A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Garden Show

by runningwaterpottery3533

   I’ve been posting mostly on the production side of my Olla project; however, I think there are some important items that need mentioning that have happened ‘behind the scene’, as it were. These are the little things that can make a guy look foolish, so if you’re planning on getting into the pottery business, take note and perhaps you can avoid similar pitfalls.

   When I showed up in Nazareth for the Garden Show I had thought that I had left some of the lids behind. I was missing, I think, 5-6 lids and as a result I couldn’t sell a couple of 1/2 gallon and 3-4 one gallon ollas. Well, that was embarassing and I also missed some sales. It turned out that I did, in fact, have the lids with me. They were buried under a blanket that I sometimes use to pad ceramics while transporting them! I always make extra lids because they tend to get dropped on the floor at the exhibition hall while I’m unwrapping the pots and getting the display set up. So, be sure to make and take extra lids, being double sure that you remember where you pack them….

   The next embarrassing thing was that I was out of practice on throwing the largest of the ollas but after spending a day practicing and centering the clay in two separate pieces, I got past that problem. I should be grateful that I ran into such an issue because I learned a new throwing technique. When I make that first ‘pull’ to raise the walls of the pot, I had always used the middle finger on my right hand as the principle contact point. Doing that since 1984 has caused me to develop a repetitive motion injury or ‘trigger finger’! So I started using a ‘karate chop’ where I contact the clay with the side of my palm and boy did that take away the pain! It also allowed me to make the pot with 12 pounds of clay instead of using 14 and then trimming the excess away from the lower sides. I discovered that I have more control with the karate chop…wax on, wax off! So don’t be afraid to figure out a better solution. Just when you think you have it figured out, well, you learn that you don’t have it figured out!( I seem to have paraphrased 2 movies!)

   Finally, I was thinking that I was almost finished making the order. I only had four more to go and then I could start the firing process. That’s an exciting time. I was going to be able to wind down a bit and relax; then walks into the studio, at 9:00 a.m. yesterday, one of the Garden Show attendees. So, I showed off the pots and the first load of ollas that were still warm in the kiln, etc. I talked about how the remainder would be finished that afternoon and I would then call or email people to arrange delivery. So, the nice lady gave me her phone numbers and told me to call her when her 5- 1 1/2 gallon ollas were ready and she left, all giddy like a kid. Clay does that to you! When I went into my office to attach her contact info to the order sheet, I discovered that she was not on the order sheet! If she had not popped in, I would have been 5 ollas short. Oops. That would have been bad! So I have to come up with a way to make sure I don’t come up short. It may be as simple as always having extra pots. I usually make extras in the event I have one crack while drying or in the kiln or in case someone just wants an extra. I may have to just plan on making even more so I don’t come up short, regardless of what happens.

   So, there’s my bit of insight for those planning a foray into the world of pottery making. Hope it helps! I’ll start contacting people today and start making delivery arrangements for sometime next week.