I was a bit shocked the other day to see how many small orders I had waiting to be done. I'd just kind of hummed along the last couple of months thinking there weren't too many orders outstanding. Checked my notebook and it turns out I was wrong.
So I made a list and now I'm working at it. Somehow, orders are never fun. When I am making something just because I want to, I have only myself to please but with orders I have someone else to please. So I get the odd feeling that I'm not working for myself, I'm working for someone else, and of course I can't always be sure just what they have in mind. So many little questions arise that I didn't think to ask... for example, I know that so-and-so wants a blue pansy ring, but I forget to ask her what sort of blue. Dark blue, light blue, purply-blue, greeny-blue??? So do I make about 6 of them and do one in each colour and hope somebody will buy the others? Or call her (which would mean admitting I forgot to ask) or just guess or use the dark blue because that glaze is easy?
Another problem I have with orders is what I call Lis' rule of pottery making: "one will get shmucked." If you need 25 of something, better make 26 because one will get shmucked. Broken or cracked in the bisque or fumbled in the glaze or stuck to the kiln shelf or something, but shmucked. Unfortunately, this also means that if you only need 1, you'd better make 2 and thus all orders are automatically doubled. Sometimes I try to fool this rule by making the piece so early on that I'll have time to do it again if it fails the first time, but then the real insidiousness of the rule becomes apparent because it applies every time. Make one, it gets shmucked, make it another time and it gets... and so on. So you have to make at least 2 right off the bat.
The only time the rule fails is when you make 2 and both turn out OK. Then you're left with one that hangs around the studio for months until you finally unload it as a second. Or if you're really unlucky, the customer doesn't like either one and you end up with 2 you need to unload.
Of course, I'm exaggerating, it isn't always that bad. Practically all customers are just fine, they ask for what they want, in detail, and are quite reasonable when they see what I've made. Most of the time they are quite pleased, sometimes even delighted! That happened with some Toad Houses just now. I made 6 (she asked for 3) and they all turned out and she had a hard time choosing. She liked them all!
Well, I better get back to the shop. I need 1 butter dish with a twisty handle (eh?), a smaller than usual teapot, 3 mugs with leaves on them... unfortunately, the list goes on. It's beautiful out today, sunny and 15C so if I'm really good and work hard I'll allow myself to take Rosie for a long walk in the woods as a reward.