43/http;/CMSServer/COEWeb/arts+culture+and+attractions/attractions/valley+zoo/

I will go and promote the gallery and store.  He also asked me to join him and another artists to show at the Edmonton Art Gallery in August. http://www.artgalleryalberta.ca/    I will promote the large showy stuff there. 

 

Just keep swimming…. swimming.

 

Until next time.

Cindy

 

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06/18/06
The Morning After
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 2:32 pm

We had our first Opening Reception last night.We had the Grand Opening back in May and it was poorly attended. I do some work with WIN House http://www.winhouse.org/  and I did get a interview with Global TV that day, talking about them and their connection to the studio.This opening started out very small. I just asked a lady I had met through the Breast Cancer Fund Raiser, Lorraine Oberg  http://www.lorraineoberg.com/ if she wanted to put a few paintings in the gallery. I tried very hard to make it bigger than that. I wanted the first Opening Reception at the studio be a doozie. I had high hopes. I handed out 500 printed invitations, got it in the paper, on the radio, I faxed and emailed a number Interior Decorators to see the sinks and tile I am now doing. I did my best to make it happen. Unfortunately during all my efforts the Edmonton Oilers were making much bigger news than I. Lorraine and I planned this back in early May. We had no idea that it would be the same date and time as Game #6. Not only we were the same date and time, you can see Coliseum from the studio. So the people who didn’t want to stay home and watch the game were not wanting to be in the traffic that the game brings…… …bummer……..The gallery looked wonderful. I will take some pictures.  Lorraine is a very talented artist. She paints beautifully. It was the first show I had ever hung and it turned out great. The music was provided by another very talented artist, Samantha Shultz. http://www.samanthashultz.com/ .She sings, plays guitar and writes all her own music. I was so happy she was there. The food was good, I even made chocolate chip cookies. The only thing that was missing was the crowds. The turn out was disapointing. If not for family and friends …….That’s not entirely true, we did get some traffic, just not anywhere near what I had hoped…I am hoping that people will still come and see the studio even if they didn’t come to the opening. I have an article coming out in the Edmonton Chamber News tomorrow, I bought some advertising in a women’s magazine, so I am sure “they” will come…….. eventually……

It is a quiet day here at home. I was going to go to work to load a small bisque I didn’t get done yesterday, but the pots will wait. I worked a lot last week trying to get the Opening going and I don’t want to work today. I had a wholesale client pick up some product a few months ago, his only comment on the gallery/store was…..”good luck with retail”…… he sounded as if I was sunk before I started. I don’t feel that is the case but it is harder to get “them” in than I had thought it would be.

Just keep swimming…. swimming…

Until next time.

Cindy

 

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The Weekend to End Breastcancer
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 11:34 am

Wouldn’t that be nice.  Last weekend there was a silent auction at the Saddlery Gallery, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  It was to raise money for the Cancer Society.A number of artists in the area donated their work.  The show ran for 3 days, Thusday, Friday and the auction was Saturday night.  There was some very nice work in the Gallery.  Out of the Fire donated a large vase.  She is called Acceptance.  She is a survivor.  She has no hair, no breasts, and a big butt, but she loves herself and is very happy.  It’s a very difiicult place to find for most women. They raised $9461.50.  Yeah!!

 

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06/04/06
Time Flys
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 10:28 pm

Jim was looking at the blog and the blog site the other day and he found a number of posts to the blog that never went to the email, just to the blog site. I didn’t know anyone had responded to the blog.I am sorry for not replying or adding you to the blog.  I will try to fix that …..soon…….. I didn’t know anyone read my ramblings, other than my mother and Jim’s brother.  That always made me feel a litle insecure because he is a writer…. hi Ed…..I haven’t blogged for a couple of months.  I have been busy at the studio finshing the most of the wholesale orders and setting up the gallery.   The store front, that started out as just setting up the wholesale booth in the front room, has taken on a life of her own and is now a gallery.  I am having my first show by another artist June 17th.  Lorraine Oberg, http://www.lorrainoberg.com/  one of the founding members of the Alberta Craft Council agreed to putting in a number of her pieces.  I am very excited about it. 

