The Potter Chauffeur Thinks About Business

We live about 15 minutes from Newark Airport. We have a large extended family. So our driveway is often the parking spot for relatives going away for a couple of days or weeks. We also often do a friendly favor of chauffering to the airport those with whom we have blood ties. (Others have to fend for themselves.)

Yesterday, when the latest family traveller called to remind me she and her husband were on their way to our house before heading to the airport, I told her I was at work, but would stop when they got here and take them to the airport. When they arrived, I hurried to finish the web task at hand, turned off my work timer, and 'put on my chauffeur cap'. 

Since I'd told her I was working, my passenger asked me, "So what are you making downstairs?", making accompanying hand gestures as if I had been at the wheel. I love how interested she is in the work, and she also buys from me for gift-giving, and I really appreciate that she cares to ask the question. You may not be surprised to know that she thought that's how I spend all my working hours. She's not alone in thinking it. It is probably how nearly all of a clay hobbyist's time would be spent.  But since I'm no hobbyist (and since I've been keeping track of my hours with the Toggl app), I would estimate that currently, between 35%-40% of my time is spent with clay, glazes and kilns. The other 60%-65% is spent on all the rest! 

It's like the tree that falls in the forest...if I make my work but no one sees it, have I really made work? A major goal involves selling. I don't only make my pottery because I like clay. I also make it to fill what I perceive as a niche, as in my website slogan, "handmade objects in a mass-produced world". 

While I drove my relatives to the airport, I mentioned that I had been in my unofficial "other office upstairs", the kitchen table, spending nearly an entire workday editing photos of my work, putting them on my website, and generally going over the site as I have to do periodically to check for errors and anachronisms.

(Multitasking- pottery "desk" in the kitchen. Mimi Stadler Pottery, 2016. photo Rosa Campos)

I hadn't touched clay or glaze all week, but I had worked on plenty of other things. In addition to my website work, I had met with my business consultant, thought about and researched sales strategies, traveled to and approached 3 galleries, followed up with emails containing images, spent a couple of hours on an online clay course (Think Big 2: Mastering the Marketplace), took more photos in my gallery photo booth, taught my 2-hours-a-week studio assistant some basics about pottery photo-taking (she then did a surprisingly good job of it), went over my accounting, unloaded a kiln of finished work, posted images of studio life to my pottery page on Facebook (, and blogged and posted photos about the new Seder plate that I would like people to be aware of.

I dropped the family off at the airport, and went back to the kitchen table to add more photos to my website. All in a day's work!

Posted on March 3, 2016 .