The Tetter Totter Approach | Micah Schedler | Episode 940
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Micah Schedler | Episode 940
Micah Schedler started his pottery journey with a simple desire to learn a skill and improve. As his skills grew and his hands got smarter, Micah started to care deeply about making “nice” pots; pots that are functionally sound with good proportions and surrounding all of those things, beautiful pots. Surrounded by incredible makers in Minnesota, Micah is lucky to land in such a rich pottery tradition rooted in functional and honest pottery. Now Micah is trying to make his own pots informed by that tradition. Right now Micah makes his wares in a renovated two car garage. He uses dark stoneware covered in white slip which helps to create some visual depth in an electric kiln. The slip brings folks into those moments of making with finger marks, drips and swipes. Joy permeates his work. Micah and his partner Emma have two small kids and live in Minnesota. He works 3 days as a Registered Nurse, a potter 2 days a week, and a tired, happy dad 7 days a week.
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What was the first weight that you placed on the pottery side of the teeter totter?
It was making the decision to end my 60 hour a week nurse manager position, which wasn’t giving me any life, and to step back to floor nursing and actually move to part time. It was making a big life choice like that.
Did you see an improvement when you did the addition of your website, coupled with social media, did you see an improvement in the growth of your balance there?
Yeah, it made it more comfortable certainly, knowing that I was actually selling work and getting folks to follow me. But it’s still not quite there. I can’t pay for daycare yet with my pottery money and that would be the end all deal. That’s when I would quit nursing, if I could pay for daycare.
Does the clay community give you the support that you need for your kind of work?
Yes, I have found that every person that I have asked, whether that’s in-person or online, if they are a potter they give me an answer. They give me a gracious answer, they give ma a good answer, there’s this sense that they want people to succeed. And I feel that all the time. It’s something that I want to give out to folks as well.
Does the freedom of having another job give you leverage that you don’t have to be successful on every single test you put out there?
Absolutely. It is the thing that keeps drawing me towards pottery is making that next pot that I love. And if I was making the same forms over and over and over, not only would it feel like a job, it just wouldn’t be exciting anymore. Some people can do it but I just can’t. I need to be growing, I need to be looking at the next thing, the scent that keeps pulling your closer, I just love that.
What goes up must come down and that is true for a teeter totter. What do you have in place to prepare for the down?
Do you mean when I am a full-time potter or when being a full-time potter doesn’t work?
Oh goodnight, it’s going to work. Your ceramics are telling me it’s going to work. But I’m just thinking about the seasonal ups and downs that come.
I don’t have anything in place yet. That has been the hardest thing for me, is to not assign my worth as a potter to sales and to not assign my worth as a human to how my pottery is going. So that is something that I am actively pursuing and actively figuring out. Tell you what, having kids helps because you can’t think about much else. But it is hard, really hard.
Let’s talk about planning. Do you have a date in the future that you say, By such ‘n such a date I will…..” ?
I don’t. I…my wife will tell you this too…I have a hard time planning two weeks ahead in my life. It’s just not how my brain works. But I am doing things now that hopefully will pay dividends in the future. Those things include a lot of my work right now that’s actually making money is commissions. So I am really open to big commissions. I’ve done a lot of dinnerware sets, ramen bowls, things like that. But those are the things that I am going to fall back doing to continue to grow. So as I am making the work that I want to make alongside that is this commission piece that I want to learn how to market more and make a more profitable part of my business.
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