Wholesale work has dropped off considerably over the last few months.  I have kept a few of the regular customers, picked up a couple of new ones and let some go and some just went away on their own. I  couldn’t do the amount of work that Jim and I were doing.  I am doing some larger pieces, working on sinks and tile and custom orders. I am playing more at work than I have for years.  I am happy with some of the work that is comming out of the play. I will take some pictures…. again the same time frame….soon….. and post them here.

I have donated a large piece to the Weekend to End Breast Cancer.  It is a silent auction to held at the Saddlery Gallery this weekend.  I am looking forward to that as well.  We will go, help support a good cause and do a bit of marketing the Gallery as well.  It should be a good weekend.  Again… you know the time frame… I will post a picture of the “Lady” I made for the event.

It is late.  I will try and get back ….soon….. and again sorry to those who were reading and adding comments that I just didn’t see. 

Until next time.

Cindy

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03/29/06
The Day Started a bit Flat.
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 6:53 am

We got up early this morning, Jim has his first shoot with the city today. They are doing some educational filming for them.

 Up at 5:00 AM and out the door on time. Since the kids are gone for spring break, I was going to get a jump start at work and go with him. We had the truck loaded with all the equipment and ready to go last night, but this morning a tire was flat, so we unloaded the the truck and loaded the old tired car.  It doesn’t look as good as the big black van. I am waiting for Roadside Assistance to come and change my tire. Warranty is nice.  So when I told Jim to go, I will stay and fix the truck, it is not all that difficult. 

We got some coat trees  and other iron work in yesterday.  They are very cool.  Since both kids went in oposite directions, we gave each one a digital camera, so you will just have to take my word for it.  Kaileigh is in Italy on a class trip, John who is not old enough, he has be be in grade 10, is in northern BC.  Kaileigh is going to see the Colusium and John is going to Walmart………..next year he is in grade 10.  Anyway the coat trees will hold the scarves, bags and jewerly.  I am excited about the store.  I would more excited if more people were comming in.

I got another  wholesale order yesterday.  I glazed a load for the 16, made a glaze.  I like to make a large batch.  I make glazes in 30,000 gram batches.  That way when you put it in a garbage can, everything fits.  You can dip just about anything.  Today I will glaze another load for the 16 and when I unload tomorrow, I can turn around and load right away.  I want this stuff out by the end of the month, it will be close enough.

The tire guy should be here soon.  I will get off here and go to work, now that “I” have fixed the truck.

Until next time.

Cindy

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03/27/06
Forth time is the Charm
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 11:14 pm

This program has a quirk (couldn’t be me). It has a way of throwing out your potblogs. If I go to spell check, or whatever, and come back, the blog magically disappears…. Bummer… The first time I did it, it was a mistake, the second time was not so smart, and then the third time… well I am nice girl…. darn nice girl… I will try and post this one. If I don’t you will never know.

Studio life has been busy. Jim is seldom there anymore he is working hard on his new venture. It is looking good, with many prospects,and I am just making pots.Things are selling like hotcakes at the Legislative Assembly Gift Shop. I have picked up a new wholesale client in Iqaluit. Some regulars have ordered and most of them are close to done. The store front is slow. I had one paying customer Friday and one today. The nice thing about pots is if they buy a big one, it only takes one or two customers a day.

PT Barnum said ” Without promotion, something terrible happens, Nothing” He was right. I am planning a Grand Opening May 6, I have given product for three silent auctions in April and have one for May. As soon as all our stuff comes is in we will send out a press release. It is not happening as fast as I wanted it to, the signs are not bringing in as many people as I had hoped, but it will come together. I have to keep in mind that everything has it own rhythm and timing, and it is seldom what I think it should be.

It is late, I had planned to post some pictures of the snow storm we got last week, but they will wait until another day. I think I will go to bed before this small blog goes off to the Twilight Zone with the last three.

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02/20/06
Rises the Phoenix
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 10:46 pm

The Gallery/Store front is done!!  It looks great.  It came together well. I have met  some talented ladies who are putting  some good work in the store on consignment.  I am so happy and privileged to have their work in my studio.  With their work, combined with some advertising and a bit of divine intervention, it will be a gallery to take notrice of.

