Sunday, September 20, 2015

What Now?

On August 5, the Kickstarter project concluded unsuccessfully. Because I was unable to meet the goal of $70,000, was unable to raise any of the money pledged to the building project.

So now what? Well, there's an answer to that.

The good news is that over 60 people pledged a total of $11,500 tot he project, and while I wasn't able to collect it, it did show me what was possible. I will be staying in touch with those backers to keep them up to date on developments as the project moves forward. And move forward it will. How?

Well, there is the classic business approach. I am putting a business plan together and will present it to the bank soon. Once I secure the backing of the bank, I will mount a new project on Indiegogo to raise as much as possible. Because Indiegogo is a flexible funding platform, I will be able to collect whatever funds I raise regardless of the actual goal. The goal will be far smaller and so more achievable. that should help guarantee success. Any funds raised through crowdfunding will go to finish off the building - drywall, heating and a couple pieces of equipment that will be needed and are not directly related to construction.

So things are in a holding pattern for a short time while I get the business plan finished and ready to go. I hope you will stay along for the ride because it's bound to get even more exciting!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Kickstarter Update

We're almost halfway through the Kickstarter campaign and currently I am 8% funded. That's not a big deal as campaigns on Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites don't really heat up until about the halfway mark.

The big publicity push has started. I sent out a brochure to my mailing list and am putting stacks of them wherever I can find the space. The local print media will be featuring the story soon as well.

And today I spoke with WABI Channel 5 news. The result was really great!

I still need to raise $63,805 and there are 15 days yet to go. Please spread the word! The Kickstarter can be found here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

My Kickstarter Has Launched!

After three years of talking about it, planning it, and getting organized with building plans, contractors and business advisers, my long-awaited Lowell Hill Pottery Kickstarter Project is finally live and online!

The goal is $70,000 and it has to be reached by August 5. That's not a long time to go a very long way, but I believe in my heart that it is possible. Below are some of my reward offerings if you want a peek.

You can find out more on the Kickstarter site by clicking on the LHP Kickstarter link in the first paragraph or by going to my website.

I hope you will join me in this endeavor and help bring new life and longevity to the Rowantrees legacy!

And now, the rewards! You can click on the pictures to see a complete description.
The Gazing Fox ornament - $35 contribution
Mugs - 1 for $50 contribution, 2 for $100 (you can add 1 more for each $50)
For the H.P. Lovecraft fans, I have the Cthulhu Sushi Plate for a $100 contribution.
The Bamboo Vase - 1 for a $250 contribution or a pair for $500
Dinnerware Sets start at the $1,000 contribution level

Please spread the word via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, your local grapevine, mail, email, pony express or any other network to which you belong. I'm going to need a lot of backers to bring this off and I just know they're out there!

Look here for updates as time moves on.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Getting the Word Out

I have set the date for my Kickstarter launch. I will kick things off on Monday July 6. Now I need to get the word out and that is where all of my friends, their friends and their friends' friends can help. I will be posting the link here, on my website and in my blogs. Please help me spread the word and get the ball rolling. The goal is $70,000 and I will have 30 days to make that goal. Kickstarter is an "all or nothing" venture, so I am working hard to succeed at this. I cannot do it alone.
Please stay tuned. I will be posting pictures of some of my rewards. You can also find them on my pottery website at:

Saturday, February 7, 2015

For the H.P. Lovecraft Fans

Some time back, I began a series of tiles with relief sculptures of mythological creatures on them. Those remain in progress, but the whole idea - and a suggestion from a friend - got me thinking about expanding on the idea.

This is decidedly not Rowantrees, but the need to express myself artistically and i my very own style is deeply important to me. It's a body and soul thing. In fact, I often worked on ideas of my own while I was working at Rowantrees. Sheila encouraged that sort of exploration (on my own time, of course) and lent considerable support and advice in those efforts.

So this isn't all that far from the apple tree. It is, however, somewhat around the bend. I am a recent convert to the literature of H.P. Lovecraft although I have been familiar with it all of my life. Many of my friends are ardent fans and still others play role playing games based on the mythos he created. With that in mind, and with the Kickstarter campaign set to launch soon, I decided to offer something that Lovecraft fans might find interesting and fun.

Enter Cthulhu (if you dare). The best known of the Great Old Ones is the subject of Lovecraft's novella The Call of Cthulhu.

And he's a badass.

This is a plate intended for sushi, but anything that floats your boat would probably do fine. The sculpture is low profile so anything that can be set down and picked up discreetly will go nicely on it. Many may simply choose to put it on display and leave it at that. After all, the wrath of a creature like this won't be assuaged by piling food on it.

Or will it? You decide.
Cthulhu Plate

Cthulhu - work in progress
Cthulhu stares out from his home at R'Lyeh, awaiting the day when the stars align in the right manner to allow his underwater domain to rise out of the sea. He seems anxious for the day as he reaches out from beneath this vessel to snatch it away from you ad claim it for his own.

Because of the method I am using to make these plates, no two will be exactly alike. You can follow the progress of this project on my Lowell Hill Pottery Facebook page. I'll be posting more about it here as well.

These plates will be made in a limited, numbered edition. Other Cthulhu plates will no doubt surface in the future, but the design will not be the same. The projected price/Kickstarter contribution level will be $100.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October 22, 2014: Day 22

Where did the month of October go?

It is finally getting "seasonably" cool on the hill, and I am sitting here listening to a classic Maine Nor'easter beating away at my walls. The house isn't buttoned up for winter just yet and I will again be a bit late getting it done. The pottery move is but one reason but at least this year plain old fashioned laziness will not be on that list.

