Bulbs!

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Not sure if these are tulips or daffodils, and frankly, don’t care. There are signs of life in the flower bed! My very first flower bed, that I dug myself! I don’t think I can really express how relieved and happy I am. It’s been a very muddy patch for a long time.

Looking to the Future

I’ve just written my first marketing plan. It’s a hoop to jump through for funding big projects down the line, but it’s also a good exercise in planning. (Which I suppose is why it’s one of the hoops…) Sales goals and marketing goals and how to achieve them. All that good stuff…

I’m hoping to be accepted for the One of a Kind Show in Toronto this November. I don’t know if I’ll get in, and the up-front expense of getting me and my work there is SCARY, but I feel like it’s an important step to take. It’ll get me little bit off the island, let me start up a new fan base. All that good and necessary stuff. It’s just such an immense investment of time and money and stock. I actually started making work for it back in January, because I knew the size of this project would be huge, but actually crunching numbers today really drove it home.

I sat down for some inventory, and somewhat miraculously, there’s enough stockpiled now to cover the cost. Now I just have to start working on my profit…

Plants

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This window is the sunniest one in the house. At this time last year, I was using the room for laundry and throwing. I had some cheap old bookcases under the window for pots, and cups full of seedlings across the top of the shelves, waiting for June so I could plant them out.[1]

Now, the spot where I had my wheel has a kiln on it. The studio expanded into the adjoining bedroom, where my wheel and slabroller and lots of modular shelving live. There’s been nothing under the window in ages but a cardboard box with some brackets in it, and that ain’t tall enough for seedlings to get any kind of sun. So I stacked up two towers of kitty litter buckets [2], laid a nice wide shelf over them, and restarted my studio plant nursery. Assuming all goes well, those cups are the beginnings of tomatoes, ground cherries, red currants, gooseberries, and grapes.

Just because it’s blizzarding out there is no reason to think summer’s never coming.

[1] I had to put them on the floor when I did the laundry. The spin cycle on the washing machine would shake the room so hard that they’d fall over if I didn’t.

[2] Kitty litter buckets are awesome for glaze and clay scrap storage. Large, lidded, handled, and stackable. And hardly wobble at all when the spin cycle comes on.

March

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March is still wintertime in Newfoundland. The temperature is still firmly below zero, the snow is still stubbornly coating the ground, and the sidewalks have yet to sprout.

But today, walking downtown, there was a feeling of spring. Not the actual presence of spring, of course, but a sort of small  foreshadowing. It’s a little warmer today, and the sun is bright, and I left the house wearing light wool socks instead of heavy. I even loosened my scarf.

Someday–not soon, but not to far away–it will be warm enough to plant things again.

Porcelain Update

So, I switched from cream stoneware to porcelain this winter. Here’s what done of my results have been:

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As expected, the Robot line has gotten brighter, and the colours are indeed popping out more. Some of them, especially the purple underglaze, have even gotten more intense. Something to do with the difference in iron content in the clay?

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Who knows. I like it, anyways.

My matte glazes have all lost their yellowy undertone, which is cool. The white is now very white, and the satin matte blue is an almost shockingly pretty pastel.

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I hadn’t quite bargained on the lizardskin glaze on my Dino pots also going all pretty and pastel, but it has. It’s a really dramatic difference, actually. Not quite sure what to make of that change.

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Change

When I first started selling my work, I decided I needed a company name to do it under. My actual name (while a perfectly accurate reflection of my half Dutch, half French Canadian family) is Difficult for English Speakers. And I live in the most English-dominant province in the country. I have spent a lot of time explaining the pronunciation and spelling of my name to all sorts of people, and even teachers at school were prone to getting it wrong[1]. So I felt a company name would just make things easier on everyone. 

It was hard to pick one. I knew I (probably) would be sticking to ceramics, and (probably) would be mostly making functional wares, but past that, I had very little idea how to identify myself to the world. I wound up using my tattoo, a personal reminder of hard work and accomplishments, as inspiration, and came out to the world as Blue Dragon Clay.[2] And that worked, insofar as it was easy to read and say for the majority of my audience, but it has never meant anything to anyone other than me. It doesn’t even describe the work. Mostly because my designs have changed so much over the years that the only real constant is that they’re mine.  

So I’m ditching the old name. Mostly when people go looking for my stuff, they ask for “the Robot lady” or “the one who did those book cups”, anyway. If the constant is me, I may as well switch to me. I registered my first ever domain today. All the old blog content is under the new domain; all the old links to bluedragonclay.wordpress.com should just quietly redirect to maaikecharron.com.

It feels kinda nice.

 

[1] My high school physics teacher, an enthusiastic and entertaining man whose classes I enjoyed even without much natural aptitude for the subject matter, spelled it differently on every test, assignment, and report I ever got back from him. Which is impressive, considering I had consistently and scrupulously spelled it correctly in the upper right hand corner before handing in the work, and so he had it right there as a handy reference.[3]

[2] The minority language rights activist in me is, to this day, slightly annoyed that I couldn’t come up with something handily bilingual, but there you have it.

[3] I will admit, it is possible I might have discovered more natural aptitude for physics if I had spent slightly less time passing notes back and forth with my friend. We coded them in Aurebesh. I assume that extra level of nerdery was my idea. No way I’d risk being caught doing something against the rules if I couldn’t at least nerd it up enough that it wouldn’t be cool.