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Lucille Oka

I make that same product and your product needs to be......

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Marcia Selsor    1,301

Sorry I didn't respond right away I have been throwing and trimming.

 

What I hoped for in my ‘irritant’ post was a bit of self examination for us all. People are fragile more so than we can know; maybe not due only to our art but just in general, and for whatever reason. We never know which nerve we touch.

 

 

For those who are beginning potters who want to start selling just like any other product if the public likes it they will buy it if not, well…, just don't become discouraged keep working, keep trying, keep practicing techniques. The work will become better.

 

To IdahoPotter- as to competition, many potters feel that they are in competition maybe not you and not I but some do. And they respond from that feeling. I hope if they will critique please be aware of this emotion and force yourself to be objective.

 

To Marcia, everybody likes a party with friends; any kind of party.

 

I have to go clean up my trimmings now, goodnight everyone.

 

 

I had a great experience at the pre-NCECA wood firing with a bunch of strangers. It was a cooperative event with shifts round the clock firing together. Team work.

IT was a great experience.

Marcia

 

 

 

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AmeriSwede    5

.................rather than having a peeing contest? I think my Brent CXC is older than yours, Mark.

 

 

 

 

Ah, but I think my kiln is bigger than yours. :lol::lol::lol::P;)

 

 

laugh.giflaugh.gif So many smilie faces must be a reference to the enjoyment of all the 'morning wood' to stoke the fires...laugh.giflaugh.gif

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Coke can't criticize Pepsi. Ralph Lauren can't criticize Betsy Johnson; Arnon Milchan can't criticize Quentin Tarantino, why? Because they are in the same businesses the critique cannot be trusted. Ergo potters can't criticize potters.

Notice how it doesn't sit well with potters. We can't take it, especially from each other. Many of us get jealous and angry at other's potential successes. We are all vying for the same pottery dollar.

 

In other venues such as movies, plays, art, books and restaurants the critics are not writing to the ‘makers’ of the ‘works’ but to the public. Not to say the maker’s will not read the reviews it affects their bottom lines; they most certainly do. But I will never ‘personally’ or ‘not personally’ accept a critique from competitors.

 

 

 

 

 

Well, I cannot personally or 'not personally' critique your work, as I have never seen it. Why not share some images and see what happens? For all you know, we might all love your work ...

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Pres    896

I also have to add that in my experience potters are the most sharing people I know. We share constantly with no expected return. You need to attend at least one NCECA or one Potters Council Conference to see for yourself that much of the down time is spent comparing notes and openly sharing.Many posters on this forum share their knowledge on a daily basis so how do they fit into your 'don't help the competition' scenario?

 

I have never heard a potter say they wished someone else would fail ... Never been at a pottery show where one potter would put down another's work to their customers.

 

Are there egos? Heck yes. But are we all to be judged by the lowest common denominator?

 

Frankly, we are not vying for the same pottery dollar ... That is one of the most prevalent misconceptions about pottery sales. Not only is there a huge variety of methods, glazes, forms, functions ... There is also a wide range of prices and a wide range of buyers with an even wider range of tastes. Let alone the fact that there are more potential buyers than any of us could supply if we worked at full tilt.

 

Not to accept a critique because you consider all other potters to be competitors seems a bit drastic. I choose whom I ask for critiques. If I want feedback on execution, I ask someone much better than me who has a good eye. If I want feedback on marketability, I ask a couple gallery owners I know who shoot from the hip and no, they don't carry my work because it would not sell in their shops. If I want general feedback I ask blunt people who say what they mean. I don't want nice words ... I want good feedback that I can build on.

 

 

 

 

Yes, potters are a really sharing group. Most of the time the trade secrets of how to fire a kiln, get better results from a glaze, make better handles or do almost anything is shared by others in the know in the ceramics community. I do the same as that is what I used to do. Some times though we forget the matter of "approachability". There are people out there, because of ego, or insecurities or other underlying causes, that are not approachable. These people would take a comment about the thickness of a handle, or the form of a lip, an undercut, diameter of opening, thickness of glaze etc. with such disdain, that the open hand is nearly cut off. So when not in a classroom, not asked, not approached, I am very careful anymore to give comment of my opinion. Never have I made a comment out of jealousy or meanness of another's work, but have been met with hatred when making an unsolicited constructive comment. Lesson learned.

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Chris Campbell    1,088

That's a tough line to walk ... sometimes I too see obvious things that could be easily corrected but unless I am the teacher in the situation I don't say anything ... unless they are in danger of hurting themselves, someone else or some piece of equipment. I know that there are people who are too shy to ask but you only have to get one person who lashes out to stop doing it for anyone.

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Nelly    16

That's a tough line to walk ... sometimes I too see obvious things that could be easily corrected but unless I am the teacher in the situation I don't say anything ... unless they are in danger of hurting themselves, someone else or some piece of equipment. I know that there are people who are too shy to ask but you only have to get one person who lashes out to stop doing it for anyone.

 

 

Dear All,

 

I am not sure if this post belongs here but I will share it anyway. A number of years ago I did a short apprenticeship with a potter locally. His schtick at a show would be to arrive with the cheapest pot. He had loads of small butter dishes that he sold for $5.00. Simple bowls with flat lips. They went like hot cakes. He took bushels into the show and usually sold most of them. He also had a sign that clearly said "cheapest pot in the show." I recall him returning from his shows to say that he received vocal criticism from others about not only his marketing but the price he was charging for these pots. Fellow potters were outraged and let him know. Upon his return he sort of skulked around the studio not sure what to do about his situation. On one hand he was making money and drawing people to his booth where he had several higher priced pieces. On the other hand, he was being ostracized by his artistic community. I did not know what to say when he asked my opinion. I could see both sides of the coin. Would you be upset if this type of occurrence happened at a show and would you openly discourage it or try to shut it down? Do we have the right to tell another potter what price to sell his ware or how he should market?? Is this jealousy or a quality assurance/regulation issue??

 

Nelly

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Chris Campbell    1,088

That's a tough line to walk ... sometimes I too see obvious things that could be easily corrected but unless I am the teacher in the situation I don't say anything ... unless they are in danger of hurting themselves, someone else or some piece of equipment. I know that there are people who are too shy to ask but you only have to get one person who lashes out to stop doing it for anyone.

 

 

Dear All,

 

I am not sure if this post belongs here but I will share it anyway. A number of years ago I did a short apprenticeship with a potter locally. His schtick at a show would be to arrive with the cheapest pot. He had loads of small butter dishes that he sold for $5.00. Simple bowls with flat lips. They went like hot cakes. He took bushels into the show and usually sold most of them. He also had a sign that clearly said "cheapest pot in the show." I recall him returning from his shows to say that he received vocal criticism from others about not only his marketing but the price he was charging for these pots. Fellow potters were outraged and let him know. Upon his return he sort of skulked around the studio not sure what to do about his situation. On one hand he was making money and drawing people to his booth where he had several higher priced pieces. On the other hand, he was being ostracized by his artistic community. I did not know what to say when he asked my opinion. I could see both sides of the coin. Would you be upset if this type of occurrence happened at a show and would you openly discourage it or try to shut it down? Do we have the right to tell another potter what price to sell his ware or how he should market?? Is this jealousy or a quality assurance/regulation issue??

Nelly

 

 

 

 

Well, as my idol PT Barnum always said ... "Nobody ever went broke on bad taste"!:D

 

While I cannot imagine wanting to claim the title of 'cheapest pot in the show' ... its a lot better than 'worst pot in the show'. If it was well made and attractive ( and they must have been since people are not blind or stupid and they all sold ) then it is up to him to price it at a point where he makes a profit ... if he had done his math and was sure he was making money then I don't see how it is anyone else's business but the show owner/jury.

 

That said ... would I do it? NO

Would I advise anyone else to do it? NO

Would I crab at him about it? NO ... but I might want to advise him to do the math and make sure that he is not losing money on them.

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GEP    863

Here's why the other potters are mad ... "cheapest pot in the show" is a comparitive statement, implying the other potters are charging too much. Instead he could say "Butter Dishes for only $5" and this would not be commentary about the other potters. He would probably sell just as many.

 

Mea

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Nelly    16

Here's why the other potters are mad ... "cheapest pot in the show" is a comparitive statement, implying the other potters are charging too much. Instead he could say "Butter Dishes for only $5" and this would not be commentary about the other potters. He would probably sell just as many.

 

Mea

 

 

Dear All,

 

I do know in Canada that by and large it is safe to say we do sell our pottery for less than in the U.S. I agree with the Barnum statement and think my artist friends idea about the sign was all about an effort to make others come to his booth. His marketing gimmick was effective. While he did not make money people did stop and buy them up. Like everyone who attends a show, they simply wanted to take something or anything home from the show. In his approach he was able to introduce his color lines through these sample butter pots and engage people if only for a few moments in selling his wares. I think I had questions primarily when I thought about it about the ethics of how he presented himself in front of the other potters. It does somehow suggest one-upping. On the other hand, I could not see myself ever approaching someone who did this at a show and complaining. As for a critique of someone's work, I would probably only do this if my opinion was asked. I prefer to err on the side of when in doubt, say something positive. Find what is good in the individuals work and build on this point. Without really being in the situation as a student who has studied pottery formally, I think as human beings we hear the negative if it is is presented in this way. As a university teacher I always package my comments with a statement about what the individual does well or has tried to achieve in their work, followed by what they may want to develop further and end with again, a reminder of how their work is unique. I think in general we hear the good comments and then are able to hear those that may require some development. But again, recall that I preface this comment with the fact I have not faced severe artistic critique. My main critiques in life have been regarding academic writing and critical analysis of my thinking process. Not sure it is the same but ego and jealousy abounds in this territory as well.

 

Nelly

 

Nelly

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JBaymore    1,432
As a university teacher I always package my comments with a statement about what the individual does well or has tried to achieve in their work, followed by what they may want to develop further and end with again, a reminder of how their work is unique.

 

The standard so-called "Oreo Cookie" approach. It is a good technique. Usually works well.

 

best,

 

..............john

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JBaymore    1,432

Here's why the other potters are mad ... "cheapest pot in the show" is a comparitive statement, implying the other potters are charging too much.

 

BINGO!

 

Like it or not, what we put out there in exhibitions and craft fairs and such is highly "educational". The general public gets a woefully small education (at least in the USA) in anything to do with art, aesthetics, craftsmanship, object making (heck the physical making of much of anything), and so on. So WE end up doing a lot of the communications and education on this whole subject as we present our work, as we write about it, and as we discuss our work in person.

 

It is a powerful and important responsibility. Unfortunately, many people do not think about this.

 

So when we do things that move the perceptions of field forward in the public eye, that is a good thing. When we do things that do not reflect well upon the field, than that is not so good.

 

Creating a strong impression that handcrafted work is likely really "overpriced" in the public's mind is not helping anyone........ EXCEPT maybe the potter that was selling that work IF, ....and only if..... as Chris mentioned, he is actually making money at the price point he is selling.

 

The "comparative impact" that Mea mentions basically refelcts a selfish and "screw you" attitude toward his fellow ceramists. Actually, he likely does not really look at them as "fellow" ceramists... but as combatants to be vanquished in the commercial pottery wars. Alls fair!

 

And I'd wager that this person is also negatively affecting the potential price points that his OTHER work can be sold at by so doing also. If he can sell THAT piece for such a unbelieveably cheap price...... why then is his piece X, only slightly larger or more complex, so much more expensive? So it forces him to keep other prices low as well.

 

One can certainly use a "loss leader" approach to generate more sales of profitable items. But it is the HOW of how one does that that is very important. Important to not only the person doing it, but to the overall "field".

 

Long ago I took a good look at business management studies at a pertty deep level. Management guru Tom Peters quote, "Sell on quality, not on price" always resonated strongly with me. (I think that one is from his book, "Thriving on Chaos") I'd rather not be taking the Walmart approach to things.

 

best,

 

.................john

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JBaymore    1,432
Well, as my idol PT Barnum always said ... "Nobody ever went broke on bad taste"!:D

 

Another BINGO there Chris!

 

Cuts to the chase.

 

best,

 

.............john

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Chris Campbell    1,088

This all goes to my rant number 32 or so ... that there is more than one type of customer for pottery .... yes, there are those who will buy cheap no matter what it is ... they know price but not value. But there are also folks out there who buy on emotion, who buy for quality, who buy because they cannot leave it behind. There are customers for all price points. A friend of mine had two lines, one was inexpensive and the other was not. Two years ago she decided to bring just the good stuff to one show and was sold out. She was scared to try it but now has stopped making the cheap items altogether. She found that other customer base that is willing and happy to pay for quality.