I am tired, achy, cranky and a bit overwhelmed. I have lost precious sleep on many occasions and wondered where all of this is going.. But I keep coming back to the same sense of adventure and a feeling that it is heading in a good direction. Somehow, this is all going to work out for the better.
That's so unlike me that it has to be true.

The building is getting more and more empty with each passing day. Now I am down to the bric-a-brac and tiny bits that manage to fill up box after box. I'm talking about Scotch tape, pencils, staplers, yardsticks, rulers, brushes, box cutters, office supplies and a few odds and ends of pottery that I forgot I had. Some of this stuff has had over 80 years to get distributed around the place and has used its time well. Some gets tossed into boxes that I'll have to find a home for and some of it is getting left right where it is. I can't take it all.

But sometimes it feels as though I'm at an animal shelter trying to decide which pet to take home with me. Selecting one makes me feel like I'm abandoning all the others. I can't stand it. So I bit my lower lip and make some decisions.

I can't take it all. And I don't really want to.

I'm spending a lot of time cleaning up after myself, but only in the larger sense. There is a fair amount of dry clay on the floor here and there, but after all, the building is slated to be torn down. There's no need to go through the place with a vacuum cleaner.

I brought all of the glaze buckets home yesterday. Somehow, I managed to find an out-of-the -way spot for them. They now line the wall under the bathroom window. That has led to the most recent change int he atmosphere on Union Street.

Remember this?

Well, now it looks like this:


Day 22 down, 3 to go. I think I'll make it.

Monday, October 20, 2014

October 20, 2014: Day 20

Well, that went well.

The big move was held this past Saturday, and if you're wondering why no daily dispatch for the last couple of days, it's a combination of factors. For starters, it has taken this long for my fingers to stop aching enough to type, and you can follow that up with the sudden need to sleep most of the time.
I figured you'd forgive me the absence. Hope I was right.

In any case, the big moving day went very well. Most of the pottery is now in storage The only items remaining are some small tools and a fair amount of cleanup work. A couple runs to the dump should take care of that.

Saturday started out a little weepy. The sky couldn't decide whether to rain, fog or just clear out. It was well on its way to a misty compromise when I pulled into the truck rental place and picked up the 16 footer I had reserved. I waited there for my helper to arrive, but didn't have to wait long. If you recall, I was in a bit of a panic as I had found help a little hard to come by. Then the truck itself fell out from underneath me. It was a time to try the soul, but in the end, I found both a truck and a helper.
The helper came in the form of a 15 year-old named Hunter. His mom is a coworker of mine and she said he would be more than happy for a days work at a decent wage. I had no inclination to argue and accepted the offer. The two of us got into the truck and away we went.

There were two other friends at the pottery waiting to help load the truck, and we got it loaded in jig time. We used up every square foot of that 16 foot truck. We first loaded the bisque ware, followed by the finished products, then the heavy equipment (wheel, kiln, pug mill and evaporating table - more on that later), and finally the 2,300 pounds of clay. Sweaty and hoping things would unload as easily, I started to climb into the truck when Hunter asked what the stuff in the barn was.

Oh yeah. The packing and shipping supplies.

Open the back of the truck and start tossing stuff in again. There were rolls (HUGE rolls) of bubble wrap and micro foam, boxes measuring anywhere from 6 to 18 inches in all directions, tissue paper, and a box of Tyvek suits (don't ask). Not all of it went into the truck, but I took everything that wouldn't fit into my Toyota Corolla anyway. Then off we lumbered.

Stop number one was my brother's house in Hermon. This was where the clay will be stored. The clay can't be allowed to freeze and I didn't have the resources to pay for heated storage. My brother has a roomy garage at his home that is only half used and remains above freezing all winter. Score! We got the clay unloaded and stacked neatly on a pallet and then headed off for Ellsworth.

We stopped at Dysart's in Hermon for lunch. Dysart's is a difficult place to pass up if it's mealtime, you're hungry and you're passing right by. Hunter and I had a great lunch and headed out again fueled and ready for more.

We got to the storage facility about 45 minutes later and the unloading began again. We took off the heavy equipment and Hunter started unloading the boxes of pottery while I put some shelving units together. Those units snap together pretty easily and don't take long to put up, but in the time it took me to do it, Hunter had unloaded almost the entire truck. Three boxes still remained on board, and those came off before I mentioned it. The two of us commiserated on the best way to get things stashed most efficiently and then put it all into practice. We had to adjust here and there, but in the end, everything fit.
The only hitch in all this was the evaporating table. I had qualms about bothering with it. It's a large wooden base that holds a larger plaster "bowl." I would guess it weighs at least as much as a refrigerator. Well, I decided to take it with me. Hunter and I tipped it up on end and moved it with an appliance dolly (with no small amount of struggle) only to discover that we could not put it back on all four legs without snapping two of them off like twigs. So there it stands - on end and wondering if it will ever be normal again And here I am wondering why I didn't break it up with a sledge hammer and cart it to the dump. Plaster is cheap, after all. I could always make another.

Oh well.

We finished unloading and storing everything just as we lost daylight. Hunter's mom called to see how we were doing and I told her she could pick him up in about half an hour. We went back to the truck rental place where I put the key in the return slot and locked up the truck.

Then I remembered my camera. It was still in the cab of the now locked truck.

Well, I guess something had to go at least mildly wrong. Fear not, I have since retrieved the camera. Not that I remembered to take many pictures, of course. But here are a few before and after pics for your consideration.

Remember this?

Now it looks like this:

Remember this?

Now it looks like this:

And this,

is now this:

And so it goes, dear reader. This story is not yet over, and even when it is, the next chapter will begin. Stay with me. The journey is far from over.

Day 20 down, 5 to go.