 

We opened the store same weekend as the Alberta Gift Show.  We  have been at that show for years.  We are the old timers on the floor.  It was soooo very weird today not be at the show.  It was even weirder that the regulars I invited to come to the studio instead of seeing me at the show, never showed, not one. It makes me kinda nervous.  But as Andy Warhol said, “They say time changes everything, but actually you have to change things yourself”.  If  I don’t want to do as much  wholesale as I have been doing, then I have less wholesale clients.  If I sell retail, I only need to sell half as much to make the same amount as wholesale. It is just right now wholesale is  paying the bills……  however , that is just right now…..At any rate, I will post a few pictures and then call it a night……A night…

 

Day two of the store has come and gone and still no one came in. It is a holiday monday here in Alberta, a lot of businesses are closed. That would explain why drop in traffic didn’t happen, just not the wholesale customers from the show??Most said they would stop in, so I guess tomorrow will be a busy afternoon.  We go to the show as buyers tomorrow morning.  I would like to add a few more things to the store. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until next time.

Cindy

 

 

 

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02/15/06
Getting Loaded Every Day
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 11:18 pm

I have been glazing up a storm this past week.  I am not sure that a storm is the best thing in the studio right now, but I have had the 10 cubic foot and the 16 alternately firing for …. With bisque and glaze loads…… I donno… a week or more.  I unloaded the 10 and reloaded today.  Tomorrow I will unload and load the 16.  We have pots now.  I am excited about the work.  I haven’t felt this good about working for a long time.  As usual the pots for the show come out of the kiln the day before or the day depending if I get it all in tomorrow.  There are some fairly large pieces.  When we got the 16 it felt huge, now it is not.

 

I have been threatening to post pictures here.  I will threaten again.  The camera has been at work for the entire week.  It will be there tomorrow.  I hope to get some pictures soon.  I still have a lot of work to do to make the store front look like I want it too.  But as much work as I think we have, we do not have the booth to set up…..YEAH… It is cold here, with wind chill down near -40 C.  There is nothing like setting up in the winter.  Did I mention we were not setting up the booth…..??

It is late.  Gonna go to bed. 

Until next time.

Cindy

1 comment
02/07/06
Another Day in Mugville.
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 8:35 pm

 

 I didn’t get as many as mugs made as I wanted, but then I never do.  After trimming and moving pots around to drying racks I pugged me some mug pugs and got down and dirty. Kaileigh came by to visit after school. I threw mugs  on and off until 5 ish when Jim came with a small load of clay and a ride home for us girls. I had planned on a 100 mugs today but jammed out at 70. 

The show is only 11 days away.  I have a lot to do in order to have the studio ready.  The thought of not setting up the booth is a very nice one. No numerous totes full of heavy pots to carry, no walls to build, and carpets to lie…… no growling at each other over and during set up …. Not like we ever would or do.   It costs about $2000 including lighting for the corner booth we have had in the past.  The show runs for 4 days.  I was talking to a sign making guy today and for less than half that I can have two 4’ x 8’ signs that will hang on the building, one on each side of an attached pillar thing on the front, for years…hhmm….  Don’t need to be a rocket surgeon to walk that one through.  I had a dream the other night.  We were in this rinky dink show.  It was so dark you could not see anything, no one there; in the dream I turned to Jim and said “No more shows!!”  It is hard to analyze that one.

Another lady came by to drop off product for the retail side of the studio.  Beautiful hand crafted jewelry.  Very cool stuff.  So now I have the masks and things that Helen makes, hand poured bee’s wax candles, jewelry, and small sculpted ladies.  I have not even advertised that I am looking for things.  They are just arriving.  It is like the store is meant be.  Must get pictures!!

