Time Management: My 2 cents

I feel like I’m racing against time, so I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot.  Since my last post I’ve finished making a full kiln load of pottery (which is still heating in the kiln).  This took nearly a week complete with a breakdown of the cables on my slab roller and help from two angels.  I also designed and purchased a number of marketing products on Vistaprint including a banner, new business cards, postcards, and a photobook complete with collages of finished pottery, some works in progress and studio shots. This too was due to help from two angels who helped me with the photograph and design of the banner, postcard, and back of business card. All of this has taken a lot of my time, but I have thought about it for a long time and decided not to dwell on perfection in order to get all of this completed.

I started to read the article “Why I Taught Myself to Procrastinate” from the NY Times (author: Adam Grant, 1/16/16).  The gist is that procrastination is a virtue for creativity and it is not always a curse. I’m one of those people that need time to think and to envision (and I don’t mean visualize because I often don’t have a complete picture in my head.)  I also believe that some things are decided on the fly and that overthinking some things can be a curse too. And the truth is that we all make decisions based on years of experience and in a split second that experience helps us make crucial decisions.

I still have quite a few things left to do on my checklist as I reach February 11th (my day of departure). But if I can offer any tips on time management – it is this:

1)    Give yourself plenty of time to dream, envision, think and plan.

2)    At some point well in advance create a checklist and have a rough calendar of deadlines.

3)    Reach out for help when you are stuck; ask others for help but rely on yourself to make final decisions.

4)    Get happy when those items on your checklist start getting done!

My kiln will go off shortly and tomorrow when I open it up, I’ll be back in the cold studio sanding, waxing, painting, glazing and finalizing pieces to put back in the kiln (hopefully this weekend – I think I can!)  That’s my priority until the next set of must-do’s can be addressed.  

Checklist Items - Boos and Yays

I am fortunate to have decent organization skills though there are always details that fall through the cracks.  So the other day I decided to put it all down on paper - the checklist for my upcoming wholesale show.  I have big categories - display, marketing, pottery, and miscellaneous (which is getting bigger and broader!) I am trying to spend as much time in my studio as possible because I've learned that when I rush pottery making, I make mistakes.  In addition, it is extremely cold and some days I can only take so much time.  

Yesterday I took care of some big and expensive checklist needs - hotel and car.  I was originally going to stay with a friend to save money but for a variety of reasons it is not working out.  So after much research and some advice I found a relatively inexpensive room in downtown Philly for 4 nights.  Yay, but boo it is way more money than I had budgeted, but yay I will be so close to the convention center and have much less stress. I rationalized that I may never do another wholesale show and this is the biggest opportunity I've ever had to sell, so its worth it.  Will figure out the money later.

I also had to get my car inspected and its been a year since it was last in the shop.  It runs fine with a few minor problems so I kept my fingers crossed that I didn't need any repairs.  Yay the needs were minimal (though I needed a new battery - apparently my 10 year old battery failed!)  I need the peace of mind knowing my car won't break down and will be all set for any weather (I have a Subaru Forester). Boo - another $228 spent.  

I have a niece who is helping me with photography for a new banner, business card and postcard.  She's a busy girl and when I got the final photo it was quite dark.  I happened to be at the right place and the right time to have a graphic designer friend open the final photo on her computer and she agreed to clean it up for me and actually add some features that I had not considered.  Yay all the way around! I offered her some pottery in exchange but all she wants is some free guidance on how to sell wholesale.  No problem!

I know a couple who are incredibly creative and entrepreneurial and lo and behold they just started an etsy shop.  I teach classes in how to do this.  They asked if I would come for dinner this weekend in exchange for some etsy tips.  Sure - and they offered to give me some help with planning my display (which my wonderful brother helped me begin.) So yay again...as long as it doesn't lead to more complications.  So far this week is going in the right direction!

My newest bird tray - a cardinal!

My newest bird tray - a cardinal!

The new trend IS handmade ceramics

Its a new year and as always a chance to rethink plans for the future.  I have my first wholesale show coming up February 13-15 in Philadelphia. The show is ACRE (American Craft Retail Expo) established by WholesaleCrafts.com (and I'll be blogging about my experience soon).  It could not come at a better time as there has been a plethora of articles recently touting the resurgence of handmade ceramics with special interest from restauranteurs and other buyers.  Here's a quick recap.

Why Restaurants are Ditching White China for Hand-Made Ceramics: a November 2014 article from Bon Appetit highlighting the movement away from white china to handmade ceramics in fine dining establishments across the country. 

Great Pottery Throw Down fuels new interest as stores report increase in sales: a December 2015 article from the Guardian reporting on the Britain's fascination with pottery since the reality show The Great Pottery Thrown Down aired on the BBC. Hmmm wondering if this will show up on American television soon!

The latest thing chefs are willing to spend big bucks on to impress diners:  a December 2015 article in the Washington Post explaining why big name restaurants are hiring artists and designers to make something more interesting than mass-produced tableware.

So potters and ceramic artists - its time to rejoice!!  Let the trend continue...


Welcome to Goldhawk Pottery!

Goldhawk Pottery dot com has been launched! Hours of researching, thinking, planning have all come to this.  I'm hoping that this website will eventually feature a place to showcase all of the virtual hats that I wear - pottery making, teaching, demos, arts education advocacy and lots of other good things.  Keep an eye out at www.goldhawkpottery.com