Sunday, December 7, 2014

Holiday Fair

Saturday was the big day for the Cincinnati Clay Alliance's annual Holiday Fair. I hadn't done it for a couple of years and the format was changed from a "table show" to a 6x8 booth so I really didn't know what to expect. We had 30 artists so the total budget was $3000. Not a lot of money for rental, promotion, and hospitality.Most of the advertising was social media along with postcards and posters. We didn't draw a huge crowd but it was steady and the people that came bought well.

 I had made a flat mug display pegboard for the back of my small space and it worked perfectly. The back of the booth had the mug rack, my chair and a 42" table that ran along the side of the booth. I used my 4 ft two sided rack in the front and that left just enough space for people to walk into the booth and shop. Some of them needed an invitation to come in but most of them did.

My day started with one of the best clay artists in town coming over to say nice things about my work and buy a mug. That bit of recognition got me through the first half hour of the show as we got off to a fairly slow start. People started coming, they kept coming.They started talking about how much they use the stuff that they bought from me last year.They bought more. Not just onesies but twosies and foursies. They brought their friends and talked loudly about the quality of  my work. They bought oval baking dishes. They bought cereal bowls. They kept picking the mugs off that new rack and I kept pulling the box under the table out and filling it up again. They bought big bowls.They bought that fabulous big black and red jar that I have been taking to so many shows to help her find a good home. They came into the booth and gave me hugs. I had brought 12 boxes of pots 4 were empty, some were light.

About 11AM, an older couple came into the booth. Mom said she was looking for a soup mug so I showed her one of the new shino glazed footed ones that I had gotten out of my buddy Mike's kiln earlier in the week.We got them all down and even though they were a little pricey she settled on two. Pop said he wanted a couple of the tall coffee mugs too. Nice folks, nice sale. About 3:30 Mom came back to the show. She said that they had gone home and made soup for lunch and it was so luscious (her words) to eat it out of her new soup mugs that she had to come back and buy the other four. It doesn't get any better than that folks.That is why I make pottery. That is why even with all the hard work I do shows instead of galleries.

The show was very good to me It helped my wallet and it stroked my ego. It is always good to show with friends and this was no exception. We had to load in and pack out through a small slow elevator and all of us working together and helping each other made it quicker than expected.The show closed at 5, I was all packed and knocked down by 6:00 and on the road at 6:30. It made me glad that I don't make crap.It made me glad that I don't made gimmick pots or cute little baubles.It made me glad that I don't chase trends or make the pot of the week that everyone else is making.It made me glad that I make solid useful ware that people use everyday and that I have developed a brand and a body of work that is my own. Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, December 5, 2014


A couple of weeks ago, Tina and I took the camper and headed down the road to Savannah for some R&R. OK, she took the camper on Wednesday, I taught on Thursday and drove down Friday. We had a lovely, fairly private campsite on Skidaway Island not too far from town where we nestled in between the live oaks, palmetto trees and Spanish moss. It sure didn't look like Ohio! We spent Saturday morning driving out to Tybee Island and seeing some big waves and the lighthouse. On the way back, we visited the Confederate Fort Pulaski and learned first hand how loud a 30 pound cannon can be ( The ball is 30 lbs, the cannon weighs a ton) The afternoon was spent on the scenic tour trolley and we got some interesting information about the history of Savannah. Down on the riverfront, we had dinner at Fiddlers and I had the best fried oysters of my life. Sunday was a quick trip north to Beaufort to visit Hunters Island Campground. It was not as convenient to Savannah but they have some excellent sites that are just a sand dune away from the beach. The town of Beaufort has the most classic old south district you will see anywhere. Big mansions and lots of Spanish moss. There are potters out that way that I would like to visit some day but there just wasn't time to squeeze it all in. Monday we were back hiking around Savannah and eating seafood. A guy could get used to it. We were blessed with an abundance of rain so I need to apologize for not taking more pictures These are enough to prove we weren't in Ohio.

Tuesday, we packed up and headed to a campground near Columbia S.C. It was really just a stop over for the night and Wednesday we were on our way to our final stop to have Thanksgiving dinner with our daughter Kate, her husband and 20 or so members of his family. Of course we loved seeing her but dinner went off without a hitch too. It was all good. Another day of visiting and eating got us to Saturday and the trip home so Tina could go to work and I could get ready for Holiday Fair tomorrow.