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So, what does it take to "Make It" in the pottery world


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#21 JBaymore

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 10:10 AM

Thanks for the laugh, GEP. Posted Image

Unfortunately, those kinds of "self help" books are written by the dozen ...and they just change the trade/field details in the stock manuscripts.

So am afraind it might be serious. And that some poor people will get deluded into buying that junk.

The only people that get "self-helped"... is the person selling the books is helping themSELF to your hard earned and "starry-eyed" money.

best,

................john
John Baymore
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#22 Guest_HerbNorris_*

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 12:06 PM

I think John is right, they just want your dough, and there is probably a book for every art or craft out there. It's only funny in that it plays into everyone's fantasy about how art gets made, and how much "Fun" it must be, all the time.
There is enough ring of truth in it though, to give me the impression that the writer is a former artist/craftsperson that couldn't "make it", and turned, as many do, from making someTHING into making money off of those who are, or thin they are, creative.
Many start to sell supplies, become show promoters, gallery owners, marketing consultants, scammers.
Incidentally, Whitney Smith addressed this scam on her blog, because they approached her for an interview to promote the book, in order to give it the appearance of legitimacy. I'm suprised they haven't email Mea.

Ironically, one of the things mentioned in this scam is the need to control costs, which I think IS important for many artists, not just potters. You MUST know how much things are costing you, and track them, and periodically review your processes and supplies, to ensure that you are holding costs down, if you want to make it. By making it, I mean selling your ceramic art for a profit, unless you don't need the money. ( I know a doctor of Epidemiology that gives all his pieces to charity auctions, because he needs to get rid of it, but he doesn't want to take the trouble to sell it.)

Well, that's it for now, I'm going to go spend some "blissful hours enjoying my pottery hobby" by loading the car for a show this weekend, and then cleaning the studio, and reclaiming. It's so glamourous!



#23 JBaymore

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 12:12 PM

Well, that's it for now, I'm going to go spend some "blissful hours enjoying my pottery hobby" by loading the car for a show this weekend, and then cleaning the studio, and reclaiming. It's so glamourous!


Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image
John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

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#24 Chris Campbell

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 02:51 PM

Oh Herb ... You're so lucky you get to play all day!!

As to cost of sales ... Reminds me of a salesman in a now defunct company I worked for ... " gosh, I was making money on this deal til you added the overhead!" duh
The faster you sell the quicker you go broke.

Chris Campbell
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#25 Guest_HerbNorris_*

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 03:36 PM

Wow, that Raisa Khan sure is busy! And knowledgable too :

http://origamiprofits.com/ (Poor Sharon! Why, she looks just like Jenna from the pottery site. Huh.)

http://collectiblesforprofit.com/ (Poor Bob! He must be married to either Jenna or Sharon, judging from the picture. Perhaps BOTH (and Maggie), in yet another example of his poor judgement.)

#26 phill

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 10:06 PM

I think that when it comes down to it, work was never meant to be be fun, nor pleasurable. I think we can find it in smaller parts, like end product, or the interactions with the people purchasing the work, or even the throwing process. But again, in the end, I think work is and always will be dreadful. It doesn't matter if you love pottery because as soon as you have demands it becomes work. Youre making some great cups and suddenly you realize you have been putting off trying to figure out how to make a french baguette holder look half-way decent for a customer and you begin to dread that. Ruins the whole day...

The book Genesis from the Bible describes it this way:

To Adam he [God] said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”


I have found that no matter how much i love pottery or how inspired I am or you name it, pottery ultimately is still just plain work. Everything I have ever done is the same, it is true for all the hobbies and crafts and fun activities I have done. I used to crochet hats all the time. As soon as someone wanted me to make them a hat, it became work. I loved making them before, but now you are requiring me to work and it becomes yucky (pardon the silly word, but it really describes the way I feel).

#27 Chris Campbell

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 09:55 AM

"I think that when it comes down to it, work was never meant to be be fun, nor pleasurable."

Phill -

I think it depends on each individual's perception and definition of "work".

Capital 'W' WORK for me is when I have to do a job I totally dislike ... laundry, garage clean up, hauling trash, digging flower beds, etc. For me pottery is small 'w' work. Something I would rather be doing than anything else. Some parts of the process are more pleasant than others but I would still rather be doing pottery than 'Accounts Receivable and Collections' which is what I used to do. While I would not describe the day to day work of pottery as "fun" I would call it mostly pleasurable.

That said, I have definitely had months when I was thinking along the sames lines as you. The fun was rapidly draining out of the whole thing ... too many orders and too little time. No chance to do things for my own creative needs ... just mash out the next order.

One thing that helped me was to start saying "NO" to things I did not want to do ... especially special orders. They can suck the creative life out of you.

The next was done on the advice of another friend who had been in the same boat ... told me to slow down and concentrate on every step of the process ... try to thoroughly experience each moment rather than zoom through it. Find little spots of joy.

