Wednesday, October 10, 2018


Here is a list of where Red Sunset Ceramics will be this fall - make sure you plan to swing by!

UMaine Orono Homecoming Craft Show
Dates: Saturday, October 27th &
Sunday, October 28th
Location: UMaine Fieldhouse
            18 Gym Drive, Orono ME
Times: 10am – 5pm Saturday
              10am – 4pm Sunday

Sunshine Club Holiday Market
Date: Saturday, November 3rd
Location: Anah Shrine Center
            1404 Broadway, Bangor ME
Time: 9am – 4pm Saturday

Augusta Maine Turnpike Mall Show
Date: Saturday, November 10th
Location: Augusta Turnpike Ma
            42 Whitten Road, Augusta, ME
Time: 9am – 3pm

39th Annual Thanksgiving Weekend Christmas in New England Craft Show
Dates: Saturday, November 24th &
            Sunday, November 25th
Location: Augusta Civic Center
76 Community Drive, Augusta, ME
Times: 10am – 4pm Saturday
            10am – 4pm Sunday

Gearing up for Fall shows!

Fall is here. As your have probably noticed, I struggle with consistently posting on my blog – as the last post is from JUNE! I started a post in July and then got sidetracked, so I apologize for the delay in communication. I really would like to do a better job of updating followers about what Red Sunset Ceramics has been up to!

My plan at some point is to turn this blog into a functional site where you can order and purchase pottery (AND I can still have a blog area where I can post updates and news). My husband, Dave, is a web developer and has plans to make me an e-commerce website… now to just make that dream a reality! :) The plan is to have that up and running by Spring, so… fingers crossed??

I had a VERY busy summer with Red Sunset Ceramics – which was wonderful! I attended the Black Fly Festival in Milo, the 4th of July Craft Show in Bar Harbor, the Bucksport Bay Festival in Bucksport, the Piscataquis River Festival in Guilford, the Fine Arts Show in Bucksport, and then the Blueberry Festival in Machias. I was overwhelmed with how my presence in the communities I had returned to was welcomed and with the support I got from other vendors and clients alike – I felt well received and am excited to return to the shows next year :)

So last summer I did 2 shows over the summer, and this year I added in 4 more (two large, two smaller) for 6 total. It was a challenge at times to keep up with the demand and need for stock with the shows (as well as with the local shops I am currently in!) so I did end up throwing almost every day, and my kiln got a work out with 4 – 5 firings each week!

We did end up experiencing some issues with my kiln over the summer. We purchased the Evenheat kiln used online from an individual (who had purchased it used online from someone else…) and it does not have a manual and appears to be likely 30+ years old. (Good longevity at least!!) We started experiencing that the kiln sitter was not triggering off, so the pieces were overheating – glazes were runny and streaky, and bisque pieces were coming out warped and wonky. We cleaned it out some and adjusted a couple of the pieces and it seems to be doing better (although is still not always shutting off at the expected time), but all in all we decided to order a new kiln. I qualified for a business loan to purchase a new kiln (Because jeez, my business is just starting, I do not have an extra $3,000 laying around!!) and was SUPER excited to take the time to research kilns and think about sizes, etc.

Currently the kiln I have can manage low fire (Cone 06 – 04 range) as well as medium fire (cone 5 – 6 range… although I have never tried that). One of the things I wanted if I was going to purchase a new kiln was the OPTION to do cone 10/porcelain. Not that I have specific plans for that, but the option is nice. I also wanted more space. I know there are larger kilns in which I can fit more pieces. So I researched what my options were. I knew my kiln was not HUGE, but did not realize that it only holds 2.7 cubic feet, which is really not a lot when you think about kilns! So the new kiln I selected is a Skutt (because, yeah Skutt!) that can fire to cone 10, AND can hold 8.1 cubic feet of pottery. WHAT WHAT? Yep, it is awesome. I also ordered a set of kiln shelves with it and stakes to hold the kiln shelves. I mean, I have some of both at home, but these ones will be made to fit the new kiln exactly, so that is great. I ALSO optionally upgraded the kiln from a digital screen to a touchscreen that is wifi enabled, i.e., it can tie into the internet and comes with a downloadable app that I can monitor the kiln from on my phone!! I can even tell it to start or preheat, etc, from my phone! It is AMAZING.

