Birthday Pots: 29 Freebies

Cool facts about the number 29:

  • The atomic number of Copper (Cu)
  • The number of years it takes the planet Saturn to orbit the Sun
  • Iowa is the 29th state in the US- I grew up in Iowa! No, I didn’t grow up on a farm¬†ūüĆĹūüĆĹ
  • My age. Today is my 29th birthday!

To celebrate, we’re giving away 29 pots, totally free. Plus, we put together a bunch of discount deals and one donation to a great¬†cause:

30% off Cosmic Bowls + one FREE World Record Planter

50% off Remaining World Record Planters

РCoupon Code: GWR50 valid through Friday.

Nuka Cobalt Vase + 50% donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital¬†with $50 starting bid.

($425 Value: $385 + $40 packing and shipping average)

ūüéĀūüéČ Birthday¬†Pottery Giveaway ūüéĀūüéČ

29 Free Pots Going To 9 Winners, $771.00 Value, Totally Free:

  • Sets of 4 “Cosmic Shot Cups” going out to 6 different winners ($378 value: $48 retail + $15 packing and shipping each)
  • Two “Lunar Cups” going out to two different winners ($214 value: $95¬†retail + $12 packing and shipping each)
  • World Record Planter #29: ($179 value: $159 retail + $20 packing and shipping)

Enter the Giveaway:

What was the last thing you gifted or donated to someone, and¬†why??¬†Leave a comment below before¬†this Friday¬†telling us one thing you gifted to a friend, donated to a local food shelter, non-profit organization, school, church,¬†anything!¬†We’ll pick the best 9 comments and give each winner a certain selection of the above 29 pots¬†($771.00 value) totally free.

To enter, you must leave one, genuine comment, or the moderator will not approve your comment or include you in the giveaway. Please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Please allow 24-48 hours for your comment to appear. You must also be on our email newsletter distribution list to qualify, so please make sure you are okay with receiving our email newsletter before you leave a comment. We will pick winners Friday around 2pm Central and you will receive the pottery shipped to you nearly anywhere globally, totally free.

*UPDATE 5/12: ENDED. Congrats Kristie,¬†J.B.S.,¬†Diandra, James H., Dorthy, Michael,¬†Amy, Leslie and Stephanie! You should have an email waiting in your inbox. Thanks so much to everyone who participated! I’m truly blown away by all of the kindness that all of you shared about the ways you spread generosity. Thanks again!¬†‚Äď Joel

Coupons and Giveaway Expire Friday 5/12

Please give us a couple days to pack and ship, because I plan to spend my birthday busting out a few fresh pots and guitar riffs.

“There’s something about the physicality of clay…a worthless material to most people. Contractors can’t build in it, farmers can’t grow in it. The only worth it has is what you and I give it.”

– Don Reitz, quoted in this video interview.

Where Will You Be One Year From Today?

One year ago today, the Cherrico Pottery Team and a group of close friends documented me setting the World Record for ‘most pots thrown in one hour by an individual.’ You can view the official record here or actually watch a video of me setting the record here:

A lot changed in one year. Tens of thousands of new fans started¬†following my artwork and our Facebook live videos have been “going viral,” which is just a fancy term for getting popular.¬†Don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly gratified that so many people are inspired by my art and career. The Cherrico Pottery Team and I are doing everything we can to serve these new followers and customers (make sure you are signed up for our¬†email newsletter to snag any new pottery when it emerges from the kiln). It’s just that popularity doesn’t seem like a good goal.

Better goals entail crafting gorgeous art, serving customers in a thriving business, supporting an artist lifestyle and making the world a better place. Building something long-lasting and beautiful seems more helpful and honorable than building something popular.

With that that mind, this is my goal for the next year:

“One year from today, my goal is to break ground on a new pottery studio that supports future¬†pottery production¬†with 100% solar fired pottery.”

This goal is ambitious and has never been done before. It has that in common with setting the pottery Guinness World Record on a Kickwheel (the previous record of 150 pots was set on an electric, motorized wheel).

I might not accomplish my goal, and that’s okay. This is the mindset I had when attempting the pottery World Record¬†and it served me well.¬†If you have an ambitious goal and fall short, you’re still headed¬†towards success. Anytime I embraced this mindset, my¬†efforts filtered into other surprising successes,¬†like when celebrity Tim Ferriss made new YouTube videos and a Cosmic Mug popped¬†up in the background, or when I got a personalized letter from Neil deGrasse Tyson.¬†He’s the Director of the Hayden Planetarium¬†in NYC and host of StarTalk Radio and StarTalk on National Geographic Channel.¬†He was one of the initial people who inspired creation of Cosmic Mugs back in 2014.

