Thursday, 15 September 2016

"Fall seven times stand up eight" - Japanese Proverb

This Year feels like it's been the hardest one of all
this is my eighth as a full time potter!

Retail sales seemed to have fallen off a cliff earlier this year
not just for us but for all of our friends in business as well.
It's at times like these that you have to re asses what is going on around you.

We decided we needed to play to our strengths and concentrate
on what we do best.

the run up to the Earth and Fire show at Rufford Abbey showed us all of the signs
that we should have pulled out, The small kiln failed
so I replaced the elements, it failed again,
Then the big kiln went bang mid firing, 
I called the electrician, only to find he had died suddenly four 
months earlier, I called our kiln engineer, only to find
he has cancer and is only working two days a week
but he dropped everything and came and fixed it.
so we carried on.
We worked until late in the night and I was up at 5am the next day sorting the big kiln out.
"The view at the workshop was stunning at 5am"

We then set off at 4.30am the next day to make it to the show on time.
on the way up the radio said the country had voted
out of Europe
we couldn't believe it how ridiculous!

we took some new pots
all with a bit more decoration than usual. 

I was very happy with the pots we took, some of my best yet.

But we had the worst show we had ever had, 
and we were both Totally Exhausted.
So Luckily the show was quickly followed by a weeks holiday in Spain.
What did we do in Spain?
Absolutely Nothing!
we didn't even talk about the pottery for the first 4 day's
what we needed was time out. 

Then we focused on the pottery and how we were going to
make things happen but still find time for a life outside of it.
Here is a good time to introduce Steve
Steve worked for Johnny Leach for a couple of years
some time ago.

and he comes in to help us out with our National Trust orders
he only comes in a few hours a week
but it takes some of the pressure off my shoulders.
We also have two people Les and Anne who will look after the showroom
for us when we are not in the workshop.
Turned out the first event we were invited to that we decided we would go to
Les and Ann had also been invited
I think you can put that one down to
"sods law"
But it gave us a chance to make that work life balance
and we loved it.

So we think we are now starting to find the right balance
between working hard but not letting life slip us by in the process.

above is what 300 Devon jugs look like all packed up
waiting for collection.
and the link below shows them now available
on the National Trust web site.

This was my favorite picture of a kiln just been unloaded
ready to be glazed and re loaded.

Here is the latest delivery of clay another tonne always feels good.

and we still find time to enjoy our life.
The moral of the story is
"just keep getting back up."


Dennis Allen said...

Deadlines are the leading cause of kiln failures

Anonymous said...

Paul you pots are brilliant and everyone has had a bit of a Challenge in retail recently. I'm sure things will get better now you have more assistance. We visited in January and that evening our house set on fire and we were lucky to escape and have a home left standing according to the Firemen. It makes you grateful for when we have - each other and our pottery collection which survived.
Hope the NT collection sells well - it looked good at their HQ in Swindon today. Best wishes
Diana and Tim

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