Folk Fest: Special Editions

The Folk Festival opens on Friday, and will run until Sunday. I’m really excited; the band line-up this year is fantastic. I’ll get to hear The Dardanelles AND The Punters. Awesomeness.

Also, I’ll get to sell some stuff. That’s always fun. In honour of the great venue and the fact it’s fun to geek out about traditional music, I’ve made some special edition Robot mugs.

The other side says, “Robot is unlike the swallow”.

Quick Wave

I Aten’t Ded. Not yet, anyways.

The Folk Fest went pretty well on Sunday, all things considered. The organizers deserve our eternal thanks for being able to transplant us to Mile One. But what an exhausting rollercoaster of a weekend! I wound up falling asleep in the tub the Monday after.

I’ve been pretty much away from the studio all week. I was in long enough to roll out some slabs, but other than that, I haven’t poked the place with an eleven-foot pole. I am taking some time off.[1]

[1] Which I am about to spend reading old issues of Ceramics Monthly and sketching interesting embroidery patterns that could be used in tiles. How did that become time off?

It’s a Miracle!

Confirmation went out this evening that vendors CAN set up at Mile One! Woohoo! What a day for ups and downs. First we get notification about the park being shut down, and told we have to get our booths dismantled and removed as soon as possible. Then the Folk Fest main stage acts for the night were going ahead at the stadium, but there was no way to get the vendors in as well.

Myself and the lovely Jason Holley and Roz Ford, crafty privateers extraordinaires, got together to mope. Then started planning a craft fair, an extra craft fair entry, and a pop-up shop for the next few months to make up for lost sales (and, let’s face it, to feel less mopey). And right when the plans had been drawn up and a list of fine details to get had been figured out, we got a call from Kelly[1] to let us know vendors will be able to set up after all.

No idea where in the building we’ll be yet–will find that out tomorrow–but we will definitely be there. Spread the word as far and wide as you can!

[1] Craft Tent Organizer and general people-wrangler, who is magical and wonderful and so very good at what she does.

Argh, blargh

The Folk Fest got rained out. All the music acts have moved to Mile One, and concessions and vendors can’t follow. I’m a bit disappointed. But still, you can’t control the weather.

There has already been some speculative talk of putting on a very-short-notice craft fair, or a pop-up shop, or something. We shall see.

So far so good. Very damp, but I’ve got a bag full of woollies and a pair of backup boots should the Docs get wet, so that’s okay. The crowd doesn’t seem to be wary of the weather (partly because the Folk Fest has a very dedicated audience who are used to th rain, and partly thanks to the wonders of advance ticket sales).

Sold some stuff. (Possibly more than last Friday… not by much, though, I don’t think.) Got to listen to people’s delighted squeals as they pore over Robots, which is very rewarding. And have sort of arranged a trade with one of my favourite jewelers, which is excellent. Also, I may have the best puffin in existence in my happy little hands soon.


Spent a good chunk of yesterday at the Regatta. It was great! Got the traditional Hindu temple food, and some cotton candy, and Moo Moo’s ice cream. Hung out with cool people, had a bite of candy apple, and got to watch some kids being sproinged high up in the air at the rig Acro-Adix had set up. (Would have loved to try it out myself, but the line-up was longer than I wanted to wait in.)

Then home for Seafarers of Cattan and introducing said cool people to Doctor Who (starting with the new stuff in 2005). I haven’t watched that season myself in a while, so it’s been fun going over it again (especially “Nice to meet you, Rose. Run for your life!”). Usually when I go over old episodes I just pick and choose two or three favourites; I haven’t seen the whole thing as one unified block in ages.

And then loading the last kiln pre-Folk Fest. I had to go for the small one after all, so my supply of cephalopots will be less than what I was hoping for, but probably still adequate. That’s really not a bad thing.

Early August

Everything was glazed on time for the Folk Fest. It all came out lovely.

The festival itself went well; Saturday was dead slow but Friday and Sunday made up for it. I had to take a break Saturday and be a groomsman at my friend Matthew’s wedding, so that was fun. I didn’t get to see much of the reception, unfortunately[1], but I’m told the cephalopot teaset I made them went over well. They even went down to Britania Teas on Water Street, to purchase some tea, to be brewed in the teapot, when they get settled away in Halifax.

