Cycles

Kathy potting.jpg

I work in cycles, as most potters do. To me the beginning of my cycle is when I sit at the wheel to make pots. I usually focus on custom orders first, then think about what holes I have in my shop inventory that need filling. I also need to keep in mind my consignment work, as well as the on-line shops to fill that inventory. 

During this time of year I start thinking about what is needed for the holidays. I am also always thinking about ways I can tweak my studio to be more functional and/or more customer friendly. To that end, stay tuned! I have some redecorating in mind for the Gallupville Shop. 

Continuing with my cycle, I make enough pottery to fill the electric kiln, two times. That is how much bisque ware I need to fill Lucille - my gas kiln. 

When the bisque ware is filling the studio it's time to prep for glazing. I grind down rough spots on the pots, clean them with water and sponge, do any detail work needed, and wax their bases so they don't stick to the kiln shelves. 

Prepping for glaze is tedious work, but it builds excitement for the actual glazing. After all the pots are waxed I sort them into what colors they will become. This helps the glaze process go faster. 

It seems no matter how hard I try I almost always goof something up during the glaze process. Probably because I find it a bit mind-numbing and I zone out by the end. Were I a smarter, more organized gal, I'd glaze over a few days to keep my head in the game...but usually I'm not. 

However, I've learned that the shino glaze does best if it sits on the pot at least 24 hours (or more), so shino always goes first. 

After all the pots are glazed (and the studio is a hot mess) I can load up Lucille. I like this part. It's full of possibilities and excitement. Every load in Lucille is like Christmas... there could be beauties in there, but always the risk of a few duds. 

Of course, the nasty gremlins that live in my head like to play tricks and tell me that the whole load will likely be ruined by some unimaginable problem. Thankfully, it only happened once and it was totally my fault - a mistake I was able to fix with a re-firing. 

While Lucille is firing I clean up the studio. Put away glazes, vacuum and mop the floor, throw away any shelving paper that got dirty, etc. This process resets the studio for the cycle to begin again. 

When Lucille is done firing, and it takes 9-10 hours, she takes a long rest. I can open her up in 48 hours to see what treasures await! 

Firing Lucille has become fun for me now. We have a good relationship and I trust her. Unloading the kiln I take each pot into my hands and check it over for any defects and enjoying it for a moment. And on it goes. 

When the pots are unloaded and stacked in the studio they get sorted again to groups - custom orders, shop, consignment, etc. I make my phone calls and set up deliveries. I love looking at them all stacked together on the table!

The pottery that stays all goes through a photo shoot to be listed on line. Each pot gets 4-5 photos, measured, and logged in so I can upload to the site. It's a lot of work. But, it gets done and finally the day comes when I can take out my 25 pound bag of clay and start measuring lumps to make new pots for the next cycle to begin~

 

Kathy Catlin