A few years ago I saw a documentary about an artist named Wayne White. In one scene they showed him sitting before his easel and he said something to the effect that this was the ditch-digging part of art. You have a great idea, but then you actually have to sit down and make it.
I so wish that was the type of ditch-digging I have been doing. Part of an art business, is, well, the business. Without that side of it, making art is a hobby or avocation at best. There is absolutely nothing wrong with making things simply because you like to make them-I wish more people did, but I also get into some fairly strange conversations with people who don't think of what I do as "real". Let's look at some of things that have to get done.
First off there is the plain old boring office stuff like getting the taxes ready for the accountant. While you can just take that pile in the corner of your desk and dump it on an accountant, or sort it out in a rush madly feeding numbers into something like Turbotax, the best piece of advice I ever got is to know where you stand with the money at all times. Know what you make, how much you have, where it came from, what it is being spent on, and, if you owe money, to whom and for what. That last one is where a lot of people go horribly wrong. I keep spreadsheets in Excel and usually catch up with them once a month, but there is always something that needs chasing down at the end of the year. I find getting all that stuff together for somebody else helps me understand my business and make plans for the coming year.
I'd put a picture of the top of my desk here-but I don't want to give you nightmares.
At the beginning of the year the Pottery Place Plus freshens up the shop by having some members trade spaces. This year was my turn. We also rotate jobs amongst ourselves and so there is a bit of a learning curve here in January. In my case I said I would help with the social media accounts and although I understand the nuts and bolts of how it works, now I have to get into the habit of making time for it. I did this to myself so I would also get more in the habit of doing it for myself as well and I would be forced to learn more about it than I know now. That is one of the happy things about belonging to a group like this, there is always something you can learn from other members. Artist co-ops sometimes get a bad rap, but really, how else do you get a year's worth of exposure for your work without having to work all those days yourself? If the group you are considering jurys the work and they have a good location with lots of potential customers, I would say give it a whirl. Co-ops are a fair amount of work, but I find the chronic income to be very helpful and worth the effort.
|New space at Pottery Place, my old space was very wide with a low ceiling, this one is very tall. It will give me new things to think about|
This is the time of year that most of the show applications for the summer are due, so some analysis of last year is in order. Once that is decided then I have to come up with a class schedule-what to offer and where to offer it at. I am also working on reopening my Etsy shop, but I am getting tripped up on some of the details. I am getting a handle on it and in the meantime, making the stuff is really fun!
|Making multiple buttons. I needed to keep track of what glaze and what firing temp in order to be able to repeat them-what did we ever do before phone cameras?|
I think I am coming to the end of the drudgery type of stuff and can start thinking about what new ideas I want to make this year. Due to my husband being laid up last fall I didn't get much made, nor did I get out and get enough materials to dry and use this winter so I am focusing on other things. Digging around in my supplies and pondering what else could go along with my regular offerings does a number of things. It stretches the imagination for one-dumping a big pile of unrelated items out onto the cutting table makes my head work differently. Some things go back in the closet and some go to my favorite new place Art Salvage for others to enjoy, but I always seem to get at least one new idea from this exercise.
I hope to be back at eco printing next week, I have some ideas for the dried material I do have and some over-dyes, stay tuned!