My Pottery Management Tools:

I spent the afternoon avoiding pottery to create worksheets and journal print-outs that you can clip into a three ring binder that should better help you track your clay journey.
I created PDF of each sheet so you can print them individually and put them in your binder as needed.  Below is a description of each sheet and some background information on how to fill it in.  Even though I am not getting anything done due to procrastination, I do hope the sheets can help at least one of you in some way.

My Pottery Goals:

The “My Pottery Goals” worksheet has section to fill in ten year goals, five year goals, three year goals, and one year goals.  The ten-year goals can allow you to dream big.  Write in where you might wish to be.  All of these goals can change as you move forward, so no need to worry about what you put in as long as it is something you dream of achieving. As you narrow down the years you can also work to refine the goals more for the short term to make actionable steps to the over all big goal.  The one-year goal can be made by comparing advancements or opportunity areas to last year. Be sure to fill in as much as you can, as each day when you do tasks in the next worksheet, you can see if those tasks and projects you do either help you towards where you would like to be or not.  This helps to weed out those annoying projects you might take on because you are not able to say no.  I have to admit that I am still working on this with custom orders. But at least now I have some type of framework to follow step by step even in small ways and to assess how far I have come and what I might need more practice in.

I have also included your “Why”. Your “Why” needs to be more than passion.  As when you lose a kiln load of mugs you might not feel all that passionate about making pots but you still need to do the work and be action driven to reach your goal even on the bad days.  There are some great posts on finding your “why”. I discuss the topic in my post on balancing work and pottery here.

Another section I felt was important was to include ” If I live to be 86 from today , I have _____ days left.”  This section sounds a bit morbid, but I thought adding the idea of just how short life is and how we spend our time was very important.  Time is something we spend and give each day and a thing we never make up or give back.  When we are born we have a full “bank account” that dwindles down each day.  So knowing and seeing the end along with our long and short term goals might help us reevaluate and choose better what we will spend time on and how we tell our story.


My Pottery Journal:

This idea came from Donald Miller and his Story brand/ Business Made Simple website for business leaders.  I took a workshop on business and loved it. I reformatted the journal page to fit the artist and those who enjoy pottery so they could work to have some type of direction planning their daily tasks.  On the Journal page, there is space to list 3 critical tasks. It is thought that any more than three tasks becomes a distraction and can make one feel overwhelmed. These three tasks should be tasks that are critical to your pottery and towards your goals.  It is always important to review your goals each day.  Next are the secondary tasks.  These are small tasks that you can do that do not require much effort.  Then comes your reward for working so hard.  This section is called “Things I get to enjoy.” Here, be sure to schedule in a few things that you do that is relaxing. This section is also a good place to write in what you are grateful for.  The fourth section is “If I was living yesterday over, I would have..” This section gives you another chance to look at some things you might need to improve on and begin break cycles that hold you back.  This idea comes from the writer Victor Frankel and his book “Man’s Search For Meaning” .   The “Summery” section of the journal sheet allows you to write down any thoughts or ideas you might have about the previous day or the one that is to come.  The last section of the “”My Pottery Journal” page is that question again “If I live to be 86…”  just to remind us once more just how precious time is.  Lastly, there is a question on if you are enjoying life or not. I do hope you are!


My Pottery Project:

This journal print out page is for those projects you wish to start and keep track of. In the large open section you can draw out sketches of your idea and in the bottom of that section there is a list of art descriptions to help you think about what to add to your work to make it communicate better.  Some of those terms are form, shape, texture, asymmetry, negative space, functionality, and a few others.  The middle section allows you to write in the project name, due date, clay type, glaze, and important dates dealing with firings. At the bottom is a notes section where you can jot down ideas that come to you while you work things out.  Having theses all in a binder will allow you to flip back and forth to see due dates for planning, project progress, and your work has evolved.


