Jump to content
1515art

Another pottery pricing thread

Recommended Posts

What price to let your work go for? Is $2k or even $5k for a large 24-36” vase from an artist with few auction results and nothing to support those numbers too much?  I have a new client/friend that just moved in next door to another friend of mine and after seeing my work at my friends came to my studio and asked to buy a dozen of my works for their home ranging from $100 up to $2k each, she also wants some others I don’t really want to sell. I’m delivering the ceramics on Wednesday to her 15 million dollar estate (not their only home) where thousands of dollars for artwork is not a problem, am I over thinking this?

Edited by 1515art

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Remain calm. You've encountered what all artists dream of, a patron. I'd worry much more about under-pricing. The things you can't bear to sell will of course be the stuff they will want, and probably for good reason, as it may or may not be better than your other stuff without you realizing it, but the fact you think it is, is a good sign to them it is, so to speak. Collectors when encountering a new artist they think has potential will want the best and most typical things of that artist's style. They might just love your art but I'll wager they also see your work as an investment. They shouldn't be offended that you value your work, it's a good sign that you think your work is valuable and take it seriously. Under pricing shows you don't. One generally has to pay a lot for real art if it's agreed upon to be good. If indeed they do pay quite a lot for your pieces in the end, that automatically boosts you and your pots value overall with future clients. (Kudos BTW!). 5K doesn't sound outrageous to me considering their price bracket VS benefits and risks. The worst they can do is walk away after already buying some of your things, -big deal. Being a real artist means the work comes first, with standards held high sometimes money follows. 

If parting with something will keep you up at night, hide it well before they show up. If they already saw it, insist it never existed and eventually they may offer you 10k for it. Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, 1515art said:

she also wants some others I don’t really want to sell.

Is this because they are bad or because you're attached? 

I don't know a lot about this, but I will tell you something that I heard from a really good potter who also gets thousands for his bigger works and chawans. Someone in the class asked him if he keeps any of his best work for himself, and he said, "No. In this business, if someone wants to buy your most expensive stuff, you sell it. It is the nature of the job." 

I was also at another gallery and the pieces were thousands of dollars and there was this one amazing chunky vase that was fired multiple times in the fire box and somehow survived. It was one of the best pieces I had ever seen. It said, "not for sale" on the tag. It was one of the only pieces in the gallery with this tag. I was admiring it and this lady beside me was admiring it too. The potter came in who made the piece and he walked over to us to tell us about it. I could tell the lady wanted to talk to him so I walked away to look at nearby pieces. I heard the lady ask him, if he would sell the piece, and he said, "yes." 

Just some thoughts from the pnut gallery. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that your work will have different value to different people, as everyone's does.  Unless there is some extraordinary reason you don't want to sell to a person,  I think you should accept the unexpectedly high offer on any piece you want to sell and don't sell the work that is not for sale. You must have a reason you don't want to let go of it. If the person pushes, you might say you have a sentimental reason for holding onto the not-for-sale piece but she is welcome to commission one like it.

I think it is healthy not then to interpret these prices as the new prices for which you would sell similar items.  You may be right in recognizing this to be an extraordinary case of someone willing to pay much more than a piece is worth to anyone other than her because money doesn't mean much to her with how much she has.

You called her "new client/friend." I think the friend part of this is tricky, particularly if it is a new friend.  Financial relationships with friends are tough . My mother had a "friend" for years who never spoke with her again after she wouldn't sell her "friend" a suit with a fur collar that my mother wanted to keep for herself. 

So I would say don't lose your heart to a "friend" whose price is your being willing to sell her anything she wants.

 

Edited by Gabby

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In regards to the things you are willing to part with, repeat after me: 

"Let me wrap that up for you."

In regards to the things you really aren't willing to part with:

"No, I'm sorry, that one really isn't available."

I think it's a healthy thing in all areas of your life to know exactly where your boundaries are, and to guard them as you see fit. Because you have something this person wants, that does give you some authority in this transaction. If you're holding on to the pieces for sentimental value, you are allowed to do that, and the reasons you choose to hold on to a piece are your own and none of her business. I think the example that Joseph gives of the artist who had a piece that was NFS in a commercial gallery is someone who knew the value of that piece, and had decided the circumstances under which they were willing to part with it in advance. They wouldn't have displayed it otherwise. 

I agree with what everyone has said about valuing yourself properly and the behaviour of collectors. I hope this goes well for you, and congratulations!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, yappystudent said:

Remain calm. You've encountered what all artists dream of, a patron. I'd worry much more about under-pricing. The things you can't bear to sell will of course be the stuff they will want, and probably for good reason, as it may or may not be better than your other stuff without you realizing it, but the fact you think it is, is a good sign to them it is, so to speak. Collectors when encountering a new artist they think has potential will want the best and most typical things of that artist's style. They might just love your art but I'll wager they also see your work as an investment. They shouldn't be offended that you value your work, it's a good sign that you think your work is valuable and take it seriously. Under pricing shows you don't. One generally has to pay a lot for real art if it's agreed upon to be good. If indeed they do pay quite a lot for your pieces in the end, that automatically boosts you and your pots value overall with future clients. (Kudos BTW!). 5K doesn't sound outrageous to me considering their price bracket VS benefits and risks. The worst they can do is walk away after already buying some of your things, -big deal. Being a real artist means the work comes first, with standards held high sometimes money follows. 

