Sunday, November 25, 2018

YVC Clay Sale

YVC's Clay Sale (Thursday, November 29)

YVC Clay Sale Poster (Fall 2018)

The annual pre-Christmas clay sale at Yakima Valley College is coming up this week! The sale will be held in the Palmer Martin Hall lobby (building 20) on Thursday, November 29 from 11am - 7pm. This is the first time we've run the sale all day and we're hoping it will be more accessible for both on-campus and off-campus shoppers.

Palmer Martin Hall

The clay sale features pottery and sculpture made by current and former YVC clay students and some work made by me, too. We take cash, check and credit cards and prices are always very reasonable. The proceeds from the sale go to purchasing equipment, supplies and tools for the clay studio and this year the proceeds will also help us pay for our hourly employee in the studio.

An old photo of work for the clay sale, colors and shapes are similar to what you might find this year.

The Joys of Having an Hourly Employee

I have to take a moment here to crow about how wonderful it is to have an hourly employee in the studio. During my 12 years at YVC, I've almost always had work study students, but the quality of work-study students can vary dramatically. Over the years, I've had four extremely talented, hard-working, and reliable work studies, but I've also had a number of work studies who've added to my work load by being unreliable, unable or unwilling to do certain tasks, or even disruptive in the studio. 

Our studio is enormous, come check it out on Thursday before or after the sale.

This year I was able to hire an hourly employee whose duties include regular studio maintenance and upkeep (just like the work studies), but this employee also is able to both train new work studies (it seems like we are constantly gaining and losing work study students throughout the year, so training might need to happen in August or November or March, when I have time and when I do not) and oversee what needs to be done and who can do it when.

Palmer Martin hallway, looking towards the lobby

My incredible hourly employee, Betty, has taken on the kind of organizational role that I didn't realize was lacking in the studio. There are a number of tasks that always need to be done in the studio (cleaning, laundry, cleaning, putting tools away, cleaning, and more cleaning) and there are a number of tasks that need to be done when there is time by someone trained in how to do them (recycling clay, mixing glazes, and restocking materials). There are also some tasks that need to happen some days and not others (loading or unloading kilns, emptying sinks, organizing supplies).  

our new t-shirt design (see the next section)

Betty understands the big picture and has taken responsibility for assigning the tasks on a day-to-day basis. She makes sure that all the work studies (I have three now) are trained in how to do the interesting tasks (like mixing clay and glaze) and makes sure that everyone gets a fair share of the boring or tedious tasks (cleaning everything, everyday). It has been incredible this quarter to come into a studio where the employees are always working on what they should be doing. I never walk in to see a mess and I never have to search for a work study to do the thing that should have already been done. I can check in with Betty once and assume it will be taken care of. We've gotten a lot more done done his quarter than we have in the past few years, and it is large part because I have an empowered organizer on the team.  Now we just need to make sure we can afford her all year.

Our studio, a fish eye view

I do have to say, this is not the first or only time I've had a studio with employees who are on task and getting things done without me having to remember to assign every little task, but it has been quite a while since I had a whole studio full of folks who were on task all the time.

YVC Clay T-Shirts

Besides keeping the work studies on track and making the studio run smoothly, my hourly employee has been helping get us get ready for the clay sale. Betty, as well as Les, my community helper, and some of my continuing students (in intermediate and advanced clay classes) and one of my work studies (who has taken a clay class before) have all been making and glazing work for the clay sale. Besides the usual assortment of cups, bowls, lidded jars, and strange beginner sculpture, we have made mugs, ornaments, planters (some with succulents already in) and hopefully a few yarn bowls (if we can get them done in time) specifically for this sale.

The text is a pun. A kiln is the "oven" in which we "cook" clay to make ceramics. Or, to put it another way, its the hottest piece of equipment in our studio. 
Additionally, this year, for the first time, we are selling YVC Clay T-shirts at the clay sale. They are each $15 and we have sizes S - 4XL. Gina, our talented and patient program assistant for Humanities created the imagery on the t-shirts and got them printed. Again, I am extremely lucky to have this help getting ready for the sale and keeping folks on task in the studio. I remember not so many years ago when I was in charge of everything to do with work studies and clay sale prep and-set up. Needless to say, we didn't have t-shirts or planters with succulents or a sale open 11-7 back then. It is much nicer to have help!

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