Sunday, 9 January 2011

I want to know...

... how much of your own art do you have on display at home? And if you are a potter, how much of your own pottery do you use?

I usually only keep my rejects, but on display at home I also have pieces like my Swan that has been on exhibiton everywhere but not sold. I also have one or two other pieces that are slowly creeping in, like my Marianne vase. I said I wanted to keep my brown tortoise trinket box, but when someone offered to buy it I sold it. Why? Why did I do that? Why am I so desperate to get rid of my pieces when actually... I love them. Yes, I love my own art. Isn't that the point of making it? So why are all my pieces boxed up waiting for the next show or sale?

"Swanee, no-one loves ya, no-one loves ya..."

What has led to these thoughts tonight? It's a mixture of things really. I received the FPAA news letter today, which contained a review of the exhibition in November, and my pieces didn't even get a mention. It kind of left me feeling unappreciated as an artist. And then of course there are the lack of sales... and I'm trying not to care, but I do.

I need to make myself a replacement of this now

But why? Why do I care? First and foremost I should make art for me. I should make it for the enjoyment of the process, and because I love what I'm making. And I do. So why are my pieces boxed up for other people?

My Marianne vase. Yup, mine. I don't particularly want to part with my Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy vases either!

So tonight I have been unwrapping pieces and placing them around my home. Because they're mine. And I appreciate them even if no one else does. It doesn't matter what others think of them because I made them for me. My home will be filled with original pieces that no one else has!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

The year in review and my goals for 2011

Yes, it's that time of year again when people start reflecting on the past year, and the one ahead. Since my confidence yoyo's more than... a yoyo, it's good for me to reflect on what I have actually achieved over the past 12 months.

The goals I set myself for 2010 were to be more prepared for upcoming shows, and to create and expand a Jane Austen Collection, as well as making at least one more animal. I'm pleased to say that I achieved all of those things this past year. The ones I didn't do were trying out slip trailing, finishing my second tree fairy vase, and finishing the portrait of Scott when he was a little boy.

Month by month review

In January I took part in the One World One Heart give-away for the first time. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I look forward to taking part again this year. More news on that soon!

I also made a start on developing my Jane Austen collection, starting with this jug as a prototype, with my Marianne design.

Marianne Jug prototype

The final design

The highlight of February has to be when I received my surprise gift from Philippa King! I also went to an exhibition of hers in February, and it was fantastic to see some of her work in the flesh!

"Hearing Hallucinations" by Philippa King

As for personal achievements, I started on Fred the Head during this month.

In March, Fred the Head had a gender re-assignment and became Freda the Heada! In class, I made my very first pot on the wheel! And it was awful!

My first wheel thrown pot!

I started a 28 day challenge in March but I completely lost all motivation when my class was cancelled and I lost access to a kiln. This was definitely the lowest point of the whole year, especially as I couldn't find any other options available to me.

In April I spent quite a bit of time with my nieces and nephews while they were off school, which was great! They are so creative, and it's so inspiring. I worked more on Freda the Heada, and spent a lot of time online looking for a kiln after exhausting all other options (such as hiring kiln space). And then... I bought one!! :O

My rather large kiln

May was an incredibly creative month, due to the fact that I only had that one month to prepare for an exhibition in early June! I expanded my Jane Austen collection to include an Emma design, and I made a Marianne vase, as well as developing a Woodland collection.

Tree lady vase before firing

It was also a very stressful month trying to get the kiln wired in, but finally it was done and I did my first firing in my own kiln!

The exhibition in June was a success, and I sold three pieces! My first sales! And I received a fantastic gift from Cindy :)

My mug by Cindy Gilliland

In July I made tortoises :)

I spent a lot of time with my nieces and nephews again in August, but I'm glad to say that my clay time didn't suffer too much because of it. I continued with decorating my tortoises and then expanded my Jane Austen collection further by including designs of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy.

In September I used paper clay for the first time. I must say it was very clean and easy to use.

Swan made with paper clay

In October I made lots of Woodland pieces, and pendants. The Rabbit I was making was going a bit wrong, so I made some changes to it and it made a very nice Meerkat!

November was a busy month with glazing and firing. There were a couple of disasters, but mainly my firings were a success. I had a couple of exhibitions during this month. At one of them I did very poorly compared to the summer exhibition at the same venue, but at the other one I did much better.

December was a lazy month! The only clay time I had was a demonstration I did at a craft fair! I shouldn't be so hard on myself though - it's only through writing this post that I realise how productive I have been this past year! It's so strange looking through posts for the past year and thinking "Was that this year? It feels so long ago!"

So that's the past year pretty much summed up. I never did finish Freda the Heada, so I suppose that will be on my list for 2011. After the disastrous time I had at a recent craft fair (see last post) I have spent some time thinking about which avenues I want to use in 2011 to sell my art. I don't think I have completely given up on the craft fair route, because there are a couple of fairs in the summer that bring in thousands of people every year, so I'd like to give them a try.

Freda the Heada

So my goals for 2011 are to prepare for the craft fair in July, to have one or two sculptures ready for the FPAA exhibitions in June and November, and to be ready for the Open Studio's event in September, and the Pytchley exhibition in November. That's five events! Am I out of my mind?? Quite possibly, but it keeps me sane :) I'm tempted to take part in a craft fair in April, but it's a three day event and I was so exhausted after doing just two days recently. I've had people offer to help though...

My clay goals are to continue developing my Jane Austen collection. I really want to try to make some lamps. I also want to make some slim vases, so that I have something slim enough to fit on my mantelpiece! And animals! Lots of animals! I also want to work on trying different flowers on my woodland pieces. Ooh, and I'd really like to try some porcelain this year too.

So those are my goals. What about you?