Monday, 25 May 2020

Focusing on the positives!

I’ve just started to come to terms with this Coronavirus lockdown business!
up until now I have been trying to understand why I haven’t been able to relax into the groove of it?
It probably doesn’t help that we live in this beautiful village of ours and for many of the folk here it’s pretty much business as usual for them as they are either retired or don’t need to work. ( obviously with some exceptions here amongst our friends)

The first couple of weeks were Possibly the hardest to cope with, as we needed to deal with banks and building societies to sort out payment holidays, with differing degrees of success!
Once we had that sorted we were finally able to fit in a couple of good nights sleep.
I hadn’t realised how emotionally drained I was, which when I tried to get back in the workshop to finish of some orders that were left under plastic sheeting, I found it hard to summon up the motivation, something obviously needs to change!
I’ve been taking time to listen to new things and people, especially ones that are prepared to talk about their feelings in a positive manner, doom and gloom have never really been highly rated by myself, wether I’m in a good State of mind or not.
I’ve finally come to realise why I’ve been struggling, especially when I consider just how lucky I am in so many ways, it’s alright to be worried, people worry about different things and in different ways
and I am all too aware that I had lost my sense of humour! To me that is a big sign.

For the past 11 years my pottery business has been my main focus in life, I’ve thrown everything I have at it, both emotionally, physically and financially in a bid to make it a successful viable business for our future, and this year it really felt to both of us that it was beginning to happen!
then suddenly totally out of the blue and totally out of my control we are told we have to close up with no real date as to when things will re open and our business income just dries up like the last dribbles of a stream in a summer heatwave and there was nothing I could do about it!
No wonder I felt despondent.

But the great thing about being an optimist is that the phrase “ there’s nothing I can do about it” doesn’t actually exist in my mind.
The challenge then is to find the “what can I do”
And this is where it starts to get exciting!

So what do I have now more than anything?
Time to sit back and evaluate, time to discuss the things we like about the business, time to openly discuss what we need or just want to change!
Honesty with yourselves is the biggest Elephant in the room in this discussion.
Ok, so luckily you guy’s weren’t around during those few days!
Home truths can be hard to face and we probably didn’t like each other for a day or two!
So what’s about to change that doesn’t cost a lot of money?

That’s always our starting point! ” What do we already have that we can use?”
I’ve had an idea about raising the quality of the showroom ever since we took a few days away in Herefordshire back in September last year.
And pots,  I want to make new pots. Pots I can see in my head and have been wanting to make for a few years now!
But now we have time,
so let’s get stuck in.

Now the blog is firmly re established further updates will be posted here..
In the meantime as a part of my searching out new things that inspire me I came across an interview with this chap Richard Hawley, any man that when asked to open the “Brit awards” responds with “no thanks I’d rather walk the dog” is alright by me!
And I’ve added a link to a song that might just help your well-being.
Stay Safe, Stay Well, Stay Home ish!
Until next time take care.

Check out "Open up Your Door" by Richard Hawley on Amazon Music.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

When this is all over...

Week four of Covid19 virus isolating 2020!
Just felt I needed to put this up to remind me in years to come.

First of all I hope you are all well and finding ways of coping with the isolation in ways that make you smile!

For Me if I’m totally honest,
 I’ve been finding it hard to take my mind away from the Pottery!
It’s our only source of income and to watch it dry up before your very eyes
has been worrying to say the least!
I know we’re all in the same boat, but here’s how I’m seeing it from my Dingy.

It’s been 11 years since I started the pottery and although over the years
I have had some amazing good fortune it hasn’t been without its struggles.

From day one I’ve never had any money behind me, giving me a cushion to lay back on
when times are hard, and I’m sure it’s that constant pressure to keep bringing home the bacon
that has kept me relentlessly pushing on.
But this past year had been going so well that I genuinely thought I was about to get on top 
of the situation and get ahead of the game.
Well that’s that scuppered!

On a more positive note I have been able to get into the workshop and lock the door, so I can make stock and complete orders.
I’ve enjoyed having the workshop to myself, catching up on Podcasts 
and trying to find more ways of being creative,
 (it’s so easy to find yourself falling into a rut when you have a routine)

But if I’m honest I’m finding it hard to motivate myself at the moment.
I’m sure I’m not alone in this.

So with time to stop and think I’ve been turning my attention to doing other things I like, at this point I was going to say Social Media!
But I’ve become more and more aware of the downside to things like Facebook!

Why people feel they can be so opinionated and judgmental is beyond me!
So when I say Social media I mean nicer ways to connect with our friends and customers.

I notice all the big companies are changing the adverts they put on telly
to be more customer focused, and socially aware rather than the previous style of push product
and then push even more product!

For me it's always been about our customers, always has been, always will be.
So I've found it interesting watching the switch in these adds.
I've always loved Advertising I wish sometimes I had known about that world when I was younger I'm sure I would have loved to be in it. 

I've always loved putting small videos together, it's one of the things I love to spend time on.
unlike most people that come to our pottery lessons, they come to get away from the computer and they find it odd that I as a potter love to get on the computer as my down time!
 I love putting together little videos like this one below.
So I hope you enjoy my little video made on a budget of £0.00

It's so nice to have the time to do this blog again.

Saturday, 4 April 2020

The World finally seems to be spinning at a more comfortable speed!

