Back on the Street Again
After a winter's worth of anticipation, Saturday Market dawned bright and sunny on April 2. Crowds were out in force, sales were brisk, and I even appeared on the evening news, talking about the new season. Vendors and staff were still masked, per March 2 Board of Directors decision, but the April Board meeting approved following the Governor's loosening the mandate, so on April 9th, I and my bear were finally unmasked!
I must admit, it felt a little different, seeing faces again, although I don't miss massively fogging my glasses during set-up and take-down. At one point, I didn't even recognize a couple of my regular customers, who I'd seen weekly since early 2020, as they had literally never shown their faces in my booth before!
I still wear my mask to the Farmer's Market, which continues on Fifth Street for a few more months. Construction of their new building across Eighth Street continues, and they're tentatively scheduled to move in this June.
I've heard from one of the two shows I applied to so far; I'll be going up to Anacortes, Washington the first weekend of August. I fully expect to also get into Roseburg's Umpqua Valley Summer Arts Festival, in June, but have not yet received confirmation. I'll also be gone a few other weekends this summer, to a Paper Arts Festival in Newport and a high-school class reunion in Wisconsin. Check the Find Us link for specific dates.
I will not be participating in the Oregon Potter's Association's Ceramic Showcase in May. Denise is having knee surgery shortly before the show, so I am needed at home. I will probably be joining at Club Mud pop-up sale on Mother's Day, as part of a fundraiser at Maude Kerns Art Center. The Center has once again had to cancel Art and the Vineyard, so will be holding smaller events on the Art Center grounds throughout the summer to make up the revenue loss, and we'll be joining them, demoing and selling inside the pottery co-op that day.
I've been using the Square reader on my tablet or phone for nearly a decade now, to accept credit/debit sales at Saturday Market and out-of-town art fairs. Started with the plug-in slider (magnetic stripe reader), briefly experimented with the plug-in chip reader, but went back to the simple slider when I discovered that the chip took longer to process, having to do a digital handshake with the banks first, and was also prone to running out of battery power around mid-afternoon.
Recently, though, I've been getting a lot of asks about Apple Pay, which my cheap Android phone doesn't understand. Fortunately, this little beauty does.
This is the Square Contactless Reader, a blue-tooth enabled device that takes Apple Pay, Google Pay, tap cards and reads chips. And it works fast, processes almost instantaneously, and was almost fully charged after a busy day at Market. Totally worth the $49 it cost me. I'll still keep the slider handy for really old magstripe-only cards, but for the most part, this is the future of card sales at Off Center Ceramics.
I always enjoy taking special orders. Some of my favorite new patterns come from requests: octopus, platypus, dragonfly, skunk. Even the bunnies that appear everywhere in my booth hark back to a single custom pickled-vegetable crock. So when a field archaeologist in Washington state asked for a Northern Saw-whet Owl mug for a forester friend in 2020, I was happy to oblige.
I didn't know much about them, just that they were small and shy, but Google was more than happy to provide an image, and the mug was lovely. I did a few more, never expecting the pattern to get much traction.
And then that winter, a saw-whet owl was found in the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, where it had ridden all the way down from Maine. Christened "Rocky" by the media, its story was all over the internet, pictures as well, and fantasy/science fiction author Diane Duane was even inspired to write a novella, Owl Be Home For Christmas, wherein the owl took the Wizard's Oath and wound up--with the help of hundreds of other owls--flying his tree back to the north woods.
In real life, the little feller was taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center, treated for dehydration, and returned to his northern forests, hopefully to find a less portable tree to make his home.
Meanwhile, I continue to paint Saw-Whet Owls on tall mugs, dessert plates, pie plates and bakers. Their big-eyed charm never fails to attract attention.
You saw-whit here first!