Tuesday, January 11, 2011

it takes work

Being creative comes naturally, honing that creativity into something tangible takes work. More work than most would think is truly possible. Small and large interruptions can happen and that starts and stops then restarts the creative flow. My creative outlet has been my business for the past bunch of years. 2010 was such a life changing year for me that my work needs to change. I spent it mainly out of my studio; having a baby, taking time off to be with her, buying a new home and studio, renovating the home, and organizing my wee family's life for this move. 2011 is sure to bring new designs. I know it will be some time before I am up and running, my new studio isn't even close to being ready. This seems like a good time to reflect on what has happened since I launched Little Flower Designs way back in 2004. I've been cleaning out my studio, pulling out work like the above tea set, the Just Friends pattern that brought me a lot of attention from the press and more orders than I thought I'd ever keep up with. Thinking about this makes me wonder if it's something that I should still be making. How long should I produce a design, how do I decide on a number I should cap it at to make it a limited edition. I do everything by hand from scratch so after I've made something a few hundred times I need to move on. My work and process has changed. I feel like I am about to create a new and exciting body of work.
The Nature Stories collection I started to work on over the summer felt like me. The platter above is from that collection. After having a baby, and being out of the studio I was feeling a little out of sorts. Once I started designing, with my daughter's little smiles to tell me what worked, I started to feel like myself again. It's a hard feeling to describe but being an artist for me is similar to being a mother. And now that I actually am a mother, I realise just how much care I have put into my wares and business. And all that care is hard to just set aside, so, while creatively I want to produce new work. The mama in me wonders if I should be taking care of all my old designs in some way. While I do sketch all the time, I work hard to make a design work across a range of forms. Should these designs be moving off the clay and onto paper or cloth? When I launched Little Flower Designs I wanted to be able to work in different mediums, clay has been so time consuming that I haven't had a chance to explore that properly. Anyhow, 2011 is sure to be a year for fresh starts and of course more hard work.

15 comments:

lisa {milkshake} said...

I wonder about the same things, Linda. I think the fact that you're thinking about them so much means that you should move forward with some new things. Maybe keep the old designs around for a bit (in a limited way), and then gradually retire them. I would love to see what you create on paper or fabric! maybe it's time to move on from the clay for a bit while Mazzy is small. It's such a tough medium to do with a little one underfoot. Paper is portable and quick! Good luck in whatever you decide :)

Little Flower Designs said...

thanks Lisa, I think I just need to give myself permission, and your so right about clay with a baby, it's been hard to finish much. and at shows, i'm often a bit jealous of everyone with their lightweight items!

dina said...

It's funny you mention this. I've also been in my home studio since around 2004 and have found my thoughts wandering to other mediums. I want to make hats and maybe do some mixed media work. Clay will always be my first love, but when you have other full-time responsibilities, it is difficult to find enough studio time to produce the work you want.

Like you I am also in the process of remodeling and moving into a new studio. Perhaps this will be the boost I need. I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Ashlee said...

I'd love for you to make more of the just friends line... I want that teaset so bad! It is what made me seek you out after years of keeping the magazine it was featured in! ;) You make beautiful pieces! Everything you make is gorgeous. I'm excited to see your new ideas. Good luck with the studio!

Little Flower Designs said...

Dina, I'll do my best to share the process on here, everything happens so slowly...
Ashlee, the thing with Just Friends is that it takes forever to produce, it is all etched into the clay then the glazing process is more complex than the simple design shows - to create that tea pot now it would cost at least $250 and I can't give a solid turn around time. I used to be able to do it in 6 weeks with the dry time and allowing a little wiggle room for issues. I used to make 3 tea pot for each one I sold and I had a high rate of bad pots, lots of cracking, some forms just won't behave. It was costing me too much time and $ to produce, even know it is cute and was popular. I'm looking into having it produced outside my studio, where I can maybe just do some of the finishing work. I'll post here if I work something out. Thank you so much for following along and for saving that magazine!

amy h said...

I agree that clay is a difficult medium when you have little ones. I had only been working with clay a year when I had my first baby, and it has been stop-start-stop-start with my learning since I've had two more babies. I find myself working more with sewing and other handwork when the children are little. My youngest is 16 months, so I'm getting the wheel set up in my studio again. Optimistic.

Little Flower Designs said...

hi Amy! wow 3 now!!! congrats! clay is so hard with little ones. i find it's easy for me to design/draw but if i sit down to throw, she'll wake up and need me and I'm covered in clay... but I'm figuring it out! good luck! how exciting to set your wheel up again!

Karissa Chase said...

I once made a batch of mugs but never got back to the studio to put the handles on. Instead I painted them as tumblers and I haven't put on a handle since. Sometimes there are happy accidents that take your work in a different direction.
I quit my day job 2 weeks before my daughter was born and I have been potting full time since. Number 2 baby is due in June so it will be interesting to see how I get all my orders done then.

Little Flower Designs said...

Hi Karissa, Congrats on #2! I know I can work with my daughter, I'm struggling with this move. My old studio is a packing sorting disaster and the new one is still a garage with no heat, it's giving me a good bit of time to reflect and figure things out. What kind of hours do you work in the studio? And do you have a sitter? I'd like to have someone for 2 hours each day, just to get the dirty work done and to concentrate. My daughter doesn't take regular naps, but working on the new house, I've noticed that she is happy to play on her own if she can see me. I can't wait until she is interested in drawing and making things! Right now she'll sit for a good hour and look at her books - so cute! Keep in touch! Us mama potters really need each other!

dahlhaus said...

Hi Linda,
Just thought I'd pipe in here as a fellow potter/mom. I do think that your time is now more precious and more valuable than ever before. Once you get your studio back up and running you will make decisions that consider the efficiency with which you can produce a line of work. I know it's been a juggle in my mind, whether to try to make the work more quickly in less steps for more volume, or whether to get back to making less, more one of a kind'ish' for more money. Tough choice, and certainly an interesting idea to see if some of your processes could be made off-site. Certainly has run through my mind a few times.
All the best as you make these transitions!

Little Flower Designs said...

Hi Heather, It is a tough choice, I think the same things, and I did that before having a baby. Clay is so time consuming... plus I love working in other mediums so it would be nice to transition some of my designs onto other items. Hopefully 2011 will be a great year, with so much change it's sure to be interesting!

Home theater designer said...

Congrats!!!I believe that clay is a difficult medium when you have little ones with you.. http://www.edgonline.com/ Waiting to c more interesting posts from u ...

Gina said...

I just discovered your blog and am enjoying reading through some of your past posts. Your work is beautiful! I think most potters' (all artists actually) work needs to change and evolve to keep work fresh and meaningful, particularly to the artist. I also know how you feel at shows, that bit of envy of those with their light weight products, so perhaps that idea suggested by one of your readers of your designs on paper or fabric would be a perfect addition to your collection! Good luck with your new studio and your new direction!

Flowers Delivery in Mumbai said...

Hello my friend! I *love* this soft, delicate creation! SO gorgeous!

Cheap Flights to Nigeria said...

Simply stunning! I've never really tried to make tags before. Yours are absolutely amazing!