Monday, October 22, 2007

strategies & plans

I brush all the glazes onto my work, and that’s part of how I get such beautiful and smooth finishes. Most of my glazes take 5 coats. It’s a tedious and time-consuming job, and nobody in their right mind does it that way. I’ve been doing it for 15 years. When I hired Sara I knew she would question my brushing method, and after a few months, she did. She doesn’t like to mess around with stupid stuff. It’s actually a relief to have someone pushing you to do things differently sometimes. I really hate the way I glaze but I’m too lazy and stubborn to try a different way. We mixed up enough glaze to fill 5 gallon buckets, and Sara started testing. To my relief it hasn’t been a big deal so far. Most of the glazes have taken to it pretty well and it cuts our glaze time in half if not more.

Meanwhile I’ve been pondering what’s next. Vanessa from Miette came in today to order a ton of stuff for their stores and within an hour of her departure I was buzzing away on the wheel, working on her order. I was thinking about the Philadelphia Rosen show, a wholesale show in Philadelphia which I applied and was accepted to. It will be a better fit for me than New York because everything has to be handmade in the States and it caters to more of a gallery crowd. But… I don’t really want to go. I’m not that crazy about marketing myself to wholesale buyers. It’s only been the last couple of years that I started doing primarily wholesale, and I don’t love it. I’ve gotten by for years without it, but I also did more retail shows to support myself. Well, I’ve dropped almost all of my retail shows because they suck so much, so something has to replace that. This Christmas season will be the first ever where I haven’t scheduled a show.

I’m totally on the fence, an irritating place to be. On one hand, I feel I should go, get myself out there in the world, connect with certain buyers and the magazine editors and writers who go to those things. And keep the money coming in if nothing else. On the other hand when I think of all the $350 orders for funky little galleries and gift shops that I'll have to fill – places that will never order again—I get bored just thinking about it. I kind of want to steer myself away from things that bore me. Stress and anger usually follow boredom very quickly in my life. Unfortunately nobody can really tell me what I should do. I keep looking at the unsigned Rosen contract and wonder if that’s a little red flag I see waving there at me.


  1. I have just started wholeselling and I´m not sure how I feel about I understand you if you say, you hate it. We don`t like pressure, even (or especially because of it) if it`s only mental. And even if it`s only yourself who is pushing you.
    Tough decisions are to be made and that needs a clear vision of our own priorities.
    Good luck! and trust your little inner voice :)

  2. For mixing a brushing glaze from a dry mix have you experimented with additions of cmc or veegum-t? I know those dry glazes state they can be used for either dipping or brushing but I could never get my brushing glaze as creamy as one from the factory (and my application was terrible-like trying to brush old honey).
    Sorry to hear that you will not be participating in any Holiday shows-I hope Etsy can fill the void and keep the boredom away.

  3. Yes, if you are dealing with dry glazes (like from Laguna or Spectrum) CMC or vgum is an essential addition. You have to be careful not to add too much though because it may dilute the pigment. It's a balance between adding enough water and gum to the glaze, but with some experiments you should be able to get your glazes as creamy as the bottled gallons from the factory!

  4. Those little orders from new craft shops are a akiller- it's hard to know whether to do them in case it turns into something regular or, just say no and get on with what I like to think of as my "Real" orders.
    Australia is so small in terms of population I think I'll have to keep up with the little ones... but I love it when I get approached by a genuine gallery with a long term commitment to my career and my work.