• James Hobbs

New Beginnings

So... It's been a while since I last blogged. I mostly used to do it for university (although I think we've all had a tumblr at some point). I would write for hours on technical practices, designs, other artists, the works All of that is now lost to the internet so, as a 'Professional' I'm starting again.

I'll be honest, calling myself a 'professional' is odd, strange, true? who knows. I have been working part time in the pottery for six years now, (seems like a very long time). However I have been so focused on earning through my day job that pottery quite often gets sidelined and forgotten. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten excited for a show three or four months down the line and all of a sudden I have 3 weeks to get things I had started months ago finished. It seems to happen every year in some form and always starts to creep it's way back in once I get on top of things. I always used to think it was because I wasn't managing time correctly or I was doing something wrong. The reality is far from that.

So, Lockdown... It started on March 21st and the world started to change. I was furloughed by my employer and had no idea when I was going to return. The first few weeks began and I cleaned, sorted, decorated, I did what I think most of us were doing. As those weeks came and went I thought hard about what I wanted to do, I looked at my current work, (which wasn't much at the time) and picked it apart, what worked? what didn't? How can I make it more beautiful? What new products could I make? I had the time (and fortunately still the income) to explore new ideas without time constraints.

Fast forward a few months and I can't believe how much things have changed. I have an entirely new range of handmade glazes which would have previously taken months and months of research. I'm exploring and making forms I didn't think possible previously because I have the time, patience and skill to make them. I have sat at the wheel for hours each day for basically the last four months and (as guilty as it sounds considering the circumstances) it has been wonderful.

On top of the skills learned, gained and developed during this time my sales have developed beyond belief. I have seen very steady growth through my e-commerce and private sales since March and I am beyond grateful. Just as the world was shutting down my little pottery was starting up. That's not to say there were no issues along the way. I think I've had a crash course in handmade business management. I suddenly had to buy bulk packaging, clay, ingredients all in the hope the trends would continue.

I went into lockdown with an idea of making for Christmas, getting a backlog of products to then sell later in the year. Due to the sales volume my stock has pretty much depleted and only now (early August) am I able to start making Christmas product.

So as the world starts to get back to normal, I am still at home making pots (hopeful for a return to the day job at some point). Everyday I am reflecting on that initial question. I've realised I wasn't doing anything wrong at all. I simply didn't understand that my process was relative to the time I allowed to it. I have suddenly expedited a years worth (or more) of skill training into four months of solid work and I couldn't be happier. I've seen what is truly important and it will very much be at the forefront of my thoughts moving forward. I am a professional, I am a business owner and I will carry on.

I want to share my journey, my progress and help anyone out there that wants help with their potting so please get in touch!