My Pottery Kiln Log:

I made up this sheet to make it easier to keep track of firings. When holes are punched in the sheet it can be put in the binder for future reference.  Even if the power goes out you will still have good records of your kiln that you can go back and look at to make changes or to run the same program or schedule.  Simply place a dot on the grid and mark the time and temperature when you check your kiln.  You will be able to see if your kiln is staying on schedule or if you need to make adjustments.  When starting to use a sheet I would fire normally to get a good centerline record of what the kiln does.  That way you might be able to detect issues earlier if you see things going out of the base centerline schedule.    At the bottom of the “My Pottery Kiln Log” is a section to write in the time, warm up , soak, and other important information. The note section will allow you to write in observations or learnings you had while firing, any changes you made, or what issues you might have had during the firing.


My Pottery Troubleshooting Guide:

I wanted to include this in with the packet to make it easier to think through issues you might run into. The system I used is one that is used in manufacturing, and it is called the 6W2H.
By asking Where, When, Why, What, Who, Which, How, and How much, problems can be narrowed down and bring you to root cause. This video explains 6W2H at length if you can withstand to hear the robot reading to you. The middle section of the troubleshooting worksheet allows you to put in the root cause when you find it and what you did to fix it.  I also placed in a section for part numbers,  help numbers, and other important information so if the issue happens again you will have a sheet on file right in your binder. This will save you time by saving what the fix was rather than trying to remember.  This sheet also can help with reminding you to do preventive maintenance, or doing checks on things before they fail, causing you downtime before that big show.

The full “My Pottery” packet of PDFs can be downloaded below for free at no cost to you!  Let me know how I can make it better and also let me know if it helps you in any way.  Now I need to go make pots as I am way behind.  Happy potting!

PDF sheets for download are listed below:

MyPotteryGoals
mypotterykilnlog
mypotteryproject
potterytroubleshooting
mypotteryjournal

If you enjoy these worksheets sheets and tools, you may also like the Pottery Cost Analysis sheet I made up here.

Written By,
Al Wayman
Artist/Owner
Creek Road Pottery LLC

If you enjoyed this post and are a lover of pottery, sign up for our newsletter and become a raging fan.

 

Delores accidentally flashes her new apprentice. The beautiful Janice is lonely.

 

Delores hit the dismiss button on her phone when the alarm woke her at 7:00 am. She wanted to get an early start to the day. She sat up on the edge of her bed and slid on her bright green crocks. The sun was already up and the rays were shining though the curtains as she walked into the kitchen to make herself a cup of coffee. Delores looked through the cupboard, then went to the dishwasher and pulled a mug from the top rack. There was a slight crack in the bottom like every mug she owned, almost. While she waited for the coffee maker to drip out she turned the mug over and looked at the glaze. “This came out quite nice” she said to herself, ” I have to make another run of these at some point. ” She poured herself a coffee and then sat at the kitchen table. Her black cat Johnny Cash purred against her chair and gave her leg a slight headbutt. “Awww your a sweet boy Mr. Cash” Delores scratch is ears and rubbed his face.

Delores reached for her journal and planner she kept on the table, next to the sugar jar and a cup of spoons. The planner set was a gift from her mother , who thought she needed to be more organized. Delores flipped to a new crisp page and wrote in the date. Under Three Primary Tasks she wrote “throw three wear boards of mugs.” That would be the primary tasks. “Simple enough.” She thought. For Secondary Tasks, she wrote. “Dust and clean the shop.” The next heading on the page was “Things I get to enjoy” Delores wrote in “Weed and water garden” and for the section ” If I was living a second time” Delores had to think a some as she had plenty of regrets and she was not sure what she should put down. She smirked and wrote in ‘Merry a doctor.” Pleased with herself at the joke she gave a slight laugh and closed the planner. It was at that point she felt a scratch and slight nip on her leg which startled her and made her jump. Coffee spilled all down the front of her t-shirt and on to her shorts. “Johnny Cash be a good boy please!” She yelled. The black cat ran out from under the table with its tail held high as if he was pleased with himself for causing a ruckus. “Well I better get dressed.” Delores said to herself out loud.

Delores was putting her last leg in her jeans when she heard a faint knock on the door to her pottery shop downstairs. “No..no.no! ” She said to herself. She tossed on her shirt and closed up three buttons with time no for the forth. “No..no.nooo!” She slipped into her crocks and raced downstairs through her clay studio and into the pottery shop. “ohh.. noo.. ohh..noo! I totally forgot.!” She took a split second to compose herself the best she could. She gathered up her long black hair and flipped it back over then under to ponytail it in place, took a deep breath, then answered the door. “Are you d..d..d..d..Delores m..m..m..Mitchell?” Stuttered the tall skinny young man at the door.