I am SUPER excited for it to arrive – the combo of a new toy combined with an unreliable old kiln makes it so much more difficult to be patient. I ordered it 5 weeks ago tomorrow. They said when it went through that it would take 4 – 6 weeks. I had hoped for the shorter end of that estimate, but we are where we are. I actually just sent out an e-mail to my contact asking if there is any news. Fingers crossed!! I have several large shows coming up so having the new kiln in place could REALLY help with that, especially since I do not have the same availability for firing now that I am back at work.

I researched the new kiln – it has pre-programmed settings for firings, so I load the kiln and say, “slow fire” and it does a greenware to bisqueware fire that takes 12 hours. If I do a bisqueware to glazeware firing that is a medium firing, and takes 7 hours. There is also the option of fast fire, which is what you would use if you were doing decals, which I am excited to have the option to try.

So all in all, super pumped for this to happen!

I am back to work – I went back to work the last week or so of August. So finding time in between everything to get pottery done becomes a challenge once again. I had about 6 weeks off from shows after the Blueberry Festival. I just went to a new show last weekend in Southwest Harbor – a fall craft show for Oktoberfest. It was smaller than I expected, but I exceeded the sales I had tentatively set as a goal, so I left happy. And I feel like October is a slow season – it is not summer so most summer people are long gone, and it is not QUITE Christmas sales time. So I was happy overall. Now I have two and a half weeks until my NEXT show. So stay tuned! :D

On a quick side note, I am in the process of fazing out my “Dutch Enamelware” glaze – the white with Blue specks. It is my slowest seller. At the start of summer I picked up a new glaze – yellow with fun specks! And it is a huge new seller. So I have perhaps enough glaze for 1 – 2 more items and then it will be fazed out of my color rotation. Currently in my displays it has been bumped to the back row on the same table as my marbled pieces, so I would prefer to get that area back to full marbled display space. I also ordered some hand lotion/soap pumps and am going to look into the option of making soap dispensers – EXCITED! :)

I am going to make a separate post after this that lists my upcoming shows for winter. Hope to see you there!

List of Upcoming Shows ::

UMaine Orono Homecoming Craft Show
Dates: Saturday, October 27th &
Sunday, October 28th
Location: UMaine Fieldhouse
            18 Gym Drive, Orono ME
Times: 10am – 5pm Saturday
              10am – 4pm Sunday

Sunshine Club Holiday Market
Date: Saturday, November 3rd
Location: Anah Shrine Center
            1404 Broadway, Bangor ME
Time: 9am – 4pm Saturday

Augusta Maine Turnpike Mall Show
Date: Saturday, November 10th
Location: Augusta Turnpike Ma
            42 Whitten Road, Augusta, ME
Time: 9am – 3pm

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Summer Pottery Shenanigans!

Hey Everyone! :)

Time continues to fly by at an insane pace. For those who might not know, I have a full time job as a school social worker from the end of August up through the Middle of June each year. I get paid summers off (which is an idea time for making pottery!) but it makes this time of year a little crazy as I am winding down at work and simultaneously ramping up for the summer shows. My eventual hope (YEARS from now, most likely) would be to transition to pottery full time as a job – via a shop and studio of my own as well as placement in other shops, etc. But, for the time being, I have to maintain my full time job and do pottery in my spare time. Luckily, I really like the students I work with, so all in all - not a bad situation! :)

