I used to get an off season.
Holiday Market would close Christmas Eve. Saturday Market wouldn't open until April. Three whole months of slack time, to do whatever I wanted. Provided it was indoors.
So. Much. Rain.
I honestly haven't had slack time in years, at this point, and it's all your fault. You guys like my work too much, I sell too well, and I come out of Holiday Market with huge gaps in my inventory that need to be filled. Not to mention a big batch of special orders to make.
I spent the week between Christmas and New Years packing and shipping family presents (they know better than to expect them before Epiphany). Took New Years Day off to go down to the coast with Denise for beach combing and fish-n-chips dinner. And then, January 2, it was back into the studio.
Right now, the place is packed--soup bowls, dinner plates, pies and pastas and teapots and pitchers. Four dozen mugs for the bakery, oval platters and baking dishes. I still need to make painted and tall mugs, tumblers, incense dragons, more bowls, if I had space to put them. If only I could get anything dry enough to load into the kiln.
See rain, above.
I'm not complaining. I still really enjoy pottery, enjoy the magic of a pot spinning up out of a lump of clay. Feel gratified to see the full ware boards, pots all alike, all in a row. I made those, I think, isn't it cool? And I still feel fortunate to be making my living as an artist all this time.
I've just updated my Occasionally Asked Questions page, after someone pointed out that I hadn't covered one of my most frequent inquiries.
I suppose these have to be hand-washed?
In fact, no. My dishes are fine in the dishwasher, high-alumina glazes resistant to etching or wear in the hot, soapy environment. In fact, they're probably safer there than in the sink. You can't bang a rim against the faucet in a dishwasher.
Back before I wrapped up my 25 years on the radio, I always had something to listen to in the studio. I was posting my playlist to a Folk DJ internet listserv--basically an email newsletter--and since I had the station address in my signature, independent and self-released folk artists were always sending me CDs for airplay. On an average week, I'd have anywhere from a half-dozen to dozen new albums to preview. Around Folk Alliance time, that'd double.
So when I finally retired, I had a huge gap in my studio listening. Honestly, throwing, and to a certain extent, glazing and decorating, is boring. Without something to occupy the two-thirds of my brain not involved in controlling my hands, I'd start to go stir-crazy. At first, I continued with music--went through my entire CD collection, winnowing out albums that I only kept in case I might need them for the radio show. But I needed something else.
I can't listen to audiobooks. My reading rate is super-fast; audiobooks, by comparison, are so slow. Fortunately, I discovered podcasts. I listen to a wild variety: Sci-Fi, Design, History, Food, Language, Trivia, Productivity. No True Crime, it's not really my thing. But a lot of Science.
One of my favorite science podcasts is Ologies. Every week, the host, Alie Ward, interviews a scientist from a different discipline, riddling them with her own enthusiastic questions, plus queries from listeners. It's a delight, and I always learn something.
Which is how I happened upon Oreamnology. The study of Mountain Goats. I've always been fascinated by them. Not closely related to goats--they're their own family--but nimble and powerful and able to thrive in the most barren and inhospitable places. I always hope to see one when I'm driving through the Rockies, but as yet I've only seen them in zoos.
But I was still inspired to add one to this year's Inktober sketchbook. And when I showed it to the potters down at Club Mud, Jon immediately asked if I intended to paint them on pottery.
Why the heck not? They're simple but striking, look good even if the kiln gives me whitened pots. And Jon bought the first two mugs right out of the kiln for his daughter and her partner, who have first-hand mountain goat encounters.
Funny thing, though. If I were still doing radio, I might also have wound up encountering Mountain Goats.
Of a slightly different sort.