Friday, June 6, 2014

The small stuff

 In the past I have posted many of the larger works that we make, but in reality it is the small stuff that can make or break you.
In order to make a living as a potter, or any craft, you need to have some small works that are something you enjoy making as much as the big stuff.
We love the glory of the big works, the work that screams, "look at me!"
The reality is there are many folks who love to own some of the simple pots. A mug, tumbler, bowl and yes, we make and sell many oil lamps. There are always discussions in the world of clay about the things that potters make.
For us it has never been about following the crowd, but more about finding a place in which we are happy with what we do.

 My father was a writer, a newspaper man, an editor who loved and knew words. He and his best friend wrote a book together. I once asked him if he would write another.
"No, he would say, I have scratched that itch ."

There are times that you have to follow a path of need, want, discovery to take the clay somewhere you have not gone together before.
Then there are times that the simple act of making a shape over and over can be the comfort you need. There are times that I feel a peace when just throwing those simple forms.
 Then there is your customer who has given those pots as gifts to family and friends. They know that they can come and find a pot that is affordable, useful and a way to share their love of the handmade item.
( maybe we are a gateway drug)

I can not even tell you how many of the lamps we have sold over the years.
I can tell you that they are enjoyed, my customers tell me so.
Plus, when we know we are going to have no power we line up our own.
We have found that with 2 we can play cards or dominoes.
We always tie a set of instructions on the lamps before they are set out to sell. You can not expect that folks will know what you know. These burn best with a good lamp oil, the smokeless, oderless oil. The other stuff smokes like crazy and can make a mess. Plus, the others smell.

The wick is fiberglass and unlike cotton will not burn up. It absorbs the oil and pulls it to the top. What you get is a nice flame like a candle without the drips of wax.

I did my first 3 days in a row of teaching, a long day for me finds me going to bed pretty early since I need to be up about 5:30 am to roll out of here on time.
Mark has been steadily tossing clay on the wheel and should have a bisque load going next week.
My only problem is that it is not Friday on the last day of the week I work.....I'm getting my days mixed up and Mark is not going for giving me a 4 day week-end. ( I need to work on that).
Coffee calls,


Dennis Allen said...

Better to light one WHYNOT oil lamp than to curse the darkness. Carry on, one foot in front of the other, one day at at time........

cookingwithgas said...

Hi Dennis! How true!!

Gary's third pottery blog said...

work and life wise, sounds like you are currently burning the candle at both ends ;)

cookingwithgas said...

yes, Gary, I am!

Shortstuff said...

As you well know I am a huge fan of your oil lamps. They make the perfect bread-and-butter gift for a host/hostess. Plus I have put mine to good use in power outages, too. To top it off they're purty to look at.

Michèle Hastings said...

Yes, the inexpensive items are the gateway drug! That is how I started buying pottery in my early 20's. Small items here and there, sometimes seconds. It eventually led to a a very serious habit... but I have no plans on going to rehab.

Linda Starr said...

Keep the light on or as Tony Clennell said 'keep the flame alive' and you are doing more than most to do just that, hang in there and be kind to yourself.

Lori Buff said...

It's true, the smaller items are very approachable for people. I have a lot of customers that come back again and again for small items and ones that start off with a mug or butter keeper but then later buy a casserole or platter. The connection started with that small item.

Suburban Correspondent said...

Those lamps are beautiful! You don't have to replace the wicks?

cookingwithgas said...

No, they are fiberglass. But, you can't cook with them..... ;)!

Claudia from Idiot's Kitchen said...

I love the lamps! I've given one as a gift but certainly have in mind to buy one for myself sometime too!