I talked to WIN House last week.  We are on for the second annual Empty Bowls.  The local celebs will come in and make pots again, TV coverage, I hope this year they ask the local paper.  It will be fun.  It doesn’t happen until the fall.   I shipped out vases again to < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />USA Wrestling.  We have been providing vases and sake sets as trophies for the Dave Schultz Wrestling Club for the last 3 or 4 years.  The three vases that were shipped last week go the top three finalists.  We use their Samurai guy on our pots.  I hope to get pictures each year, but each year some thing happens that prevents them from sending. We are having the Shimpo rep hold a workshop in the studio in May.  It will be great exposure for the studio and the store.  …It has been an interesting week; this should be a good year.

American Idol is on in a few minuets, it waits for no man, or woman.  It is fun to watch those who really think they can sing and can’t.   They must have a friend or someone they trust, anyone that will tell them the truth. 

Until next time.

Cindy

1 comment
02/02/06
The Bitch, The Bitch, The Bitch is Back….Elton John
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 8:53 pm

I have always called work “The Bitch”.  She is very demanding, has to be put ahead of everything and everyone.  She is very expensive both in time and money.  But for whatever reason, I love The Bitch and enjoy spending a productive day with “her”.  Up until this last week, I have been avoiding her or she avoiding me.  Now she is back in the studio and we are pretty much up to speed. Today was a good day. I have been working for the Alberta Gift Show. We will not be attending the show but inviting all our regulars and some we hope to be regulars to come and see us at the studio instead.  We will have the store set up and the shop area all cleaned up.  Well, we will have the store front set up, the back is seldom clean.  After all it is a studio. Like most shows, I am trying to throw a whole show in a few short weeks.  We have been trying to get the front room finished and ready for retail customers.  I have  work from one other lady  in there now and will be shopping at the Gift Show.  By the end of April, we should be open for business and looking the way I want the “Bitch” to look.  I will take a shot of what the one lady is doing.  Great stuff.

 

I am not in the mood to Blog. I have paid some bills, wrote some emails and now I am done with the computer.

Until the next time.

Cindy

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01/23/06
Ever Closer to the Groove
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 11:48 pm

I have found, this past week, that work is much like picking up a large greasy bowling ball. It is hard to get a hold of, even harder to hold on to.  Jim has been in the studio and we have concentrated our efforts on getting the front room into a store front.  I took some pictures.  We were using it as storage, shipping, and just about anything else we could dump in there.  These pictures are worse than it was as we had to move a bunch of crap, or should I say quality items around so we could paint.  The problem was there were far too many quality items, a number of them found their way to the dumpster out back.

Here are the pictures of before.

 

The whole sale show is closer to being done than we had thought.  There are a lot of pots in the studio now that we have the front room cleaned out and new shelves put up.  I have 3 orders to get out, should have been done, but I have been busy trying to lift that slippery big ball.  It has been a conflict of energies and the new shop won over production orders. Tomorrow I will get closer to the groove than I have been all year.  I even have hopes of falling into it.  

It is now tomorrow and I got close to the groove today.  I had some calls to make.  Had a visit from Company’s Coming, we put stuff in their cookbooks. After that I did the trimming that needed to be done for the production stuff, then I played with some vases. 

 

 I could or should have thrown the ever dreaded mugs, but tomorrow is another day.

Here are the pictures of the studio, same views. These are during.  We are working on lights and as of yet we only have our pots and the wholesale line is not complete.

 

 

Until next time.

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01/15/06
Back to Work
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 10:18 pm

It has been almost a month since I last wrote. Time does go by quickly when you are having fun and even if you are not. We have been having fun and not working very hard since my last entry. We shut down for the holidays, in every sense of the word. A couple of months ago I was to the point where I wanted to quit and get a “real job”. I just wanted out. I would have really regretted it over the years. Everyday would be filled with I should have, could have, or “I cudda bin a contenda”.

I had been trying to do the work of two people and I was not doing very good job of it. My daughter called it “working like a fly on the window”. I found out no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t do the work of two people. I just needed some time off. We have been to the studio a bit this year, but tomorrow I have to get back to into the grove. I have been very close to the groove recently, just not in it. The orders are coming in, the wholesale show is in a month and I don’t have much for inventory. I want to add large decorative pieces to the line…………… I gotta make some pots.

