5 weeks ago, I sat down and said, "okay, I have 10 weeks until the Des Moines Arts Festival. Let's do this!" Thinking about the long list of things to do in that time, I tried to plan accordingly.
In a fantasy world, I figured I could manage one firing per week if I was a full time potter. This would have included one week to get the kiln set up and fired with just posts and shelves as recommended (and required for waranty purposes) by the manufacturer, and then several bisque firings, a glaze test firing, a couple 'real' glaze firings, and a wood firing in Minnesota at Jorgenson Pottery.
But alas! In reality, I have a day job which translates to just a couple productive days per week. Fortunately, the mantra "all in good time" has been ringing in my ears for more than a year, so I've learned not to get too discouraged with slow progress.
There HAS been progress though! The kiln is firing to bisque as the rain pitter patters outside today. Inside the kiln is a slip casted turtle (our mascot?) from Paintin' Place Ceramics and plenty of test tiles and other goodies to keep it company (did I mention that I'll be working with two new clays since the most local supplier doesn't carry my favorite Standard #266?).
With five weeks to go, the pressure is on! I'll be working less in Des Moines and surely keeping busy in the shop, making as much work as I can, mixing glazes I tested in Virginia, and firing as much as possible--only 8 more to go to get back on schedule as "planned"!
Earlier this month, we made a trip to Omaha to pick up the kiln. It was quite an exciting feeling just to have it in the shop, but I was only able to look at it while I waited for a couple of weeks to actually set it up.
Now, we are getting a little closer to actually firing it! Uncle Mark came out earlier this week to hook up the electrical--a task that seemed a lot larger than it actually was once we got started. This lit a fire under our behinds and we bought some quikrete the next day to make a step-up from the wood flooring.
Once that cures completely, we can move the kiln back to its spot in the corner and get the enviroVent set up. Hopefully that will be just as smooth as the other steps in this long process, but time will tell!
Soon to come: a test firing with just shelves and posts (as suggested by the kiln manual). Time is ticking: 9 more weeks until the Des Moines Arts Festival!
A friend forwarded me an Etsy link, sharing an artist working in a similar style as me. Not only was it great to see what someone else is doing with slabs and lace, but it was also helpful in another way: realizing that Etsy might be a great way to kill two birds with one stone!
I have several friends getting married this year, all interested in my pottery as either bridal party gifts, guest gifts, or personal belongings. So while I can fulfill the first two of those requests in a typical commission format, the last request seemed a bit more tricky. Not anymore!
A lot of people think of the typical gift registry as a wishlist to places like Target for towels and small appliances. But why not register via an Etsy shop? Here is an example of a registry for plates and bowls (similar to my style!). DEFINITELY food for thought! So, by the end of the summer, expect to see an Etsy shop set up with pieces for a few of my soon to be newly wed friends! I picture the traditional plate set as well as cups, mugs, platters, napkin rings, picture frames, and whatever else may be requested.
Today was the work session for this year's Emerging Iowa Artists for the 2011 Des Moines Arts Festival, meant as an introduction to participating in festivals as well as an informational meeting for the Des Moines Arts Festival (important times and other good-to-know bits of information).
So, my To Do/Think About List:
- I just ordered 200 business cards, apparently I will need at least 500 to pass out to folks with the intention of following up at a later date.
- The booths are set up with peg boards: not very attractive if NOT covered up/used... so, keyhole installation??
- Overall booth set up could lead to an invitation back next year as well as a $1000 prize for EIA Best in Show. I better get cracking not only making things to sell, but also creating a kick-ass booth...
Below are a few pictures that caught my eye when searching for some inspiration and direction in this initial brainstorming of my booth via Google Image Search.
Things to learn from these artists' booths:
- Having a variety of pieces helps break up the space--using the wall to display hanging pieces and shelves or pedastals for the rest.
- Mini shelves used on larger shelves helps fill the space in a more interesteing way, allowing different levels within each traditional slot.
- Shelves showcasing a particular form (cups nested in their own shelves) is fun and is an installation piece in itself.
- Having a designated place for business cards and guest sign-in may be a good idea to fill the space and make it easier on visitors.
All in all, I'm excited!! I know I have a LOT of work to do, but that's part of the fun too, right?! The next ten weeks are going to be BUSY! Here we go!