June 24, 2013 § 1 Comment
Well, I’ve done a week as a full-time potter and the novelty hasn’t worn off yet… I’ve had a number of people ask me how it is going and the word that keeps coming back to me is ‘transformative’. To be honest, this post is going to be rather obvious. For those reading this who are already full-time potters, you will know what it is like to spend each day (most days) in the workshop. For those not (yet) in that position, it is exactly as you might imagine it to be.
Time: that is the crucial element. Having that extra time works in a number of ways. The most striking way last week was that my fingers had time to connect with the clay; they had the time to investigate, to learn, to work out, to work with the clay. Previously, I had one afternoon (plus one evening at a push) each week to throw. I had to accept whatever was made in that session as the pots I was going to take to fairs or trade shows, good or bad. At each throwing session, it takes time for your fingers to feel the clay, so, if you only have one session a week, you just start to get that feel and then you have to stop – and that is it until the next week. Then the next week, it takes longer to connect with the clay and the next week longer still… So, to get to the end of a day’s throwing and realise that I can do it again tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after is a total revelation. It is transformative. I can see the results in what I have made this week already – I (my fingers) have learnt so much.
Time. I am working completely for myself. There is nothing, work-wise, between me and the workshop. It is up to me whether the business succeeds or fails. Paul and Lidia, from zincwhite, said to me that the crucial thing for them when they took the step to being full-time makers was that it made them take themselves seriously. It was not a hobby anymore – they had a business and they had to make it work, which they have done in spades. This excites me – the fact that I have to make it work. If I put the hours and the effort in, I am giving myself every possibility.
Time. I have so much more time to do things. This last week, on top of spending time at the wheel, I have photographed my pots. I have three online selling ‘outlets’: my own Big Cartel shop, Seek and Adore and Craft Finder. Because I haven’t had the time to photograph my pots properly, all three have been virtually redundant as streams of income. Seek and Adore specifically require pieces to be photographed on white backgrounds. Finally, I have had the time to take those photographs (85% anyway). I feel this is a major breakthrough, as I need all avenues open to me to make a living. It has been very frustrating not being able to update these sites. The job for next week is to actually update the sites and to begin to push sales.
Time. And I now have the time to start to deliver orders. Last week, I sent some samples off to London to a company called Albam, who were happy with what I sent them and said they will be placing an order this week. This week, I will be sending two orders off, one here in Saltaire, to the lovely ArtParade, the other to a fantastic gallery in Chester, called The Arc. Then I’ve got four more that I am going to try to deliver before the end of the month. This is also a major breakthrough, to be finally starting to deliver orders.
You can see what a difference time makes. It is transformative. I feel very fortunate to be in this position and I will do all that I can to remain here.
Just to let you know that I have started to post on Instagram a daily (hopefully) workshop photograph documenting some part of the working day. If you are interested, you can find them here.