I am excited about the store. When we first talked about it we were looking to build a gallery, but now I think that we will go more in the direction of interior decorating. The items in the store don’t have to hand crafted or Canadian, just  has to be “cool”. If I like and I think it will sell, it’s in. With the large pieces of pottery and a funky one of kind stock, we are hoping that it will soon be the place that people will go to when they want that special something they can’t find anywhere else. We don’t have anything in it yet. We are at the painting and replacing the lights stage.

The Alberta Gift Show is next month and we will go as buyers and not sellers. It will be the first time in years we will not be in the wholesale show. This year we are inviting our wholesale customers to come see us at the studio. I think it will work out fine, not to mention the $2000 we save by  not being there. So far we have not had anyone tell us they won’t come by. Most people we talk to are looking forward to seeing the studio.

This year will be an interesting year. I know there is an old curse that says “May you live in interesting times”, if it is a curse, I welcome that one. Jim and I have been “cursed” since we have met. The work looks good, the store is an exciting direction change and Jim’s venture with the DVD’s and the  conection to the oil industry  is a total wild card. Who knows where that one will go? We will have fun finding out.  It is exciting.

I will try to take some pictures of  before, during and after of the progress of our little store. We don’t have a name yet. We will most likely just call it Out of the Fire Studio Pottery and ???? .If anyone reading this has an idea let me know.

Until next time.

Cindy

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12/17/05
Season’s Greetings
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 8:40 pm

The show time has come and gone. It was a bust. We knew going in to this show it was a gamble. It was the show’s first year. The promoters wanted to offer a show that sold a higher end product. Not your typical “craft show”. There was some very nice work there; just no one came to see it.

You don’t know until you know; now we know. I would check it out in a few years to see how it is doing and maybe try it again. The concept is a good one.

The studio is just about run down for the year. We have two small orders to finish glazing tomorrow, one is to be shipped and the other picked up. Then we shut it down for the holidaze. (Bad spelling intentional). The order we have to ship has a story. We got an email last Friday from a lady in the States wanting to know if we could supply a bread dipping set for Christmas.

She could not pay the extra shipping but wondered if it was possible to get it delivered in time for Christmas. I laughed when I first read the email for we didn’t even have in stock what she wanted. Jim and I then talked and if we were to help her with the shipping costs, ship DHL and push it through with the last order it would work. It turns out that this lady is giving her daughter in law this set. Her son and his wife were in New Orleans when Katrina hit. They lost everything. He had to move to…. I forget where…. to finish his university. She has gone back to New Orleans to help restore the city, help her friends and rebuild their life. This girl loves to entertain and to feed people. Our dip set will be the first thing she will receive that is not a necessity, but a start to the life of food and friends they had before the hurricane. We are very happy to be able to help give this to them, all for a wee bit of shipping charges.

Next year should prove to be interesting. The lease on the studio runs out next August. We were going to let the studio go, since there is only me working there. It is a large space, 2300 square feet, three big rooms with a lot of overhead. Now I want to keep it and see if we can get a small gallery/gift shop going in the front room. That way if no one likes what I am doing or I can’t find a gallery to take what I make, I will make my own gallery as well. Since I know the lady who owns the joint, I am fairly confident my work will be accepted. Also I would like to offer a place for people who do some very kick ass schtuff but don’t have a name or a place to show it off. My experience has been the art world is who you know or what your name is. What you make, or the skill in which you make it, doesn’t always have a lot to do with it. We get some foot traffic with out any advertising at all. With a bit of work, I am sure we will create a wonderful ……ahh… looking for a word… shopping experience.

Safety Jim’s buyer for the video/DVD series had to have emergency surgery.

So the next in the series has been put on hold until the fellow from Calgary is out of the hospital. The first DVD was very good. They did many small changes and tweaks since the last post here. Now it is done, good, and ready for stage two.

I would like to wish anyone who reads this the best of the season. Take some time for yourself. Eat a bit too much, drink a few drinks, sleep in a time or two and be good to those who love you.

Until next time.

