Thursday, October 02, 2008

time to create

If you read my blog, you already know one of my biggest complaints is not having time to be creative and make new work. I spend most of my studio time managing my wholesale accounts and online orders. This fall I was determined to build in more creative time and stop the flow of complaining. If I really couldn't do it, then maybe it was time to reconsider how I was doing business, period. My business depends on creating new work, and so does my mental well-being. The one thing you hear over and over from customers at trade shows is, "What's new?" I can get away with "I have this in new colors!" for only a little while. For my own retail customers, especially the ones who have been buying from me a while, they also want to see what's next.

After an initial scramble a couple of weeks ago, we have production at the studio on a nice, even keel and I have been happily surprised by the fact that my little plan worked, and I do indeed have time to make new stuff. It was funny to see how my brain was resisting this open creative time at first. Frankly, it's so much easier to just crank out work without thinking, and when you've been doing that month in and month out, your creative edge gets dulled. This is a conversation I had with myself a few times:
"Hey, let's make some new pots!"
"Ummm... don't we need some more small cake stands?"
"Yeah, I guess it wouldn't hurt to have some in backstock." (Sounds of making ten small cake stands.)
1 hour later:
"Okay, how 'bout it? What should we make? I have this nice porcelain here!"
"Hmmm, that is nice porcelain. But don't you think it would be good to have some more dogwood flowers on hand? We're going to need a lot of them for orders."
"Dogwood flowers? We have plenty of those! Let's make some fun stuff!"
"I have a better idea. Let's see how many dessert plates we can make in 3 hours."
"What's your problem? You said you wanted to make some new stuff. Now all you want to make is easy stuff!"
"I don't have a problem! I just want to make sure we don't get behind, that's all."
"Well, we're ahead right now, so let's make the most of it!"
"Okay okay. Let's wedge up some of that porcelain"
(One hour later, staring into space.)
"What do you want to make?"
"I don't know, what do you want to make?"

I've been able to devote some time everyday this week to working on new things, and after I was done arguing with myself, this is one of the things I made: