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teardrop

To Be or Not To Be

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Another spin-off thread.

 

I asked this question previously of the folks who are repeatedly critical/judgemental towards noobies selling their wares but didn't receive a reply.

 

Scenario:

 

You are the organizer of a Craft Fair/Art Show/Farmer's market. There is a local potter who only has a year or so of experience who wants to take a space in the market and attempt to sell their wares for the first time.

 

Question:

 

Would it be better for "pottery" to allow this person a space and give "pottery" some exposure...or would it be better for pottery as a whole to tell them they aren't good enough and have no potters whatsoever represented at this market?

 

To be, or not to be?

 

And a deeper question dealing with "criticism"....if you are so inclined to comment...

 

If you saw someone selling at a show who is an obvious noob, would you confront them and tell them they need far more experience before they should ever even think about selling their work...like you do here...or is this just an Internet "hide behind the keyboard" kinda thing goin on that you wouldn't have the nerve to say to someone's face?

 

not trying too be "negative".....just truly want to know where the folks stand who have been critical towards noobs talking about selling their wares.

 

have a great day everyone...

 

teardrop

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I guess it would depend on a few things.

 

What kind of Craft Fair/Art Show/Farmer's market do you have? Is it a place where all things are top drawer, just the best of everything, or do you have a mix?

 

How bad is the noob's work? It would be as bad for him to be embarrassed as it would be for you to be embarrassed. Is there a tactful way to discourage him, without just telling him his work stinks? Does the noob have any idea that he is not a good or even adequate potter?

 

If you have partners in this, have you discussed it with them? Also, is there a way that you can make them tell the noob.....? (LOl, a joke.)

 

I hate having to deal with this kind of stuff, but it does go with setting up such an endeavor. I have a good friend who is a marvelous production potter, makes beautiful artistic pots, but has been denied in more than one art show.

 

I am sure you will be able to come to a good decision on this.

 

I think that if the noob was my friend, I would try to encourage them to get further training before they tried to sell their wares. I have boxes of stuff that is packed away, just waiting for when I find someone who wants to make a table top from small pieces of pottery. They are destined to be whacked with a hammer, nobody is ever going to see them whole, as I would be severly embarrassed.

 

If the noob is not your friend, you can use whatever guidelines you have set up for your sale. Maybe set up an appointment to look at his work and gently advise at that time. I would tell him, it would be mean to not do so.

 

I think.

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Teardrop;

I have been at craft sales where there have been a couple of "noobs". I go over and welcome them, or they come over to my booth.I would never tell someone that their work is inadequate. Who am I to say this? If they got in the show and paid their booth fee, obviously they deserve to be there. We have a Farmers Market in my town where two amateur potters I know sell slab coasters and small bowls that are 3 inches across. They clean up and great for them. I don't enter that show.

TJR.

I was a noob once too! I thought I had the world by the tail. Everyone has to start out somewhere.

Happy 4th of July to all you homies out there.

TJR.

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I would NEVER offer an opinion of someone's work if not asked for it. When asked, I reply in the vein of"I would want my pieces to have a more thoughtful begining and ending," or" If it was mine, I would look for a better way to balance the use of clay." That sort of thing. The info is there if the 'noob' want to get advice, but can be ignored if the noob wishes.

It is my observation that on this board, people that are offered critiques or advice have put themselves out here by offering up their work with some sort of "Looky here!" exclamation or have actually asked for suggestions. Don't ask if you don't want to hear. nowhere have I seen anyone cut someone down for meanness when one has shown their work.

There are certainly meanspirited, agressive responses on here, made by people who look for the insult when it's not there, or put in a sideways dig and then hide behinnd it, but by and large the board is very generous and patient with the noobs and others that haven't learned EVERYTHING yet, like me.

 

If I was on the jury of a show, deciding what potters should be admitted to the show, that's a different matter. In that case, I would be rather critical of who I admitted to the show, because sloppy or amaturish work (which can be made by those with years of experience just as well as those with little time in the clay) brings down the quality of the show and can cause the eventual death of a show. But in that case the potter is asking, "Do you want my work in this show?" and should be prepared for a "NO." without stressing overly as to why the work was not accepted. Maybe the show already has enough pottery, maybe the work was not what the jury was looking for for that venue, ect...Either way, the potter is asking.....

 

 

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Teardrop,

 

I have over the years set up and managed several art fairs. I've also been in charge of juried shows. I have also managed art galleries and been a member of a co-op gallery.

 

Okay, all that was to establish where I'm coming from when I make comments. No hiding behind the keyboard or monitor.

