Sunday, June 13, 2010

With a Little Help from My Friends

I keep thinking that I'm not going to be doing shows for a long time so I haven't really focused on the set-up. Just some tables and crates should do! But for this show I needed a canopy tent. I also wanted there to be enough room within my space for people to move around. And, from past experience, I decided that I needed a bit more space in the back to be able to pack purchases more efficiently. So I decided to have shelves on one side rather than 3 tables in the shape of a U.

Potters are well-known for their generosity and I was the beneficiary yesterday! Roberta Couver lent me her E-Z Up canopy tent and two 4-ft tables. Jennifer Dinkelmeyer lent me her shelves... And I was ready for the Ballston Arts & Crafts Market!!!

The Ballston Arts & Crafts Market is held in Welburne Square in Arlington, Virginia, on the second Saturday of every month from May to October. It's a really well-organized show and it's easy to get in and out despite the fact that it's in a busy urban setting. Welburne Square is really lovely. It's very shady and there are lots of restaurants and apartment buildings around, which should ensure a good crowd. The live music was excellent! Fingerstyle guitarist Jeff Severson entertained the crowd. I got two dates for the show: June and October (but had to turn down the October date because it coincided with an important family event).

Saturday, June 12th was a hot day: The temperature reached 91 degrees! But I had a lovely spot under a tree and at the corner where there was a nice strong breeze all day. I was also right in front of Cosí where we could get iced tea all day long! Here are some photos of my spot. Note the duct tape all over the table covers to keep them from blowing over and up onto the pots! I was warned about the strong wind in the square so I made a point of keeping my set-up low: I started the shelves much lower than usual and did not put any attention-grabbing platters up high on the crates or shelves.

I met fellow-Etsyan Kelley Squazzo, whose spot was right behind mine! She and Heather Rellihan run Pocketful of Posy and make wonderful handbags, wallets and accessories. Check out their shop on Etsy!

It would have been great if there had been a larger crowd; I was disappointed with my sales. But I guess it was a hot day and the pull of World Cup Soccer was much stronger than that of pottery on the Square. In any case, I did meet some very interesting people and spent a great day with my lovely daughter.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Embracing Failure

I’ve been thinking about how much life is like making pots.

You spend most of your time trying to make that idea in your head into a real thing you can wrap your hands around. Searching for the perfect job, the perfect relationship, the perfect house… the perfect pot. After much work, you get what you wanted, but it wasn’t what you expected… it turns out that the pot you get out of the kiln isn’t much like what you had in mind. Or after you think you've got it, something goes wrong. This form flew off the wheel while I was trimming it. It had been perfectly round. Now my choices were to toss it into the reclaim pile or... square it!

After struggling for years you have a moment of perfect understanding and peace… you sit at the wheel and make gorgeous pots effortlessly… and then the moment is gone.

I’ve learned that life, like making pots, is about embracing failure. Not being afraid to fail frees us to spread our wings a bit farther, push the clay a bit more… it might collapse… or it might yield a beautiful pot!

So it is with life. Looking back I see how fear kept me from much joy. I am learning to be fearless now!