Organizing for my next sale – it’s all about the list!

I’m not quite sure when I became a list maker, but it happened within the last 7 years. I tend to be slightly scattered and have often wondered if I have an attention disorder. I think the lists started to become a big part of my daily routine when I was in graduate school from 2009-2012 – I had so much to do and so little time that it was easy to overlook a task or two. We often worked in small groups and forgetting to do your part was not cool. Now it’s just me, and I really hate not being prepared. My list is like a mind map and I really love maps!

Fast forward to today and I write monthly and daily lists, and when I’m getting ready for a sale I write a “things to make list”. I don’t beat myself up if I don’t manage to tick everything off my list because often my “things to make list” is very aggressive and optimistic. Most of the time I come very close to achieving my goals and it’s a great way to organize my time in the studio and out. For example on today’s list I was able to check off:

  • write “things to make list” ✔
  • social media posts for my business and the Colorado Potters Guild  (I’ll admit I spent about an hour+ wasting some time on Facebook and Instagram after I posted) ✔
  • create a Facebook ad for my Dabble class on Dec. 3 
  • make stuff – and start ticking items off my list (ticking things off my list feels like a wonderful accomplishment to me) ✔
  • unload kiln – happening in about an hour or maybe tomorrow morning…
  • write blog post (working on right now) ✔
  • get gas heater working in garagio  (there’s a chance of snow tomorrow) ✔
  • walk the dog and get some exercise ✔
  • take a Skillshare class on how to make tall pins ✔

How do I organize my “things to make list”? Part of it is based off of the popularity of my work at my last event – and I’m adding in a few holiday specific items like ornaments for the Holiday Pop Up in Boulder at the Food Lab. I honestly don’t know what to expect because I’ve never done an intimate pop up shop before. Obviously, I’d like to sell enough work to cover my participation fee and then some, but it’s also the last big hurrah when it comes to sales for many handmade makers until late spring when art fairs resume again so I’d like to sell a bunch. I’m making a variety of items at different price points in the hopes that I can appeal to a lot of different people.

Holiday Pop Up at the Food Lab Boulder
Holiday Pop Up at the Food Lab Boulder

If the Holiday Pop Up is a bust, my consolation is that I will have a ton of work to list in my Etsy Shop the beginning of December. I’m a little embarrassed to say that my Etsy Shop tends to be a repository for left overs at this point – with the exception of my made to order wall pods. These listings reside here all the time because I don’t keep them in stock and they’re popular. 

My goal in 2017 is to keep my Etsy Shop stocked with new work all the time. It’s hard to do because I also plan to participate in a number of different craft markets in Colorado next year as well as the biannual Colorado Potters Guild Sales. AND, continue to develop both in person and online classes. AND, find the time to volunteer my time some where in my community which I’ve narrowed down to a few places if they’ll have me. 

Are you a list maker? I’m thinking of making a digital to do list for makers – if I do, I’ll share it with you. 

1st Dabble Class on the Books!

I taught my first Dabble class at River North Workshop in Denver, CO this past Saturday afternoon. The day before on Friday, I was just a twinge nervous…I haven’t taught a class in person since 2009 and was feeling rusty.

Everyone is hard at work in clay class!
Everyone is hard at work in clay class!

On Saturday morning I slept in later than intended, and I still hadn’t packed my tools and supplies needed for my class. I had informally gathered everything that I would need the previous week and since I also teach the very same class online, I used my handy dandy tools + supply list that I created for this class, to check off everything. I’m happy to say that I didn’t forget a thing. If anything, I was over prepared! That’s not a bad thing.

Ceramicscapes Clay Class
Ceramicscapes Clay Class at River North Workshop

Two weeks prior to the class date, my class was at capacity. 8 students is the maximum amount that River North Workshop can accommodate and is actually a really nice size. I was able to demo each step and was available to students that needed help. These ladies rocked it! 

My next Dabble class is on December 3, 2016 from 12:30-2:30 PM – I’m going to be demonstrating how to make personalized handmade ceramic ornaments – just in time for Christmas!

Post Election Ennui…

Hi friends, 

I’ve debated whether or not to post any political commentary on my ceramic page, but feel I must speak out. I’m disappointed in the election results. I had hoped to see Hillary Clinton elected to our nation’s highest office, but alas, it is not to be. 

If anything, the shock of election night has fueled my desire to become more involved in my community. But, where do I start? The arts is an obvious choice and also a political act. I found this interesting article, Creativity and Freedom of Speech by Peter Istrate of Moxel, on LinkedIn (also the source of the graphic above) that resonates with me. 

Freedom of expression or freedom of speech is a necessary condition for achieving many other fundamental human rights.

