Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Asking for help

In my last post I wrote about taking a giant leap and pursuing ceramics as a full-time endeavor. It started off great- I was getting orders, catching up, cranking work out. As my dad said on a studio visit, "Wow, you're going gangbusters!" Of course I was! This is my dream, and I'm finally in a place where I can pursue it.

Then I had a major setback. I had a glaze firing that was huge. It included orders placed in December, Trident cups, a prototype for a potential client, LON Little Shop (now Alpine Modern) planters, and work for Spring shows. In the morning after firing I went to check on the kiln and it still hadn't gotten to temperature. Which was ok, I figured maybe it needed a little more time. Glaze firing is the highest possible temperature that the work gets fired at and sometimes it can take overnight to get there. But a few hours later it still wasn't there and by the end of the day I determined that something was wrong. My kiln was not getting as hot as it needed to. My kiln was broken.

I tried really hard not to freak out. I tried not to think about how I would produce work in the future. I tried not to think about how the ruined glaze firing would impact my business. Without a kiln I simply could not produce work in an efficient and economic way.  All of the glaze work was worth hundreds of dollars.  Without a kiln I could not have a pottery business. I started freaking out.

My friend said something about how maybe this negative experience could be turned into a positive one (when I told him about it he said, "Ahh, how annoying of me!"). I thought a lot about that. I did things that I have been meaning to do but have been too busy working on pottery to do anything else. I made a list of things I could do that would help my business besides producing work. I brainstormed ideas to raise money for either a new kiln or for kiln repairs. I received some support from friends in the forms of ideas to raise money and paying for their future orders that I hadn't made yet. And from the very beginning my dad asked if I needed help.

I HATE asking for help. I don't know if it's because I have to admit that I can't do it on my own, or if I feel uncomfortable imposing on somebody, but probably that and more. I especially hate asking my dad for help because he already does so much for me, and has my entire life. There are times when I think I am a totally crappy grown up!  Actually I know I am a sucky adult sometimes. Like when I have to ask my dad for help because I don't have enough money set aside for emergencies, and when I dive into a business without having some safety nets.

Over the course of a few days I had at least one meltdown (WHAT AM I GOING TO DOOOOO?!), a few power moments (I can get through this. I can rock this!), and a lot of hustling. I sent out invoices, created a lot of new listings (with finished work only) on Etsy, and came up with some ideas. One idea that I figured is worth a try is selling cards as a mini fundraiser... Here's the listing if you're interested in finding out more: https://www.etsy.com/listing/224875469/help-me-fix-my-kiln-watercolor-cards

And then I asked for help. My dad gave me a loan. I cringe admitting it, but the only way I could recover was to be able to be able to produce ceramic work again. So that's where I am right now, in debt to my father but hopefully on the road to being able to repay him soon!
 If you are interested in helping me here are some ideas:
-Of course you can purchase my cards
-Any other purchase in my Etsy shop would be awesome!
-Help spread the word... Like my Facebook page then like lots of posts and pictures (that's how FB feeds into other people's pages- the more 'likes' the more exposure). Tell anyone that might be interested about my work.
-Kind words go a long way. Leave a comment!
-Come and visit me at my Spring shows- I'll be putting up a list of where I'll be soon.  
 Even when something like this happens, I am so thankful to be able to create my art and learn from my setbacks. And I am SO grateful for all of the support that I receive along the way!