Monday, January 04, 2010

ready... or not

I haven't done a lick of work in what feels like weeks, though it's barely been two. The days leading up to the holidays is a siege, which makes the whole season like fighting a battle. I know how to dig my trenches, lay in a huge supply of ammo, and train my troops. But by December 20, my little bunker was being overrun by a panicked and scattered populace. I was shooting-- I mean shipping out orders right up until December 23, when I finally turned out the lights and retreated to Southern California. Still, I got an annoyed sounding email from a customer 3 days after Christmas wondering where her Christmas present was. It's amazing how I can hear whining even through the impersonal medium of electronic mail. And this from an east coast customer who placed the order 4 days before Christmas. I guess Christmas brings out the child in all of us.

I don't feel ready to go back to work, but then, I never do. It's really a shame that I didn't marry rich, because if anyone was built for a life of idleness, it's me. I've refined lolling around to a high art, and the beautiful thing is, I can do it just about anywhere. Part of the reason I work for myself is because I would never be able to get to amount of vacation days I really need from a regular job.

While I'm thinking about getting back to work, I'm also thinking of the upcoming year, and how I want to make it different for myself. I'm starting by skipping the wholesale show in February, which means I don't have to spend January pumping out samples and coming up with new "product". This also means I don't have an assured stream of income from store orders during the Spring, but after last year's lousy show, I've realized I don't depend on that as much as I thought I did. In fact, the more time I spend selling my work at half price to retail clients, the less time I have selling the same work at full price to my own individual clients. Though my own clients can be a major pain in the ass on occasion (see above), I still prefer dealing with them over dealing with stores.

Skipping the wholesale show is about more than just trying to cut wholesale and increase retail. It has become increasingly obvious to me that I need a creative outlet that's not just about ceramics. For a while, I thought that what I needed was more "creative" time in the studio, making stuff that's about making art and pleasing myself. But I've come to realize that that is not what I need at all; what I really need is less time in the studio and more time making other kinds of art. I've spent 10 years building this ceramics business and I've gotten very good at it. Up until now I could rarely think about spending my creative energy doing anything other than pottery. And now, I have a nice little business that can support other projects and give me the time I need to do other things. Like writing, which I love as much as ceramics. And painting, which I used to be good at. Resolutions can be a bit ridiculous and a set-up for failure, but I'm ready to make some changes in 2010. What about you all?

12 comments:

  1. I think a lot of us are singing that same tune. Figuring out just what it is that we really want to do, and then trying to do it. After all, we can't make time stand still and wait for us to have time for ourselves.

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  2. I'm sure you're still good at painting. I think most of us creatives have diverse interests, all of which feed off each other.

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  3. Today I am off to a wholesale bead show to feed my 2nd creative fire, OneClayBead, very boho jewelry. It doesn't yet sell as well as my pottery, and takes me way more time to design a good piece, and 2/3 of what I do turns out badly and never gets listed, but I love making the pieces.

    I feel sort of guilty b/c I have a long list of people who want pottery and there is almost freaking nothing left on my Etsy store. I have bills to pay... you know this song. It plays continuously and it's hard to not dance to it.

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  4. i have done nada in the studio since the week BEFORE christmas... i work a full time job that can be draining...my goal for the year is to focus on expanding the pottery business... a pre-christmas road trip to seagrove, nc was very inspiring. but i have to get my ass back in the studio while the inspiration is still fresh!

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  5. I hope you can reserve the time for your other creative talents. It will feed your soul.
    As for me. I would like to develop a recognized conformity in my pottery style. I'm still a newbie and my pottery style is frightenly eclectic.

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  6. I have always hated resolutions - they always have seemed to invovle failure! But I did put an "inclination" out on my blog last year and was overjoyed at the results:
    http://www.candiedfabrics.com/2009/12/31/blogging-my-passion/
    So I have two inclinations this year, and Jan 1 was as good a day as any to take stock and move forward, reminding myself to Make More Art!
    http://www.candiedfabrics.com/2010/01/01/looking-ahead-long-term-goals/
    And I'm ON my WAY! WooHoo!

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  7. Your posts are usually so timely for me. It's almost as if you say, Sherry wake up, haven't you been thinking about this?

    I have. I was lucky to have a map piece in People magazine in Oct. And while it made for 3 crazy months, I am in a postion to slow down and take a new turn in my craft.

    I'm going back to vitrous (glass enameling) I used to be good at it, and I have so many new ideas that if my new non asbestos fire resistant gloves don't get here soon, I'm going to put my bare hands in the kiln.

    Here's to a wonderful year.

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  8. I'm still in the "building" phase of my business: putting a lot more energy into very narrow spaces in order to maximize my efforts- which means saying no to a lot of the flights of fancy I'm prone to. So this year is about focus so that hopefully next year, I can broaden my gaze again. I'm looking forward to a future where I can enjoy what you're planning for this year. Have fun!

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  9. I just found your interview on Artists Who Blog. I have seen your beautiful pottery on Etsy, in fact, I have added your pieces to my favorites!

    I'm so happy to get to know you better through your blog. You're now a part of my daily Google Reader!

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  10. I'm so glad that you have realised that some stresses you can do without! I look forward to seeing or hearing about your other creative projects, if you choose to share them. A novel, maybe?

    I'm similar to Dirt-Kicker - very new, and no real style of my own yet (much less so than Dirt-Kicker, I dare say - and I mean no offense to her - I'm only making reference to her own comment). Although I do like variety, I need a style that says "Linda Dixon" I think.

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  11. welcome Laryssa!
    And I'll definitely be posting about my new endeavors, so stay tuned everyone!

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  12. I completely agree with you and can empathize as well. Six years ago I started my own business that has grown quite well over the years but does absolutely nothing to fuel my creative drive. Other than to possibly finance said drive, of course.

    Well, I for one LOOOVE your pottery, even though I've yet to purchase anything. Unfortunately right now any and all extra funds we have are put into paying off our mortgage with the ridiculously high interest rate, so by the time that happens, I sure hope I'll be able to snag some of your ceramics then!

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