I’ve been listening to some podcasts about writing recently. I’ve never been a good writer. I remember my comments at school from teachers were always about how I needed to stop being so succinct. Well they were probably right, I think I have a scientific brain rather than an arty one. Maybe that means I shouldn’t be any good at pottery. I’m just trying to think out loud here, it’s been a long day.
All day I’ve been wanting to get out in the studio and make some pots. For those who don’t know I’m a chef by trade, pottery is something I fit around the rest of my life. After a day at work I decided to go on a quick run before dinner. After dinner I did the bath and bedtime stories for our little girl, and totally lost the will to be creative. This is probably a problem for a lot of crafty or creative people who do a day job which is unrelated to their passion.
The past few weeks I’ve spent so much time setting up my new site, photographing pottery, writing descriptions and spamming facebook groups, I haven’t made a single pot. I almost feel scared to go back into the studio now. There is a certain sense of foreboding, like what if everything I make turns out to be crap? I also feel a bit let down that I haven’t sold more of my current pottery. Mostly the sales have come from some kind of discount promotion. I have mixed feelings about this. I’ve been reading, listening to podcasts about marketing websites since I started my new site. Is it based on the shopify system which is pretty easy to use, and can be a very powerful sales platform. The whole concept of discount codes, and making prices seem more appealing through smoke and mirrors is a bit alien to me.
You might argue that if the pottery is great it will sell itself. I would totally agree, but for someone new in the business like me, I at least need to get it in front of a substantial number of people for them to decide on its merits. I must not stop writing, my guru podcaster told me not to stop.
If people buy pottery from me and are happy with it, and the money they spent then I think whatever means they came to that decision is completely fine. It’s not like I’m holding a gun to their head. What was I going to write about? Ok what next for my pottery…
I wanted to make a complete range of pottery, but ‘complete’ is becoming quite an intimidating word. There will probably never be such a complete range, every person will require a unique set of pots that differs from anyone else. What this means is I will just have to make lots more pots of varying styles. For some reason I thought I could develop some kind of standard range which people would love and I could just keep making. Actually I think that would be very boring, for my customers and also for myself. What I need to do is constantly evolve what I make, and along the way hopefully I will sell enough to keep the ball rolling.
When I do eventually get out into the studio I want to concentrate on my drinkware and mug range. I’ve had some sales on my espresso cups so I know people don’t hate them, I need to make some more. I’ve also sold some of the heart mugs which I still have a couple in stock and may do a bit more promotion on.
Next I feel I need to make some manly kind of mugs, maybe some tankards for drinking beer from, or just mugs without hearts or flowers and stuff on.
I will also probably make some cups for toddlers too. I had a request from somebody on facebook about this. I have actually made some double handled mugs for kids but not got round to glazing them. The person said they don’t like using plastic for their children’s cups, which is not something I’m overly concerned about but it may be an issue for some people I suppose.
My main focus is going to be getting a better decorative finish to my pots. While I’ve done a lot of work on my glazes, the actually pottery surface is fairly plain at the moment. I’ve got a few ideas brewing about patterns which could be used on a number of forms. One is to use a lemon zester, which I have used before on pottery to carve vertical lines. There is something really appealing about doing repetitive patterns by hand. Although they should all be uniform, there is the human error factor that makes everything a bit more interesting. That’s something you just can’t get when it’s made in a factory.