Balancing my pottery business along side my regular job can at times be very challenging. I’ve found that more stressful this spring into summer, as I feel like my pottery side business if picking up (SUPER exciting!!) But it brings in challenges that I did not have when my pottery was less known – I have people message me because they like my work (YAYYY!!) and get requests for custom work (Also YAY!) but I need to fit in around my typical schedule. In the summer that is more manageable, but I find that I am not turning around custom requests as fast as I would like. So for anyone who requests pieces, please work with me with patience – I am SUPER invested and want to expand and grow and share my work, but I am also only human and (for the time being) this is still just my side job.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have begun working with several new shops and have my work on display/for sale at their establishments. This is exciting, and I can add that shortly after my last post I was asked to join another location, so now I am in 4 different shops! What is great is that they are all in different locations/towns, so it should hit a wide variety of customers without overlapping too much. I have my pottery in shops in Ellsworth, Bangor, Bucksport and now Wiscasset! So, just to have it on record if people are interested in swinging in and checking the shops out – here are the locations –

Melissa’s Maine Made Shop
14 Water Street
Ellsworth, Maine

Maine Jewelry and Art
100 Harlow Street
Bangor, Maine

The Local Variety
79 Main Street
Bucksport, Maine

Creamed Baking Company
49 Water Street
Wiscasset, Maine

It is exciting to be selling at each location, and even more exciting because at two of them I am selling very well! Currently we are still in a relatively slow season before tourists arrive, so I expect to see that just increase as the summer goes on. The difficulty for me will now be balancing finishing up the school year (I still have 2 weeks) prepping for summer shows (I will post an updated list down below) and now restocking the shops if I find that I sell well! It is a challenge I am happy to be facing! :D

Currently I am working on building up a base of bisqueware, so that when I sell items from my “main line” of product at shows, I then have items already made and prepped to just glaze and add back into the mix. Prior to this I would sell something and then have to make a completely new piece, which has a turn around rate (if I am realistic) of 3 weeks minimum. Now, If I sell a large orange bowl I can just glaze an available backup bowl and boom – back in the mix as soon as I can have a firing done, which in the summer can just be a day or two. So I think this will really help me to be prepared for future sales and shows. :) I just ordered another 150 pounds of clay so this is my current plan – begin creating pieces that will be glazed to fill in needed spots. 

I've sold a bunch of my marbled pieces, and have had several custom orders that were marbled, so I have had a bunch of fun recently making new marbled pieces. I've mentioned before that making the marbled pieces holds an extra degree of surprise and fun with it, so I really enjoy that aspect and am excited to see the pieces selling decently. I still feel like they sell slightly less often than the bright, colorful glazes (which i also love!!) but I am happy that they both have their own place in the work that I create. I would hate to have to just do marbled or just do colorful - it is nice that I can enjoy making both and can still successfully sell both :)

I am happy to report that I have brought back one of my favorite glazes – Fruity Freckles! It is a while based glaze with pops of blue, green, red and yellow – very fun and bright and playful. For a while I had been out of the glaze and had just got gotten more, but I finally ordered new jars, so the next show I attend (two weeks from tomorrow!) I will have it with me. I also have new items in my white with blue specks glaze (Dutch Enamelware) and just ordered several new bottles of Coral Puff, which is a pink that I used to use and people seemed to like. So all in all, excited about these new options and what lies ahead this summer!

Speaking of shows – here is an updated List of where I will be this summer and into the fall::

July 1st  & 2nd  – Downtown Stonington, ME for repeat summer craft shows
July 4th – Bar Harbor, ME for the YMCA 4th of July Craft Fair
July 14th - Downtown Stonington, ME @ the Odd Fellows Hall
July 21st  &  22nd – Bucksport, ME for the Bucksport Bay Festival
July 22nd - Downtown Stonington, ME @ the Odd Fellows Hall
July 28th – Guilford, ME for the Piscataquis River Festival
July 29th - Downtown Stonington, ME @ the Odd Fellows Hall
August 5th - Downtown Stonington, ME @ the Odd Fellows Hall
August 10th  & 11th  - Bucksport, ME for the Bucksport Fine Arts Festival
August 18th  &  19th – Machias, ME for the Machias Blueberry Festival
August 19th - Downtown Stonington, ME @ the Odd Fellows Hall
August 25th   &  26th  - Downtown Stonington, ME @ the Odd Fellows Hall
October 27th  &  28th – Orono, ME for the UMaine Homecoming Craft Fair
November 26th  &  27th – Augusta, ME for the Augusta Civic Center Craft Fair
November 26th – Stonington, ME for the Holiday Craft Fair