He seemed shy and nervous. He held out his hand that was shaking a little. ” I’m ja..ja… Jimmy ma..ma Martin ..I’m here from Smithfield University and my professor said you asked for help at your pottery and that I wa..wa.. would be working with you through the work sta..sta..study program.. this is right place. Right? ” Delores lightly shook Jimmy’s cold clammy hand “Yes ! This is the right place Jimmy ! Pleased to meet you. I thought you were starting next week Monday but here you are!” “Yes ma’am! Sa..sa..saa..Sorry Ms. Mitchell I studder some when I get nervous..” said Jimmy. Delores smiled to set him at ease ” That’s fine Jimmy come on in and have a seat.

Jimmy brush his brown shaggy hair from his eyes and pushed up his glasses. Just then, the big black cat Mr. Cash made a run between Delores’s legs and raced out the open door. Jimmy tried to block the path with his long leg but the cat was having none of it. “Johnny Cash!!! You get back here!” Yelled Delores. “Ohh noo s..s..s..sorry about that.” Jimmy said as he regained his balance. “No bother Jimmy, I try to keep him in but he always seems to be on the wrong side of every door. ”

 

 

Jimmy followed Delores through the shop and into the studio. Delores pushed Jimmy a chair from behind her trimming wheel and he stopped it with this foot and sat down. Delores wheeled over another chair to have an onboarding chat with her new apprentice that came a week early. Jimmy’s face was red and he looked down to avoid eye contact. It was almost like he was embarrassed about something. “It sure is na..na nice out today.” said Jimmy looking at the floor. ” Your place was easy to fa..fa,, find. I drove right here.”

It was then Delores realized she needed her planner that was upstairs on the kitchen table. “Jimmy can you wait here one moment I need to run upstairs. I’ll be right back.” Delores raced back upstairs to the kitchen. As she made her way back to the studio downstairs she caught a glimpse of herself in the full length mirror on the door . “Ohhh nooo.” Delores groaned. Only having three buttons closed left her shirt open on top exposing all who cared to look at her cleavage and more. While hurrying to get dressed she skipped putting on her sports bra and simply threw a shirt on over her white coffee stained low cut tank top Delores quickly buttoned up and rushed down the stairs. About half way she felt her phone vibrate a call.

“Hello? Hello..can you hear me? Hello?” said an elderly women’s voice. “Delores dear this is your mother.” Delores gave a sigh “Ohh hi mom ..Ummm I’m in the middle of something right now can I call you back?” It was like her mother didn’t hear her. She continued. ‘Your father and I were at the farmer’s market and we picked you up some nice tomatoes. We’ll be there in 20 minutes dear.” “But mom I’m busy today.” Delores whined. ” Now we won’t stay long I promise. We love you sweety and we will see you in a bit.” said her mother.

Delores didn’t hang up. She knew her mother had a hard time finishing a call on cell and Delores would stay on the line to find out what her mother really thought about a situation from the hot mic effect. “I don’t know why she stays there by herself. If she had a real job I think she would be much happier.” said mother “Ooh Helen leave her alone! ” said her father. “I think she is getting along fine since David passed and you should mind your own business.” ” I know but I just worry about her. It’s a wonder she don’t starve to death. ” said mother before the phone clicked off. “Well at least they try to care .” Delores thought.

Janice was at the shop door bright and early today. She wanted to stop by the pottery to see how the custom order was going for her daughter’s wedding. She had ordered two-hundred candle cups as guest gifts in sea foam green, more green then blue , to be exact, if possible. Her outfit was spectacular for a Friday morning.

The theme was Sunflowers. Janice was dressed in a tight white pencil skirt and fitted top with sunflowers, topped off with a large hat to match. Around the hat was a band of ribbon with sunflower print. White tights and white heels completed the outfit. Janice tilted her large brown sunglasses so she could read the hours on the sign that was on the shop door. It was 20 minutes until the pottery opened. She took off her sunglasses and shielded her eyes to look through the window. She could make out a slim tall man sitting in the studio nervously bouncing his leg. Janice tapped on the glass with her white fingernails. “Hello..anyone there?