 

If that $5 dish person was in the next booth and someone mentioned his prices to me I would just smile and agree that yes, it probably was the cheapest pot in the show. Then I would start to tell them about my work and why it cost more and why it might be worth it. For some people it will never be worth it and for them the phrase is "Well, my work is not for everybody." :rolleyes:

 

The biggest mistake you could make would be to drop your prices to compete with him ... then it would be down to who goes broke first.

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Nelly    16

This all goes to my rant number 32 or so ... that there is more than one type of customer for pottery .... yes, there are those who will buy cheap no matter what it is ... they know price but not value. But there are also folks out there who buy on emotion, who buy for quality, who buy because they cannot leave it behind. There are customers for all price points. A friend of mine had two lines, one was inexpensive and the other was not. Two years ago she decided to bring just the good stuff to one show and was sold out. She was scared to try it but now has stopped making the cheap items altogether. She found that other customer base that is willing and happy to pay for quality.

 

If that $5 dish person was in the next booth and someone mentioned his prices to me I would just smile and agree that yes, it probably was the cheapest pot in the show. Then I would start to tell them about my work and why it cost more and why it might be worth it. For some people it will never be worth it and for them the phrase is "Well, my work is not for everybody." :rolleyes:

 

The biggest mistake you could make would be to drop your prices to compete with him ... then it would be down to who goes broke first.

 

 

Dear All,

 

I have been away all day. I must say the conversation is really interesting!!! I am not sure where this potter is now but for some reason the story stuck with me. I am glad I shared it.

 

Nelly

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Lucille Oka    16

Since reading about the $5.00 Potter, I have had mixed opinions. I can see how this can be advantageous for him and if he continues in that vein he will be known as ‘a $5.00 Potter’.

 

This ‘tag’ worked for F.W. Woolworth with his ‘Five and Dime’ business and he didn’t do badly. His company was in almost every state, almost every city and in many foreign countries; it lasted over one hundred years.

 

But doing this gives the ‘$5.00 Potter’ a stigma of having ‘cheap’ pots, meaning not very well made.

 

As potters we know that in order for this potter to produce ware that costs $5.00 not much labor and not much care can go into this work. It has to be quickly made with no real effort.

 

From an educator’s standpoint I think it helps the attempts to educate the public about pottery; the making of comparisons and judging which works are best. Critiquing becomes much easier. But this will happen not without putting down the ‘lesser’ or ‘cheaply made wares’. The ‘$5.00 Potter’ gives a gauge by which we can use to compare the ‘better works’ the ‘higher end’ wares. I don’t know how he will feel about this ‘tagging’. But he opens himself up to it.

 

 

 

Maybe that is the best way to critique pottery based on cost. You know the best $5.00 pot, the best $25.00 pot, and the best $400.00 pot.

 

Is it really worth $400.00 or can you get a better deal buying a $5.00 pot?

 

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I'm sorry to tell you Chris, but Cone 28 is where it is all happening. And real potters do all of that construction work of studio, wheel, kiln, and shelves without the use of those corrupting influences: power tools. But keep at it..... in 2,000 years you might be getting close to acheiving this goal.

 

best,

 

.......................john :P;)

[/quote

 

hate to break it to you john, just ask the guys at coortek ceramic--cone 32 is where all the action is these days ;)

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JBaymore    1,432
hate to break it to you john, just ask the guys at coortek ceramic--cone 32 is where all the action is these days ;)

 

 

 

 

Darn it....... I just can't keep up! B) Know anywhere where I can find more wood?

 

best,

 

...................john

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yedrow    8

Lucilla,

 

I don't disagree with you. For me personally, I primarily care about two things, what I think about it, and what the customer thinks about it. My sole objective is to create a piece that is cherished by its owner. I don't get much more than that out of this craft. I do feel pride when someone/anyone likes my work. And I like to see what people like. But aesthetic input from another potter, in my limited experience, tends to be of little value. It's like an animal feeding off of its own species. Its a feedback loop. I think this is where a lot of the group think rises from in the craft. I see genuine work out there, but there is this huge back channel of similar work that draws influence, seemingly, from the same well. I personally try my best to keep away from this, especially when it is being forced upon me. I had a guy one time spend a few months telling me my handles looked like something a school kid did and trying to get me to imitate his extruded handles. I say, stick to your own style. It is the only thing you have any chance of being best at.

 

Joel.

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Edith Marie    1

Coke can't criticize Pepsi. Ralph Lauren can't criticize Betsy Johnson; