The July List: Back in Business
Things around here are going to pick up in July, and I'm ready for it. For starters, now that NYC is in Phase 2 of our re-opening, we're able to put our apartment on the market. (We've continued to pay maintenance on this empty space after our move in April.) Our agent tells us that demand has been greatly impacted by the pandemic. Not surprising and quite unfortunate, but that's the reality we're in.
At the new place, we have landscaping work commencing in our garden this month. I'm looking forward to clearing out some of the cluttered growth and making the backyard more usable. We've also asked the people we're working with to help set up space for a little vegetable garden off to the side, and I'm excited to research and plan for what to sow in the fall and spring.
Aside from real estate and home projects, I've dedicated most of this month's to-do list to Mammoth & minnow.
First, I have an update on pottery production!
My studio's owners have kindly allowed me to coordinate drop-offs of hand-built pieces on the weekends when they're there. I drove into Manhattan over the weekend to bring in a bunch of cactus ring dishes that I'd sculpted for orders. I don't know when or if I'll feel comfortable riding the subway again, so driving will be the way to go for the foreseeable future.
I'm planning to make another trip later this month to glaze some of the pieces that have been bisque fired and do another drop-off of a batch of greenware. Everything has slowed down since they are only there a couple of days a week. The studio hasn't officially opened back up either; they're spending their time there reconfiguring the space, increasing distance between wheels, discarding and rearranging furniture, and knocking down walls to open up more room for foot traffic. I'm not sure when they'll be allowed to have members come back to have extended work sessions, but I'm really happy to be able to start production again, if only partially, after so long.
Heading into the 2nd half of the year
Now that half of 2020 has gone by, I've taken a look back at my goals for the year. Amazingly, I'm halfway to reaching each of the targets I'd set for myself. First-half sales were driven by the small amount of stock I was able to build up after the 2019 holiday season, and substantially buoyed by pre-order sales during quarantine.
For the 2nd half of the year, I'll have to work to fulfill those pre-orders first, then focus on restocking and making new designs to keep up the momentum. My plans include:
Pivoting toward hand-building versus wheel-throwing for new designs until the studio re-opens
Creating a collection of ceramic ornaments for holiday 2020
Restocking cactus ring dishes, coffee scoops, and Arch vases
Expanding the jewelry collection
After the first few weeks of lockdown, I had to think hard about how I could diversify my store offerings so that I'm not wholly dependent on equipment I don't have ready, consistent access to. For now, it makes sense to me to add more jewelry, beginning with building up stock of the pearl chokers that I already have up in the shop.
I also have a collection of glass seed beads from Kev's aunt that I fashioned into a couple of colorful one-off necklaces some time ago before running out of beading wire. I listed them on my Etsy shop and there are only a couple left from that first batch.
Seed beads remind me of my pre-teen days making daisy chain anklets and stretchy bracelets at the kitchen table. Beading is pure 90's nostalgia for me, and I especially like that these necklaces are not only fun to make, but also that I can offer them at a lower price point. With a new spool of wire on the way, I'll make a few more pieces this month and throw them up on Etsy.
Fulfilling pre-orders with gratitude
My outstanding pre-orders are virtually all for one of two designs: cactus ring dishes and spider silk mugs. This means that for some time, I've been sculpting the same thing over and over. When I get back on the wheel, I'll be throwing the same form over and over. As you can imagine, this type of repetition toes the line between zen and boring.
That being said, I'm really grateful for the orders that have come in, and the patience these customers have shown despite my months-long delays. I'll carry that gratitude with me while I make, glaze, and pack each item. I'm also planning to have a painting session to decorate the shipping boxes so that they go out with a little extra joy.
The above is going to keep me plenty busy in the coming weeks, so the last thing on my list is one just for me: Listening to the rain.
As the new owner of a front yard, I am learning how high maintenance grass is. In June we had a stretch of almost three weeks without rain and we had to water our front- and backyards daily. This isn't a huge deal, but I've come to appreciate when rain is in the forecast so that I can save myself the 10 minutes and 1-3 mosquito bites.
Our bedroom has a nice view of the garden along with a line of sight down the crescent street we live on. There's a large evergreen that sways in the breeze and bounces in rainstorms that's really soothing to watch. I've spent a lot of time in the bedroom lately, indulging in naps and resting while listening to and watching the rain from the bedroom window. More of this in July, please.