Most of the time I spend in the studio is making work for my website, stores, and upcoming markets. I tend to focus on what I sell the most of which are mugs, vases, and bowls. I don't get a lot of time to experiment with new ideas, but occasionally I will make pieces just for me and not anything I plan on putting into production.
A couple years ago, I made a cloche for baking bread...I bake my own bread every other week, and wanted to see if it made any difference to the bread. Conclusion, it does, but I think I like the way the bread bakes in a dutch oven better, so there are no plans to make another one.
I also started learning how to make my own cheese and decided to make cheese molds. I haven't used them yet....I got a little ahead of myself with my cheesemaking skills and haven't moved on from soft yogurt cheeses so the beautiful ceramic molds are waiting for me on a shelf.
I'm interested in fermentation and food preservation such as pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut...and while these can be made in mason jars, I've been wanting to make crocks and weights specific for the process. My feeling is making the container is one more way to connect with the food I end up consuming.
Since bisque clay is porous, I've thought about making self-watering cones. I don't know if that's what they are called, but I like the idea of having something to assist with keeping my many plants well-watered and happy. It's on my list to research and figure out how they work and the best shape to make them.
I don't see myself ever making any of these things to sell, the one exception is planters. The first few planters I made where for me and the texture worked so well with the foliage, I just had to make more and put them out in the world.
While my time to working on these side projects is tight, it's still fun to break away from production and make one-off objects. The ideas come from wanting to be more connected with things I already have and do, and like the planters, sometimes what I need in my life, you do too.