Sunday, December 20, 2009

If You Build It

“If you build it, he will come.”
Remember Field of Dreams?
The main character, on a dream quest, realizes along his travels that he has to go home, plow under his cornfield and turn it into a ball field. One night after he is done, he turns on the floodlights over his bases and bleachers, and suddenly a long stream of headlights appear in the distance as people are drawn to it like an epicenter of meaning. It answers something elemental they long for.

I’ve got the pots.
Got the space to display it in a homespun physical gallery. The web site… you may be growing tired of hearing it is almost here. Once it is, though, then ads supporting it go up, and it can become my virtual gallery. It is something I dream. Making and then having a way to sell my stoneware vessels. If I build it, will they come?

I am paying attention as always to the lips of mugs, the curves of handles, the weight of lids, the lift of feet. I am fretting over the interplay of elusive colors, the sheen and texture of surfaces. Someone must find some satisfying thing in a pot that connects with them somehow. Otherwise there is no point in paying good money for it. The user completes the effort of the maker. The maker is incomplete without the user.

Friday someone told me she was thinking of my hobby. Of the kiln in my basement, how wonderful to have that. She didn't say, but she meant: the means to follow a dream. She is a cashier at a grocery store where I often shop. When she was in high school she came with her class for several sessions of clay work with me. Now she is a young married woman with a baby, and brings a bright spirit to an unsatisfying job. I see her, conscientious and capable, as the months go by. I cannot take offense that she thinks my work is a hobby. To her it is a fantasy. I cannot make her see how hard I try to make my work possess that something that- if I build it- will bring the people to it.
She is building her family.
We all want something. If we build it, it might happen.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

And the Seasons They Go Round and Round

Last week I noted this:
Studio shelves beginning to fill up. Do I need to buy more shelves?
Too many new stoneware trays for the available plate stands- where to buy?
Is it time to take more photos of pots for the web site?

After a week of being down with bronchitis I was ready to get back to work.
Made a list in preparation:
What is missing from inventory? (Components of havadalah sets. Seder plates. Plates in general.)
What can I make with my new slab roller? (Seder plates!)

Lists. We who make the list work by the list.
We who are highly distractible swear by the list.

So I glazed some more pots, fired another load in the kiln, cleaned up my gallery area of dust and detritus, put on carefully-thought-out price stickers. Shopped for shelves (Lowe's stopped carrying the ones I want) and plate stands (no luck at B, B & B). No photos; I put away my photo setup to make room for more pots. Looked longingly at the new slab roller, but one thing at a time. Next week, I assured myself, I will start making my seder plates from neatly rolled slabs.

Chanukah approaches. Christmas approaches. Where could I advertise quickly for the last minute gift-giving locals? I put a notice in the weekly synagogue e-mail bulletin. Does anyone read that thing but me? Will it bring anyone to the studio gallery? I put a mention on Facebook, but most of those people are family (-can anybody say discount? -love you anyway, guys) or aren’t local (can’t drop in and shop) and my new, improved retail web site is still almost up. My estimate of “within a week” a few weeks ago was the silly fantasy of a wishful potter.

Another missed sales season?
My salesperson hat is not fitting my head and it is giving me a headache.