This past Monday was incredibly cold, and I was quite scared to have to open the glaze kiln and unload it. The outside thermometer told me it was three degrees F. The kiln had been turned off at 3:30 Sunday morning, at a temperature of 2,320 degrees F. I was relieved to see that it was cooling down fairly normally, but still concerned that there was not enough time for the kiln to cool down completely before unloading. I did as much as I could in the studio (printing out mailing labels and assembling boxes) but finally had to face the fact that I was going to risk two weeks of work (which, under normal circumstances would have been done in four weeks) by opening the still warm kiln to the arctic air that had come for a visit.
To make a long story short, all went well with the unloading, and it was a good firing as well. You never really know until you open the kiln and see all the mugs, though by now I generally have a pretty good idea. Still, the kiln gods have the chance to have their say, and sometimes they do not see fit to produce things the way that you think they should have.
The rest of Monday was spent shipping orders, and all went well. Tuesday morning was the time for me to deliver mugs to my local customers. My wife Susan suggested I have them come to the studio to pick them up, but after ten weeks of being in the studio every day, the thought of getting out and saying hi to a few folks sounded really, really exciting!
Two of my customers did come by to pick up their orders. Both had ordered paw print mugs, and both were really pleased with the results. This, of course is something I don't often get, since most mugs go all over the US and other countries, seeing the reaction of my customers when they see their mugs for the first time. I do get lots of people who call or e-mail me with great compliments, and that is very rewarding, but to witness this "live" is special. When I told both of these folks something to the effect of "Well, you really will have a hit on your hands when you see these gifts being opened on Christmas day", both of them said "I am not going to wait until Christmas–I can't! I'm giving these right away!"
And so, there you have it, dear reader. The title of this post, after a long ramble, ties up neatly in the last sentence–happy customers, satisfied potter.