Monday, 29 September 2014

Spring market musings


This is especially true when it comes to clay, glazes and... (temperamental) kilns. As many a ceramist and potter will attest to.

The spring market season hasn't kicked off quite as I had hoped/planned.
First, my kiln failed to work. Thermocouple problems resulted in a no firing. Followed by two over firings where temperature fluctuations produced bloated, distorted plates, bowls and some pendants. Glazes ran, and many hours of clay work melded with kiln shelves - resulting in a sad and sorry mess to grind apart.
All were anticipated pieces that would be missing from this (and near future) stalls, laying my optimism low.

Temporarily that is.

Onwards. Upwards. And continue to create fervently. Forget failures - learn from them, but don't dwell.
A mantra I've recited to myself many a time.

Hopefully, seeing as apparently, “things happen in threes”, that’ll be it for a while, and I can see this busy season through without any further problematic incidents, as every firing counts from now on - at least til after Christmas.
... she says, crossing fingers, touching wood and pleading to the Universe and importantly..... the kiln gods ;)

 Not quite as abundant as planned...

The recent local market was off to a slow start. Big black threatening clouds in the distance, followed by a shower or two, delayed many visitors in the morning.
It was a small market, and not a huge crowd was anticipated, but fortunately, more ventured out to see what was on offer as the day brightened.

It was lovely to have people admiring, and buying, my wares and wonderful to get great feedback from return customers who stopped by. Especially those who turned up proudly wearing my pendants or brooches from previous market purchases.

One customer arrived at my stall with a safety pin holding her scarf together.
She chose a beautiful aqua coloured, heart shaped brooch, and left with her scarf decoratively secured and a wide smile on her happy face.

That brightens the spirits, when I sometimes question why I do what I do…

As always at an outdoor venue, dog watching offered a very welcome distraction, as owners brought their fur babies out for a mingle.
I have an extremely soft spot in my heart for wiry coats and whiskery faces. And, especially for Scotties and Westies.
The brooches I make are very good sellers.

Those who buy them either have, or had, a Scottie/Westie - or buy them for someone they know who do. And once asked, people always have a wonderful tail tale to tell about these little characters.

So, when this jaunty little lad walked into view, I was super excited!

While his dad waited in line at the nearby food vendor, I asked if I could lavish a pat then take a photo of... “Chumpybones” - I think the kids named him, don't you? :D

He was a delightful and dignified little fellow who stole my heart that day.

Later that night, last toilet break outside for Jack before turning in, we were visited by a resident Brushtail Possum who calls the nearby forest trees, home.

Not in the least bit shy, she gently accepted a piece of apple from my hand and graciously posed for a quick photo.
Then, we bid her a, “goodnight missus” and left her to her nocturnal pursuits.

The weather looks good for this coming Saturday’s market.
And, as I write this, the kiln is on. I hope that it is a successful glaze firing.

At last glance, a few minutes ago, the kiln temperature read 666°.  Shudder...


  1. I really like that wooden tree you have the pendants hanging on.
    I can imagine coming home from anywhere and flinging my coat and hang onto its branches.
    Your kiln will sort itself out and be fine.

    1. Yes, I've had many comments from people loving the tree. And even some offers to buy it from me.
      It's awkward to stack in the car with all the other market stuff - hubby swears every time at it.
      But the effect is worth it and draws people to it. Even hubby admits it's a good display prop - grudgingly :)

  2. Oh no! So sorry to read about your kiln problems! I'll will think positive thoughts that everything will go well from now on! xoxo
    I really like your set-up. I love your table, it's very inviting. I'm sitting here squinting at the screen trying to see it all. I LOVE the turquoise clock with the owl.
    Two things Art-wise that I wish I knew how to do is ceramics and soldering. I'm always drawn to the tents with clay or metal Art.
    I know if I found your space at an Art market I'd be buying! I hope you have a great Holiday selling season!
    I always see people with their dogs at Art Fairs and wish I could take Blue but I know that wouldn't go well.
    If I took anyone else the whole house would go crazy with jealousy.
    LOVE that photo of your forest visitor! How cool.
    666, yeah that's kinda scary! LOL!
    Hope you post photos of the results of that firing!
    Take care, xoxo - Cindi

    1. Thanks Cindi - all positive thoughts gratefully received :)
      I'll be changing the look of my stall display soon. I've changed my logo and name, so the colours will reflect that. You'll see the results in later photos, along with (hopefully) successfully fired pieces from this and near future firings. Stay tuned...
      Whenever I come home from an outdoor market where I've cuddled and patted other dogs, Jack spends a good deal of time sniffing my sleeves intently and giving me that look of, "who've you been seeing, huh??"
      Love to you, Blue and all your wonderful crew xx

  3. Fingers, toes and eyes crossed that this firing, and every firing goes well. And that your talent is recognised. Return trade is SUCH a positive advertisement.
    I too get the sniff test when I have been 'unfaithful' to the cats while out of their sight. And it can take a while before I am completely forgiven.

    1. Thank you, EC. And yes, return customers are very good for the creative soul, or should that be ego... ?

      I think it's interesting that cats don't forgive as quickly as dogs when we've spent time with other animals.
      I'd really love to know what they perceive/think at the time of sniffing.
      Perhaps that the other cat/dog/animal shouldn't dare to commune with "their human".
      An ownership or tribe thing maybe.
      Although, Jack is very jealous of any dog that comes near me :)
      My horses would also spend ages blowing and inhaling deeply when I had previously patted other animals.
      It also drove the goats crazy and they would sniff and nibble my hands.

