Well, here we are, folks, at the relaunch issue of Ceramics Monthly. Most of you know by now that we have been working on this for quite some time, and it would be redundant for me to list all of the things we have tweaked and shuffled in order to arrive here (you can read my letter from last month if you want the list), so I suggest you dive right in, flip through and have a good look. Honestly, anything I would have to say about the merits of this issue matters very little at this point. All the work has been done, the tests have been run, everything was formed, dried, glazed, and fired, and here we are at the unloading of the kiln: fingers crossed, held breath, slightly increased heart rate, feeling the lid hoping it’s just cool enough to open, peeking at the top shelf, telling ourselves not to jump to any conclusions, retracing all of our steps in loading, trying to keep our unrealistic expectations in check while still believing that this will be the one.
Of course, like anyone who really knows how to have a good kiln opening, we’ve already opened the kiln, put the seconds back in the studio for reglazing, taken a hammer to the duds, and gathered what we think are the best mix of pieces and laid them out for the sale. Come on, it’s not a trick, it’s just good marketing—best foot forward and all that. We do this in the honest hope that you find that one piece you are looking for, even if you don’t know what it is yet. We hope that a few things may pleasantly surprise you, and make you look twice. And we understand that some of our work may not quite jive with your expectations or preferences, but we trust that you will let us know and tell us why.
I suppose the difference here (aside from the most obvious differences between a kiln and a magazine) is that you’ve signed up for ten firings a year—so we will continue to test and tweak, like any good clay geek, adjusting and improving in small ways as we go. Heck, we even take the occasional commission, so let us know if you are looking for something specific. My email is just a click away, firstname.lastname@example.org.
And for those of you who will look at what we are doing with an eye toward submitting content, our writing and photographic guidelines have been updated, and we welcome ideas and pitches for articles, departments, topics, tips, glazes, exhibitions, artists, trends, or just interesting events and people that affect the culture of clay. Just go to our Submit Content page.
As I’ve said before, and as you may have noticed from the volume number on the contents page, this is the 59th continuous year Ceramics Monthly has been in publication, and that is a lot of history and legacy that, if not respected, can push against a relaunch like this. So part of our process was to look back through the archives and track our history to make sure that, as we move forward into what CM will become, we respect and value the reasons we are where we are. And at the end of the day, those reasons all come down to you—I mean us—I mean people working in clay. I was a reader of CM long before I ever worked here. I think I may even have been a reader of CM before I worked in clay, thanks to my high school art teacher having it around the classroom. So, of course I think we have arrived at a wonderful combination of what has always been good about CM and what it can be moving forward, but I’ll say again that this will only be true if you play your part in this dialog. Those of us here on staff have begun the process—we’ve laid out the results from the first firing—and we now await our critique.