Well. That didn’t take long to fill up.
The stressful times of year are when I get most creative. Spring—in the run-up to Fresh Fish and summer orders—and fall—getting ready for Christmas—are long, difficult seasons. They’re difficult because of weather (getting darker and colder, or stubbornly staying cold), they’re difficult because of orders (everyone wants their stuff at the same time), they’re difficult because I have signed up for events and need to get ready.
I’ve been working a full-time job in the days, and then going to the studio and potting for hours. Sometimes so many hours that my supper break consists of strolling down to George Street and buying a plate if nachos and questionable “cheese” sauce from a street vendor because that’s the only source of cheap food available by the time I come up for air. My husband and I communicate largely via notes, because we are no longer awake at the same times. I am no longer sure, at any moment, what day it is or what I had planned to do, other than making more pots.
Somewhere along the line, every year, at these two seasons, something snaps. My brain starts wailing, “Noooooooo, don’t wanna!” at every little task, but it is also too terrified to stop performing them. In a desperate attempt at compromise, it starts coming up with new things to make. New lines, new glazes to try. New colour combinations. New themes. New shapes.
There is a lot of black clay, because I asked for it and then came up with Robots and haven’t used half of what I ordered, so I will be coming up with something involving it over the winter. It started off as a happy and cheerful idea, full of cartoon birds and flowers, and is now veering towards cat paw prints and small dead animals. I don’t know. The seasonal pressure cooker, combined with Bebber’s death, has me feeling very fragile. But the ideas will just have to sit and stew until after the craft fair. Then… we’ll see.
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.
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.
I dreamed of tentacles last night.
Time for a detour back to Robot land, methinks.
A small army of Robots is on the move. Half are in the kiln now for their bisque, and the rest will follow shortly.
Tomorrow evening I’ll be in a cabin somewhere in Tors Cove, eating obscene amounts of food and generally taking a break from the world. After that, I desperately need to get cracking on Folk Fest prep; I’ve got some Bug mugs, and a few Robot plates and bowls, but nothing else to speak of.
What a commotion yesterday! First part of Duckworth and Water Streets were blocked off due to a fire. I came across the smoke waaay up Torbay Road, around the intersection with Newfoundland Drive, on the way in to work that day.
It didn’t seem too bad from this side. But then around the back…
It’s probably a good thing the building belongs to a law office that specializes in insurance claims.
Next door, Model Citizens was getting into the spirit of things:
I’d gone down to see if they’d be open today, because I have some Robot things to deliver. “Sure, you didn’t need the kiln today! You could have just left everything next door overnight!”
Other things that came out of the kiln yesterday: the very last two Viking bowls (finally!), and the first of the rowhouse mugs.
Now I’ve got a cephalopot teaset to finish up and a wedding present to puzzle over, and then it’s full-tilt Folk Fest production.
The last week and a half have been a marathon of mugs. Robot mugs, rowhouse mugs, birthday bug mugs… Experiments with attaching mug handles, experiments with mug shapes, experiments with mug foot-to-everything-else ratios…
And last night, a bunch of mugs got loaded in the kiln. Soon I get to see how they turn out!
 Vinegar + wiggle? Soooo doesn’t work. Stick with scoring and slipping. Vinegar in slip seems to make nicer slip, though…
 On the up side, I now have a bunch of nice clay cups to replace the glass ones I’m giving my brother as a house-warming present.
I have a new toy!
It’s a batt-holder. Basically, a circle of MDF-type stuff with a square cut out in the middle, which you can fit a standard commercial 6-inch tile into. You attach your holder to your wheelhead, you put your tile in the hole, and you throw whatever you want on top of it.
When you’re done you just pry your tile out of the hole and put it wherever you let things dry. No cutting and sliding freshly-thrown things off the wheel means less chance of warping or collapsing in transit. And it’s waaaay easier than attaching and detaching batts one at a time for each pot you throw, which is what I was doing previously.