You might fall short with an ambitious goal, but you often fall into¬†a higher level of accomplishment than you might have ever thought possible. Plus,¬†the “worst case scenario” probably isn’t that bad. Tim Ferriss has a great TED Talk that illustrates the incredible power of questions like, “What’s the worst that can happen?

Journaling helps. These bullet points are a summary of¬†my journal entry from a¬†year ago. They describe my “worst case scenario” plan for a failed GWR attempt:

  • Try again in one week. The record requires 350 pounds of clay and I have over 1,000. I¬†can try again at least¬†once more without consequences.
  • Determine exactly what went wrong. Remove the¬†hindrance through practice for a minimum of 1 hour, twice daily.
  • Fire¬†the practice planters and sell them for $5-10 each to cover costs. People bought nearly all 1,000+ practice planters in 2015, so they are a guaranteed sale.
  • If you injure¬†your back (side note: I threw out my back practicing for the record) then add one more week for a recovery period and attempt the record in two weeks.
  • If you run out of money, sell more Cosmic Mugs to the waiting list of people who didn’t get one¬†during Kickstarter.

That’s it! There was literally nothing else to worry about, even if I failed. That was comforting. Stress and fear melted away, my focus returned to the record and I conquered¬†it.

What are your goals? Where do you want to be one year from now? Leave a comment at the end of this post telling us something you want to accomplish, a place you want to live, a career or personal goal, any goal.

(GIVEAWAY RULES:¬†Leave a comment on this post telling us about¬†your “one year goal” before Friday, March 10th, 2017 at 5pm Central and we’ll enter you to win GWR pot #101¬†totally free. One winner will be chosen randomly and announced in these blog comments the same Friday around 6pm Central. To enter, you must leave one, genuine comment about your “one year goal”¬†or the moderator will not approve your comment. Please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Please allow 24-48 hours for your comment to appear. Thanks!¬†*ENDED. Giveaway Winner: Comment #105, Christa”).

This post was published¬†March 7th, 2017, but it might live here on the internet for decades.¬†Whenever you happen to read¬†this post, share one goal you hope to accomplish one year from now. Put it in the comments below, visible to anyone. Mark your calendar to check back one year from now. What’s the worst that can happen?

To accomplish great things, it’s often important to selectively¬†ignore popularity, red notifications and¬†the intoxicating smart phone buzz. Focus on setting and achieving¬†goals.

How Meditation Helped Me Set A Pottery World Record

Back in February, 2015, I read ‚ÄúThe Obstacle Is The Way”¬†just before setting the new pottery Guinness World Records‚ĄĘ title for ‘most pots thrown in one how by an individual,¬†which you can watch in this Facebook video.¬†This story tells how I trained my body and mind to¬†achieve the feat.

‚ÄúThat looks so calming and relaxing…absolutely peaceful to watch… so soothing…”

Thousands¬†of people watch my Facebook throwing demos¬†and typically say things like this. I really appreciate the sentiment. Unfortunately, they can’t feel how pottery making is actually really tough. Ridiculously tough.

Yes it’s hard because it requires a lot of skill, but it’s also hard on your body.¬†Hands, arms, back and leg muscles are tight. Slouching posture feels natural, but must be corrected to avoid back injuries. Intense concentration keeps pots flowing off the kick wheel, but the slightest error ruins the entire pot. Even when I get into a meditative rhythm after 10-20 pots, my mind instantly begins¬†wandering, requiring even more intense concentration.

All of those stresses were amplified during the world record attempt, even causing me to throw out my back during practice.

Let’s back up a bit. For one full year, I practiced for the Guinness World Records title for ‘most pots thrown in one hour by an individual’¬†by creating¬†over 1,000¬†of the required “planters” for the record attempt. Slowly and methodically these pots came off the wheel over many months of practice, on top of another 3,500+ pots that I needed to create¬†and sell to make a living. Three weeks before the record attempt, I quickened pace, training¬†like I was going to run a marathon.

Training began¬†the day after returning¬†from Japan. Tokyo, Kyoto¬†and Mount Fuji were¬†incredibly inspiring.¬†Happily back¬†to work in my pottery studio in Minnesota, I began training at full speed. The previous record holder¬†from the UK beat the record¬†on an¬†electric wheel, but I planned to¬†use¬†my traditional, Japanese kick wheel. With no motor, you can’t just crank the engine and move your hands. It requires your full body.

“Awesome!” I thought. “It will look so cool breaking the record with a kick wheel. Let’s do this!”

I prepared 100 pounds of clay, sat down at the wheel and immediately, painfully threw my back out.

Handstands at Mount Fuji might have boosted my ego a bit. This was the second time I threw out my back from throwing too much pottery too quickly. Last year, I was in bed for two¬†days straight and couldn’t make pots for a week. Fortunately, this time the lower back tweak was minor.