Chris Campbell
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https://www.facebook...88317932?ref=hl

TRY ...   FAIL ...  LEARN ...  REPEAT


#28 GEP

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 10:30 AM

Phill,

There are two different kinds of pottery orders ... the kind when the customer asks you for a unique piece that you must custom design for them, and the kind when a customer simply asks you to make items that you already know and enjoy making. The first kind is to be avoided at all costs!!! In my early potter days, I would let people ask for such things, and I agree with you it is excruciating. The second kind involves you operating on a much higher plane, and a far more knowledgeable customer. Just think about what it means. It means you have enough authority over your work to say "This is what you can order. Anything else is out of the question." And the knowledgeable customer says "No problem, because I respect what you're doing." Very few people have this amount of self-determination about their work, in any field. It is immensely satisfying. It's not that I never feel weary of the chores and the repetitiousness. But for me there are many rewards, small and large.

Mea
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#29 Pres

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 03:07 PM

If you need a good laugh today ... here's how NOT to "make it" in the pottery world: buy a $37 how-to manual for succeeding at pottery.

This website is really funny, in a horrifying kind of way. It is so delusional I think it's possible it is a spoof.

http://potterybusinessprofits.com/

If anyone finds $100 bills hidden in their wheel, I will stand corrected!

Mea


Hmmm seems like they needed some extra income after finding all those hundreds of dollars in their potters wheel, so they wrote a book.

Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#30 Red Rocks

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 05:47 PM

Oh Herb ... You're so lucky you get to play all day!!

As to cost of sales ... Reminds me of a salesman in a now defunct company I worked for ... " gosh, I was making money on this deal til you added the overhead!" duh
The faster you sell the quicker you go broke.


Yes and the other fallacy that goes along with it is _ "we will make it up on VOLUME".

#31 Red Rocks

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 06:02 PM

A lot of talented potters are stopped in their tracks by an inability to promote themselves. Some think "self-promotion" is a dirty word, like it means bragging in an arrogant way. But the truth has nothing to do with that. And successful businesses have figured this out.

I'd say half of a self-promotion plan is finding the right venues for your work, i.e. surfing the internet, reading reviews, visiting shows and galleries, talking to other artists. It's shocking how many artists fail to do this, then conclude that "art festivals suck." Or they got too comfortable going to the same dying shows year after year, forgetting that it is their responsibility to keep looking for new venues.

One weekend spent at a bad show can really drain your energy and motivation. Try to avoid this as much as possible. And if you think that being a self-employed artist means you will someday crest a hill, then start coasting downhill, you are wrong. There may be periods where your hill gets less steep, but it is always an uphill climb.

The other half of self-promotion are your people skills, i.e. being able to talk about your work to a total stranger, communicating clearly, expressing confidence. Just like pottery skills, some people have more talent for this than others, but anyone can learn to be competent. I think the best approach is to make work that you have invested a great deal of your thought, feelings, and values, because you will naturally have a lot to say about it. "It's not braggin' if you really done it*" If you are talking honestly and genuinely about your work, nobody will perceive it as bragging. You don't have to resemble a used car salesman. I know some potters who are very minimal about it ... quiet, soft-spoken ... but still completely at ease talking about their work.

It is such a shame to see talented potters at the Buyers Market trade show, who spent thousands of dollars to be there, looking completely unprepared to talk about their work. They spend the whole show with their body language oozing "I'm afraid to talk to you." How did they not know they would have to talk to people?

And of course I'm not suggesting that good self-promotion is a substitute for quality work. It's not. But you can't dismiss it either, it is fundamentally important.

Mea



*from the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt



I think Mea is absolutely correct - you must get comfortable in your own skin and be comfortable talking about your work. It is not about being a blue suede shoe salesperson ( you all know the kind I mean). Having run large sales groups over the years in a variety of high tech endeavors, I can tell you the blue suede shoe types were rarely successful for any length of time. The best were sales people who were sincere, ethical and highly valued the long term nature of the customer relationship (internally and externally). Selling pottery is no different, you must connect with your customers on a personal level and you are the one who has to be proactive. If being out-going and personable is not your nature than you have to develop it. It can be a learned skill - practice it wherever you go: the grocery store, the dry cleaners, the restaurant. Force yourself to be out-going and you will learn to be able to do it at the events.

The bottom line is "people buy from people" no matter what the product - being your best salesperson must become second nature to you. It will be the foundation of your success. <BR style="mso-special-character: line-break"><BR style="mso-special-character: line-break">



#32 sawing

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 06:04 PM

I'm brand-spanking-new to all of this. Eventually earning enough to support my Clay Habit would make me more than happy! I did read something in this thread, however, that caught my attention:

One reason that I have not marketed my pottery beyond my friends and family, is that I have a hard time imagining that complete strangers would want to pay for something that I take so much pleasure in making. This is in no way Work for me. I simply love doing it.




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