Monday, November 14, 2011


Some days are just not meant to be good for your self-esteem.

The phone rang early this morning. A small shop in a neighbouring village. Back in about August, she had asked me to show her some pots to possibly display in her store. I brought a selection and put them out for her to look at but she was in a big rush. The Red Fox pattern she dismissed immediately, 'nobody likes brown'. The Wild Garden designs she ignored. She liked the blue-and-white spongeware. We agreed I would fill up a maple hutch with b&w stuff.

I did.

Now she tells me she hasn't sold anything, nobody likes spongeware, too 'country', they want something more 'upscale' and 'with it'. She wants Red Fox.

Ok. Rewind.

Then a sweet young mom with two impossibly cute little girls came to pick up her Bird design hors d'oevres platter. 'Oh', she says, 'it was supposed to be fish-shaped.' Rapid memory scan. Nope. She never mentioned that. I sent her a picture of the finished platter, she did not email back that it was supposed to be a fish..... She had asked about my fish platters (saw them on my website) but I never connected the two. Luckily, she said she'd be back in February so I can still do it. A fish-shaped platter with black birds on it. Could be fun!

It's only 7 pm. What else is going to whap me upside the head today?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Urban Craft

It's an unfortunate truism that when you aren't busy, there is nothing to write about, and when you are, you don't have time to write.

The last two months have been a bit hectic. I won't bore you with the details but here's a summary: sales at my regular booth at the Farmers' Market were dismal. I had to make and sell a lot of $5 and $10 items. People just aren't spending this year. My local art show, Expressions of Art went very well but my sales were disappointing. I had made platters and shallow bowls with designs of Ravens on them, and they didn't sell. After the Show, I got two calls from people ordering Raven bowls and I found out that they didn't like the ones at the Show because they didn't like the orange leaves! I had done what I hoped were swirly autumn leaves, and was so pleased to be able to use a new food-safe orange stain. Sigh. Then early this month I did a new little craft sale called Handmade Harvest and did very well. I made only Bird stuff and Sheep stuff.... all small items, nothing over $25. This one is interesting - it's a new thing called Urban Craft. Hard to describe, but it's somewhat the twitter approach to crafts. One of the potters on Clayart has this to say about Urban Craft:

"My students ... think it's cool....Personal, handmade objects made with creativity and a sense of fun. The handmade aspect isn't so important to a lot of Urban Craft fans, I think, as the idea that it's not made by some sweatshop worker in the third world, or sold by some faceless marketing conglomerate, or mass-produced in lots of zillions. They like to feel they're making a statement by making or even buying this stuff. Things made from recycled or eco-friendly materials are a big hit, too. ... I don't think that more traditional art and craft fairs even hit their radar very much.

"From their perspective, a lot of traditional(ish) craft has gotten either stuffy and highfalutin', or else holds true to hippie roots that seem irrelevant to most younger folks.... This new stuff isn't necessarily all good or well-made, but it connects with a lot of cultural currents that traditional craft either ignores or disses. It ain't your granny's knitting...."

I think that says it very well. Thank you, Snail!

I'm not sure Urban Craft will displace traditional Craft, but I must say doing this Show was a breath of fresh air. I loved the creativity shown by the various vendors, and even though some things weren't really practical, I found them very appealing. OK, baby bibs made out of felt aren't going to work, and neither are necklaces made out of (mostly) wool roving.... but the designs were so much fun! And imagine this: this craft sale did not have 6 pages of rules for vendors. I felt so free!

Now the Studio is full of pots for the upcoming Christmas Market. After that I'm having my annual half-price sale (with two guests, both painters) so it's busy, busy, busy.

And it's going to snow tonight.