If parting with something will keep you up at night, hide it well before they show up. If they already saw it, insist it never existed and eventually they may offer you 10k for it. Good luck!

I don’t really know the buyers motivation and I can’t talk directly to them as they only speak Chinese and my Chinese language skills are pretty limited,  somehow I don’t think investment is their consideration in purchishing my work I think they are just looking for something different and that’s where I worry taking advantage of the situation. 

3 hours ago, Joseph Fireborn said:

Is this because they are bad or because you're attached? 

I don't know a lot about this, but I will tell you something that I heard from a really good potter who also gets thousands for his bigger works and chawans. Someone in the class asked him if he keeps any of his best work for himself, and he said, "No. In this business, if someone wants to buy your most expensive stuff, you sell it. It is the nature of the job." 

I was also at another gallery and the pieces were thousands of dollars and there was this one amazing chunky vase that was fired multiple times in the fire box and somehow survived. It was one of the best pieces I had ever seen. It said, "not for sale" on the tag. It was one of the only pieces in the gallery with this tag. I was admiring it and this lady beside me was admiring it too. The potter came in who made the piece and he walked over to us to tell us about it. I could tell the lady wanted to talk to him so I walked away to look at nearby pieces. I heard the lady ask him, if he would sell the piece, and he said, "yes." 

Just some thoughts from the pnut gallery. 

Thanks Joseph yes and yes, sometimes I’m attached... some pieces are large and physically challenging to make and as I get older more difficult to reproduce or don’t have access to the materials anymore, the bad ones go into the garden amongst the trees and vines . Ultimately, yes the artworks should be for sale certainly a motivation to make new pieces!

3 hours ago, Gabby said:

I think that your work will have different value to different people, as everyone's does.  Unless there is some extraordinary reason you don't want to sell to a person,  I think you should accept the unexpectedly high offer on any piece you want to sell and don't sell the work that is not for sale. You must have a reason you don't want to let go of it. If the person pushes, you might say you have a sentimental reason for holding onto the not-for-sale piece but she is welcome to commission one like it.

I think it is healthy not then to interpret these prices as the new prices for which you would sell similar items.  You may be right in recognizing this to be an extraordinary case of someone willing to pay much more than a piece is worth to anyone other than her because money doesn't mean much to her with how much she has.

You called her "new client/friend." I think the friend part of this is tricky, particularly if it is a new friend.  Financial relationships with friends are tough . My mother had a "friend" for years who never spoke with her again after she wouldn't sell her "friend" a suit with a fur color that my mother wanted to keep for herself. 

So I would say don't lose your heart to a "friend" whose price is your being willing to sell her anything she wants.

 

I’ve been retired for the last 15 years, I’m getting old and a little out of touch with the increasing prices on everything, If I sell or not has never been my focus I’ve always felt the value in my work was background decoration in our gallery in support of my wife’s jewelry business. The ceramics and other artwork creating an environment around the things with more intrinsic value.  I suppose I should just accept things as they come and not over analyze the situation based on my own insecurity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, 1515art said:

I suppose I should just accept things as they come and not over analyze the situation based on my own insecurity.

It's hard, isn't it?  I wish you luck figuring it all out. I will say if your financially set and you don't want to sell more than you need to sell, then don't sell. Life is short and full of questions and turmoil. If everything is saying no, and you can say no, then say no. If it turns out to be wrong and you later regret it, add it to the pile of regrets and forget about it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, Callie Beller Diesel said:

In regards to the things you are willing to part with, repeat after me: 

"Let me wrap that up for you."

In regards to the things you really aren't willing to part with:

"No, I'm sorry, that one really isn't available."

I think it's a healthy thing in all areas of your life to know exactly where your boundaries are, and to guard them as you see fit. Because you have something this person wants, that does give you some authority in this transaction. If you're holding on to the pieces for sentimental value, you are allowed to do that, and the reasons you choose to hold on to a piece are your own and none of her business. I think the example that Joseph gives of the artist who had a piece that was NFS in a commercial gallery is someone who knew the value of that piece, and had decided the circumstances under which they were willing to part with it in advance. They wouldn't have displayed it otherwise. 

I agree with what everyone has said about valuing yourself properly and the behaviour of collectors. I hope this goes well for you, and congratulations!

