I remember the first kiln I bought.
It propelled me into an exciting passion (read ::addiction::) and side adventure that would soon consume more and more of my time and give me more and more success and satisfaction.
It was spring in 2013, and I emailed this girl who was posting online locally, asking if anyone had pottery wheels they’d consider selling or getting rid of. This is how I met my clay buddy, Sarah. I emailed her, just in case she came across extras. We talked, and soon we both wound up driving to a house on the other side of town. We wound up at a garage with some seriously old equipment, and someone’s homemade wheel. I spotted the kiln, an older Paragon kiln, which was in rough shape, looked old, and I assured them that it may cost a lot more to repair it than to purchase. To my excitement, they offered me a modest price and my new clay buddy and I were on our way, with a new kiln and wheel.
Our adventures occurred again, this time taking to Bowling Green and to Campbellsville, Kentucky. First, in Bowling Green, we stopped by a middle-aged woman’s house, who was moving soon. Not only did she have a kiln for sale, but offered me canning jars, extra witness cones, a fondue pot to melt sculpting mold material, and several other goodies. I shared some of the spoils with Sarah, and lauded in our treasures from the day.
Then it was off to Campbellsville, where we picked up three Shimpo brand pottery wheels from a Tim Horton’s camp for kids. They had an incredible kiln I was hoping they’d sell, but they kept it for the kids to paint bisqued tiles. We packed the car up.
Then it was time to head home. We even stopped at a little junk-tique store on the way back. I saw some cool typography on a sign, but that was about it.
Oh, and we may or may not have ran out of gas on the way home. May or may not. (unbeknownst to me, you can actually go another 20 miles even after the “Fuel Low” light comes on and the digital speedometer says “0” miles until empty hits.
Fast forward, I’ve used these two kilns and that homemade wheel from that garage ever since. I’ve added a few bins for packaging materials and other needed goods and supplies have started to build up.
Then, I decided to pull the trigger. I had a good last year, an incredible first artshow and display, and several custom orders were coming in. I wanted to up my game, get production more cost effective, and larger volume all-around. So, I decided to purchase a new kiln.
A visit to Mid South Ceramics (my local distributor) and committing of few of my firstborns later, I purchased a new Skutt 1027. It’s getting ready as we speak for its maiden “voyage” (first firing), and I couldn’t be happier.
What a great feeling it is when you dig down deep and pull from your pockets what it takes to fuel a passion, invest in yourself, your business, and increase your opportunities to do more.
ONE OF THESE
Is a professional potters chair, the other one is not.
I first saw this on GoodElephant.com, where I love to read about Mea Rhee–a potter who has been an incredible inspiration to me. Her students got her this, apparently its the Lexus of potter’s stools.
I recently did an order and decided that instead of investing in new materials, I wanted to invest into equipment. The slab roller, the extruder, and some other high-end goodies are going to have to wait. I’ve been saving for a kiln, but this guy was a good next purchase for sure. It takes pressure off your hips and displaces it accordingly. Plus, there’s levers to adjust it up-down, and tilt. Everyone loves levers.
I finally decided to go pro and get this. Why? Because I decided I’m a professional potter. Do I feel like one? Not always. But do I train and do all the things a professional potter does? Yessir.
Somewhere along the way, I began to train like a potter. Work like a potter. Make products like a potter. Start a business like a potter. Learn like a potter.
So, I’m going to say I’m a professional potter–or, at least sit in a professional potters chair until I become one.