In the home stretch

This past weekend we had our last event at the Lanesboro studio and have official closed the studio for the winter.  Having received our first significant snow for the season, I’m busy getting indoor things done today.

Like addressing post cards for my last sale of the season, photographing pots for my Etsy shop, and anything else I can think of to avoid having to shovel the driveway.  Maybe while I’m doing this, the sun will come up and melt everything so I won’t have to shovel.  It could happen.  

Anyway… also getting some glazing done for my next wood firing coming up in a couple weeks.  Lots of mugs in this load because I always seem to be short on mugs.  

Dots, stripes, swirls and panels – the most popular designs.

Thanks so much to everyone who has served or is serving.  Your sacrifices are greatly appreciate.  Have a great Veterans Day.

Blog Anniversary Giveaway

January, 2011 marks my third anniversary blogging. It sure doesn’t seem that long, but it’s been a very enjoyable activity. In honor of that anniversary, I’m hosting a giveaway event where the winner will receive this glossy black and green mug (highly recommended for hot chocolate on a cold winter night).

Here’s how it works – you basically have four opportunities to enter.

1. Visit my Etsy shop and leave a comment here on this blog post about your favorite item in the shop.

2. Become a follower of my blog (existing followers are automatically entered). In the right sidebar or at the very top of this page, you’ll find a button that says “Follow”. Leave a comment on this post indicated you’ve become a follower.

3. “Like” my Sue Pariseau Pottery Facebook page (again existing Facebook followers are automatically entered). Leave a comment on this post indicating you’ve “liked” my page.

4. Post on your blog or Facebook about the giveaway and put the link in the comments of this post to receive an additional entry.

On January 27th, the winner will be drawn and posted in my blog. That’s it – simple huh?

Good luck.

Alternative Gift Registry

Some of you might be familiar with this website, but for those of you who aren’t, I’d like to tell a little about a site I’ve become familiar with this past year – Alternative Gift

Decades ago when I first got married, everybody registered at the local department store for all the china, crystal, flatware and household items they wanted and needed to set up their new household. Back then, people were much younger when they married and frequently had not lived anywhere but their parents homes before getting married. Well… fast forward several decades (wow, am I old or what??).

More people are getting married older after living on their own for quite some time. They’ve got all the household items they need and in many cases each spouse has a full household. This is where Alternative Gift Registry come in. Their focus is on allowing people to register for the things they really want, need and value rather than yet another toaster or blender and in doing so encouraging people to be more environmentally and socially conscious.

Operated by The Center for a New American Dream, they help people live the American dream, but in a way that ensures a livable planet for current and future generations. Their message isn’t about deprivation. It’s about getting more of what really matters—more time, more nature, more fairness, and more fun.

As an Etsy seller, I’ve come to enjoy this site, because it allows people to register for anything, including my items on Etsy. Gone are the days of having to register just for the things the local department store carries. It’s ideal for anyone interested in local or handmade items.

So, if you’re getting married, expecting a baby or having some other gift receiving event, check out Alternative Gift Registry to set up a unique registry for the event.

Pots for Sale

I have a very welcomed day off from my day job tomorrow. Early in the day I’ve got a meeting to attend with my mom, but the afternoon is all mine. On the top of my to-do list is to add some pots from my most recent firings on Etsy. Later I’m heading in to The Market on Oak to help out there for a few hours.

Check my Etsy shop late tomorrow for some new pieces. There’s a gorgeous glossy black and green bowl.

New from the Kiln this Morning

I was up bright and early this morning to unload a kiln full of glazed pieces. Didn’t even wait until I had breakfast first!! There were some very fun pieces in there and I couldn’t wait to see how they turned out. I’ve very pleased. Check them out…

Iron Red oblong vase with slip design
Glossy Green and Black reed diffuser
Glossy Green and White handled bowl
Glossy Green and Black Mugs
Sapphire Blue and White oblong platter

Most of these pieces will be available at the Bluff Country Studio Art Tour next weekend. Later, anything that hasn’t sold will make it’s way to my Etsy shop.

The kiln has been reloaded and I hope the things in this load will turn out as well as the one this morning.

I’m Not A Gadget Geek

I’ve been called a Gadget Geek on more than a few occasions. My first impulse is to deny it, but it might be true, maybe I am a gadget geek. I think it’s all about how you define gadgets. If we’re talking about tools that make something I’d do anyway easier, then yes, I proudly admit my love of gadgets. But if we’re taking about gadgets, as in gotta have the latest, greatest. Then no, I’m definitely not that kind of gadget geek. Gadgets just for the sake of owning the latest gadget doesn’t really interest me, but I love a gadget that makes my life or pottery making easier and/or better.

My favorite pottery tool is this awesome Brown trimming tool. I’ve been using it for about two years and absolutely love it. It’s reasonable priced and the loop parts are replaceable. I used to have to buy whole new trimming tools when the loop got dull. Now I can just remove the dull one off and put a new loop on. Love it!!

Some of my most used tools are very low tech like the collection of sponges and wooden ribs above or the ear of corn used for texturing pieces shown below.

A month or so ago, I picked up a little netbook. It felt a little frivolous. But I’ve found it’s been a really reasonable way for me to keep up with computer tasks when I wouldn’t normally have computer access. Do I need to blog, edit photos, list new items on Etsy, track income & expenses or maintain extensive mailing lists at any moment? No, but it really has a huge impact on the growth of my business. And the netbook helps me do that more efficiently.

Call me a geek if ya want, but I think tools were invented for us to use them. Where would we all be if our ancestors didn’t use the newest tools invented for them?

Out with the Old

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.