I am going to actively search out opportunities in the arts to become more engaged and to encourage people to use their unique voices to empower themselves and others in an increasingly divided world. 

For others who are finding it difficult to digest the election results, here are a few words of wisdom that might help you cope in the coming days, months and years taken from the Buddhist concept of shenpa, or “biting the hook”. The objective is to refrain from biting the hook when confronted with difficult situations.

Don’t bite the hook by:

  1. Reminding yourself that generosity is a gesture of power.
  2. Remembering that nothing is ever, ever as good as you hope or as bad as you fear.
  3. Reestablishing dominion over your world.
  4. Expressing your love for your brothers and sisters.
  5. Finally, this: feel what you feel.

Like the graphic above, I am choosing to look for opportunity in disappointment. I will also voice my opinions respectfully, even when others don’t and will not wallow in despair. 

Today, I return to the studio to get muddy and have an attitude adjustment!

Thank you!

thank-you-ceramicscapes

Thank you to everyone who took the time to visit the Colorado Potters Guild Fall sale this past weekend! It was so nice to meet people in person and to have such a great reception of my newish graphic work. I’m always humbled when someone likes my work enough to actually purchase it for themselves or for a gift. 

Ceramicscapes - ceramic pottery planters
Ceramicscapes – new soda fired ceramic pottery planters

The good news is that I came home with very little inventory…the challenging news is that I came home with very little inventory. My next show is a Holiday Pop-Up Shop on December 4, 2016 from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM at the Food Lab in Boulder, CO and I need to get back to work ASAP to refill my ware shelves! I’m excited to participate in a smaller show with some great vendors in Boulder and intend to make smaller items that will be perfect for gift giving.

Holiday Pop Up - Food Lab
Holiday Pop Up – Food Lab

In the meantime, I will be teaching my first Dabble class this coming Saturday – November 11, 2016 from 4:30 – 6:30 PM at River North Workshop in Denver. (Un)fortunately, It’s sold out – but, I will be offering the class again in the near future. I’m super excited to get my teaching chops on again after an almost 5 year hiatus.

Gotta run – my studio beckons.

You are invited to the Colorado Potters Guild’s Fall Pottery Sale!

Colorado Potters Guild Fall 2016 Postcard

Hi everyone – the day has finally arrived! I’ll be in Denver, CO this weekend for the Colorado Potters Guild’s Fall 2016 Pottery Sale. I have been a member of the Colorado Potters Guild since 2008 and manage the guild’s website and a good bit of the marketing for our shows.

Ceramicscapes - small dishes
Ceramicscapes – small dishes will be making their debut

I’d love to see you there and share some of my new work that I’ve been developing over the past year and a half!

Details:

Opening Reception: Thursday November 3, 2016 4:00pm – 8:00pm
Hours of Operation Friday November 4, 2016 9:00am – 8:00pm
  Saturday November 5, 2016 9:00am – 5:00pm

The members of the Colorado Potters Guild invite you to save the date for our Fall 2016 Show and Sale on November 3, 4 +5.

Members of the Colorado Potters Guild join together twice a year (spring and fall) to sell their work. Approximately 30 potters who average more than 15 years experience will present more than 2000 items including pottery, sculpture and jewelry for you to purchase or just enjoy. Sale items are refreshed daily since only a limited portion of the artist’s inventory can be displayed. Our Fall show is just the place to find handmade artwork made in Colorado for all your personal and gift needs.

The show is staffed by member artists who can help you find just the right piece of pottery, explain the pottery making process or introduce you to the person who made your favorite piece.

Admission is free.

ADDRESS:

First Plymouth Congregational Church
3501 South Colorado Boulevard
Englewood, CO  80113

My first Skillshare class is live!

ceramicscapes ring dishes

I’m super please to announce that I have published my first online Skillshare class! This class is for beginning students and is adapted from one I teach in person.

What is Skillshare? Skillshare is a subscription based learning community where anyone can discover, take, or even teach a class. Class topics include everything from crafts, illustration, fitness, software applications, photography, tech classes, gaming, culinary and more. The wonderful aspect of taking a class on Skillshare is that you do it at your own pace. Classes are broken up into short segments that you can pause and resume anytime you’d like from the comfort of your home.

If you’d like to try Skillshare without committing to a full blown subscription, you can sign up for a three month trial of a premium subscription for $0.99 after which time you can subscribe for a full year or cancel if it’s not for you. Use this link for your free trial.

 

Class Details:

Skill lever: Beginner

Pottery has never been more popular and now you can make easy clay dishes at home without having a pottery wheel or any other pottery specific equipment*. 

