One of my favorite sales venues is Simple Soaps for Simple Folks in Dover Minnesota. Before you even step in the door, you can smell all the awesome fragrances Shanna (owner and soap maker) uses in her fabulous goats milk soaps. I stop on the doorstep, breathe in all the wonderful scents and step in to a warm, inviting shop with ever changing inventory.
During one of our earlier Lanesboro Area Art Trail events this year, I had a group of studio visitors at the studio participate in a raku firing. It got me thinking – maybe that would be a great addition to our Art Trail weekends.
With three events remaining this fall, I’ll be offering a Raku Experience workshop during Lanesboro Area Art Trail weekends. These workshops are targeted at folks with little or no pottery experience. Each attendee will glaze a pre-made ornament, participate in the raku firing and take their ornament home that same day.
More information is available by visiting the Raku Experience page on this blog. Click HERE
Wow – it’s been a while huh? Realized I hadn’t posted the results from my woodfire in late June so I’m getting all caught up. 🙂
When we closed up the kiln at the end of the firing, I knew we wouldn’t be unloading for quite a while since our grandkids were coming to visit and we wanted to wait to do the unloading while they were here.
Once my helpers were here, we were able to get this kiln unloaded and see all the fun things inside.
Here are a few of my favorites
This firing had lots of great ash action especially those things closest to the fire box. This mug turned out super gorgeous, but was unfortunately very stuck to the shelf. It’s currently on my seconds table due to the amount of grinding needed to free it.
All in all, it was a wonderful firing and I was so fortunate to be able to unload when I had such great help available.
A few years ago, we were younger and more naive woodfiring. We fired the kiln over the weekend that followed the 4th of July. It ended up being a very hot, humid weekend with no breeze made so much worse by the fact that we were standing in close proximity to the kiln as it reached it’s peak temp the same time the day reached it’s peak temp. After that firing we vowed to never fire in July again.
Now a few years down the road, we are older and wiser in our woodfiring practices. We’ve adjusted our firing schedule so we encounter the top temp of the kiln through the night to take advantage of the cooler air temps. A large barn fan has become a wonderful breeze in the kiln shed on days when nature isn’t providing one. And by keeping our firings to primarily spring and fall of the year we avoid the super cold of Minnesota winters and the hot, humid days of Minnesota summers.
So what was I thinking when I scheduled a firing for the last weekend in June??? Isn’t that pretty much the same as July??? Anyway…
For the most part the firing went well. There were some unusual happenings but overall, I feel really good about the anticipated results.
We experienced torrential rains, then sunshine and humidity, and back to the rains again through the entire firing. We lost power for approximately 3 hours during the night and had to use a collection of solar lights from the garden as the only light (other than the firebox of course) in the kiln shed. The following morning was beautiful. And we finished just before another storm blew in to start the days downpour/sunshine rotation all over again.
Can’t wait to unload and see how everything looks.
Even with a short power outage just when I was ready to start a bisque firing, I managed to get a couple rhubarb leaf platters complete for the upcoming Rhubarb Festival in Lanesboro Minnesota.
Normally, it takes me several weeks to see the end results of projects I’ve started, but this time it worked out really well that I had nearly a kiln load of stuff already complete and could just sneak these platters into that load and get them done in just one week.
The festival is tomorrow and hopefully, these platters will find new homes then. But I’ll definitely be making more. In addition to the green they are glazed in, I painted a stripe of raspberry glaze into the vein indentations to give them a little different color. Was hoping for a little of the red color to show, but it’s more a darker blue/green. Still worked out nicely.
Have a great weekend all.
Next week, I’m participating in Rhubarb Festival in Lanesboro Minnesota mostly to promote the upcoming Lanesboro Area Art Trail. One of the requriements of being a vendor at Rhubarb Festival is that your product be in some way related to rhubarb. Hmmm…
I have a green glaze that is similar in color to rhubarb, my bowls work excellent to hold cut up rhubarb and my tall vases work great as a display for rhubarb stems & leaves. But that didn’t seem like enough of a tie to rhubarb to me, so today I’m working on some serving plates that are definitely rhubarb themed.
Now to get them made, dried, fired and glazed by next weekend. It’s definitely possible.
Have a great weekend all.
Happy New Year everybody!
It’s a time of hope for what the New Year could bring and also a time of reflection. How did last year go? What went really well? What made it work? What could be improved? It’s time to close the books (literally and metaphorically) on 2008 and determine our course of action for the promising New Year.
In 2008, I worked harder at being a potter than I ever have in the past. In spite of poor economic conditions, my sales increased and I’ve added several new and valued customers. I started this blog and have found it and my Etsy shop to be valuable and enjoyable communication and sales tools. Some of my sales venues were better than others and I’ve decided I need to evaluate them on an effort vs. reward level for the upcoming year. For the most part, the goals I’d set for 2008 have been met and exceeded and I feel great about that.
My goals for 2009 have been formulating in my head for months. They include fairly typical goals for any small business. Stuff like, continued sales growth both in numbers and dollars, additional sales venues, attending an educational workshop, use of available technologies to make my job easier – the usual stuff. But one of my most anticipated goals is to get a shed and wood-fire kiln built at Old Crow Studio in the bluff country of SE Minnesota. I’ve been planning and saving for a long time and this summer I hope to accomplish this goal with the help of Master Kiln Builder, Donovan Palmquist.
Until construction season arrives here in the frozen north, I’ll pass my time writing blogs, applying to sales venues, updating my Etsy store and keeping my drying shelves well stock with just thrown pottery.
I hope you check back again to see what’s new here and how I’m doing on my 2009 goals.
Happy New Year to you.