 

Thanks Callie, my boundaries are I like to avoid the whole selling thing all together and fortunately for me my wife could as they say sell ice cubes to Eskimo’s and while she is promoting my work I guess I’m just trying to assure myself that everyone is satisfied in the end, me for the work I don’t really want to part with and my client for things overpriced?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, 1515art said:

Thanks Callie, my boundaries are I like to avoid the whole selling thing all together and fortunately for me my wife could as they say sell ice cubes to Eskimo’s and while she is promoting my work I guess I’m just trying to assure myself that everyone is satisfied in the end, me for the work I don’t really want to part with and my client for things overpriced?

If your client sees something they like, and you want to sell it, and they are prepared to pay x for it, say thank you.  People with money will pay for something they like, because they like it, not because they think it's worth it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Joseph Fireborn said:

It's hard, isn't it?  I wish you luck figuring it all out. I will say if your financially set and you don't want to sell more than you need to sell, then don't sell. Life is short and full of questions and turmoil. If everything is saying no, and you can say no, then say no. If it turns out to be wrong and you later regret it, add it to the pile of regrets and forget about it. 

No one is ever financially set, lol, and I’d be more than happy to add some $$$ to my bank account. Truth is I really have avoided selling large pieces and don’t know what to sell them for and some I think I like more than I think they are worth if that makes any sense? Selling some big pieces would be the best thing for me and be a great motivation to get into the studio more, there are a lot of things I want to try but have been unmotivated lately.

Good luck to you too, I read your recient post about creating and selling larger work and I think you should do well. Your work has really developed and the combination of clay and glazes you have found is very expressive with your style of work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your assessment that getting older makes reproducing larger pieces more difficult is important. If you want to keep something you believe you could not reproduce, I think you should listen to your instincts.

When my mother aged she became  less able to make the sorts of things that had for decades been her stock in trade. As people still wanted things from her, she sold one after another of things she had meant never to sell, not because she needed the money but because it was hard for her to face having to say no.

When she started her decline through Alzheimers, there was nothing left of her work, nothing we could put in her hands to help her remember what she had done and who she had been.

I think this made her last years harder. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I am glad you appreciate it and I am glad to sell it to you (at that price). 

No, thank you for appreciating it, but it is not for sale. Let me show you something else. 

Beyond that, in my view, is overthinking it.

The "to- sell-or-not- to-sell" decision should be based on knowing what you really want in the first place, currently and with thought given to the  future.  So, "know thyself" is the work to be done here. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well my friend, the very fact that you have to ask the question about selling certain pieces: tells me you really do not want to sell certain pieces. The second issue is injecting your own sense of value: your sense of worth imposed upon an offer made by another. 

Those little nuggets of gold you go searching for have a greater worth to you than the market actually bares out. Why? Because you have an emotional investment in searching for them. This buyer also has an emotional investment in your work: something about it sparks an emotional attachment for her. To you it's just pottery, to her it is art. Personally I am glad to see her response: I have long argued that some work I see in these galleries rises past the level of pottery into the realm of art: her offer proves my point. Being familiar with your work; I tend to agree with her.

What is the old saying: beauty is in the eyes of the beholder?  Might I suggest contact lenses and a deposit ticket :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tom, good advise always and yes I’m thankful to have this problem. You are right and I could never sell the little yellow metal chunks I find for two reasons, 1 the emotional attachment and 2 they actually cost me 10 times their real value just to find them,lol. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Made  my delivery this morning beautiful home up near Villa Montolvo in the Saratoga foothills, home was constructed over a hundred years ago and my client tells me as we tour the home she needs more work pointing to spots in each room where she wants multiple large sculptures. This is going to be a lot of work, starting with a fish sculpture several times larger than the one I just delivered...

78A5FCBB-73DC-4B1C-9B61-00373A585167.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Get ready for the ride of your life. Think proportionately!  A vase looks large in a 12 x 12 room, but a 24 x 40 room will swallow it up. Pay attention to the decor in general: and design pieces that " fit in."  When she gets it all done; she will host an open house for all her friends to review her latest " hot pieces." Then the phone will start ringing for 2000-3000$ pieces. You have been looking for that gold mine? Congrats, you just found it. Unique, large, one of a kind, custom, color palette, etc. change your thinking, you just left Kansas Dorothy.

T

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tom thanks again, but before I get too excited trying to cram my big feet into dorthy's ruby slippers I've got to make sure Toto doesn't crap on the carpet, lol. The fish on the table is 24" tall almost and another 24 at the widest point and as the size increases so do the challenges and dissapointments figuring out the engineering and such and Avoiding undesirable unattractive glaze faults will be the challenge, I'll feel better when all that's worked out.

i don't know if you remember the flower oil paintings I posted back a bit, my friend is also buying some extra large paintings of hers. The flower painter also paints ceramics in China, but I don't know much about the studio other than it was provided some how by the governor because he really liked her work, she has been wanting to team up with my ceramics and her ceramic painting so we will do something togeather if and when I can work out the logistics. Guess I'd better clean up the studio,

thanks again, Clark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.