May 2024 & Beyond

The big newsletter is quite long this month, as I missed last month due to events and shows I attended. I had a great time meeting new customers and saying hello to others at the different events I attended. I also made some new friends. I have been slow in creating work for the last month, but I hope to get back on schedule. I have that other kiln I just hooked up and ordered about a ton of clay, so I’m ready for the rest of the year. Below are the events and shows I attended.

Wood kiln at Imagine Peace Pottery

As we stoked the wood kiln up at Imagine Peace Pottery, owner and artist William Moon would check it almost after every stoke and before the next. Wood kilns that fire for 48 hours or more need to be monitored for that amount of time. With good leadership skills, William would tell each stoker where to drop the wood pieces thrown in the firebox. Each piece for each side was pre-selected and thrown in at a planned time, at the same time if possible, then the process would start over again. This process happened hundreds of times over and over until the firing ended. I learned a lot about the firing and plan to attend another in June 2024.

Wyoming County Artist Tour in North East Pennsylvania-

The Wyoming County Artist Tour in North East Pennsylvania was amazing. We sat on a cold rainy day at a historic site named “The Oldest House. The painters who showed work with me at the site had a great sense of humor, which made the three days go by fast. Landscape painters Joan Yeager and Suesan Jayne had their work hung for display in different sections of the old house. I showed the pots in the kitchen. “The Oldest House” in Laceyville was built in 1781. The house had many owners, and additions were made throughout the years. Selling work at a historical site was a pleasant experience.

It was great to see both those locals and those outside the area show throughout all three days, and each of us artists was able to make some nice sales. The ladies sat and painted and laughed between customer visits. We were able to have some great conversations about art and we shared ideas about what we enjoyed about creating while we listened to music.

In the town of Laceyville, other painters were doing demos in different shops. I took a break and visited the other places. The artist tour was in its second year and was organized by Dan Thompkins. Being on the tours was a great way to connect with other artists and show work with them. It also allowed the public to be exposed to other artists and handmade work in the area.

The Southern Adirondack Homesteading Festival –

Talking to homesteaders at the Southern Adirondack Homesteading Festival was terrific. They mentioned the type of work they would like to use and enjoy. Thick bowls, proofing bowls, fermentation crocks, sourdough starter jars, and storage jars. It was great to be out of the studio and talk to people you would like to create work for, help solve their problems, and bring about some change. Being at The Southern Adirondack Homesteading Festival was a great way to hear talks and attend workshops about the homesteading culture.

The Strategy Workshop on Purple Space-

I appreciate you, the reader, and that I am grateful you are here. At times, we might get busy and forget to say thanks to those who might care about what we do. I take no reader or customer for granted, and no one owes me anything. The Strategy Workshop on Purple Space was terrific and helped set the direction on where I would enjoy taking the pottery. It can be challenging to balance out the key activities I do here at the pottery, as making the pots is only one of the twenty things. Below is a list of the key activities.

Key Activities

  1. Pottery Design
  2. Glazing/Glazing Techniques
  3. Firing/Firing Techniques
  4. Themes
  5. The Story
  6. The Customers I Pick/My Who’s it for
  7. The Customer’s Story They Tell Themselves
  8. The Wood Kiln/Firing Team/Community
  9. The Studio/Classes/Workshops/Students
  10. The Finished Work
  11. The Network/People I Pick to Help
  12. The Blog/Writing
  13. The Podcast
  14. The Galleries
  15. The Shops
  16. The Local Trails/Collaborations/Art Tours
  17. The Change Being Made
  18. My “Why”
  19. My “I”
  20. The Gift I Give Back

I am skilled at some things but not so great at others, and there are a few areas I need to start or improve on. So, for me, it’s about much more than just making pots. When you create pots that are important to people who care, more effort needs to be put into things. Certainly, I might need to reconsider some of the key activities, but first, I see them all as seeds that require time to sprout and grow.

Along with the key activities, I also asked myself sixteen questions, which I also ask when starting a new project:

  • Who are we here to serve?
  • What is the change we seek to make?
  • What are our resources?
  • What is the genre we’re working in?
  • Who has done something like this before me?
  • What systems are in play?
  • Am I changing someone’s status quo?
  • Why would anyone voluntarily choose to be part of this work?
  • What will they tell their colleagues?
  • Who gains in status, affiliation, and power by supporting this work?
  • Will early support translate into more support later?
  • Where is the network effect?
  • What do I need to learn to make this work?
  • Who do I need to work with?
  • Where is the dip and when should I quit?
  • What will I do if it doesn’t work out?

The Free Olympic Updraft Kiln.

I was also able to pick up another Olympic updraft kiln, for free. This makes three Olympic kilns I have here at the pottery. My father helped me pick up the kiln with his truck, which we drove to the Philadelphia area. I just needed to clean the tips out and the pipes, as they were packed with dirt from the mud wasps. The kiln will be a fantastic addition to the pottery and allow me to fire out larger pieces in larger quantities.

The Look Ahead-

  • I plan to attend another wood-firing on June 15th and 16th, 2024, out at the Bill Moon Kiln once more.
  • Work on getting the pad put in for the wood kiln.
  • Create more work for the shops
  • Create work for the online store
  • Create work for the Fall shows

The Pin Tool Podcast Milestone-

The Pin tool Podcast has passed 10,000 downloads and is now reaching 10,500. I never care to look at numbers too often because I don’t do it for the numbers but for my own enjoyment and that of a few others who listen. I do hope folks find value in it .

The Pottery Dailies-

Sticking to my writing goals, and I have posted over 120 posts to my Pottery Dailies on Substack. Thanks so much for those who have stopped over and subscribed to this journal-like publication that contains my thoughts about the pots, philosophy, design, and other ideas.

The Pottery Pen Pal Program-

Thanks so much to everyone who wrote in . It has been so much fun creating handwritten letters in old-time fashion!

Thanks once more for all the support. I did not write a fiction story about my hometown because I am not sure if folks enjoyed it, even though I did enjoy writing it. I may start it up again if I feel inclined. I hope everyone has a great start to the Summer. I look forward to making pottery for you all.

Written By,

Al Wayman


Creek Road Pottery LLC

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