October 7, 2013 § 1 Comment
I have been beavering away these past few months, pretty much holed-up in my workshop. I have enjoyed it – I have enjoyed being in the workshop, I have enjoyed the work and I have enjoyed the learning and discovery.
Things take shape gradually out of the day-to-day running of the workshop. The thing that has struck me most has been the natural desire to streamline what goes on in there, in both a practical, making sense and in terms of business. It all needs to work as efficiently as it can. Streamlining is my word of the moment. Time, streamlining time is vital; and blackboard paint has been a miracle find resulting in two blackboards in the workshop – one for quantities of pots to be made (left), the other a list of jobs to do for that week (right).
I know what I am doing each day of the week, weeks in advance, which has given me so much more control (and as a consequence my heart isn’t pounding with anxiety all the time like it used to do). As a result, I know how much stock I have for the three fairs I have coming up, how much I need to make and how the firing schedule will work to make it all happen. Well, that’s the theory…
I am streamlining the making, too. The shapes are becoming more consistent and each takes less time to make. I am trying hard to increase my speed while keeping the quality high. With this in mind I am trialing a change of shape with my bowls.
The footring is a beautiful thing giving balance, poise and lift to a bowl – but they don’t half take a long time to make. So I have made some bowls without footrings to take to the three fairs that are coming up and I am going to see what their reception is. I want to make a well-crafted, elegant bowl that speaks of function and is a pleasure to use – and that takes two to three minutes to turn instead of the 15 to 20 that the bowls with the footrings were taking. I would like to be able to offer a discount to someone if they bought 4 or 6 bowls, encouraging the purchase of a set, and with a faster turnover this should be possible.
Being full-time understandably, but slightly unexpected in its force, focuses the business mind. How much clay am I using? How much am I recycling? How long is each pot taking to make? How long are orders taking to pack? Am I charging enough for packaging? Can I reduce the time it takes to glaze the pots? Are each of my three glazes working? These questions are constantly there and it is good and healthy that they are. It all needs to work.
It’s a hugely rewarding process of making and selling – I’m so pleased to have taken the leap…