For those who might not know, I grew up in the costal town of Deer Isle/Stonington. I was asked to be part of a repeat summer craft fair, happening downtown at the Odd Fellows Hall. As you might have noticed, several of the days I am planning to “Attend” craft fairs are on the same days as other craft venues. My plan on those days is to have my mom (who lives on the Island) run a booth for me on the Island while I Am off at other craft fairs. So while I might not be able to be in two places at once this summer and fall, my pottery at least CAN be! :) 

I also expect that as the fall gets closer I may add in more fairs closer to Thanksgiving /Christmas time - that is typically a big craft season, so if anyone has any ideas for good shows to attend, let me know! 

All in all, hopefully if you have interest in my work you will be able to find me somewhere relatively close by this summer to check out my work! OR if that does not line up, just drop me an e-mail or message me on facebook - I can ship items for people who live further away, or I am always willing to meet up in the Bangor/Brewer/Orono or even Lincoln area to show individuals pottery they may be interested in!

So as you can see, I will be SUPER busy this summer, which is GREAT!  But I am also SUPER nervous because I am three times as busy as I was last year. I am hopeful that I can keep up with all of this, so wish me luck and fingers crossed that it goes well and I don’t pull my hair out by September :)

OH - and some last minute, exciting news - my Husband is going to help me within the next month or so to update this blog and make it into a full website, so that individuals can ORDER and PURCHASE pieces, right from this page!!! Stay tuned for more information!!


If there is something in particular you would like to see (Specific colors, shapes, or styles) don’t hesitate to mention it, and as always I would LOVE some more feedback or responses to my blog posts!

The best way to reach me is via e-mail  - - if you would like to purchase a specific piece or place an order! 

Friday, March 30, 2018

Springing into Action :)

Hey everyone!

I am not the best at updating my blog, as you can see by the several months hiatus in posting anything new. BUT my hope is this year to really start being more active with my pottery - which also includes my website - in particular as summer gets closer. :)

I had a relatively slow winter - I did several shows in the fall and before Christmas, and then took a break for a month or so. There does not tend to be a lot of shows in Maine in the winter (Jan - May) just because the weather can stop a show in its tracks, and people tend to not get out as much.There tend to be more options once April hits, and the weather starts warming up - so I am excited to have April be right around the corner and to be able to start prepping for more shows!

I took a chance and did one show this winter - in February. It was indoors at a large Greenhouse down in central Maine, and it went REALLY well - I will plan to attend that one again in the future :) It was the first time I had attended there, and I signed up on a whim, thinking that I did not have any other shows on the horizon so this would be at least something to do. It was in an area I had never attended, so that was positive in regards to expanding my client base and getting my name out there for new individuals. People seemed receptive to my unexpected colors and style so it was exciting to meet new people.

I find that the spring is hard for me in regards to my pottery because it is really financially intensive. I do not have any large shows so I spend a lot of the spring making and not selling - which gives me a mini heart attack when I track my expenses and income. I KNOW though that I need to make in order to be prepared for the larger shows that do occur - so it will eventually even out, and (hopefully - fingers crossed) lead to me being ahead by the end of it all. This is my third year of doing this - of getting into pottery and making and selling. My first goal has always been to have my pottery fund itself  - to make generally enough from selling to keep on creating, and to learn and grow as a potter in the process. My hope for the future is to expand on that - to be able to make enough so that I can invest more, become larger, and then possibly even have my own shop or space. I certainly don't expect to get rich from this, but I love the idea of having my own place to create and sell. I am toying with the idea of possibly working with other people to have a shop together, but do not know a lot of people at this time - so if you are looking for someone to work with, let me know! :)

Speaking of shops, I have recently started selling some of my pottery in several shops. In the fall I started selling at Melissa's Maine Made in Ellsworth, and that has been a positive experience. And I just recently this past month or so joined two more shops - Maine Jewelry and Art in Downtown Bangor, and The Local Variety in Bucksport Maine. I am really excited about all three of these options - they are in three different towns so it is positive to get my product to different audiences. And it is just nice to have my work out there and on display in various locations.