 

For art fairs, if it is open to all comers, then the only criteria is can you pay the fees, have a presentable booth, and sit with your wares during all the hours of the show. The buying public does its judging with their credit cards and cash. Often, the only thing that can get you bounced is trying to sell something lewd, crude and rude. The arbitrators of this are again, the public. If your work is generally offensive, you'll be asked to leave and your money is refunded. Does this mean only banal work is accepted. No, as most fairs don't "judge" entries, organizers rely on the common sense of the artist. Outrageous, funny, thought-provoking, even sensual --as long as it doesn't offend the general public. All the artists are aware that the success of the fair is in their hands.

 

For juried shows, well-known artists are usually asked to be the judge or several are the panel of judges. The judges try to be objective, but it is difficult for the judges (who themselves might not be well-versed in all mediums) to maintain that objectivity. If the primary work submitted is paintings, and the judge is a painter, then sculpture and ceramics will probably suffer because the judge will substitute liking (or not liking) instead of analyzing the work. There are ways to force objectivity by breaking the art work into its component parts (i.e. The Danish Point System splits technique; best use of materials; skill level; presentation, etc{sorry it's been awhile since I've seen the breakdown so I've forgotten some categories} and all the categories are given a set number of points which add up to 100%). However, my experience has shown me that the judges let their own experiences in their form of art endeavor intrude into the judging. Can't fault them for that, but IF they use the Danish Point System, at least the judging criteria is handed over to the artists and they find out where their weaknesses lie, for each piece of art is judged on its own merit and not in relation to other art work.

 

For galleries--it's all in the bottom line. Does your work "fit" with other artist's work. Is it compatible and will it show well in the gallery? Is the artist professional enough to have work available on a (at least) semi-regular basis. Is the work presented well (paintings need good framing, sculpture needs a good base, pottery needs to have bottoms that won't mar furniture and be of a weight that is well past lethal weapon stage) especially on first delivery? Gallery owners have their assets tied to the business. Will the artist honor the prices they set for gallery sales (NEVER undersell your outlets) or will they offer "bargains" for sale from their studios? The gallery owners get to spell out the rules. If you don't like the rules, find another gallery or ask yourself are you maybe not quite ready to be a professional artist.

 

Co-op galleries usually start off with a core group of artists that don't have other venues open to them (small town; no gallery looking for new work). Once they have hammered out the by-laws, found a place to rent, set up a schedule for working in the gallery (everyone has to take their turn at sitting) set up the fee schedule to cover operating costs, the next thing is deciding how other artists get to apply. Usually a board of the current artists review the work by photo submissions, but also with examples so the work can be handled. Like gallery owners, the core group wants a good "fit".

 

Don't know if this answers your questions. As to beginners selling their work. Most of us on this site would say it's up to them when they jump into the retail stream. We all started somewhere, but keep in mind, the public is fickle and can be hardnosed about parting with a buck. If an artist isn't prepared to differentiate themselves from their art, their egos could end up black and blue. Advice that was given on another thread was given tenderly, because all of us who have been active in the retail end of art know that if you aren't ready mentally and emotionally you can get pretty battered establishing yourself. So, have at it, but be prepared--not everyone will treat you as gently as your fellow artists on these forums.

 

Shirley

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"noobies selling their wares"

 

The key word here is "selling". If the pottery sells who cares how long someone has been doing this.

 

I can not imagine any one any where going up to a noobie and telling them they need more experience to be at the show unless they wanted to be blasted with 4 letter words. The only way this could come up is if a noob ASKED why they were not selling very much.

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Craft fair/Art fair/Farmer's market -- If you satisfy the application criteria and are accepted, then it matters not how much experience you have. The public will be the judge of whether the work sold is of sufficient quality and interest. It will depend upon the audience the event is targeting. Some craft fairs are part of family fairs, others are strictly craft events for serious purchasers. If the craft-person believes he/she is ready to show their work publicly (and accept the public's judgement), then go for it. Selling in public is not for the weak of heart; it can be brutal. You need to be able to detach yourself personally from your work and not take unkind (and often uninformed) comments personally. At this point it is a business.

 

Criticism -- Generally, I try to follow mom's advice: if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. At a show, you will get criticism -- spoken and unspoken -- all the time . . . from the way a person looks at an item, their facial expression as they pick it up and examine it, their overheard comments to co-shoppers, body-language, etc. And you have to be able to deal with it graciously. And its hard.

 

My wife had been selling rag dolls at fairs (www.dollsbymary.net) for a couple of years before I decided I was ready to make the plunge and offer my pottery. The third show I participated in was a weekend family fair for a small town. I set up the canopy, put up the display racks, unpacked the pottery, and began the initial wait for customers. Not long after the official opening time, an older women walked in and started looking. She moved from item to item on the display racks, looking at bottoms, feeling walls, etc. This goes on for about 10 minutes or so. She asked who I was, and I replied. She then started to give me a critique of my work . . . walls a bit too thick, nice glaze lines, beginners lump on the inside of a bowl, etc. Another 10 minutes -- although it seemed like a lifetime. She asked how long I had been doing pottery; about two years I replied. She said she guessed that. She then stated she was a potter, now mostly retired, and had been one of the fair's craft organizers for many years until the fair seemed to take more commercial vendors than artisans. She said she was glad to see more craft person back. She said the pottery would get better. That I should have a sign with my name on it so people would know who I am and not have to ask. And then, after basically trashing (or so it seemed at the time) every piece I had to offer, she said I really did not charge enough for my work. And, with that parting comment, she left.

 

My initial reaction was to pack everything up and call it a weekend . . . one hour into the fair. But I didn't. And it ended up being a good weekend. I don't know if her intent was to be constructive, or to see if I would become rattled. The flaws she pointed out were ones I could see -- but the items were representative of the skill level I was at the time. And, I've always been very critical of what items I select for public offering -- they do have my name on the bottom, after all. I recall her coming back through a couple years later and commenting on improvement. And then left. I went about tending my customers.

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Thanks for the great/honest replies, folks. Not surprisingly, the main offenders here (IMO) who seem to enjoy letting beginners know they have no real merit and have ohhhhh sooooo farrrrr to go didn't comment....yet again. Funny how that happens. I hate movers and shakers...mainly, because after they stir things up (screw things up) they dissapear to another locale to impart their beloved wisdom on another unsuspecting group. (my town is a revolving door of these (self) important kinda folks)

 

yawn...stretch...

 

thanks for pointing out that there are many different avenues available to showcase work, bciskespottery. I think that is KEY in this discussion.

 

I have no qualms that my work will never hit a "gallery" and that I'm destined to be a "craft fair" kinda guy. I personally hate that stuffy propped up crap. As I said before, my area is FULL of expensive Art no one with a real life and a real job can afford that reflects nothing about the area and isn't made by someone who lives in the area. The Farmer's market/craft fair we have joined shows favor to locals and local businesses because they want to show the tourist base the true heart and soul of the area.....for better or worse!

 

And yes...I realize there will be scrutiny of the work. If it's another potter I will gladly accept the critique...just before I ask them where >their< booth/store/exhibit may be located so I can come by and see how it is >supposed< to be done.... :rolleyes:

 

thanks again for the replies

 

teardrop

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Your question concerns the decision making process a market/craft fair goes through when deciding to bring in an inexperienced potter, or forgo pottery entirely.

 

I am on the board of a non-profit Farmer's market, and will limit my comments to that. Our market does not permit craft vendors at all, or, in other words, we really don't care what's good for pottery. Not all farmer's markets are like this, obviously. There is, however, a common denominator: our market and the markets in our area are conscious of longer term reputation. Anything that might damage a reputation will be carefully examined by any farmer's market. So, even for those potters here that talk about farmers markets as having a different, and impliedly lax standard, (I note the mild disapproval for the slab built coasters) do not take that to mean that a decision to allow a local potter is standardless.

 

A farmer's market that requires more than a booth fee might think about how your work is displayed, how it is priced, and who might would want to buy it. Either a market master, or a board of farmers or volunteers, will take into account your experience - but not necessarily as a potter. The board/master might want to know how much you've sold, how often, and whether you have repeat customers. This decision maker will want to know that you have a serious plan to sell your work and attract customers to your booth. If the market is run by farmers, they are going to think about whether you will be attracting customers to them, or stealing customers away.

 

Then, even after you do come to the farmer's market - if space is limited at the market and your work is put-of-sync with the market's customers, you might not be invited back. You might never get a comment. I say out-of-sync, because farmers markets have goals and and a customer demographics that relate to the long-term success of their market. Sometimes a farmer's market is attracting foodies, sometimes bargain hunters, sometimes people who support local businesses, sometimes the workers in the businesses around the market on their way home. A farmer's market is almost always trying to attract local people. A craft fair might attract tourists for a one time visit and regional scope; this is the opposite of a farmer's market. A farmers market wants steady, weekly patronage over the course of months, and hopefully years.

 

So, while I can't say what the decision of a beginning potter might be in choosing to market their work at a Farmer's Market, I hope this does give you some insight into how a farmer's market might feel about a beginning potter becoming a vendor.

 

.

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"You are the organizer of a Craft Fair/Art Show/Farmer's market. There is a local potter who only has a year or so of experience who wants to take a space in the market and attempt to sell their wares for the first time. Question: Would it be better for "pottery" to allow this person a space and give "pottery" some exposure...or would it be better for pottery as a whole to tell them they aren't good enough and have no potters whatsoever represented at this market?"

 

The length of time someone has been potting isn't important. It is the pot and only the pot that is important. I had a student once who was in the middle of her second 6 week class at the Denver Potters Guild when she won first place at an important show (Jewish Community Center Art Show around 1974 give or take a year). She had been potting all of 10 or so weeks. I also know plenty of potters that have been potting for decades who still make crap and always will make crap. So, to answer your question: At a Farmer's market that isn't presenting itself as any kind of art show, I'd let just about anyone who claimed to be a potter in but I'd still draw the line somewhere. There are some pots that shouldn't be allowed to even be shown at a Mud Wrestling show. If the Farmer's Market cast itself as an Art Show, then I would jury out all of what I consider not worthy of the show. Once again, it would have nothing to do with how long someone has been potting and all to do with the presented pottery.

 

 

"If you saw someone selling at a show who is an obvious noob, would you confront them and tell them they need far more experience before they should ever even think about selling their work...like you do here...or is this just an Internet "hide behind the keyboard" kinda thing goin on that you wouldn't have the nerve to say to someone's face? "

 

Loaded question here because you're obviously so pissed off you want to call those of us who think criticism is just as valuable as praise (and much more valuable than the unconditional fawning praise sometimes exhibited here) cowards. No, I wouldn't walk up to someone at a show and say, "Man, your stuff really sucks hoovers. Why don't you just do us all a favor and pack up and leave." But then I wouldn't do that here either and no one else here has. What you're doing is setting up straw men to argue with and that's cowardly.

 

"not trying too be "negative".....just truly want to know where the folks stand who have been critical towards noobs talking about selling their wares."

 

No you're not. If you were not trying to be negative and were truly interested in where other folks stand you wouldn't be making snide remarks about hiding behind a keyboard. You're just looking for a fight.

 

Jim

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In our area the Farmers Market is just for farmers-they do not let Crafts in .

As for what do I think if they did- great-come one come all-I started out with just a little experience-looking back I sold all my early stuff which was junk by my todays standards but who cares -I gained experience in the market place- the public bought it as the price was right -now days most of my art shows are highly juried events that only pick what they think is good and thats another subject all together.

Mark

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In our area the Farmers Market is just for farmers-they do not let Crafts in .

As for what do I think if they did- great-come one come all-I started out with just a little experience-looking back I sold all my early stuff which was junk by my todays standards but who cares -I gained experience in the market place- the public bought it as the price was right -now days most of my art shows are highly juried events that only pick what they think is good and thats another subject all together.

Mark

 

 

As John B. would say, BINGO! You probably thought what you now know was junk was fit for the Louvre back then. Also, very revealingly, is that you say the "price was right". So, basically, you were selling junk cheap. That must have made potters there who had worked for years perfecting their art and trying to get a decent price for their pots feel real good. But, of course, had this forum existed back then and you, as a beginner, had posted your ugly pots here and asked about marketing them you would have gotten the same fawning praise that the kid with the ugly tree vase got here and Teardrop and Trina would have thought the sky was falling if anyone offered even the mildest of criticism.

 

Jim

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Thanks for the response, lawpots.

 

This is a combo kinda market. There are crafts vendors, farmer's with organic produce/cheese/food/local stores with booths catering to sports/the sporting life we live here...and many other varied vendors (115 in total) Sorry off, no mud wrestling.

 

Locals get first nod but there are vendors from all over the state. About the only thing that is "limited" at this market is jewelry. Evidently there is just too much/too many jewelry folks out there trying to get in to sell or lying that they have other items and then bringing in jewelry displays as well. Word is a few folks were asked to leave last week who didn't represent honestly what they were selling.... oops.

 

We have local "Farmer's Market" each Saturday on the corner in Edwards http://edwardsfarmersmarket.com/ sounds a lot like what you described. Food and produce...no crafts. A fun, 10 minute stroll about takes care of it tho.

 

and Vail has a sprawling market on Sundays.....again.... seems like a combo of a Farmer's Market and a Crafts Fair because there is a wide variety of goods/services showcased each weekend throughout the Summer. (all 3 markets are Summer-long)

 

There are also 2 other "Art" shows in town next weekend. Mostly out of towners...mostly expensive items....

 

definitely busy places with lots of new faces each week.

 

yer booths look awesome Mark. Thanks for sharing your take on how you make it all work and the adjustments you've made to get there. I hope the holiday sales were good to ya

 

gonna be interesting to see how this all goes for us on Saturday

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In our area the Farmers Market is just for farmers-they do not let Crafts in .

As for what do I think if they did- great-come one come all-I started out with just a little experience-looking back I sold all my early stuff which was junk by my todays standards but who cares -I gained experience in the market place- the public bought it as the price was right -now days most of my art shows are highly juried events that only pick what they think is good and thats another subject all together.

Mark

 

As John B. would say, BINGO! You probably thought what you now know was junk was fit for the Louvre back then. Also, very revealingly, is that you say the "price was right". So, basically, you were selling junk cheap. That must have made potters there who had worked for years perfecting their art and trying to get a decent price for their pots feel real good. But, of course, had this forum existed back then and you, as a beginner, had posted your ugly pots here and asked about marketing them you would have gotten the same fawning praise that the kid with the ugly tree vase got here and Teardrop and Trina would have thought the sky was falling if anyone offered even the mildest of criticism.

 

Jim

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In our area the Farmers Market is just for farmers-they do not let Crafts in .

As for what do I think if they did- great-come one come all-I started out with just a little experience-looking back I sold all my early stuff which was junk by my todays standards but who cares -I gained experience in the market place- the public bought it as the price was right -now days most of my art shows are highly juried events that only pick what they think is good and thats another subject all together.

Mark

 

As John B. would say, BINGO! You probably thought what you now know was junk was fit for the Louvre back then. Also, very revealingly, is that you say the "price was right". So, basically, you were selling junk cheap. That must have made potters there who had worked for years perfecting their art and trying to get a decent price for their pots feel real good. But, of course, had this forum existed back then and you, as a beginner, had posted your ugly pots here and asked about marketing them you would have gotten the same fawning praise that the kid with the ugly tree vase got here and Teardrop and Trina would have thought the sky was falling if anyone offered even the mildest of criticism.

 

 

"Ugly Tree Vase"? you thought it was ugly? thank you! :) I sold that for $85. That means I'll be selling my better pottery for even more!

 

Jim

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In our area the Farmers Market is just for farmers-they do not let Crafts in .

As for what do I think if they did- great-come one come all-I started out with just a little experience-looking back I sold all my early stuff which was junk by my todays standards but who cares -I gained experience in the market place- the public bought it as the price was right -now days most of my art shows are highly juried events that only pick what they think is good and thats another subject all together.

Mark

 

As John B. would say, BINGO! You probably thought what you now know was junk was fit for the Louvre back then. Also, very revealingly, is that you say the "price was right". So, basically, you were selling junk cheap. That must have made potters there who had worked for years perfecting their art and trying to get a decent price for their pots feel real good. But, of course, had this forum existed back then and you, as a beginner, had posted your ugly pots here and asked about marketing them you would have gotten the same fawning praise that the kid with the ugly tree vase got here and Teardrop and Trina would have thought the sky was falling if anyone offered even the mildest of criticism.

 

 

"Ugly Tree Vase"? you thought it was ugly? thank you! :) I sold that for $85. That means I'll be selling my better pottery for even more!

 

Jim

 

 

 

 

Crap. Ugly vase. Junk. Noobs. These are words hardly befitting this forum. I am a newb-ie who adores clay and knows she has a lot to learn in the clay world. I sell my items at our Farmer's and Craft's Market because I love making them and want other people to enjoy them and get a tremendous kick out of having customers grab them up in happiness. I would hate to have someone I don't know pronounce my work as no good--so please don't visit my booth. I have a long way to go before I can pronounce myself a clay artist (not a craftswoman), but I will get there eventually, and have lots of fun in the process.

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In our area the Farmers Market is just for farmers-they do not let Crafts in .

As for what do I think if they did- great-come one come all-I started out with just a little experience-looking back I sold all my early stuff which was junk by my todays standards but who cares -I gained experience in the market place- the public bought it as the price was right -now days most of my art shows are highly juried events that only pick what they think is good and thats another subject all together.

Mark

 

As John B. would say, BINGO! You probably thought what you now know was junk was fit for the Louvre back then. Also, very revealingly, is that you say the "price was right". So, basically, you were selling junk cheap. That must have made potters there who had worked for years perfecting their art and trying to get a decent price for their pots feel real good. But, of course, had this forum existed back then and you, as a beginner, had posted your ugly pots here and asked about marketing them you would have gotten the same fawning praise that the kid with the ugly tree vase got here and Teardrop and Trina would have thought the sky was falling if anyone offered even the mildest of criticism.

 

 

"Ugly Tree Vase"? you thought it was ugly? thank you! :) I sold that for $85. That means I'll be selling my better pottery for even more!

 

Jim

 

Can you edit your post so that it doesn't have my name signed to the sentence you inserted. Congrats on the sale. And if that's a question to me the answer is empahtically yes, but your mugs weren't so bad.

 

Jim

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In our area the Farmers Market is just for farmers-they do not let Crafts in .

As for what do I think if they did- great-come one come all-I started out with just a little experience-looking back I sold all my early stuff which was junk by my todays standards but who cares -I gained experience in the market place- the public bought it as the price was right -now days most of my art shows are highly juried events that only pick what they think is good and thats another subject all together.

Mark

 

As John B. would say, BINGO! You probably thought what you now know was junk was fit for the Louvre back then. Also, very revealingly, is that you say the "price was right". So, basically, you were selling junk cheap. That must have made potters there who had worked for years perfecting their art and trying to get a decent price for their pots feel real good. But, of course, had this forum existed back then and you, as a beginner, had posted your ugly pots here and asked about marketing them you would have gotten the same fawning praise that the kid with the ugly tree vase got here and Teardrop and Trina would have thought the sky was falling if anyone offered even the mildest of criticism.

 

Jim

 

Yip ummm, are you still on about that last thread? If you are the post was a question about ebay or esty if I am not mistaken. It was not about whether or not someone should be a potter, not learn the trade or how long it takes to perfect and at the end meet your expectations. It was also not a question about whether or not goods should be sold. Do you really think Mr. Walmart cares about your feelings when they sell a box of mugs for 7 bucks. The question that was how they should be sold not whether.

 

Comments in my book are not critcism, symantics on this site seem to be a big problem. A comment that your mugs are good is just that a comment. IF you believe that Bernard Leach is actually GOD then so be it. I don't and have no problem telling a child, yes a CHILD that the work is good.

 

My sky is certainly not falling but I would appreciate in the future keep my name out of your posts. Thank you Trina

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What does "Yip ummm" mean? No, I'm not "on" about "that last thread" I'm "on" about this one. Your sentences that begin with "It was not..." have nothing to do with anything in this thread. I couldn't care less what "Mr. Walmart" cares about and, once again have no idea how that relates to anything. Comments may or may not be criticism and symantics isn't the problem here. I don't believe in any god including Bernard Leach and wonder (but don't really care very much) why you'd make such a silly statement. Is the double negative in the sentence with "child" in all caps deliberate?

 

Thx,

Jim

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Back when I started there was a back to the earth movement and there where no farmers markets just some early shows that let whatever in who had a the small fee and there where no great potters selling in this sleepy county only a fee collage kids like me who did not know any better. Nam thats Vietnam to most was coming to and end and everyone was just starting out around here in the ceramics selling world-There where better potters than me but all where new to this thing called a fair -not an art fair just a fair-held on the 4th or the summer or fall solstice. Pots where all cheap back then the day of the 250 mug thats two dollars and fifty cents. The guy who made better ones got that I got 2$ we where and still are all good friends as one is a small community. I wish we had great potters back then here but that took many years for us all to get good. It all spawned from a strong collage ceramics program thats long ago turned to low fire electric ART-functional is a bad word now at school.There are no more potters coming out in droves leaning the craft here at least.

If you need ceramic shoes or a book then this is the place to get them.

 

As far as selling cheap -I see that a lot at shows that I travel to (actually I hear it from my customers as I never look at prices of others)and I do not care about others selling for whatever-I never have cared as people either see my work at my price or move on. Yes its cheaper they maybe say but not as nice-folks do notice how well the work is and if its worth it. If I can drive my work two days one way and sell it for more or less than another potter who lives there its just the way the world is and I'm ok with that. I know what I need for it and thats all I care about.

 

As far as newbies I like to see some because potters out west are a dying breed. We are not seeing others fill out shoes much-I know a few younger guys and support them with help advice as much as I can as I want them to prosper for the good of functional pottery as a whole. Its a BIG PICTURE DEAL for me.

I will say I'm not as keen on hobbyist in most fields. The market will dictate the winners and losers always and only the serious will keep at it for long.I have seen my fair share of one or two season attempts. I have no ill will on them trying-I see it all the time especially in digital photography-never pans out.

Mark

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Another spin-off thread.

 

I asked this question previously of the folks who are repeatedly critical/judgemental towards noobies selling their wares but didn't receive a reply.

 

Scenario:

 

You are the organizer of a Craft Fair/Art Show/Farmer's market. There is a local potter who only has a year or so of experience who wants to take a space in the market and attempt to sell their wares for the first time.

 

Question:

 

Would it be better for "pottery" to allow this person a space and give "pottery" some exposure...or would it be better for pottery as a whole to tell them they aren't good enough and have no potters whatsoever represented at this market?

 

To be, or not to be?

 

And a deeper question dealing with "criticism"....if you are so inclined to comment...

 

If you saw someone selling at a show who is an obvious noob, would you confront them and tell them they need far more experience before they should ever even think about selling their work...like you do here...or is this just an Internet "hide behind the keyboard" kinda thing goin on that you wouldn't have the nerve to say to someone's face?

 

not trying too be "negative".....just truly want to know where the folks stand who have been critical towards noobs talking about selling their wares.

 

have a great day everyone...

 

teardrop

 

I didn't think this is going to be a popular viewpoint, but I have a shop with all handcrafted goods, and I have gorgeous refined pottery, and also sell mine. Mine is newbie pottery, it isn't as light or refined as the experienced potters, so I don't ask the same price for it.

 

Why do I sell it? Because pottery is very expensive and I think those who don't have $80 for a vase might be happy with a $30 vase. I think we need to offer handcrafted goods to people of all income levels if we are to get people to start buying locally for everything. And I do clearly explain to buyers that I am newer, so my pottery is not the same quality as the good stuff. People can see the difference, they aren't stupid. But many people are thrilled to be able to afford a special piece for a lower price, and some even say they like the imperfections. So while I do have doubts over whether I should even be putting my stuff in my shop, it sells as well as the more expensive pottery, and how does anyone lose? My shop stays in business, experienced poters sell their wares, and people walk out happy, buying something made by hand, and not in China.

 

jMHO

Nancy

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In our area the Farmers Market is just for farmers-they do not let Crafts in .

As for what do I think if they did- great-come one come all-I started out with just a little experience-looking back I sold all my early stuff which was junk by my todays standards but who cares -I gained experience in the market place- the public bought it as the price was right -now days most of my art shows are highly juried events that only pick what they think is good and thats another subject all together.

Mark

 

As John B. would say, BINGO! You probably thought what you now know was junk was fit for the Louvre back then. Also, very revealingly, is that you say the "price was right". So, basically, you were selling junk cheap. That must have made potters there who had worked for years perfecting their art and trying to get a decent price for their pots feel real good. But, of course, had this forum existed back then and you, as a beginner, had posted your ugly pots here and asked about marketing them you would have gotten the same fawning praise that the kid with the ugly tree vase got here and Teardrop and Trina would have thought the sky was falling if anyone offered even the mildest of criticism.

 

Jim

 

Just because he was selling newbie pottery doesn't mean it was junk. And why would an experienced potter be angry? The quality was obviously different, people can see that. And really - who are you to judge if someone walked away with a handcrafted pot, made with love and sweat by a newer potter, and was happy? Should only the wealthy be able to afford handcrafted goods? Should less wealthy people not be able to buy pottery? I am ot poor, but there is o way an $80 vas is in my budget.

 

There are many people who love pottery who are not looking for a piece of art, and couldn't afford that price anyway. I think the newbies fill that need quite well.

 

Disclaimer: I am a newbie who owns a shop and I sell all levels of my potter, including my own.

 

Nancy

teardrop and CGALVIN3 like this

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I did fairly well yesterday at my first market...especially considering that the Summer monsoon has kicked in here in CO and we set up in the rain.

 

Feedback was good. Of course, it is important to remember that few, if any, regular/everyday folks actually know what >good< is.

 

My lone "experienced" advice came from a lady who told me she had been teaching ceramics for 20 or so years. I could tell at the onset of our convo that she had some insight into the inner workings going on in the creation of pottery. Questions about the glazes used, the clay used, and yes...the fabled "How long have you been at this?" also came up. :rolleyes:

 

hopefully next weekend will see better weather/attendance. Fun stuff all around and great experience!

 

teardrop

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I've been racking my brain trying to remember how my work was greeted when I first dipped my toe into retail. It has been a long time. I first started selling paintings at art fairs in shopping malls, and outdoor venues. This was after at least three years of having my work rejected. It's hard to get feedback when you enter a juried show, so I took a round-about-way and became a mule (an artist who is willing to haul paintings, sculpture and crafts from the back room and place it in front of the judge{s}) at the next juried show. I made note of how work was handled (not always gently) and how the judges made their decisions. Many times work was rejected by the judge just saying NO, without reason. Once a painting that was rejected by one of the judges--ended up winning best in show award. Once the judges became used to using a point system that graded each item on its own merits, the works dismissed at the beginning of the judging were put back in front of the judges and reconsidered. The judge who originally tossed this painting aside realized his dislike of pink had warped his judgement--the painting was technically fine, presented well, and pink was a reasonable color in a pale sunset.

 

I kept refining my paintings, and kept entering. Winning a ribbon is one type of validation of your art. Satisfaction of knowing your work has matured is even better. I have changed my art medium several times, and each time had to go through an adjustment period. All part of the game My life as an artist doesn't hinge on one of my pieces selling. I'd still paint, sculpt and play in the mud whether I made money or not (money is always welcome, however).

 

I no longer enter a show with only one judge because objectivity is usually lost. If the entry rules state that the point system is going to be used, I will enter--even if there is only one judge. I've seen the difference it can make.

 

Regardless of how you enter the marketplace, put your best foot forward. Any work you put out there should be the best you can do at your current level of expertise. Be pleasant and well mannered in all your dealings with gallery owners, show organizers, fellow artists, or the public. Learn as much about the venue you want to participate in by being a customer or a looky-loo before buying your booth equipment. If it's a juried show, Google the judge/jury. Find out about their background so you aren't going in blind.

 

Your best weapon for success is optimism. If your demeanor is gloomy and despairing your outcome will meet or exceed your dismal expectations. Are you going to be successful all the time? Hardly! Just pack up, go home, and try again. Look at the time spent trying to sell your wares as a great opportunity to make connections. I've spent weekends where the cash flow was negative, but the outcome was positive.

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I've been racking my brain trying to remember how my work was greeted when I first dipped my toe into retail. It has been a long time. I first started selling paintings at art fairs in shopping malls, and outdoor venues. This was after at least three years of having my work rejected. It's hard to get feedback when you enter a juried show, so I took a round-about-way and became a mule (an artist who is willing to haul paintings, sculpture and crafts from the back room and place it in front of the judge{s}) at the next juried show. I made note of how work was handled (not always gently) and how the judges made their decisions. Many times work was rejected by the judge just saying NO, without reason. Once a painting that was rejected by one of the judges--ended up winning best in show award. Once the judges became used to using a point system that graded each item on its own merits, the works dismissed at the beginning of the judging were put back in front of the judges and reconsidered. The judge who originally tossed this painting aside realized his dislike of pink had warped his judgement--the painting was technically fine, presented well, and pink was a reasonable color in a pale sunset.

 

I kept refining my paintings, and kept entering. Winning a ribbon is one type of validation of your art. Satisfaction of knowing your work has matured is even better. I have changed my art medium several times, and each time had to go through an adjustment period. All part of the game My life as an artist doesn't hinge on one of my pieces selling. I'd still paint, sculpt and play in the mud whether I made money or not (money is always welcome, however).

 

I no longer enter a show with only one judge because objectivity is usually lost. If the entry rules state that the point system is going to be used, I will enter--even if there is only one judge. I've seen the difference it can make.

 

Regardless of how you enter the marketplace, put your best foot forward. Any work you put out there should be the best you can do at your current level of expertise. Be pleasant and well mannered in all your dealings with gallery owners, show organizers, fellow artists, or the public. Learn as much about the venue you want to participate in by being a customer or a looky-loo before buying your booth equipment. If it's a juried show, Google the judge/jury. Find out about their background so you aren't going in blind.

 

Your best weapon for success is optimism. If your demeanor is gloomy and despairing your outcome will meet or exceed your dismal expectations. Are you going to be successful all the time? Hardly! Just pack up, go home, and try again. Look at the time spent trying to sell your wares as a great opportunity to make connections. I've spent weekends where the cash flow was negative, but the outcome was positive.

 

 

Interesting post, Idaho. I think even a poor judge for a show is better than no judge at all, though. No matter who the judge(s) is you are going to disagree with some of their decisions, but at least the judging will weed out a lot of the really bad stuff. One of the best is going on right now in Denver. The Cherry Creek Arts Festival accepts 230 artist out of over 2,000 applying. So, somebody like Mark Knot (cover of most recent Ceramics Monthly) will happily load up his pots and drive to Denver for that sell because it is a sell worthy of his skill and talent and he won't be surrounded by godawful crap sold cheaply ("gcsc"). A potter who has worked hard to become a good artist no more wants to be in a sell/show that is full of "gcsc" anymore than a serious painter wants to exhibit where they are surrounded by poorly executed paintings of Elvis or Jesus or dogs playing poker on velvet.

 

Jim

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