Fire when ready

That little kiln I bought has been making itself invaluable this week. Even though I’ve been sick – and I’m MUCH better today, thank you – I’ve been glazing a little and firing almost every day. Yesterday I fired some of the re-glazed tea infuser cups, and I did some of them the day before that, too. The day before that I fired the big kiln, a good stuffed bisque firing. Today I’m firing the little kiln again, test tiles for some mid-range glaze combos, before I start glazing some of the bisque I did on Thursday. Thursday? What is today? Saturday? Maybe it was Wednesday. Sometimes Tim will ask me what day it is and I’ll just blink at him and say, “I don’t know, what does my phone say?”. Work at home, kids, live the forgetful-calendar dream! (I just checked, my phone tells me it’s Sunday.)

Anyway. I probably won’t fire tomorrow, because I’ll be busy glazing – I don’t want to start on a couple of pieces until I get the results of the test tiles. But I’ve already thrown almost enough for another bisque firing. I’ve got 13 days before GLAM, and 26 until Big Bang Bazaar. I have a lot I want to get done for those shows in addition to trying to keep my online shop stocked – I always feel bad when I post pictures of things, and people ask how soon I’ll have those online, and I’m like, “uh, if they don’t sell at the craft show? In a couple weeks?”. ‘Tis the season to disappoint customers.

Speaking of disappointing people… I’m flattered when shops not in my town contact me to carry my things. I’m less flattered when there is a lack of punctuation, grammar, spelling, and when not all the pertinent info is in the email. Like, if I get a generic email saying “we’d be interested in your things” except some of the sentences trail off and end before it gets to the point… and there are not just misspellings, but the completely wrong word used… and after about five back and forth’s it turns out what they’d really like is for me to come to their shop next week with a whole bunch of stuff I haven’t made yet. That makes me sad and tired.

First, I’ve been a shop owner. I get that you’re busy. But don’t reach out to potential vendors in a way that makes you look like you failed High School English. We all do stuff on our phones these days. I get that. I get autocorrect and sometimes autocomplete errors. I really feel for you. But check what you’re writing before you hit send, because that first impression might be the only impression your potential vendor has of you.

Second, I’m making things for previous commitments. I’m making things for shows two and four weeks from now, and I have been for a couple of weeks. Most things I do take a six-week turnaround. Your sudden great idea (or inability to plan) doesn’t mean that I should change my focus for previous commitments in order to satisfy you. “Your lack of planning doesn’t constitute an emergency on my part.” How would you like it if I were two weeks into a six-week project for you, and just suddenly dropped it to take on something else that suddenly came up that I wasn’t planning for?

So, as flattered as I am, I’m not going to apologize for saying no, and I’m not going to feel guilty for it. Yes, this is the busiest time of year, and yes, typically from around Halloween through New Year’s I make about a third of what I make the rest of the year. And I get that I could make more than that if I put myself out there more. But I’m not going to cripple already in-progress plans in order to bring in something new at the drop of a hat. I wouldn’t do my best for either the thing already on my calendar or the thing that suddenly cropped up, and if I do a shitty job putting myself out there, isn’t it better to just not put myself out there? I’d rather people just not see me, rather than see me badly.

Uh, all of this is strictly hypothetical, of course. :: shifty eyes ::

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