Join me in my home studio where I will demonstrate how to make slab built dishes in different shapes that can be impressed with texture, personalized text, special dates and more.

When I was a beginning clay student, the pottery wheel was super frustrating to me. After learning a few hand building techniques and best practices for working with wet clay, I had instant success. It was just enough to keep me going to enable me to graduate with a degree in ceramics.

Keep in mind, that a degree isn’t necessary – just a willingness to try and you can be on your way making pottery to keep for yourself, gift and even sell.

Warning: Clay is very addicting!

_______________

* I use a cone 6 white stoneware clay body that needs to be fired in a kiln to approximately 2232 degrees F for durability. If you do not have access to a kiln, many community pottery studios and/or private studios will often fire work for you for a small fee. Alternately, you may use air dry clay and acrylic paint or polymer clay, but these materials are not food or dishwasher safe.

I really look forward to developing more online classes in the future! I really learned a lot about formatting a class and also how to film and edit for clarity. 

Soda Firing at the Colorado Potters Guild

Waiting to be fired - Ceramicscapes

I really busted my rear last week to make sure that I had close to 50 pots to fire in the soda kiln at the Colorado Potters Guild last week. It was a marathon and I felt like I was in school again cranking, all pistons fired, who needs to sleep to meet a deadline? kind of sprint. I hate to admit it, but I work well under pressure. Anyone else?

What is soda firing? Emily Murphy has a great explanation on her blog.

[Basically] Soda firing is an atmospheric firing technique where “soda” is introduced into the kiln near top temperature (2350°, ∆10). The soda that we use is: sodium bi-carbonate, also know as baking soda (the Arm and Hammer™ kind), and sodium carbonate, which is also known as soda ash.

Wendy spraying soda into the kiln
Wendy spraying soda into the kiln just after ^9 dropped

The soda essentially creates a glazed surface on bisque that is sometimes described as “juicy” after its introduction in the kiln. It’s addicting and wonderfully unpredictable. The surface variations are really unlimited when used on flashing slips, glazes, different decorating techniques like mishima and even the clay body that is chosen. The first time I participated in a soda firing at the guild, I had no idea how to glaze/decorate my work. I didn’t know what to expect. I just knew that I wanted more.

Ceramicscapes Decorated work - not yet glazed
Decorated work – not yet glazed

Over the last 3 years, my work has shifted and I finally have a better idea of how to glaze/decorate my work for the soda firing. I make highly graphic work that is sometimes on the precise side, but when the the soda hits the surface, it can muddle it slightly making the work just a tad more interesting.

 

Ceramicscapes - Soda fired mugs
Ceramicscapes – Soda fired mugs

My challenge now is to continue to develop my surfaces and to find a way to make them interesting after being fired in an electric kiln to cone 6 (2232° F). After the Colorado Potters Guild Fall 2016 sale the first weekend in November, I plan to start some glaze testing. It might be interesting to test out some glazes that have some movement to create a little bit of that unpredictability that I like so much.

Fired work from the soda firing on Oct. 22, 2016 at the Colorado Potters Guild
Fired work from the soda firing on Oct. 22, 2016 at the Colorado Potters Guild

In the meantime, I’m still making work for our sale full speed ahead.

Take a Class!

Take a Class Ceramicscapes

Hi friends! I’m really excited to announce that I will begin teaching again after an almost 7 year break.

Why now? This summer, my husband and I relocated to Fort Collins from Denver after our daughter started college – suffice it to say that I have a lot more time on my hands. I also love sharing my love of clay with others young and old alike. In teaching, I don’t just pass on my knowledge, I also learn so much from my students who often bring fresh ideas to the class that I may not have thought about before.

In Person Classes

I am currently teaching two clay workshops to absolute beginners at River North Workshop (RNW) in the RINO area of Denver. RNW is a an open workshop/retail store that will host my classes in an intimate setting (only 8 spots are available for each class) that will allow for lots of conversation and personal attention. Classes are approximately 2 hours long.

Bonus! – Continental Clay is a sponsor for my first two Dabble classes and has generously donated two 25 pound bags of clay that 1 lucky person will receive in each of the following classes.

Depending on reception, I will add classes in the future.

Class registration and secure payment is handled directly through Dabble.

Make Small Pottery Dishes Ceramicscapes
Make Small Pottery Dishes with Cindy Guajardo of Ceramicscapes

Class 1 – Saturday, November 12, 2016 4:30 – 6:30 PM

Clay Workshop: Make 4 Personalized Ceramic Dishes to Gift or Keep – $55.00 Class

Skill level: Beginner – no experience necessary

Learn the basics of pottery by making ceramic dishes using slab building techniques and regular tools that can be found at almost any general goods store.