Hi, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt able to get back on my Blog 
I’ve missed doing it!
When I look back at some of my early ones, I was quite raw and open, a quality 
that gave it an edge and told it how it was, the good the bad and the indifferent!

I started the blog at a point of major changes in my life that sent me on my current journey.
So now two weeks into this Coronavirus Covid-19 World Pandemic,
 at this time it feels only right to re -ignite the fire of the Blog!

In recent years I've been feeling more and more like the World is spinning
far to fast for me!
I just want to jump off and take a break!

Well be careful what you wish for 
is my current mantra!

I like to do things at my own pace, which could sometimes be described as
" did he just move? I'm not sure? "
and yet other days I'm up with the Lark and full of beans!
I seem to work in bursts (I was going to write spurts) but that sounds a bit rude!

Whatever you think about this crazy situation we all currently find ourselves in
I'm actually enjoying the lock down
Time to do all the things I should have done, Like repair the front windows on our cottage.

Time to take new pictures for our website and generally do all the little extra bits involved in running a fully commercial selling website, It needs constant updating.
Earlier this year we had our 1,000th online order.
Anyone who says selling pottery online can't be done
look away now!

We can actually get into our workshop without meeting anyone all day
because the whole Barrington Court National Trust site has been closed down,
But to be honest I haven't felt very much like making anything
until we have sorted out how we are going to survive financially!
Its taken a lot of time and effort 
on both our parts but we think we have most things sorted for now.

 Going into the workshop feels very strange, but I've decided i'm going in on Monday morning
to get orders finished and new pots made.

Of course for us one of our biggest headaches is going to be the re-scheduling
of all of our Pottery Taster sessions and full day lessons,
That's Marion's job and luckily so far everyone has been really helpful and understanding
so thank you all.
We will get you on those wheels! 

Time for reading stuff
I've had this little list of rules on my Computer for a few years now
and I felt now is a perfect time to share it!

 So That's got me back into the Blog
more in depth thoughts in the coming weeks
Chill out, Make use of your time, take time to have fun
try and get a good nights sleep, that's been our hardest thing
until very recently 
don't worry about everything at once, 
just pick things off your most urgent list and concentrate on them.

Don't be afraid to laugh even if it's only at yourselves.

Give yourself time to do the things you love doing
and Finally flowers always make you smile!

So Stay safe, Stay well and Stay at Home!

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Pottery requires Patience.

This year seems to be flying by so fast it's hard to keep it in focus!
On a plus note I've been very productive in the early months of 2019.

If you've been able to visit our showroom you would have noticed
increased stock levels.
I have been very focused this year on not only making pots
that I love to make but on keeping up a Professional standard
within our showroom and online offerings.

Our Online Business continues to grow and Marion's reputation
for excellent packaging always gets a mention in our 
online reviews!
An earlier visit to the Clive Bowen exhibition back in March
at the Goldmark Gallery 
gave me a boost of creativity, but I'm not one for copying
so it gave me a sense of freedom to continue down my own road.

I didn't get the chance to do a Ceramics Degree at a University,
the closest I got was an interview with Mick Casson
at Harrow back in 1978/9.
He said that at 17 my throwing was good but he felt
that I wouldn't be able to cope with the academic side of the course.
( I had failed my English 0 Level twice by then )
along with the fact that the average age of students on the course was 27.
He suggested I come back in 5 or 6 years!
Naturally I was devastated at the time, but as time has passed
I now believe it was the best thing he ever did for me.
I carried on teaching myself and developed my own style and learnt
what I needed to know about what interested me.
I dabbled in Stoneware in the early 80's
but by the time I was 23 I had a full time job selling ceramic tiles
to architects in London, a Daughter and a company car.
There was no way I was going to give that up to go and 
join a pottery course! it just wasn't even an option I considered.

So here I am 40 Years on
back to my first Love English Slipware Pottery
making pots in my own style how I want to make them!

I've always had plenty of patience, but my god it's taken a long time
to get to this point.

I seem to be making more architectural pieces for people
like this large sink for a new build sleek house.

But I still love to make my basic core range,
I do actually love the fact that customers walk into my workshop and buy my work,
for those of you who follow me on Facebook I know you might
think I'm telling porky pies, but I do.
It's only the few first thing Sunday that seem to wind me up
and in actual fact I love the banter we create on Facebook
as I know many of my fellow potters feel the same way.

Here's my wheel
devoid of any distractions on the back wall
but that's going to change ( watch this space )

Here are a few newer pots with a more relaxed approach!

The tall white jugs are a bugger to make but people 
have been swooning over them in the showroom!
The one second from the left went off to New York this week.

 While this two handled Pancheon is just sat in the showroom
waiting for it's new owner to walk in.

I didn't apply for any of the shows this year!
I struggle with issues of self worth on the run up to the shows it really
seems to have an effect on me.
So I thought I'd give them a miss this year and see if anything felt
any different by not having the shows to deal with?
And it has removed a lot of pressure off my shoulders so for this
year at least it's been a good decision!
Having said that we are planning to visit 
Earth & Fire on the Sunday.

We have always said that if we relied on just the visitors to Barrington Court 
to survive we would have gone out of business 7 years ago.
So in my next Blog I shall show off some of our Brand New Customers
that we have been making some exclusive pots for.
Have a great day
and thanks for stopping by.
PS: as you can tell I never did pass my English O Level

Focusing on the positives!

I’ve just started to come to terms with this Coronavirus lockdown business! up until now I have been trying to understand why I haven’t bee...