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QotW : How do you prepare for the Show season, and keep up with all of the things that are needed to start and sustain it?

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Alas, there are no new suggestions for QotW in the question pool, so I will have to do another. Today I was reading the forum, with questions about vans, and packing, and booths, and I started to wonder how others prepared for the coming of the Season. The show season of Spring, Summer and Fall. We have all seen it, the breaking of ice, the time of flowers after the high winds, and the thaw of the shop and the clay.

Most times I would start things out by reviewing my inventory, checking to make certain materials were available and all was ready for the big crunch. This would lead to listings of things to do, pots to be made, repairs, and other things. Then the time of production where following the lists, would help me start out.

So my question for the QotW : How do you prepare for the Show season, and keep up with all of the things that are needed to start and sustain it?



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I did a few small one day shows. It was pretty easy- I had a small foldable table  & chair and I used the show's bigger tables as well,  a beige painters floor cloth for a  table cloth, a few bricks for some cloth-covered boards to make risers and my pottery. It all fit into my little car.

Edited by terrim8

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Prepping for 2019 season starts in August 2018 with show research and applications which are mostly due by December.

2019 season pots begin being made in November of 2018, all the way through March when production slows, and glazing/firing begins. Ill have my first two shows in April, and plan to have 70% retail value of my years projected total gross sales (based on previous years revenue) made and finished by then. This allows me to make work to fill in the low spots during show season, without having to work all night.

Vehicle is brought in for full in depth service 1 month before first show (sits most of winter), so I can make sure its going to work when I need it to. Hotels are booked 6 months in advance, tax licenses (if any new are needed) are applied for. Display, if needing repairs/rework, is done while firing in March-April, business cards, display cards, and all the "stuff" which makes up my booth (aside from pots and display) is gone through to check for completeness, and repairs.

For me, once show season starts; a normal week in between two shows (back to back) is making pots Tue/wed, and sometimes Thursday. Thursday is a firing day, and repacking for next show, Friday unload kiln, and add in any pots that need to be taken with me. Friday depart for show (depending on where it is, this could be as early as Wednesday); work show Sat/Sund (Friday too if 3 days), and return on Sunday night/monday morning; rinse, repeat.

Time where I dont have shows back to back, are spent in the studio, making as much greenware/bisqueware as I can. Goal is to never let inventories fall so low, that my selection is limited. Being behind the ball is never good with ceramics. Ideally, the show season should be about 30-40% making new work, and 60-70% selling work.

Any major improvements/alterations to the studio, or equipment is done in the off season, when time is more abundant. Redundancies/back ups on critical items are kept in stock in the studio (burners for kiln, elements/relays/elect kiln parts/etc, hard to source materials); consumables (clay, glaze materials, propane, etc) are purchased on a as needed basis, however I generally try to keep enough glaze material in stock, to make two batches of glazes at any time (too many a days when you just need another 100 grams of iron/copper/etc, and you need to load the kiln that same day).

Not to say there arent major hiccups throughout the show season, but generally, if all the big stuff is prepared for, things generally go quite as planned.

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