Thursday, April 29, 2010

Claiming My Space

When we moved in, we liked the fact that this place had been "a successful pottery business" according to the MLS sheet. Ian and Jo Lydia Craven worked hard and made a name for themselves up here. They left some equipment when they moved: the kiln, an electric slab roller, the ironing board. They also left a wall of postcards, photos and mementos in the kiln room. We thought it was pretty cool that the place had some history.
Then we got more of a history lesson. This house needs WAY more work than we initially thought, which requires WAY more money than we have. Some of the "modifications" that were made were WAY not up to code. No wonder they moved. In all fairness, I can't blame the Cravens. We bought the house from the person who bought the house from the Cravens. Maybe the Cravens didn't do it. But someone did. And we have to clean up the mess. Lucky us.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided I was going to take down the memorabilia in the kiln room. I suppose I am finally ready to claim the territory as my own, just like when we ripped out the sorry-ass basement walls and bathroom.
So today, I took down the postcards, photos and drawings, the restaurant menus, opening announcements and even the "Ross Perot for President" bumper sticker. Then I got out my white sage smudge stick and cleared the energy. Ben joined in, not because he believes in it, but just because he likes to light things on fire. Don't we all?

The place smells like my college dorm room, but it's mine now. Let's hope the insurance adjuster doesn't make a surprise visit.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Temporary Hiatus from Potter to Insurance Shopper

This sucks. I decided to tell the truth since I am at heart an honest person, and I had the feeling that I was trying to get away with something. I fessed up to my homeowner's insurance company that I was "starting" to run a business out of my house, that I had a gallery space open to the public, and oh, by the way, I have a gas kiln in my enclosed car port that incidentally is attached to my house.

I was very clear that my main concern was this kiln. I assumed that there must be some kind of coverage since I am the third potter in this house to have used this kiln. I did not install it there. Surely the other two had coverage.

The agent on the phone assured me that the kiln would be covered under my homeowner's policy. Then she transferred me to someone who set me up with a business liability policy. At that point, I was feeling pretty responsible.

Unfortunately, the feeling was fleeting. After reviewing the information I gave them, they wrote to inform me that they are not renewing my policy when it comes up in June. If anything happens between now and June 12, my claim would be denied regardless of whether the kiln is involved or not.

I understand a written letter is the legal way to handle the matter, but I have used this company to insure my cars since I was 17. This is the fourth house I've insured with them. Isn't a 25 year relationship worth a phone call?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Love Foam!

I really don't know what I'd do if I didn't have foam to prop up my handles. I do need to restock my foam collection. Many pieces are too small, and I am forced to stack them precariously to reach the heights I need.

I have been working on these 3 larger baskets for the past week. I attached the handles last night after dinner.

I should quit bitching about working after dinner. I was only in the studio for an hour. Big deal.

Now I just have to babysit them while they dry and watch for cracks.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Artist-Mom

I've been thinking a lot about how best to juggle pottery and motherhood. At last week's Clay Club meeting, I was talking with fellow Potter-Moms, Erin Campbell and Jennifer Goff about trying to find enough time to be a good mom to our kids (we each have two), keep up with all the household chores, and make pottery. Sounds like the same dilemma all working Moms face. I want to blog about this without the whole working inside vs working outside the home business.

Do Potter-Dads have it this tough? Do they feel the guilt of needing to fire on Monday, but can't because that's the day I volunteer at school? Or the shame of missing their kid's awards ceremony because that hair appointment was made weeks ago, and who knew that report cards would be delayed by weeks due to snow days. BTW the haircut was SO worth it.

From 8 am until 2 pm, I have time for pottery, laundry, grocery shopping, and house cleaning. I'm sure there are other things I have to do, like bill paying or exercising. And since Jay not only works an 8 hour day, he commutes for 2+ hours a day just so we could live in this lovely house with a lovely studio, I have to cook dinner every night. And people wonder why he's so skinny...

While there are times when I could spend 6 or 7 hours in the studio, my work generally is done in stages, and needs time to dry a bit before I can go on to the next stage. Frankly 6 or 7 hours would probably cripple me for a day or two, so I don't do it. But I still don't seem to have time to get it all done. There was one day of unexpected errand-running last week, so I am finishing last week's work today. I might even have to work after dinner. And I hate to work after dinner.

I'm not grouching about my life. I am eternally grateful that Jay has a good job which allows me to be a potter. I'm just wondering if there is a Time Management Fairy out there who could show me the way.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Transitioning from Vacation Brain to Whatever Brain I create with...

Jay and I joined several of our close friends on Grand Oasis, a chartered trimaran, for 7 days a couple of weeks ago. In no way can I describe how gorgeous the British Virgin Islands are. My photos cannot do them justice. You've got to go! My friend Jan will be guest blogging about the trip since she kept a travel journal of our adventures.

When we returned, I was exhausted. It took several days to regain my land legs. I'm sure it was pretty comical to see me swaying as I stood still. The kids were on Spring Break the week after we got back, so I didn't have to jump right back into work, but poor Jay did. He took a day off midweek to sleep and try to snap out of it. We rarely take a vacation, so it really knocked us for a loop. Are you feeling sorry for me yet?

Anyway, I'm back in the studio this week and feeling great. And we had an awesome Clay Club meeting last night hosted by Odyssey Center for the Ceramic Arts. It's been a long, hard winter and seeing old faces and meeting new clay artists was just what the spirit called for. Even with gorgeous weather outside, I'm itching to get into some new work.

I'm reorganizing the gallery and collecting work for the Toe River Craft Shop when it reopens May 1st. I'm going to try to get 3 kilns fired before Jay leaves for his TAT trip in May. I've got about 1/2 a kiln of work I need to refire plus one big basket that couldn't fit into my last kilnload of 2009.

My other dilemma is that I need to move the Bailey. It sits in an enclosed carport attached to my house, with attic space above. The ceiling is wood and the burners are no more than 24" from the plywood wall behind the kiln. John Britt has seen it and when I asked him how hard it is to move a kiln, he said I could have it moved with a forklift. I might even be able to get it out the door without knocking out a wall.

I have to decide where to move it, and then build some sort of shelter overhead. I'm not sure how much it will cost, but I suppose it's better than living in a Yurt for the rest of my life after my house burns down and my insurance doesn't cover it.