  4. So sorry for the slow start to the big selling season, Vicki! I VERY much admire you keep-going gumption though! :o) Hope your kiln problems were a one-off and you'll be firing up more lovelies consistently now. VERY fun to see your stall. The clocks are wonderful! Oh, and I LOVE, love, love the Westie/Scottie brooches....wee-hoo!! (Brings back memories of my Westie Bailey...) Chumpybones--that is a hilariously fun name for a pooch! And how sweet your late-night visitor. Prayers & wishes for a happy, prosperous sale-season, my friend! ((LOVE & HUGS))

    1. Thanks for your kind wishes, Tracy, I hope the kiln does "settle down" for a while now.
      So, you too had a Westie? How lovely! Such awesome characters these terriers are.
      Possums are regular visitors over here. Many people consider them a nuisance, but I love them - and the babies they bring around clutching onto the mumma's back are so cute.

  5. so many thoughts reading this post dear friend . . .
    first how calm you are! no wonder i have hypertension. i'd be beside myself! LOLOL.
    then . . . i thought . . . i bet there were still some beautiful wabi sabi pieces . . . might even have been meant to be. but as i read on i realized you knew best.
    and you know i'd want to spend time with chumpybones! LOL. that wee fellow. so far down there . . . looking up. what a cute little guy.
    one of my favorite speeches by franklin delano roosevelt was all about his little black scottie fala.
    and in that magnificent sculpture of the president . . . fala is right by his side . . . sitting there by his master. the only president's statue with a dog.
    i think you're brave. and artistic. and fun.
    i'm so very glad i get to know you. even from afar.
    sending the whole universe's positive waves to you across the sea... that the kiln will love you back ... and the season will be FABULOUS DARLING!!!!
    XOXO♥ a nose kiss on my beloved blue jack... jealous of his best girl vicki. :D
    and PS . . . the night lady eating her apple? adorable.

    1. Ummm, I wouldn't even be able to get away with calling those bloated pieces wabi-sabi, they were too far gone - and that's those that didn't have to be pried from the kiln shelves with a hammer and chisel :)
      Chumpybones was a sweetie, and reminded me so much of Jack, because he only had eyes for his dad. He stuck to him like glue - a very loyal, loving fellow.
      Scotties do have my heart and it's funny that they do, seeing as I've never known one personally. But, maybe one day, a wee Scottish lad might trot into my life, who knows...
      I Googled FDR and Fala - what a fabulous sculpture - especially of Fala. I didn't realise how big they were until I saw a pic of a real Scottie sitting next to the Fala sculpt.
      Now the weather is warming up, visits from possums are fairly regular. I love how they hold their food in their little paws.

      Thank you for such lovely words of support from you dear friend. I do hope the season will be absolutely fabulous :D ♥
      I gave Jack his kiss, and he sends a cheek lick back to you xxx

  6. Oh yes, I hope your woes are all behind you. And you can move on, through a
    very productive season.

    You artists are to be so admired. All the preparation work. And then setting
    up, in hopes that lots of people, will fancy what you offer. There must be
    many tense moments. Hooooray for you!

    Oh that little bushtail possum is so cute. Native to your country, I'm sure.
    look at those eyes!!!

    Gentle hugs,
    "Here there be musing" blog

    1. Thanks Tessa ;)
      It can be stressful - creating, preparing, packing, travelling, setting up in all weather, then eagerly hoping that people will turn and and buy, to make it worth all the effort.
      But, it's a bug that bites and I know I'd miss it if I couldn't do it anymore - not yet anyway :)

      Yes, the brushtail possums are native to Australia. Very sweet creatures with huge night seeing eyes.
      Sometimes they "call" outside the window as they sit on the tree branches. It can be quite an eerie sound to those who don't know what it is - and has frightened many a visitor, lol.

  7. Such a cheerful stall, very cute pins, very cute dog, but omg, that opossum!! The cutest thing ever! I can't believe how tame.....
    Sorry for your kiln woes, I know them all too well myself :-(

    1. Thanks Tracey.
      Yes, when firings are successful, it's so great isn't it? But when they're not.....

      I Googled Opossum and found that the possums here differ greatly from those in the US. I didn't realise the American opossums have big super sharp teeth! They look vicious. Very cute, but scary :)
      Our possums don't have teeth like that - although they can give a nasty bite, and scratch, if threatened or captured and frightened.
      Around here in our forest, they are pretty docile because they know no harm will come to them. Sometimes, they let me pat their super soft tails while they munch on a piece of apple.

  8. Vicki, I'm sorry you're having such kiln troubles, I hope everything goes perfectly from now on and you have a wonderful, very profitable season. I love your pins, the clocks and that teapot. Mrs. Possum is sooo adorable! I could kiss her! You kiss her for me...well, blow a kiss to her from me. :D



    1. Thank you, Victoria. I appreciate your good wishes.
      The old rusty teapot was a lucky find and has become a much loved display prop for my magnets - many people comment on it. That and the pendant tree :)
      Missus possum is a sweetie. I will blow her a kiss next time she drops by.
      And, please, blow a kiss to Mrs. Rose from me in return :)

  9. Hope your kiln gods behaved and gave you some gifts. Possums and Doggies---oh la, such a treat---makes one forget about naughty kiln gods for a while---thank you, Vicki.

    1. I had a peek inside the kiln this morning... cone dropped correctly and from what I can see, there are some nicely glazed pieces. Almost cool enough to unload very soon. Relieved sigh.
      Yes I agree Charlene, dogs and possums are always a welcome distraction :)


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