The music was good, the weather was (barring Saturday afternoon’s deluge) excellent, and the Lantern Festival people were out with a few specimens from this year, including this architectural marvel:

Once the Folk Fest was over, there was hardly time to catch my breath but the beach fire was upon us. It’s the main fundraiser for the studio; every year, volunteers spend a month or two making pots, which are bisqued, and then wrapped in seaweed, salt, copper, rope, rope soaked in salt, rope soaked in copper salts, copper scrub brushes, more seaweed, and wire. The pots get taken down to Middle Cove Beach, where they’re pit-fired and sold on the spot. This year we also had some manure in the pit, as that’s supposed to give blues and purples. We didn’t get as much as I’d been hoping for, but it’s a start.

I was working that day, but the Boss Lady let me off early, so I got to see the pots being unloaded, and help out a little with the odd jobs at the end. Then I went swimming in the ocean.[2]

And on Sunday I had some damn sleep.

[1]I was in a rush to get back to the park before my booth help turned into a pumpkin and went home for supper.

[2] It was cold. I had to be dared multiple times to do it, because I knew it would be cold, and lo, I was right.[3]

[3] Oh, okay. It was fun too.


After a series of almost comically nasty delays, including the temporary transformation of Duckworth Street into a river, we got water back on Thursday. Yaaaaay!

I’ve been busily glazing, with brief firing and teaching respites, since. Today was a particularly long marathon. The very last pre-Folk Fest firing will be loaded tomorrow, and fired Tuesday. I am swinging between “Phew! Glad the hard part’s done!” and “ARGHNOOOOWHATHAVEISCREWEDUPNOW? I won’t find out in time to fix it!!1!”

And tomorrow, the serious planning starts for the beach fire. But that’s another post, for when I have more sleep and less sore.

Frantically franticking.

Pottery has a long lead-time. Between the throwing, slight drying, assembling, much longer drying, and two firings (which are themselves multi-day events), the deadline for Having Stuff Made is a lot further ahead of any given craft fair or gallery opening than it can be for most crafts.

My deadline for the Folk Fest is somewhere around now. I say “somewhere” because I can’t say exactly when it falls–it depends on humidity levels and kiln schedules, which are as erratic and dependable as a flock of coke-addled butterflies. It may be today, it may be in a few days, and it may even have come and gone without my knowing it. This has sent me into paroxysms of planning and throwing, and then revising and throwing. With limited time left (if any is left), I am looking at my completed and drying stock and thinking things like, “Dear god, why did I make so many mugs? I need to get going on teacups. No, wait, mugs sell better. Wait, I only know that about Bug teacups. What about cephalocups? I’ve never made those, except on commission. I should make a few and try them out. *makes three cups* Wait, this is stupid! I should make pate dishes; at least I know for sure they’ll sell… Hold on. I don’t have any bowls. I must make many bowls, in many sizes! Oh, now I have a shelf full of bowls. Why did I make so many? Why am I wasting time and space on things that are not mugs?! I must make more mugs! Hey, why don’t I try plates again? I’m sure they’ll sell this time! No wait, they will take away shelf space from mugs!”

The end result is a big jumble of stuff. Where my production schedule is usually much more coherent (two days of mugs, two days of cream and sugar sets, two days of teapots…), I am just making whatever my fevered brain thinks of at a given moment. Without even knowing if the panic will do my Folk Fest display any good.

It’s no wonder potters get a little erratic over time.

Folk Festival: Day Three

Trading day! For a teacups, three mugs, and two cereal bowls, I got two pairs of Steph’s pearl earrings, one pair of Jason’s cascading circles earrings[1], a ball of Linda Lewis’ yarn[2], and a gorgeous scarf and two bookmarks from Pearl Fifield. I’m feeling quite happy.

I sold my big 6 lb cephalopot serving bowl. Must make more!

Serena Ryder is really good.

Supper was about the same as yesterday, but no less awesome. Thanks, Mike (& co)!

Got a shout-out from the stage from my kindergarten teacher. (She quit to be a musician a year after I had her, and she’s been doing the Folk Fest pretty regularly ever since.)

In total, my take is only about two hundred dollars under what I did at the CCNL Craft Fair. Cool. Way better than what I expected. (And it’s about six times more than I made at last year’s Folk Fest. The wonders of better weather and a good spot…)

The top search bringing people to the blog this week is “cephalopot”, which is awesome, because about 40% of the time it’s either “cara kansala” or “sherri winsor”.[3]

[1] I’d give you a link for pics, but the bastard still hasn’t gotten his website up. Grrr.

[2] 20% silk, 80% mohair. Why yes, I did have another pair of handwarmers by suppertime. And no-one bought them off me, so my hands stayed warm. :-)

[3] About 50% of the time, it’s “how to make blue clay dragon”, or variants thereof. If anyone wants to start selling blue dragons out of clay, or at least an instruction manual, I think there’s a market out there.