Thursday, December 29, 2011

holiday overdose

You learn new things all the time, and recently I learned that Robitussin is a recreational drug for people who can't get their hands on real drugs.  I woke up two days before the Holiday Renegade Fair with an itch in my throat and an ache around my glands.  Uh-oh.  I dragged myself over to my neighborhood Vietnamese noodle shop and downed a bowl of Pho with lots of extra red chili to, you know, burn out the sickness.  Then, since I could still walk, I went to the studio and worked all day.  I repeated this routine on Friday.  When I  woke upon Saturday-- the first day of the show-- I had a terrible cough and hardly any voice. 

Saturday was so busy I didn't have a lot of time to think about how crappy I felt.  But by Sunday I had this dry, hacky cough that wouldn't stop.  So I swig down 3 or 4 doses of  Robitussin thinking I can drown the cough in suppressant.  Isn't that how it works?  You just coat the throat in medicine and feel better?  About 30 minutes later I stood up and had two thoughts that occurred one right after the other.  The first was, "Whoa, I am like, reeeeaaaally dizzzzzzy."  That thought came very slowly, and I swayed in my booth as I thought it.  The second thought was, "Whoa, I think I may puke right here, right now."  That thought came very slowly too, which alarmed me, because I have a fear of puking in public.  If I was going to puke, I needed to run immediately, and not slowly, to the nearest exit door, which was about 100 yards away.

I've never puked in public, but I still have the fear.  One time, I was really high and thought I puked in public when I actually didn't.  That was a long time ago, before I was a potter.

Oh, and there was a third thought:  "I think I drank too much Robitussin."  And then I started coughing so hard I almost did pass out and then puke. 

Overdosing on Robitussin is kind of like tripping, but without the interesting thoughts or pretty colors.  I was not registering the activity around me in real-time, so my responses were delayed, which was throwing off my timing with customers.  It was also kind of like being drunk, but without the good-timey feeling.  I couldn't make my face do what I wanted it to do, so my lips and eyes and eyebrows were not matching up in expression.  Think about that for a second.  It was also kind of like being on nitrous,  I couldn't really feel my body.  I was trying to make change for someone, and ripped a twenty dollar bill right in half as I was trying to unfold it and hand it to them.  We both stared at the bill, and then I tried to make it become whole again by holding the edges together.  I am magic.  It didn't work.  My stage presence drained slowly away along with my sales as I just sat in my booth, kind of melting off my seat.  My friend, who didn't know I was sick, brought me a frosty beer, which I just stared at as it slowly warmed up.  You know I'm about to die when I cannot drink a beer.

My brain came back online about 2 hours before the show closed, and I looked around and realized almost everything was gone from my shelves, there was a spilled bottle of Robitussin on the floor next to me, and a big pile of money in my cash box.  So it actually was a very merry christmas, I hope yours was just as good!

Friday, December 16, 2011


I thought you guys would like to see the backsplash tile project, which came out of the kiln this morning:

I bisqued it over a week ago, and before I bisqued it, it sat on my shelf for quite a while.  It's a big project, and sometimes when I'm not sure how things are going to turn out, I start dragging my feet on the completion end.  Before a project is done, it only exists in my mind, and it's always perfect.  Finishing it could mean the end of my fantasies of perfection.  Finally, the client kind of begged me to finish it before the holidays and not drag it out into the new year, so I finished it.  Here is some of it in the kiln yesterday:

 I'm happy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

one last rant for the year

I think I just passed the Christmas hump.  Yesterday, Nikki and I shipped out 30 boxes of work to customers, literally all over the world. I think that was the biggest shipment of stuff I've ever done in one day.  It was very satisfying, and I was home by 5:30.  I immediately headed for the fridge, and drank down a beer, realizing as I was gulping that I never got around to eating lunch.  I'm the type of girl who doesn't mind beer on an empty stomach, so I kept drinking.