Two days later, I returned to training more carefully. 350+ pounds of clay were required for the record attempt and I couldn’t even throw one third of that. No more screwing around.

21 days after returning from Japan, I set a new¬†Guinness World Records title¬†for ‘most pots thrown in one hour by an individual.¬†Here was my daily regime during¬†that three week training period:

  • No alcohol
  • 10 minutes daily mediation using the free¬†Headspace App
  • 2¬†hour workouts:¬†1-2 miles running before¬†full body exercises guided by the free¬†Freeletics App
  • 1 hour stretching: 15 minutes before workouts, 45 minutes after
  • 3-4 hours pottery practice

The mental strain was stifling:

  • “What if I throw my back out again?”
  • “What if I fail in front of 8 volunteers, photographers, reporters, kids, friends who drove¬†60 miles?”
  • “What if I miss a requirement and GWR rejects us?”
  • “How do I get 350 pounds of clay measured into¬†2 pound balls and moved 6 miles, up 3 flights of stairs.¬†What if THAT throws my back out?”
  • “Not drinking sucks. I want a beer.”

Three things helped me conquer my mental demons:

  1. Meditation
  2. The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday
  3. Red Hot Chili Peppers: Stadium Arcadium, Jupiter and Mars

During his¬†TED Talk¬†video,¬†Andy Puddicombe’s juggling and public speaking skills make¬†the benefits of meditation self evident.

The Obstacle Is The Way was a “quake book” for me. Streaming it on Audible three times in three weeks helped me optimistically explore every possible way¬†to conquer¬†the record.

150 pots in one hour was the record to beat. One day before the attempt, I set up a stopwatch and threw 48 pots in 19 minutes. Do the math and you get one pot every 23.75 seconds. Beating the record required one pot every 24 seconds. I was barely scraping by and had to triple the throwing time.  Those margins were too close for comfort.

“When America first sent astronauts into space, they trained them in one skill more than any other: the art of not panicking.”

– Ryan Holiday

When I sat down to attempt the record, I had no idea whether or not I could beat it. Eight volunteers needed directions, 30 people were patiently staring at me and the 375 pounds of clay was sitting next to me, beginning to dry.

A¬†stroke of good fortune hit. Someone randomly put on my all time favorite album: “Stadium Arcadium” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers blasted through the loud speakers.

The clock started. I wasn’t worried. I got into a rhythm and the flow started. For the next hour, the benefits of meditation were obvious.¬†It was easy to ignore the huge influx of distracting sounds, questions, gaze of the crowd and bullshit doubts in my own mind. I found myself singing along to the Chili Peppers tunes. The rest is history.

“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”

РArchilochos, quoted by Tim Ferriss

We broke the Pottery World Record!!

Hey everyone!¬†Check out our new video if you want to see me break¬†the Guinness World Record for “most pots thrown in one hour by an individual.”

Monday, March 7th we made history. Our team documented me throwing 159 pots in one hour, setting a new pottery world record! We are preparing our record evidence for submission to GWR and will wait patiently for confirmation of the new record.

If you would like to get your hands on one of these world record pots,¬†our any of the new pottery I’m creating, make sure you are signed up for our blog/email newsletter. This will be used to announce our upcoming online sale in the first week of April, as well as to offer coupons to all of you:¬†

Cherrico Pottery, World Record Pottery, Photo by Julia Eckart, 4
Joel Throwing Pots, Photo by Julia Eckart08

‚ÄúWhen you explore, two things happen…you will make discoveries. You will find something you have never found before [and] you will have an adventure. It will engage you like nothing else.‚ÄĚ

Bill Nye The Science Guy, qtd. on StarTalk Radio

Video and photo credit: Julia Eckart Photography.
Header images shot by Photographer Caitlin Brutger

The Eagle Has Landed

We did it!! Thanks to all of you, the Cosmic Mug Kickstarter surpassed our $25,000 goal! I’m PSYCHED to get all of these pots to you for the Holidays. People like you make this type of art possible. Rory, the pottery cat, is eternally thankful.

Image 20, my cat Rory on the kiln

I’m working around the clock to get all of your pottery ready for shipment December 11th. If you’re a backer, be¬†sure to watch your email closely, as I’ll be using email to collect shipping addresses. If you’re still interested in a $49 Cosmic Mug or a $69 Cosmic Mug + Set of 4 Shot Cups before Christmas, follow this link to¬†snag one before the sell out:

Cosmic Mug Kickstarter

Cosmic Mug Galaxy Colission pouring out of mug

‚ÄúHouston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”¬†

–¬†Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 Moon landing, signifying to Mission Control that the¬†landing was complete and successful. July 20, 1969.

Photo of Buzz Aldrin captured by Neil Armstrong on the Moon