Butterflies.

My biggest fair yet to date is coming up, and instead of being excited, I’m plain old petrified. Will I have enough stuff? Should I buy another table? Will other potter’s stuff look better than mine? Is my display too ghetto? Should I buy a name-banner for my tent? If I offer five lines of glazes, but only have three tables, how do I divide them? When am I going to find time to make the display boxes for under the tablecloths?

I have been throwing a bit, but not much, because unfortunately this fair coincided with the busiest time at the community center. We have eighty kids a day in the clay studios with the summer camp program (not all at once, thank goodness), plus a few adult classes, plus all the open studio people who have more time now that summer’s here. Since the beginning of the summer session, the kilns have been running continuously – all three of them – and adult stuff only made it into a bisque kiln yesterday for the first time. That’s how much stuff the kids produce. So by the time I fire all their work, the adult stuff has accumulated, so I give that priority and put it in first (people throw fits if my stuff goes in at the same rate as everyone else’s -sigh-) and then by the time those are done (bisque loads take 2-3 days) the kid stuff has piled up again. So when am I going to do my own stuff? -sigh-

So far I’ve made some lotion bottles and tumblers, some oil lamps and some mugs. Today I threw twelve sugar-n-creamer sets (it sounds like more when you factor in that there are two pieces, plus a lid, in that set; so it’s really 36 pieces. And tomorrow I have to put handles on them, and trim the lids, and attach the spindles for the little glass knobs). I still have to make many many teapots, and saucers too… and for that matter, a lot of other things…Well, I guess scaring the heebie jeebies out of myself some more isn’t a very productive line of thought.

I do have a couple of hardware projects pending that are more interesting to me right now: a lady I know has “connections” and can possibly get me some extruder dies cast in aluminum (wow!) for free (WOW!). I just have to get her the patterns. That would be amazing: right now I’m using dies that I hand-drilled out of 1/2 x 4″ poplar, so as you might imagine, it doesn’t stand up to water – or the enormous pressure of an extruder – as well as could be desired. And secondly, I’m trying to figure out an easier way to make trays for the lotion and creamer sets. Normally I roll a slab, throw a ring, and then attach the ring to the slab; but porcelain seems to abhor attachments (I love the way it throws, but it drives me nuts when I lose 30% of my mugs because the handles decide to fall off!) So the percentage of failure is quite high. I was thinking instead of cutting a neat kind of oval shape into a piece of drywall or plywood, so I could drape a slab into the hole and then attach handles. Bill Van Gilder does it on the DIY network (sorry, I couldn’t find the exact slideshow to link to for ya, but there are lotsa other interesting ones there).

Anyway… so there’s a lot of stress going on over here, but I’m working on it. Every time I get something else thrown it brings me that much closer! At least I’m sure I’m not going to have another hell week like before the Greenman Festival, where I stayed at the Community Center from 11pm to 3am every day for a week. I will get this stuff done in time, darn it… Now, if I could only be sure of getting them actually fired once I’ve made them all… -grin-

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