Then, I sat down at my computer, and I see I've got my "weekly Yelp updates" in the inbox.  A long time ago, someone yelped me after visiting my studio, and yes, yelped is a word.  It's an adverb.  It was a very nice review, but it encouraged a few other yelpers to yelp me too.  Again, always nice reviews, but there is something about getting yelped that makes me slightly uncomfortable.  Generally, I don't know who these people are, and it makes me feel weird that I'm having what I think is an innocuous interaction with someone, while they are mentally evaluating me so they can go home and review me.  Yeah, I know they are reviewing my work, but make no mistake, my work is me, so I end up feeling strangely exposed and defenseless.

So, Yelp emails me once a week with updates and stuff, and I always delete it because I don't care about Yelp.  But last night, for reasons I wish I could take back, I click on it, and I realize my 5-star rating is now 4 1/2stars.  How did that happen?  Notice, I just said I don't care about Yelp, but now I'm all bothered about my star rating.  There are not many places in the world where I am publicly rated with 5 stars, and frankly, if I have 5 stars somewhere, I want to keep it that way.  So, half drunk and now curious-- bad combo, we all know this-- I go and check out my yelp reviews, and sure enough, some... person gave me a 3-star rating:

"Adorable stuff. Unique and really nice muted colors.  But really.  $70 for a single cupcake stand?  I could buy a year's worth of cupcakes for that price."
Oh, snark!  I am immediately engulfed in a mix of emotions, none of which resemble the happiness and contented feeling of accomplishment I was just basking in.  Apparently, it's okay to spend $70 on a year's worth of cupcakes, but not on a piece of handmade pottery which will last for many years.   I wish someone had sent me that memo when I decided to dedicate my career to making pottery.

Adding to my indignation is the fact my star rating was knocked down by someone who calls my work "stuff."  And doesn't know the difference between a cake stand and a cupcake stand, a hanging offense in my teeny-tiny bubble of a world.  Because I assure you, my cupcake stands are not $70.  My cake stands start at $70.  And if my cupcake stands were $70, they would be totally more rocking and  amazing than they already are, and worth every fucking penny.

Speaking of worth every fucking penny, I will be shilling my "stuff" at the Holiday Renegade this weekend.  I have no idea where my booth is because I've been to busy to open that email, but I will be there.  And if you come up to me and say, "You're worth every fucking penny" I will give you a 10% discount on cupcake stands.  And if you are too shy to say "fuck" you can say "damn" or "freaking" or even "pretty."

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

dispatch from holidaylandia

The holiday season is like entering a different country.  A country where your phone doesn't work because you're too busy to take calls and so are all of your friends, who are also buried under piles of orders.  The food is terrible, and the natives are anxious, if not downright hostile.  It's the most magical time of the year!

Aside from the terrible food-- I mean, whhhhhhy are there crappy, store-bought cookies EVERYwhere right now?-- I'm actually feeling pretty damn good.  I've got this holiday thing down. I've only lost one order so far and I found it again before the customer knew I lost it.  I had a plague of broken stuff,  all the same item, going to different people, broken in the exact same way.  Why why why?  I have no idea.  I just made it all again, packed it in big boxes, and moved on.  I crank my Duran Duran station and I feel ever so slightly pleased.

Then, I made an amazing discovery.  My red glaze has been cursed for a while now.  I started having this problem where it was coming out with nasty dark spots that looked like bruises.  So annoying.  Someone ordered a set of nesting lotus bowls in red and they came out so bad, with bruises all over, that I immediately hid them away from myself so I wouldn't have to look at them, and cancelled the order with the customer.  Then I pulled them out a couple of weeks ago and decided they weren't so bad, but there was some glaze crawling that needed to be fixed up so I ran them through the kiln again.  The kiln overfired by a bit, and the bowls came out SHINY PERFECT RED.  Bruises, gone.  I discovered the cure, which is the red needs to get just a teeny tiny bit hotter than a perfect cone 5.  I got so excited I added it as a color option to my new website.  Yes, I will charge you more because I'm still nervous, but look at this gorgeous baby:
And really, that's all I want for Christmas: glaze that behaves.