Cindy

1 comment
11/27/05
Some information on…uhhh…pottery
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 7:40 pm

I had an interesting phone call today at work. A girl called because she “wanted some information on… uhhh …..pottery”. She wanted to throw floor vases for her portfolio to show the local university. She told me she wanted to be an artist so she needs to make floor vases. Her logic not mine.

She wanted to know what you need to make a three foot vase. I told her twenty or thirty years on the wheel would be a start. She had never made a pot. She had no access to a studio, but how hard can it be, she has seen it done on TV and she thought it looked really cool. I said it was like wanting to play with Eric Clapton this week end, what do you need to know?

She didn’t know who Eric Clapton was. Oh well, I guess you can’t pot for over thirty years and not be an old fart.

We had a good day at the studio. We loaded the 10 for a bisque and the 16 for a glaze. I forgot the camera so I don’t have any pics to post.

Tomorrow Jim goes to Calgary to show the Safe Driving DVD to the head oil dudes. It is good. They had done a great job, they should be proud.

Safety Jim meets the world, or the world meets Safety Jim, one or the other.

Tomorrow I keep on glazing. As soon as the kilns are unloaded, they will be loaded again. This coming weekend we are doing our first retail show in a long time, a couple of years anyway. I have only had a few weeks to prepare. It will be tight, the pots will still be warm when the show doors open.

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11/26/05
Cindy\’s First Blog
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 6:18 pm

The Pot Blog has been neglected this last while. The studio has gone through some changes. The first being Jim has taken a job outside of the studio. When he is not at his new job he is at the studio. It takes most of his time and that is why he has not kept the blog up to date. By now you will have gleaned that Jim is not writing and by process of elimination, figgered that the only one in the studio besides Jim is me, Cindy, the now Pot Plogger. That sounds nasty, " you dirty pot blogger you".

We simple were not making enough money. The long hours and hard work weren’t paying off. Also it is not fun anymore so it is time to make some changes. Jim is making videos with the fellow who shot our pottery DVD.

Their first one is on driving safety for an oil company in Calgary. It will be finished next week. It is the first of many to be produced for this client. We are all very excited about it. He is the face and voice of this new venture and now known by those who want to get under his skin as "Safety Jim"

I have been trying to keep up with the orders we took in August at the wholesale show. No matter how hard I try, I am not able to do the work of two. I have had to let some of the new clients go and put off some of my regulars. Everyone has been very understanding and patient. I have to admit that sometimes I do loose sight of what I am doing. After all, I am only making pots. If "they" don’t have pots for sale "they" will sell something else. The production line will go through changes as well. I am going to cut back on the smaller items, like hundreds of mugs and start to focus on the larger more artsy pieces, I think that if I am not going to make a whole lot of money doing this I might just as well make what I like. I don’t intend to ever get a "real job".

I will take the camera to work tomorrow and post some of the new things I have been working on.

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10/03/05
Pottery, Pottery, Pottery, Profit?
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 10:08 pm

So where were we? Ah yes, we were halfway through the big government order and pushing to get it done…..we did! Here is the photographic proof.

120 assorted plates, platters, and bowls in Mountain mist with wild rose glaze, ready to be packed up and picked up. At noon on Friday the client arrived and took delivery. He seemed very happy and later in the day we got a phone call to confirm that fact. Sometimes you can push and succeed!

We did use the new 16 cu ft kiln again and decided it had to go away. Major brick and lid problems. The hypothesis is it got dropped somewhere in transit. Shimpo is taking it back.

The next week we worked at getting the VIP bowls ready for the Win House Empty Bowls  fund raiser. We bisqued them all, after finally getting signatures on most of them, and then glazed them in the Mountain Mist with Wild Rose glaze pattern that is proving so popular. We also glazed an order of mugs to ship out to Lake Louise and we shipped some internet orders.

The big luncheon at Sutton House was a success for Win House. The silent auction brought in around $6000, with $900 of the total coming from the VIP bowls and a large serving bowl we donated. We were listed as a major sponsor in the program and got numerous mentions during the course of the event. The big news though was that $900 we raised for the Women’s Shelter. Although there were several “name” potters in the auction, our large bowl brought the biggest price. We felt very good about the whole thing and we will do it again if we are able. Here is the big bowl on the bid table.

