I had to do a run to my local clay shop today for boring things like a kiln shelf, a sieve, brushes, and glaze. While there, I was perusing the book section, looking for something to give me more info about processing wild clay, and I saw they were having a sale on back issues of Ceramics Monthly magazine. One cover caught my eye in particular with some beautiful simple nesting bowls with pebble like glaze and delicately imperfect, wabi-sabi edges. I snatched it up on a whim and added it to the pile of supplies. After a long afternoon and evening of glazing, I settled down to unwind on the couch and picked up the issue and read it cover to cover, completely inspired by every article and story about various ceramicists and their work, plus the many pictures of contemporary ceramic work. Now I'm left with that wonderfully delicious feeling that we artist crave of new ideas, new inspirations, exciting possibilities rattling around. This is something I've been missing, I think. As an introvert and a parent, I don't get out to galleries, and other than the small pottery group I meet with monthly, I haven't been making time to get outside my little world into the larger ceramic community (other than instagram, but that has it's limits). And it just hit me how much I need it. To read about other potter's processes, to see work I normally wouldn't seek out, and to realize what's out there right now. I'm going to add galleries and ceramics publications to my list of places to go for inspirations, right after the river and the forest.
Hey, it's that time of year again! I'm so excited to being doing Crafty Wonderland again and really looking forward to getting out and meeting people, both shoppers and vendors who always end up being so super nice. I had such a fun time at the last Crafty, it's probably one of my favorite shows. So stop by if you can and say hi. I'm booth number 156. And don't forget the goodie bags for the first 200 shoppers if you're an early bird!
I feel like it's been ages since I've written here, so was a bit relieved when I realized it's only been a little over a month. Turns out that parenting kids, making pots, trying to sell those pots, and also trying to have some kind of enjoyable life doesn't leave a lot of extra energy for writing a blog. Who would have thought. Mostly right now though, I'm just popping in to during bath time, before homework to mention a fun spring pop up I'll be doing in a couple of weeks. It will be April 15th, the day before Easter, at Mantel. Tiffany of Foraged Floral and I will be doing a collaboration with my vases and her floral arrangements, just in time for the Easter celebration. We'll have some larger bouquets along with sweet little blooms in bud vases. We'd love to see you!
I have to say, I'm really enjoying my routine these days. It's keeping me humming along even in these dark damp days when motivation is sometimes low and either crawling under the sheets or running far away sound like the best options. And of course, the added horror of current events has made me lose a few days of productivity to anxiety. Those lost days were what really motivated me to re-focus on the daily routine and discipline of studio work. It might still be work that leaves me tired at the end of a day, but it's meditative, creative work that feeds my spirit and gives me energy to resist wherever I can.
So, what is that routine that is so miraculous you ask? I thought I'd take some pictures of my day and let you in on the wild and crazy life of a studio potter. (hint: it's neither wild nor crazy but I sure like it!)
I'll skip over the pictures of me first thing in the morning, stumbling around for coffee because no one needs to see that. But I do make coffee first thing while the kids get themselves ready for school. We're really lucky that we live right next to the elementary school where my youngest goes and my oldest either takes the bus or walks to middle school, so I don't have to drive them there. After they leave, I sit down with my coffee and check emails and social media, answer any comments or questions that have popped up overnight on anything I posted, and then try to get out of Facebook and Instagram before they become a huge time suck. I then take a bit of time to read and learn something new either about ceramics or about the business side, like marketing, accounting, blah blah blah. I'm not a natural at any of that, so I have to be really intentional at continuing to seek out new information. (PS - If you're looking for a great resource for info on social media marketing for creative professionals, I really love Meighan O'Toole's advice and candor.)
I'll eat something simple for breakfast then head out to the studio. If I'm throwing, I'll sketch up a few ideas on the wall chalkboard. I can look at these shapes while I'm throwing and it helps keep me on track.
Podcasts are my jam while I work and these days I'm really into the docudrama pods. They're another great way to escape current events for a bit. Here are my favorites: Ars Paradoxica, The Deep Vault, The Bright Sessions, Archive 81, and Life After.
I usually work until 12 or 1, eat some lunch, check email, and then go for a walk or run. I usually have a little fight with myself about whether or not to go on that run or keep working, because I really want to get more done but I know that I need to workout and clear my head. Usually the workout wins and if it loses, I regret it later. When I get back, it's back to work until 3 when I take a quick break to pick up my son at the school. He has snack and downtime while I work for another hour or two. If there are nearby deliveries to make, I often do them at this time. Otherwise, it's throwing or glazing.
My partner gets home between 4:30 and 5 and he'll come into the studio so we can discuss the day and think about dinner. Occasionally I work in the evenings after dinner, but most of the time I'm in by 6, we have dinner and then it's on to homework and story time for the kiddos, followed by down time for the grown ups.
And that's basically it. Every wednesday morning is yoga and every wednesday evening we have dinner with neighbors and friends, potluck style. Every thursday evening I walk over to my friend's house for whiskey and gossip. Every other friday is date night. You get the idea. I used to be very routine averse and liked to fly by the seat of my clay covered pants, but the more complicated life got, the more I'm enjoying a loose structure to keep the chaos contained.
How about you? Do you love routines or is every day a surprise? ;)