Jimmy looked out into the shop when the tapping started. He seen a slim middle-aged woman with red lipstick and sunflower blouse tapping on the door. He got up from his chair, debating on if he should let the well-dressed women in. He didn’t work there yet and was not sure of the hours. He was not sure when Delores would be back. Maybe she lost her planner or something? It sure was taking a long time. The lady at the door was now cupping her hand up against the glass so she could see in. Jimmy paced back and forth a bit not sure what to do. She was now tapping on the glass calling to him.

Maybe he should just sit in another chair and hide? No, that would be quite silly! Just make a decision!” he scolded himself. “What could possibly happen to him if he let that lady in.” He paced faster back and forth, and he could feel his hands getting sweaty. “Well the last time I let someone in it was ok. The UPS women…I had to sign for a package..that went off without a hitch and the world didn’t end. ” Once the decision was agreed upon Jimmy quickly went to the door opened it.

” Hello, my name is Janice, Janice Parker.” The beautiful middle-aged women held out her hand. Jimmy could see at the tips of those white nails were miniature sunflowers that matched the miniature sunflower earrings. The small ankle straps of the white heels also had miniature sunflowers, all of which matched her sunflower purse. He lightly shook Janice’s hand, and she followed him back though the shop and into the studio. Jimmy offered Janice the chair he was sitting in and moved to the other. “This chair is dusty, and I am on my way to a luncheon at the winery with a few of my friends. My dear, do you happen to have a towel or covering I could sit on while I wait. I would hate to get on dust me.” Jimmy looked around and was able to find a clean apron that he draped over the chair for Janice and her sunflowers. The two of them sat quietly waiting for Delores to return like it was a waiting room in a doctor’s office.

Delores was back after ten minutes of awkward silence between Janice and Jimmy. Jimmy had a bead of sweat on his forehead and had anxiety over what he might say. “I’ll be with you shortly, Jimmy.” said Delores. ” Janice, follow me to the back I have about 100 more cups out of the kiln for you to see, and I know you will love them. I have just 25 more to fire out to complete the order. You should have them all 2 month in advance.” Janice followed Delores to the backroom where work from the kilns were unloaded and put on shelves. “These look beautiful Delores! Thanks so much! My little girl is all grown up and she met the most wonderful man and I just want everything to be as perfect as I can get it for her wedding. I already ordered all the flowers, and these little cups on the tables will be the cutest thing for guests to take home.”

Thank you Janice, that is so nice of you to say. I am so glad you like them and I do hope they help make the day special for your daughter and you.” said Delores warmly. Large tears welled up in Janice’s eyes, she pulled a tissue from her sunflower purse and dabbed the corners to stop the large drops from ruining her eyeshadow. “I’m..I’m.. just so lonely out there in that big house..I..I..mean it’s a nice house and I’m not complaining. but..but..I think… I think..I think… my husband Bill hates me!”

Janice was now crying uncontrollably, and Delores gave her a hug and rubbed her back. “I think he might just be busy with everything that’s happening. With medical staff short I’m sure doctors are feeling the pressure.” Janice now had tears of eye shadow running down her face. ” It’s just…It’s just that… in the last two months, he has barely even talked or looked at me.” Janice sobbed. Delores tried to be supportive as she could, “I’m sure everything will be fine and after the wedding, you will both have more time to be together. Let’s go to the shop so you can use the restroom to freshen up a bit. You would not want everyone to see you like this even driving. They would gossip for sure.”

Janice and Delores walked back though the studio and into she shop. As they both passed, Jimmy thought he might have seen Janice wink at him. Now he was not sure but she must have winked because no woman has ever winked at him before, if they did he would have remembered…but yeah that was a wink for sure. Jimmy sat nervous, bouncing his leg while Delores seen Janice out. Jimmy tried to tell himself it was all imagined, or that maybe it was an accident. But if all of that were true, why did it bother him so much?

Written By,
Al Wayman
Artist/Owner
Creek Road Pottery LLC

If you enjoyed this post and are a lover of pottery, sign up for our newsletter and become a raging fan.