Here are the three tables featuring the VIP bowls:

The mayor’s two bowls brought the biggest price one for $100 and one for $70!

So that brings us up to date. We continue to make pottery in the studio to fill the orders from the August wholesale show. Images of Canada has reordered Belly Mugs, and we continue to get internet orders. We are even getting some walk in purchases and have been doing some custom firing. Now if we only didnt have to pay rent and utilities life would be good!

I read today where the Pfaltzgraf Company in the US has been bought by Lifetime Brands. They bought the name, the stock, the intellectual property rights, but not the factory. The oldest producing pottery company in the United States is now going to be an outlet for Chinese tableware. Bottom line drives another company under. The problem as we see it is no one gives a hoot about buying American made or Canadian made goods anymore or hand crafted quality. No one seems to care that a factory in a foreign country with people working for menial wages with questionable materials and production methods are taking the food off their neighbour’s tables. The WalMarting of  North America and the world continues to steamroller art, craft, and quality to sell crap for a lower and lower price.

One of our contacts in California mentioned that in the 1970s there were around 600 potteries in the state of California alone. Now there are 25.

If this trend continues, soon everyone will have their genuine Chinese imitation stoneware Americana and Canadiana pots and furniture and clothes, and cars, and can sit around on their imported imitation furniture wondering what ever happened to all the Craftspeople. They sure don’t make it like they used to.

nite

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09/14/05
Halfway to 110!
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 10:45 pm

We unloaded the first 53 pieces from the new 16. We had a small problem during the firing as this was the first glaze load we had fired in this kiln. Had to stop it, reprogram it, and restart it so we were a little nervous cracking the lid open today, however everything looks good. Unloaded it and reloaded it with the final 27 pieces plus a bowl for an internet order, and started it up again. The temperature was still at 180 when we started this firing! OK, maybe we are pushing a little bit, but these pots have to come out first thing Friday morning so they can be picked up by the client. The other 16 is cooling and at 1200 when we left for the day so we can unload it tomorrow afternoon. We are feeling better. Has been a hectic couple of weeks though.

I’m still trying to get started photographing for the web site. I have visited a few photo stores looking for a graduated backdrop, however after visiting with a lighting specialist today at Light Tools I got some good pointers on how to light pottery for photography and should be able to get at it soon.

Cindy has been throwing orders from the show and is making good progress. I have some slabs to build tomorrow plus I want to get all the pots from the big Friday order that are out of the kiln ready to go tomorrow, so looks like another busy day.

nite

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Big Birthday Party
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 7:28 am

John’s birthday was last Tuesday but he decided to celebrate this past weekend with a few of the guys. They all came over for Saturday afternoon and night. We took them to West Edmonton Mall to the Waterpark and turned them loose for a few hours then back to the house for food and cake. Three of his friends got together and paid for a “Discovery Flight” at the City Centre Airport at a Centennial Flight School there. He met a flight instructor there who took him through an introduction and inspection of the aircraft , a Cessna 172, then the instructor, and John, Cindy and Kaileigh took a  half hour flight out to the west of the city. John got to fly most of the way and put his hundreds of hours at Microsoft Flight Simulator into practice. I’m not sure his feet have touched the ground yet, althought the aircraft landed at 2 o’clock Sunday afternoon.

Back at the studio we got hard at it Monday morning. We had loaded both kilns for a bisque and fired them Friday then I went to shoot some video with Chris Craig (in a graveyard!) but that is another story. Sunday the kilns were still at over 300 degrees so we were unable to unload them until Monday morning. As we unloaded them I started taping and waxing to get them ready for glaxing while Cindy worked on mixing a glaze we were short of. Turned out we were also short of Feldspar so we had to call Larry from Plainsman at home and arrange to meet him on his day off. Very good of him to do this as we would have been unable to get the 110 piece order done in time otherwise. We glazed all the pieces that would fit in the two kilns and reloaded both kilns and got the new one firing and the old one on timer by a little after 7 pm. Very long day.

Tuesday we finished glazing the rest of the pieces and will be unloading and reloading the new kiln today.