The new struggle with being part of several shops is the reality of stocking these shops. Now I need to find a positive balance between creating and prepping for the shows that I have scheduled, but also building in time to create and restock the three shops as needed. It is a good challenge to have, and I look forward to the possibilities that being part of these three shops provides. :)

Part of my plan for this winter/spring has been event planning - what venues and shows do I want to apply for, and planning ahead for this. In my goal of being bigger and growing my small business, I need to first, join some shops (which I have a good jump on) but second, work on attending more venues and fairs, and work on attending larger venues and fairs. (AND, of course, being able to provide enough product to keep up with it all). 

Last year I attended about 8 or 10 so craft fairs/venues - some small and some large. Some were added to my list to repeat this year, and several were marked as do not return. That was the same from the year before that - my first year I had to learn what were good shows to attend, and what were not worth it. So i have been spending some time this spring sorting through which fairs were worth attending last year and what are some new options to try out. Here is what I have lined up currently for this year:

Feb - Craft Fair @ Longfellows Greenhouse in Manchester - (New) Went great!
May 26th - Craft Fair in Bar Harbor (New)
June 2nd - Black Fly Festival in Milo (New)
Weekly Craft Fair in Stonington - waiting to hear about details (New)
July 4th - Craft Fair in Bar Harbor (New)
July 20th and 21st - Bucksport Bay Festival - (Returning)
August 18th and 19th - Machias Bluebettery Festival (Returning)
UMaine Homecoming Craft Fair - October (Returning)
Augusta Civic Center - Nov 26th - (New)
Stonington Craft Fair - Nov 26th - (Returning)

I expect I will add in some other options as the year progresses but these are the ones I am currently signed up for, or in the process of signing up for.  I am excited about them. It is hard, because as I look at this list I think there is plenty of space to pick up more shows in between the others. But the reality is, I need to remember to not set myself up for an unrealistic turn around. When I have a GOOD show, which I am hoping more and more of these will be, it means I sell a large amount of my product, and then have to fill in the spots and gaps that exist. If I can premake items and have a lot on hand then this is not as large of a deal, but often I am then left scrambling to fill holes in my supplies before my next show. If you have read any of my previous posts the turn around for creating items can be lengthy. It typically takes over 2 weeks to have a new piece ready from scratch (and often closer to 3 weeks), which is dependent on me having clay on hand as well as the right color glazes that are needed. So I need to try and do more shows this season, but also remember to be realistic and not set myself up to fail.

In positive news I just realized I never posted about my newest addition - for Christmas I got a brand new wheel from my husband and family! I had previously been using a beat up second hand wheel that was not ideal, but got the job done. The new one is able to center more effectively, is more stable, and has better control and speeds. So I am in LOVE!

Anywhos. I am excited that it is now spring, and for what this will bring. I have been focusing the past couple months on really creating a lot of vibrant, colorful pieces. I tend to do two different styles - bright pops of color, or more pastel marble colors. I REALLY love the process of making the marbled pieces - there is something so interesting about each piece marbling different - the mystery of how it will turn out. But I tend to find that my bright and colorful glazes sell a little better than my marbled pieces, and I made a LOT of marbled pieces this past fall, so I need to instead focus on building up colorful pieces in my inventory. Hey - no complaining here - I am just excited that people like my pottery! :)

Ok. Again, my goal is to come and create more posts more often, so fingers crossed that I can stick to that plan!

For anyone interested in placing an order or seeing my items, I do not currently have an active ETSY site, as I found I was paying to list pieces and not selling enough to make it worthwhile. So email me ( if you are looking for something in particular and I can send you some options of what I have in stock! :)

Thanks for reading! PLEASE leave a comment -  no one comments so I don't know if I should continue rambling or shift to approaching this differently - LET ME KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS! :D