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