Monday, September 24, 2012

Open Studios Tour

I have long wished to have my own space where I can work and experiment and play with mud, fire and glazes. I wanted this space for many reasons. One: if something gets dropped, wrecked, misfired, misglazed, or generally screwed up there is only one person to blame. Me. The myriad of other reasons include the solitude, knowing where everything is, being able to check on work in progress at any time, and so, so many more reasons. But the reason that applies here, to this post, is that I can have people from the general local population come to me. To my dedicated studio door. And, let's be completely honest, to buy my wares.

And now that I have that space I immediately signed up for the local Public Arts Committee Open Studio Tour.

Nevermind that it was the weekend following THE. BUSIEST. WEEKEND. EVER. Because I build homes to pay the bills, you see. And the weekend before the Tour was the Parade of Homes. Where 676 folks came through my house to judge the level of craftsmanship and design style I have, and hopefully a few of them will hire my company to build them a home.

I digress. Instead of thinking to myself, "perhaps you should not do the Tour the weekend following the Parade" I instead think, "Hey- here's my chance to let people know I'm here and I make great pots!" Friends and relatives looked at me with pity, probably thinking to themselves, "there she goes again, when will she learn?" And actually saying to me, "Are you out of your mind?!"

Work made and getting bisqued before the Tour.

Some quick vases drying to get into that pre-Tour bisque!

So, needless to say, I signed up for both available days, went to the printer to get directional signs made because I do kind of live in the sticks, and started making some work and making a plan. I even cleaned the studio, priced my completed work and set up a display!

The outside of my studio with my spiffy new sign!

Studio all nice and clean!

Best angle on my display in the studio space. I need more shelves!

My husband and daughter were all set to keep each other entertained, I had access to cash, credit card processing, I even made a 'wrap your purchase' station. I drove out to the end of the road and back tracked with my signs to help folks find me. I was ready.

And I threw pots. And more pots. Sections for large pieces (see my previous post on how THAT turned out!). Jug forms and more jug forms. Because I love jugs. And not a soul did I see. Not one. The entire duration from Noon to five.

Nice Jugs!

Section pieces.

And it's true, I was a bit bummed, but really, look at all the great work I got done!

So Sunday rolls around and I'm thinking that I've got a lot to do, and maybe there's a chance someone will come to see me. I certainly had handles to pull and pots to assemble and those last three jugs I just didn't get to yesterday. And after that, maybe I can start on that Honey Do list.

Needless to say, I got all of that and more done. I did meet a couple of very nice neighbors who decided to drop in, however.

Jugs with handles and the extras.

More Jugs and a platter.
Did someone request more salad plates?

For me, following a whole weekend (!!) in my studio, it was hard to be truly disappointed. How often do I get to do that? Never. But it does make one wonder, "Why?" Why did no one make the 7 mile drive from town to come see me? Did anyone go any further south to Jefferson City (15 miles from town) or Boulder (25 miles from town)? It could be because I am not a particularly well-known potter, especially in an area where sometimes it seems ALL the well known potters live here, or at least spent some serious time here. Through Facebook I spoke to a couple other artists on the tour, and even though they were in town, their attendance was very low. Less than 10 each day. So it leads me to think, without anything remotely resembling hard data, that on a nice September afternoon, people simply have other things to do.

Will I sign up for next year's Tour? You bet! Two whole days to spend uninterrupted in my studio without having to make excuses? In a heartbeat!!


julie cavender said...

I'm sorry you didn't have any attendees but all the lovely work you got done is such a bonus! In my own studio, I have a Christmas open house, send out 75-100 postcards to previous customers and, if I'm lucky, 10 people will show up. And I live out in the sticks, too. So, don't be discouraged. There's always next year!

Zephyr Valley Pottery said...

Thanks Julie! I'm hoping a group closer-to-town event during the early holiday shopping season will help with the name recognition as well as showing folks that we're not all THAT far from town. I'll keep plugging away at it in any case!!