Stuart Street Potters Co-operative
I had to make a big decision this week regarding my membership of the Potter's Co-op that I have belonged to for nearly 3 years.
Trying to make a decision led to sleeplessness... and sleeplessness to tiredness.. and tiredness to over-tiredness and to more sleeplessness!! I had a fairly lean time at the Co-op with sales over 8 of the last 12 months, and I was wondering if I should pull out of it and try to put more energy into our own gallery here (where I sell much better), as well as marketing my work in other cities.
Detail of a crystalline glazed bowl that came out of the kiln recently. Photo supplied by Peter Watson.Being a member of a Co-op is not just a matter of dollars and cents, there are things that are probably more valuable to consider, such as friendship, the sharing of knowledge, having a "safe place" to show work and try out ideas without the pressure of a dealer at a gallery who might try to dictate what sort of work is acceptable. Having my work at the Co-op also does serve as advertising for me, and it has directly resulted in sales of work in our own gallery.
The bowl. Hard to photograph because of reflections, but Peter W. did a better job of it than the attempts that I made. Photo Peter Watson.
Being a member of the Co-op means that you share the running costs and rental of the gallery, and also have meetings to attend, and one day a fortnight looking after the gallery.
I unloaded this one last Sunday. I am rather liking crystalline glazes that are coloured by iron oxide.
Anyway, right up to me sitting down at our monthly meeting on Thursday evening, my decision could have gone either way...
Close up of crystals that are rather like flowers. This was out of the same firing as the iron coloured pot above it. Notice how the crystals in this copper coloured glaze have a different character than the ones with iron. The copper assists the crystal growth, the iron seems to slow it down.
... but, when it came to the crunch.... I found myself wanting to stay! So... I'm staying!
Now to the good stuff.... Wilson, from Dunedin Florida, sent me a wonderful gift recently.
Thought I would sneak this picture in. This caused us some merriment at the time, as.... there seems to be rather a difference in height between us. A bit like Gulliver's Travels, or Alice in Wonderland..
Wilson and his partner, Marti, visited us here early November (see "A mini post from "Potters' Paradise"), and we shared some precious time together. Wilson was amazed at my lack of technology, evidently crystalline glazed pottery is quite high-tech in America, and I use a kick wheel, control my kiln by hand, and had real struggles grinding run off glaze from the bottoms of my pots. I could do it..., slowly, but it was part of the process that would take me all of a morning to finish the bottoms of a kiln load of pots, rather than just a few minutes.
Wilson gave some thought to me toiling away here, and very kindly sent me two grinding disks that are set with industrial diamonds, the same as what he uses. With one of these attached to my electric wheel (which I mostly don't use), I can smooth the glaze runs off my pots in a fraction of the time that I was taking before. It is wonderful how being on the receiving end of kindness like that can make life so much better..., the benefit goes far beyond just being able to complete a process faster.
Col and Jen.
Years ago, when I was a painter, I was stretching some large canvasses to paint on. The process involves pulling thick canvas tight and attaching it to a special wooden frame called a stretcher. On small canvasses, it is not too difficult to do this job by hand, but on larger ones, it is helpful to have special pliers with extra wide jaws to grip the canvas with. I was short of money at the time, and could not afford to buy canvas pliers, so I was doing large canvases by hand. My fingers were sore with the effort, and my skin quite raw. Mid way through the work, I was visited by an elderly retired Minister and his wife, Col and Jen Angus, who quietly observed what I was doing. We chatted about this and that, and I may have given them a cup of tea.
Laura was given a bunch of flowers by the ladies at Women's Fellowship. It is a late birthday present (Laura's birthday is early December).
Last, but not least....
I have had extraordinary sales (for me) this month, I think I am up to about 29 items sold between my studio here and the Co-op in Dunedin. It is rather like having an exhibition. We have also made new friends.
I have been firing another crystalline glaze firing whilst writing this post, and that is finished now, so I am off to grind some bottoms of pots from a firing that I unpacked last night (photos will follow soon.).
Next week I hope to begin making new pots to fill the gaps on the shelves ..... Whoopeeeeeeee!