Sunday, June 3, 2018

Summer Pottery Shenanigans!



Hey Everyone! :)

Time continues to fly by at an insane pace. For those who might not know, I have a full time job as a school social worker from the end of August up through the Middle of June each year. I get paid summers off (which is an idea time for making pottery!) but it makes this time of year a little crazy as I am winding down at work and simultaneously ramping up for the summer shows. My eventual hope (YEARS from now, most likely) would be to transition to pottery full time as a job – via a shop and studio of my own as well as placement in other shops, etc. But, for the time being, I have to maintain my full time job and do pottery in my spare time. Luckily, I really like the students I work with, so all in all - not a bad situation! :)

Balancing my pottery business along side my regular job can at times be very challenging. I’ve found that more stressful this spring into summer, as I feel like my pottery side business if picking up (SUPER exciting!!) But it brings in challenges that I did not have when my pottery was less known – I have people message me because they like my work (YAYYY!!) and get requests for custom work (Also YAY!) but I need to fit in around my typical schedule. In the summer that is more manageable, but I find that I am not turning around custom requests as fast as I would like. So for anyone who requests pieces, please work with me with patience – I am SUPER invested and want to expand and grow and share my work, but I am also only human and (for the time being) this is still just my side job.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have begun working with several new shops and have my work on display/for sale at their establishments. This is exciting, and I can add that shortly after my last post I was asked to join another location, so now I am in 4 different shops! What is great is that they are all in different locations/towns, so it should hit a wide variety of customers without overlapping too much. I have my pottery in shops in Ellsworth, Bangor, Bucksport and now Wiscasset! So, just to have it on record if people are interested in swinging in and checking the shops out – here are the locations –


Melissa’s Maine Made Shop
14 Water Street
Ellsworth, Maine

Maine Jewelry and Art
100 Harlow Street
Bangor, Maine

The Local Variety
79 Main Street
Bucksport, Maine

Creamed Baking Company
49 Water Street
Wiscasset, Maine

It is exciting to be selling at each location, and even more exciting because at two of them I am selling very well! Currently we are still in a relatively slow season before tourists arrive, so I expect to see that just increase as the summer goes on. The difficulty for me will now be balancing finishing up the school year (I still have 2 weeks) prepping for summer shows (I will post an updated list down below) and now restocking the shops if I find that I sell well! It is a challenge I am happy to be facing! :D

Currently I am working on building up a base of bisqueware, so that when I sell items from my “main line” of product at shows, I then have items already made and prepped to just glaze and add back into the mix. Prior to this I would sell something and then have to make a completely new piece, which has a turn around rate (if I am realistic) of 3 weeks minimum. Now, If I sell a large orange bowl I can just glaze an available backup bowl and boom – back in the mix as soon as I can have a firing done, which in the summer can just be a day or two. So I think this will really help me to be prepared for future sales and shows. :) I just ordered another 150 pounds of clay so this is my current plan – begin creating pieces that will be glazed to fill in needed spots. 

I've sold a bunch of my marbled pieces, and have had several custom orders that were marbled, so I have had a bunch of fun recently making new marbled pieces. I've mentioned before that making the marbled pieces holds an extra degree of surprise and fun with it, so I really enjoy that aspect and am excited to see the pieces selling decently. I still feel like they sell slightly less often than the bright, colorful glazes (which i also love!!) but I am happy that they both have their own place in the work that I create. I would hate to have to just do marbled or just do colorful - it is nice that I can enjoy making both and can still successfully sell both :)

I am happy to report that I have brought back one of my favorite glazes – Fruity Freckles! It is a while based glaze with pops of blue, green, red and yellow – very fun and bright and playful. For a while I had been out of the glaze and had just got gotten more, but I finally ordered new jars, so the next show I attend (two weeks from tomorrow!) I will have it with me. I also have new items in my white with blue specks glaze (Dutch Enamelware) and just ordered several new bottles of Coral Puff, which is a pink that I used to use and people seemed to like. So all in all, excited about these new options and what lies ahead this summer!


Speaking of shows – here is an updated List of where I will be this summer and into the fall::

July 1st  & 2nd  – Downtown Stonington, ME for repeat summer craft shows
July 4th – Bar Harbor, ME for the YMCA 4th of July Craft Fair
July 14th - Downtown Stonington, ME @ the Odd Fellows Hall
July 21st  &  22nd – Bucksport, ME for the Bucksport Bay Festival
July 22nd - Downtown Stonington, ME @ the Odd Fellows Hall
July 28th – Guilford, ME for the Piscataquis River Festival
July 29th - Downtown Stonington, ME @ the Odd Fellows Hall
August 5th - Downtown Stonington, ME @ the Odd Fellows Hall
August 10th  & 11th  - Bucksport, ME for the Bucksport Fine Arts Festival
August 18th  &  19th – Machias, ME for the Machias Blueberry Festival
August 19th - Downtown Stonington, ME @ the Odd Fellows Hall
August 25th   &  26th  - Downtown Stonington, ME @ the Odd Fellows Hall
October 27th  &  28th – Orono, ME for the UMaine Homecoming Craft Fair
November 26th  &  27th – Augusta, ME for the Augusta Civic Center Craft Fair
November 26th – Stonington, ME for the Holiday Craft Fair

For those who might not know, I grew up in the costal town of Deer Isle/Stonington. I was asked to be part of a repeat summer craft fair, happening downtown at the Odd Fellows Hall. As you might have noticed, several of the days I am planning to “Attend” craft fairs are on the same days as other craft venues. My plan on those days is to have my mom (who lives on the Island) run a booth for me on the Island while I Am off at other craft fairs. So while I might not be able to be in two places at once this summer and fall, my pottery at least CAN be! :) 




I also expect that as the fall gets closer I may add in more fairs closer to Thanksgiving /Christmas time - that is typically a big craft season, so if anyone has any ideas for good shows to attend, let me know! 


All in all, hopefully if you have interest in my work you will be able to find me somewhere relatively close by this summer to check out my work! OR if that does not line up, just drop me an e-mail or message me on facebook - I can ship items for people who live further away, or I am always willing to meet up in the Bangor/Brewer/Orono or even Lincoln area to show individuals pottery they may be interested in!


So as you can see, I will be SUPER busy this summer, which is GREAT!  But I am also SUPER nervous because I am three times as busy as I was last year. I am hopeful that I can keep up with all of this, so wish me luck and fingers crossed that it goes well and I don’t pull my hair out by September :)

OH - and some last minute, exciting news - my Husband is going to help me within the next month or so to update this blog and make it into a full website, so that individuals can ORDER and PURCHASE pieces, right from this page!!! Stay tuned for more information!!

:D

If there is something in particular you would like to see (Specific colors, shapes, or styles) don’t hesitate to mention it, and as always I would LOVE some more feedback or responses to my blog posts!

The best way to reach me is via e-mail  - bethanythompon@rsu67.org - if you would like to purchase a specific piece or place an order! 









1 comment:

  1. We had a lot of last minute decorations to add, and the staff was eager and willing to help. The food was amazing. They have extremely unique and tasty food. Also this LA venue has great views and beautiful big rooms.

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