COVID-19 and my small business

The world is gripped in the panic of COVID-19 and it affects us all in some way, large or small. I am lucky enough to be young, healthy and living in a country that decided to take action relatively early, meaning that I don’t know anyone who has caught the disease, nor am I likely to sicken significantly if I did happen to catch it. How it affects me is how it affects my business.

Being the owner of a creatively-based small business means that my income is never steady, but after 8 years of trading I am starting to get a feel for the pattern of things. And what is happening now is not normal. A tentative assessment of my loss of income (required for government assistance) has put that number a reduction of 80%. It is huge. And although I acknowledge the privileged position I find myself in, compared some of my colleagues in other, less-easily-quantifiable creative roles, I know the next few months will be a struggle. I am fortunate that I am eligible for government assistance, but what happens next is murky and uncertain. I will be attempting to use my extra spare time to prepare for a brighter future that I’m not completely certain of the timing of. I plan to still be around, making ceramics after this is all over, but really who can predict the future?

So I’ll be hunkering down in my studio, elated at the extra time available to spend devoted to pursuing new projects and freedom from the usual grind, but also bereft without my usual jammed schedule of making, markets and classes. Being human often involves a complex tangle of contradictory emotion, so I’ll know it’s pretty normal to feel these two things simultaneously and that I’m not alone in these thoughts. Knowing that we’re all in it together has become rather comforting. If you still have a job: please support struggling local business wherever you can. The appreciation isn’t endless, but it is immense.

Lastly, stay safe out there. Much love, Louise

New Products for Finders Keepers

And here they are! Two new takes on my product lines just in time for Finders Keepers.

I made the vases just for the market; they are short and wide and come in a variety of sizes, and hand-carved with my signature patterns. There are only limited numbers, so get in quick if you want one. Please let me know if you’re a fan, and if you think these shapes have a future in my range of works.

Secondly I am really proud to release the new range of blend cup colours. I still love the old colours, but I am in the process of giving the whole range a bit of a facelift (which will include new sizes in the coming months) and have started with these new colours. I have been working on developing these shades for a while now and am really pleased with how they have come out and how they all sit together. There will also only be small quantities of these at the market, but I’d love your feedback, so please let me know what you think about the new colours.

Finders Keepers will be held at The Cutaway in Barangaroo from Friday the 3rd May – Sunday the 5th of May. Opening hours are 12-9 on Friday and 10-5 on Saturday and Sunday. There is a $5 entry fee, but there is so much to see inside. Hope to see you there!

 

Getting ready (and excited) for Finders Keepers in Sydney!

I am so excited to announce that I will be attending the Finders Keepers Markets in Sydney from the 3rd-5th of May!! I am very much looking forward to being a part of the stall-holder line-up and bringing all my beautiful ceramics to all the lovely market-goers! I was a pretty late addition to the market from their waitlist so I haven’t had as much time to prepare as I would have liked, HOWEVER, I do have just enough time to put together some special pieces that will be available at the market only! That’s right, exclusive pieces that I am making just for the market and have not done before! I’ll be releasing a few more details a little closer to the date (and when they’ve come out of the kiln, ha!) so keep your eyes glued to my social media if you want to see what I’ll be bringing along to the event. See you there in May!

Seconds, Samples and Discontinued Pieces Sale

I’ll be holding a seconds, samples and discontinued pieces sale at the Olive Tree Market this Saturday the 6th of April at Civic Park, Newcastle. My shelves at the studio have been heaving for some time now, and I’m looking to make some more space for all the new works I’ve been getting started on in the background, that I’m bringing older stock up with me to my (semi-)regular stall at the Newcastle market. Regular visitors to my stall there will be glad to hear that my Mum will be there too to help out. 

These are sale pieces that are always available to anyone visiting me in the studio, but this will be the first time that I take them off their dusty shelves, pack them into boxes and bring them out into the outside world. I’ve cut a lot of the prices down because I’m really keen to see them go out to new happy homes. So, if you’re a handmade ceramics fan, or just a bargain lover, come visit me at all my stall. Get down early if you want to have first pick, because it’s first in, best dressed. See you there!

Wedding Set

Mid 2018 I was contacted by a couple who said they loved my watercolour jewellery dishes and had a request; would I be able to make it on a larger scale? I was so glad they asked. I had been meaning to expand this range for a long time, but being a small business owner and wearing all of the hats all of the time can take it’s toll, meaning a lot of things I would love to work on have to get put on the back burner. But a request like this brings it all to the front again.

By the end of 2018 we’d worked out a few more of the details so when 2019 rolled in I was ready to start work! After experimenting on an older shape to see if the watercolour effect would work on a bowl (spoiler, it did), I developed some new shapes to their specifications. The set is to be 12 dinner plates, 12 side plates and 12 deep bowls, each set of three with it’s own colour combination. I finally had some successful tests out of the kiln last week, so this week I moved in to producing the bulk of their order. Most of the pieces have been poured and are awaiting firing/colouring/glazing. The first coloured pieces of the set come out of the glaze firing tomorrow! I am very excited to see how they turn out!