Monday, 27 February 2012

Gutted! Guts and heroes!

Well I made my FIRST sale via my new ebay shop - woohoo!

Ok celebration over - I just received an email with pictures attached from my one and only, not so happy customer, showing my beautiful biscuit barrel in about 200 pieces. The pot was wrapped in more than an inch thick layer of bubble wrap inside a double walled corrugated box, with no room for movement. It had at least 10 fragile stickers all over it and yet it still looks like someone has taken a sledge hammer to it! From the damage it looks like something very heavy was dropped on top of it. What kind of idiot would drop something heavy onto a box clearly marked fragile?

I feel very demoralised! It's not easy trying to make your way forward with a small business like this when you're working full time and have two small kids. It makes me even more in awe of the people who've actually done it. It must take some guts to embark on a venture such as a pottery business. To actually leap off that precipice and flap like mad in the hope that you're going to fly - them folks have got guts! You must have to put to one side thoughts of what you might lose and think just about what you might gain. That's my trouble I think - I tend to worry about losing my footing on life's cliff face and go slipping back down to some lowlier position where I'll have to try twice as hard to get half as much.

I'm a gloomy sod aren't I?

Monday, 20 February 2012

Ebay shop opening

I've opened an Ebay shop see:

It's not the most user friendly platform, I have to say. Maybe it's me being a bit technically challenged. Well I'd better get ready for a rush of customers, so more making, photographing to be done this week.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Our first Craft Fayre

Sunday was a first for me and Jen. We had expected everything and nothing from the craft fayre before we arrived. Part of me hoped that we'd be innundated with customers clammering for our pots, but my cynical brain didn't expect any interest. For the first two hours it appeared that the cynic in me was right, we didn't even get a hint of interest from the handful of people who were passing our stand. However, as the day wore on we gradually began to attract more interest and eventually some sales. By the end of the day we had done reasonably well and went home satisfied.
We did learn a lot during the day. Firstly, I was immediately struck by how unobservant most people are! I couldn't believe how folks were just walking around the room not actually looking at anything. People would walk past our stand without the slightest awareness that we were there. Next time I think the arrangement of the shelving needs to be such that the passers by are facing it as they walk along the corridor of stands, as people only seem to look directly in front of themselves. Secondly, I think I need to have fewer products on display, but displayed much more artistically. If you look at our stall it looks as though we've just tipped everything we have onto the table (believe it or not we had as much again hidden beneth the table - always the optimist!).
By all accounts it was a very quite day. It was cold and rainy, the middle of the month and the town was very quiet. Some of the other stall holders didn't make a single sale all day, so we should be pleased that we covered all of our costs and made a small profit. I think in future we'll be much more selective about which date we choose to exhibit on.
I had thought that bird feeders would sell out, but as it was I've now got one to add to my bird feeder. Come and get it my feathered friends!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Glaze firing results

Here are some pictures of yesterday's glaze firing. There were only a couple of pieces that will need re-firing due to the glaze not maturing enough, plus one piece cracked during the firing.

Cones 8 and 9 gone cone 10 giving a hint of a bend.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Cone 10 just out of reach.

I don't quite know what's going on with today's glaze firing. I had to change gas bottles at 600 degrees to the smaller bottle(21kg). At 1190 degrees the kiln seemed to stall - I thought it was due to a lack of pressure, but the bottle still seemed almost half full. At 8pm cone 9 started to bend (how?) but only slightly and then the pyrometer started to show a slight drop in temp - the cone didn't continue to bend but also stalled semi bent. I thought I'd have to accept an underfired glaze and so put the kiln into reduction. Unusually, in reduction the temp didn't drop, but remained at 1180 degrees. When the reduction was finished cone 9 had gone. I've just taken another look after 15 minutes of oxidation and the kiln seems to have stalled again at just shy of 2000 degrees. all these temperatures are taken from the pyrometer, which is clearly misreading at these higher temps, as cone 9 has gone but apparantly we never got to that temp?
Kiln in reduction
35 minute soak after cone 9 went, but never reached cone 10. Oh well, more research needed!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Defrosting and glazing

I spent a good couple of hours waiting for the glaze to defrost this morning before I could actually start to dip the bisque ware. I did eventually manage to get everything glazed ready for tomorrow's firing and by the time I'd finished four hours after starting the studio was actually beginning to get warm!
Here are some of the preglazed pots. I'll upload a pic of them when they're fired.

The girls had a great time in the garden while I was glazing - we have a lawn covered in snow angels now!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Throwing stoneware mugs

10:00pm Blimey it's cold. Just come in from the studio after throwing half a dozen mugs. I've tried to change the shape slightly by having them narrower at the foot. The foot will have to be turned on these mugs and I'll try to add a more elaborate handle - (pictures to follow). my next job is to compile a video that shows the process of amking a pot. I'm hoping to have this playing throughout the craft fayre at Bakewell in just over a week. Tomorrow's job is to glaze the interior of the bisque ware.