Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Few More Gray's and the Lessons Learned

This year started off with a bang in our studio. Going from a HUGE Christmas show, to developing new work and replacing stock by the end of January didn't leave any time for much of a break. Then came a wholesale show that I do, and this year we introduced not only a new line of pottery, but a completely different line of work as well.

This strategy proved to be a success and has left us absolutely swamped with orders. Yay! BUT, it has also made it difficult for us to balance work and rest. In addition to all those orders we are struggling to fill, my husband and I were off to Toronto for Easter weekend for another huge craft show. Getting ready for this show in the midst of fulfilling wholesale orders meant working 12 hour days, and seven days a week for 2 months straight.

I certainly don't recommend that.

With wholesale orders needing to go out as soon as I returned from the craft show, I squeezed in a glaze firing two days before we were scheduled to set up for the show. When I came in the next morning to check the kiln, I was a bit puzzled to see that it had taken 2 hours more than usual to fire. Hmmm....

It only took me a minute to realize what was up. I had wanted to drop my firing temperature of 2205 by 10 degrees to prevent my matte glaze from boiling. Instead, what I did was increase the temperature by 100 degrees. Yup. I set my kiln for 2295 instead of 2195. As soon as I became aware of the situation my eyes teared up and I was left feeling rather nauseous.

So in addition to packing for a show, I now had to re-throw a bunch of work, dry it super fast and trim it so that it would be ready to fire as soon as I got back from the show so that I could still get the order out in good time.

And what did I learn from all of this?


Rushing get's me nowhere. In fact, rushing actually pushes me backwards. I definitely need to pace myself better, recognize that time off is important, no matter HOW much work I have to do.

I also learned that extended periods of stress seem to multiply my gray hairs.
Oh well.

The good news from all of this: I only damaged ONE kiln shelf. And I actually managed to salvage 4 of my berry bowls. They look extra amazing with lots of juicy drips.