Chris got back from Calgary after meeting with the oil guys and we definitely have a video to shoot in the next couple of weeks so I’ll add that to my schedule.

The large order for Friday is almost on schedule. We should make it with seconds to spare. Cindy started throwing some more orders yesterday afternoon as I am going to be unreliable around the studio for the next week or so as I work with Chris.

More Later.

Jim

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09/08/05
Time keeps on Slippin\’
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 10:36 pm

Thursday morning and the kids are getting ready for school. John’s birthday was Tuesday and he is having a few of the guys over Saturday. Always something to look forward to. A bunch of teenagers hanging around the house. Oh well, keeps them off the streets.

Our kiln issues look to have been handled. After the test firing we had some questions and concerns about the new kiln. My theory is it had been sitting around for awhile before it was shipped and had absorbed more moisture than usual. The first test firing done in the way Shimpo recommended resulted in several cracks in the lid, floor, and most importantly in some of the side wall bricks. Not supposed to happen. We looked at our older kilns and while cracks do develop over time in the tops and floors, none of them have ever had a side brick crack. We contacted Ernest at Shimpo and Tim at Plainsman with photos and Ernest is going to replace the kiln.

I’m going to fire this next one , once we receive it,much more slowly than they recommend for the first firing to make sure we allow the bricks to lose any moisture they might contain. We may have to use the bad one once or twice as we have a very large order we have to push through. We have an order for 110 pieces due for pick up next Friday, the 16th. Just finished making them yesterday so we have bisquing and glaze firing to do in a week. Kiln capacity is at a premium.

Of course once the replacement gets here we have the fun task of exchanging the two kilns . Not sure how we are going to do that yet. Should be interesting. 

That said we are very grateful to Ernest and Tim for standing behind the Shimpo Cone Art products. Helps us realize we made the right decision to stick with Cone Art.

Now Thursday evening. Today we worked on getting the 110 pieces to dry. Lots of humidity in the air for some reason. Transferred things to drying racks , moved the fans around a bit and waited. Not really, the waiting took place but we made use of the time by going across town to Plainsman and buying 20 boxes of clay and $500 worth of kiln shelves and posts. Back at the studio we unloaded the van and then I started kilnwashing the new shelves while Cindy built teapots and started trimming and sponging the platters.

Finally called it a day after 5. Tomorrow we hope to get a bisque load going. It is supposed to be rainy for the next few days so we’ll have to push things along as best we can to make next Friday’s deadline. The client is to pick up 110 pieces of pottery then. No pressure!

I’m also working with Chris Craig on some video for his project. We hope to shoot some promotional stuff tomorrow……

so I need my beauty sleep if I’m putting this face in front of the camera!….

nite

 

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09/05/05
Labour Day was just that.
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 9:36 pm

Saturday was a day off so yesterday we went in to work and today as well. Started yesterday by checking out our new kiln after its first firing. No comment for now. Some issues we’ll talk to Plainsman and Shimpo about then we’ll tell all. Suffice it to say we are not totally happy.

I pugged "mug pugs" for Cindy yesterday and she threw three dozen mugs then went on to other items. I started on slabs. We are getting back into the routine.

Today was a continuation. Cindy trimmed some items she had thrown , I pugged, did some more slabs, took pictures of the new kiln to send to Plainsman and Shimpo, then I went and did some "voice over" work for our DVD producer Chris Craig for a project he is working on. Cindy and I both finished up about the same time so called it an evening.

Tomorrow we are to meet the mayor in the afternoon for him to sign his pots. Still several unsigned ones from the "Empty Bowls " group to get done soon as we have to bisque and glaze fire them before the big luncheon on the 26th.

I haven’t forgotten about my promise to post some pictures of our tour of Plainsman Clays. Just have to find the time and get the pictures edited and sized. I also have to get to photographing the product for the web site.

The local radio station, K Rock which had the Pay for Play weekend to raise money for hurricane relief raised over $50000! Lots of people wanting to help. Good to see.

Tomorrow promises to be busy as we get the kids back to school and we hit our schedule in earnest, so…

nite.

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