This is not the first time I've done three shows in three consecutive weekends. But in the past I've only done it when one or more of them was Small, the kind that didn't require a whole lot of inventory. This was the first time I've done three Large shows in a row, in fact I'd say it was two Larges and one X-Large. My work life is very different this year, now that I'm not teaching classes. Not only did I have the time and energy to do the shows, I also had the time to make all the pots I needed. I actually finished all the pots for the three May shows by the end of March. Since then I've been making spring wholesale orders, and pots for June and July shows. Speaking of July, I'll be doing three in a row again, only this time it will be two X-Larges and one Large.
I can now say that my process for doing shows is really well thought out. It hums with efficiency. After the Rockville and Baltimore shows, I went back to work in the studio the next day. Didn't need a day off. Although I was pretty tired after the Philly show. That was the X-Large show, three days that included a nasty thunderstorm, a two-hour drive each way, and being away from home. I didn't do any studio work the following day, but I didn't get to rest either. Somehow my lawn grew sneaky tall while I was away, and all these new weeds sprang up around my veggie garden, so I spent that day catching up on homeowner duties.
My intention is not to do this many shows from now on. I am using this year to try out a lot of new shows. I had so many options this year, again because I did not have to work around a teaching schedule. I decided the fastest way to figure out the right answers was to do as many as I could. Next year I can be more selective.
On the other hand, all the extra cash flow from doing this many shows is nice. I could get used to it. Here is my booth near the end of the Philly show, almost picked clean by the Philadelphians.
As much as I enjoyed the past two months of uninterrupted studio time, I'm ready to get started with my Spring and Summer festival season. I've planned a very ambitions season, with three shows in May, one in June, and two or three more in July. It all starts this weekend!
A-RTS Rockville Town Square Arts Festival
Saturday May 3, 11am - 6pm
Sunday May 4, 11am - 5pm
The festival will close down the streets in Rockville Town Square. My booth number is 239 on E. Middle Lane.
Pennsylvania Guild Fine Craft Fair
Friday May 9, 11am - 7pm
Saturday May 10, 11am - 7pm
Sunday May 11, 11am - 5pm
Located in Rittenhouse Square in downtown Philadelphia. My booth number is 139.
Sunday May 18, 11am - 5pm
Artists will set up around the Druid Hill Reservoir, just like they did in the 50s and 60s.
It was a difficult winter, but thankfully it's over now. Can I interest you in a birdhouse?
My production output has increased dramatically in the last year or so. Among other things, I need to make a lot more dinner plates. Plates are cumbersome to dry, because they need so much footprint space. Once they are bone dry, I can stack them four high, which makes them efficient again. But during those drying days, they are a pain. I thought I needed to add more shelving to my studio, just to accommodate the drying plates. I didn't want more furniture, because I think the layout and flow of my studio is pretty darn perfect already. Also, I don't make plates every day. I make them every few weeks, and then I'll crank out a few dozen at a time. Therefore, a permanent change in furniture didn't make sense. The right solution hit me with an "aha!" My spacious studio already contained the answer. When you have a studio all to yourself, you can use the floor for drying plates.
I remember how I felt about this many years ago. And I commonly hear other potters express this sentiment. Something along the lines of "Ugh! Making multiples of the exact same pot sounds like torture!" Don't worry, the torture is only a phase. There is a point when it becomes bliss. The difference is skill level. If throwing one pot to exact dimensions involves a mental strain, then doing it many times will cause serious brain cramps. But when you can throw to exact dimensions easily, without wasting effort, it is a rhythmic and zen-like process. Hours of quiet work go by. When you say "good night" to the rows of identical pots, they answer back "well you had a productive day, didn't you?"
I have a tool for throwing multiples, which I consider indispensable: a throwing gauge. You can buy throwing gauges, but I made a simple one for free out of a broken gooseneck table lamp. I removed the lamp head and the electrical cord. I attached a metal pin (a leftover part from disassembling the lamp) to the end of the gooseneck with a blob of electrician's putty. Then I secured the putty and the pin in place with electrical tape.
Here's how it works ... throw one pot to the dimensions you want, taking time to measure it carefully. When done, position the throwing gauge so the end of the pin hovers right above the rim of the pot.
Now, the pin guides you as you throw all the subsequent pots. It gives you both the height and the width of the rim. Unlike a ruler or calipers, you don't need to stop throwing to check your progress. Just aim for the pin. And here's a trade secret from a production potter ... when throwing multiples, the only dimensions that matter are the height and width of the rim. The other aspects of shape are not terribly important. As long as the rims are the same height and width, they will read as matching multiples.
To all of you who still think "ugh" at the thought of throwing multiples, I say "keep practicing because you don't know what you're missing."
Good night, pots.
Opening this weekend at Baltimore Clayworks ....
March 1 - April 12, 2014
An exhibition of sgraffitto, mishima, and other techniques which create designs embedded into the flesh of the clay, not just on the surface. I am honored to be included in this show, with the following two pieces!
Baltimore Clayworks is located at 5707 Smith Ave, Baltimore MD 21209. Gallery hours are Mon-Fri 10am - 5pm, Sat-Sun 12noon - 5pm.
This is why it pays to arrive as early as possible to set up for the ACC Baltimore Show .... the exhibit hall is still mostly empty, and they let you drive all the way to your booth. I finished setting up in three hours flat, then I ate my way through Lexington Market for lunch. Hope to see you this weekend at the show! Weather forecast looks quite nice. Click here for complete event details.
Coming soon to the American Craft Council Baltimore Show, February 21-23, at the Baltimore Convention Center. Along with over 650 of the country's best craft artists. Start making your plans by following this link to $7 advanced purchase tickets (compared to $16 at the door).
American Craft Council Baltimore Show
Friday, February 21, 10am - 8pm
Saturday, February 22, 10am - 6pm
Sunday, February 23, 11am - 5pm
Baltimore Convention Center, One West Pratt Street
Complete event details are here.
Get your $7 advance purchase tickets here.
My pottery and I will be in booth 3707. I just updated the Recent Work page of this website, check it out to get a really good idea of the pots I'll have at the show. Hope to see you there!
One kiln was heating up, the other was cooling down. I caught a photo of that brief moment right before their temperatures converge then trade places. I like to think they are high-fiving each other. Yes, I am a dork.