Students will learn how to roll out a slab of clay by hand, cut the clay into small dish sized shapes, and then stamp a texture, personal message, date, or other saying onto the dish.

These little dishes are perfect to store jewelry, to use as tea bag holders, to use as a candle holder, to mark an important date and more.

Participants will pick up their finished work at River North Workshop two weeks after the workshop.

This quick intro to clay class run approximately 2 hours from 4:30 – 6:30 pm – perfect before heading out to happy hour or dinner on Saturday night.

CLASS DETAILS
Saturday, Nov 12 2016
04:30:00 PM
Price: $55.00

For More Class information or to Sign Up – Click here

Class 2 – Saturday, December 3, 2016 12:30 – 2:30 PM

Clay Workshop: Make 4 Personalized Ceramic Ornaments to Gift or Keep – $55.00 Class

Skill level: Beginner – no experience necessary

Learn the basics of pottery by making ceramic ornaments using slab building techniques and regular tools that can be found at almost any general goods store.

Students will learn how to roll out a slab of clay by hand, cut the clay into various shapes, and then stamp a texture, personal message, date, or other saying onto the ornament.

Your ornaments will make great gifts to give for the upcoming holidays and to commenmorate special moments.

Each student will make at least 4+ ornaments.

Participants will pick up their finished work at River North Workshop two weeks after the workshop.

This quick intro to clay class run approximately 2 hours Saturday afternoon.

CLASS DETAILS
Saturday, Dec 03 2016
12:30:00 PM
Price: $55.00

For More Class information or to Sign Up – Click here

Don’t hesitate to contact me directly for more information or any questions that you may have!

 

Mobile Clay Class Survey – I Need Your Help!

Example of Kid's Clay project

Between 2006 and 2013, I created and maintained a website called Colorado Art Studio. Don’t bother looking for it now – I deleted it in a hasty moment when I decided to change my business name to Ceramicscapes. Someone else owns the domain now and I’m pretty sure it’s one of those domain resellers hoping to cash in on my impulsiveness and or profit off of my former traffic.

Yesterday, while Denver was enveloped in snow and I had no motivation to leave my home, I had a creative brainstorm. I started thinking about a way to bring my successful clay classes back, but with a mobile twist. I think it’s a good idea, but I would like some validation. I put together a 5-10 minute survey to gauge interest and also to ask some pretty practical questions like how much should I charge.

Link to Google survey
Link to Google survey

Do you think mobile clay classes – meaning I would travel to your home or business to teach a 1.5 – 2 hour clay class using wet clay, are a good idea? I really value and want your opinion! I’m interested in not only bringing kids classes back, but also adult classes. I’ve done a couple in the past and they were pretty fun – wine optional.

Adult Ladies Night Clay Class
Adult Ladies Night Clay Class

I have a few logistics to sort out before launching. In the meantime, I have been asked to teach some clay workshops at River North Workshop – an open workshop/retail store in the RiNo area of Denver. I haven’t created the class description yet, but all the sign up/payment will be going through Dabble. I’ve created an account, but have not yet set up the class description and dates yet.

Thanks for reading and if you have time, please help by filling out my questionnaire.

Sketches 34-46/365

Sketch 44 + 45/365
Sketch 44 + 45/365

I’ve discovered something in my fledgling drawing exercises…I love to draw. AND this discovery, which incidentally, I’ve known about all along but have ignored, is helping me to make sense of the world. I’ve always known that the minutiae exists and informs everyone’s perceptions , but I have never taken the time to really think about some of these phenomena and how I feel about life more concretely.

Earlier today, I was talking with my mom, and she remarked that I should have been born a child of the 60’s. She seems to think that I have the mindset of a flower child – yet – in my mind I’m still wound a bit tightly – more a child of the 80’s, lol. I was born in 1966 into a fairly conservative family that had certain expectations of its family members. It wasn’t all sunshine and puppies, but for the most part, I look upon my childhood with fond memories.

Parts of my adult life are another story and I was just discussing this with my husband this afternoon. About 3 years ago, we emerged from a really dark period in our marriage and I’ve found myself lamenting the years that were lost in our nearly 26 years of marriage. I know that this confession seems rather dark for this art blog, but it’s the truth and a part of who I am. As I approach 50 years of age, I am mourning the time that I’ve wasted and I also know how defeatist all of this sounds.

Meanwhile, I was thinking about my classmates from grad school who are working for prestigious landscape architecture firms. I once thought that I too would be working in the field, yet, I can’t imagine doing so now. I just want to make it clear that I don’t regret going to grad school for L/A. I do regret my motivations.