Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lots of new stuff!

It has been a while since I've posted here. Thankfully only two or three people (and my dog Kelty, who I read the posts to before publishing them) have noticed that, and you guys have been kind enough in allowing me time to get my thoughts together. Ok. None of that is true. Truth is, the dog only pays attention to me if there is some possibility of getting food. And there is nobody who has said "Geez, Owen, when will you be updating your blog?"

I had great intentions of getting the blog in order. I was going to write serious, scholarly articles and contribute my tiny bit of knowledge to the universal database of pottery techniques. Then, the Christmas holidays ended, and I had orders to fill, and had to get back into the studio.

In February I started a blog post on mug handles and how I've arrived at a handle that I really like, and that people like, and how it took me years to figure out what kind of handle really works on a mug, and I never finished the post. I happen to own two mugs made by a very well known potter who has written a well known book on functional pottery, and I took pictures of his mugs to show that his handles are really, um, disfunctional, in my humble opinion. I was going to take him on! But I didn't finish the post. I've just realized that the reason I did not finish the post is that I have started too many things. And I'm in the middle of too many things, and I'm finding that I just want to get these projects, as I like to call them, turned into reality, and then do more new stuff. (I will finish and publish the post on handles one of these days, I promise.)

Just after New Year's, I signed up for a Pilates class. It's twice a week, at noon, and each class is an hour long. It has been tough for me, and way out of my comfort zone, and because of that I've stuck with it. (Best time I've ever had in my life was in my early twenties, traveling alone in Mexico, completely and totally out of my element yet somehow that forced me to be open to everything I was seeing and experiencing. The closest experience I've had to this recently was watching the movie "Slumdog Millionaire" in the theater.) And in the 3 months since I started Pilates, I've realized that this is the best thing I've done for myself and my body in a very long time. So until the nice weather really arrives here, (which can be in July, seriously) I'll be doing Pilates, then switch to get as many bike rides in as possible before cold weather arrives next fall, damn her.

My 19 year old son and I have signed up for a bike tour at the end of June. It'll be super, I've gone on two tours before with this company, which is run by two very good friends, and a lot of the people who I have met on those tours go every year. It's like a family reunion, except that you genuinely like everyone there. Anyhow, twice a week my son and I meet at lunch at the gym and do a spinning class. We'll switch to real riding every chance we get to get on the roads.

So, I'm doing okay in the physical fitness department.

I hired a web design programmer at the very end of 2008 to update Mug Revolution's website. This has taken a lot of time, and quite frankly has been somewhat frustrating in that it is taking forever to get done, and I'm used to being able to do all the updates by myself. However, the site is now relaunched, looks really good, and the list of things to fix keeps getting smaller, so that's a good thing. [edit, 12/09-I had to fire this guy in June! No, I did not fire him in my kiln, though truth be told there were times I would have liked to, sad to say. Bad, bad experience. But I am super thrilled with the new site my new developer created. It is getting high praise indeed!]

So, that's 3 new things. What else?

I've got several mug related things that get on the list:
  • a new glaze color (earthtones), soon to be announce on the site
  • a new "Bend, Oregon" mug
  • a new "Love mug"
  • a new, small, 8 oz. mug
  • a new product line, soup mugs
  • a new "Mother's Day" mug
  • and, potentially, beer steins. Sample steins look awesome and I may add them to the product list on the website.
And today, I had a new, wider door installed in the studio. This is the door from the studio to the kiln area, and for years I've had to do acrobatics to carry boards filled with mugs through the narrow door, and back through the door when the firing is done, always worrying that I'll bump the board and drop it. It's never happened, but I've always had that worry. So, I hired a contractor and today was the day. So glad it's done, and looks good!

Sheesh! That's a lot of new stuff. I didn't mention that I've joined a business group and also have been taking a class at our community college for small businesses. (Wait...I just did mention that. I should have started that sentence with "I should mention...". Had I done so, I would have not had to clarify the use of the word "mention," and potentially piss off the two people who might chance upon this blog and read it. It is a dangerous business, this blogging. Live and learn, eh? It'll never happen again.)

'Nuff said for now. I'll be back soon. I'll be super pleased to hear your comments on the new, improved, and shinier website, how your life is going, and your observations on the current state of mug technology.

All the best! Owen