Its always something. I’ve got a sale this weekend, and getting my ducks all lined up is turning into a matter of pleading with the relevant persons, cajoling my household into a proper state of being, and furiously whipping my studio into shape as I juggle about ten different high priority tasks all at once. Just how many more pots can I push through my kiln before I need to set things up for friends and customers this Saturday and Sunday?
Another sale season….. Whoo hoo!
This time around I have made the potentially catastrophic decision to commit most of my pot-making to untested clays rather than limiting the experiment to samples of a few as supplement for my tried and tested source of clay. I can’t do many things in small measures, it seems. But it started out as merely a first step rather than any grand plan. I swear! The initial ambition was noble, I thought. At some point I’ve gotta use up the reclaim I’ve been hoarding for over a dozen years….
So my first departure from the norm was finally digging into my 7 barrels of reclaim and seeing what I could do with that clay. To be honest I thought that most of what I was using was slop from my preferred clay, and maybe some of it was, but the majority turned out to be either straight porcelain of undetermined provenance or contaminated by it. What was I thinking when I saved all that old clay and didn’t clearly label it!!!!!!
My next departure was that with the company I get my preferred clay from still being out of that clay I had to find a commercial substitute to work with. A rival local clay company weighed in with an alternative that was marketed as supposedly “Just like ‘X’….”. It turns out there was so much more body flux in the clay that it bisqued much tighter and my glazes not only failed to apply correctly but some of the glazes actually boiled in the glaze firing!!!!!
So a few months into my production run and I’m still out of my regular clay and I decide that one possibility would be to use a red clay with white slip on it. That worked alright in the past for at least some of my glazes. And some of my best experimenting with new forms this time was done with this clay. I had big hopes! Several hundred pounds of clay later I discover that the glaze I was counting on wasn’t working any more after I had remixed it with ingredients sourced from different batches of raw materials. Yikes!!! What else could go wrong?!
Go ahead and laugh, but after inflicting all this chaos on myself through random acts and overestimation of my resources, I actually woke up one morning late last week having twisted my leg overnight and discovered that I could no longer bend my knee. This with so much left to do, including most of my advertising campaign getting the word out in the neighborhood by dropping postcards off on peoples porches….. I wasn’t sure I could walk onto my own porch much less get on my bike and tour around the ‘hood…..
Well, believe it or not, I somehow muddled through, managed to bend the knee enough to get on and off the bike and get postcards out (biking actually seems to be good for it once I got over the initial pain :) ), and have some 3-400 new pots to show for myself. I eventually DID get my hands on the right clay before it was too late, and made a few runs of pots that I wanted to make. Phew! Along the way I tested a few glazes and came up with one that I really like. The blue in the pictures below. Now I just need to clean the studio and price pots.
Wish me luck!
Make beauty real!