Today is the last day of the Fall Term at my school. It is exciting because it ushers in the holiday season and students (despite taking final assessments today) are in pretty awesome moods knowing that today is the end of the first third of the school year and the last day before a week break and the end of these courses. When we come back to school in 8 days, students will start all new classes, with teachers, and with new classmates. It is like the first day of the school year all over again and while some of the logistics on the teacher end of this can feel overwhelming to grade and finish one set of courses while prepping new courses, it is also a fresh start for everyone and a new chapter. So it is an exciting day and it is snowing! Yes, the last day of the Fall term is letting us know hard that today marks the beginning of the Winter season and I am totally ready for it. With cozy times and more festive spirits, I cannot wait to spend time in my little studio making pottery in-between the family and school moments. I am busy making orders for Naomi Mugs, ornaments, platters, and berry colanders, and I love love love making these items knowing they will go to someone’s home and become a part of their daily landscape.
My pottery shop went “live” yesterday. It is going to have incredibly humble beginnings, but I’m excited that it is now a public dream and it truly does feel like the start of something …,,,
This morning, I spent a little time reading about the seven mistakes all new crafters make when they open up an Etsy shop. It has been on my mind this fantasy of having my own little studio but could I really? Would anyone be interested in pottery made by me in an overly saturated market or when a trip to Target could easily yield some cheap and cheerful pieces? My friend, Lyndsay, suggested yesterday that I think about making my pottery and sharing it with the world (or at least with those in the world willing to bring misshapen ceramics into their lives). The mistakes in starting a craft shop are many including: not having enough pieces in the gallery, not utilizing search engine optimization, not having consistent or clear branding, not taking photos that are staged well and, therefore, not allowing the created pieces to shine. I am about to make all of those mistakes.
You might have noticed that there is a new tab at the top of the blog called “pottery shop.” I am about to make all the mistakes here in branding and making my shop a presence in this fast-paced world of social media. BUT I also feel like having been a teacher now for almost ten years (WOW, how is that even possible), has demonstrated countless times the power of learning by doing. So here we go. I am going to do a lot of changes to that tab’s format, layout, structure, but the heart will always be the same to share these little pieces coming off the wheel.
After weeks of anticipation, the misshapen first products of this new potter are that much closer to coming home for “use.” After throwing, centering, drying, trimming, pulling handles, adding handles, stamping, firing, glazing, and firing again, the end of the pottery term of classes is coinciding with the completion of 8 creations. I say creations because when you see the final products, they clearly represent loose interpretations of bowls, mugs, vases, and plates. And there is definitely an “evolution” of “skill.” But even if they are childlike in their execution, I am pretty proud of them. It felt so exciting to learn a new craft and to see tiny improvements each week. Getting jazzed about Tuesday nights and accessing a part of myself I haven’t explicitly connected with in too long shifted my mindset and perspective all week long. While I might have been tired on Wednesday mornings after crawling into bed at 11PM on Tuesday, it felt oddly rejuvenating to just do something different and to have something tangible to bring home in exchange for stepping out of that comfort zone. When registration opens for the Spring Term, I am for sure going to sign up for this venture. Some big life goals now are to replace all my mugs at home with ones I have made and to be able to feel like being called a “potter” is a just label to be assigned through my practice and dedication to honing and throwing clay. An even bigger idea that will take time building towards might even be to open a little booth in a summer-of-the-future’s farmer’s market in town. It feels really rewarding and enriching to get my hands messy and to make. And I am hoping keep on keeping on.