This weekend marked the very last making push in the greenware stage so that I can finish everything before my next two events.
I’m doing back to back sales in May. My first show is the Colorado Potters Guild Spring Show that runs May 4-6, 2017. I’m also participating in the Horseshoe Market one week later on May 13, 2017. What this means for me right now is that it’s crunch time!
I’ve been making as much work as I possibly can so that I have enough ware for both shows. Inspiration strikes at curious times for me – often when deadlines are looming. So, this weekend really was my last making push with greenware. My goal is to bisque fire my kiln this evening, glaze tomorrow and then we load the soda kiln on Wednesday afternoon at the Colorado Potters Guild.
Did I mention that I’m also the chairwoman of the Colorado Potters Guild show this spring? It’s always a busy time right before the show, but now it feels doubly hectic.
New Forms – Creative Exploration
My schedule is busy and also why my creative muse always seem to show up when all pistons are firing…or maybe it’s just procrastination on my part? I’m not sure, but I’m starting to feel the crunch. This past weekend was really the very last opportunity for me to work on any “wet” ware. Of course, I took the opportunity to explore another form that has been lurking in my imagination – again based upon seed pods.
This form (see above) doesn’t exactly look like it did in my imagination. I’m going to fire it, but I don’t expect to make it again. It’s just too fussy for my taste. I probably could have used my time a little differently this weekend, but I’ve learned to answer creativity’s call when it happens.
I’m keeping this post short today, but will return on Wednesday when I’ll share some of the process of getting work ready to fire in the soda kiln on Thursday at the Colorado Potters Guild.
I have been a member of the Colorado Potters Guild since 2008. It’s been wonderful to be connected to other potters in Colorado. Founded in 1965, the Colorado Potters Guild is the oldest clay co-op in Colorado that thrives on shared responsibilities and volunteers to make the organization run smoothly. I manage the guild’s website and social media activity on a year round basis. It’s something that I enjoy doing and a way that I contribute best to the guild’s success.
We have other members who serve on our board. Everyone has a skill that contributes to our success including accounting, marketing, legal, construction, kiln operation and maintenance, purchasing and more.
We also host two pottery sales a year in the spring and fall. This year, I volunteered to be the chair of our Spring Sale to learn the skills needed to organize a pottery craft show and sale. While, our show can almost run itself, I want a fuller picture of everything that is involved to put on a sale – all the moving parts.
I also have some ideas that I want to try to make the experience a bit more fun for our customers. Ultimately, I’m interested in organizing a pop up sale in Fort Collins or other cities in Colorado in the future and feel like this experience is going to be helpful.
How to organize a pottery craft show and sale:
Aka – all the moving parts
Communication with the members. As the chair, my job is to make sure that all of the jobs for the show are filled, that the venue is paid, and that I communicated with our members. Also, if something doesn’t go well, the buck stops with me. Eeek!
Venue rental. The Colorado Potters Guild is located in an old creamery that is far too small to host thousands of shoppers. We have a long standing contract with a local church that leases a large room that holds 37 potters work and there is plenty of parking. The Potters Guild also has use of their kitchen, and another room for our treasurers to work securely in private.
Post card invitation and poster design and purchase.
Coordinate with the business that handles the mailing of our cards. Additionally, we clean our mailing list after each show to account for people who have moved or are no longer interested in attending our sales.
E-vite design and scheduled mailing.
Marketing efforts including print, online, social media, radio and our email newsletter. We have a team of roughly 4 members dedicated to show marketing.
Show photography. Every show, we have a dedicated team of photographers that take photos of pots that we use for the website and future marketing efforts.
Show set up. Since we’ve been in the same venue for a long time, we have a map that helps speed up set up with the help of a dedicated group of volunteers. Set up takes approximately 1.5 hours.
Opening night refreshments. We serve baked goods and a light punch on opening night. Members sign up to bring baked items and the refreshment team staff the welcome table.
Moving truck rental to transport our set up supplies including table cloths, risers, shelving, boxes, bags, wrapping material etc. to the venue and back.
Show staffing. Everyone works opening night and 2 additional 4-5 hour shifts over the course of 3 days. Members work as cashiers, pot wrappers, floor staff, help pot carriers, pot guards, accounting and staff the jewelry table.
Show Breakdown. After the show ends on Saturday at 5pm, everyone collects their pots, inventories remaining pots against sales records and helps to pack up the guild’s supplies in the truck.
Treasury/financial bookkeeping. Since we do this sale as a group, everyone receives a standardized inventory sheet that the show treasurers use to cross reference as they keep track of sales. The treasurers also pay show expenses, reconcile sales and pay potters.
Signage placement on days of show. We have a crew that places signs near the venue of our sale. We have to be in compliance with the city’s zoning ordinances for signs.
Post show wrap up. Two weeks after our show, we meet at a members house for an amazing pot luck. At the pot luck, we have a show recap meeting and choose a new chair for the next show.
I’m sure I’m forgetting a thing or two, but the main point is that there is a lot that goes into how to organize a pottery craft show and sale on a larger scale. Organizing a smaller pop up sale in the future will still require some of the same planning and organizing steps as a larger one, but hopefully with less moving parts. The items of consideration also work with other types of crafts and art – not just pottery.
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) ✔
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
November 3, 2016
4:00pm – 8:00pm
Hours of Operation
November 4, 2016
9:00am – 8:00pm
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.
First Plymouth Congregational Church
3501 South Colorado Boulevard
Englewood, CO 80113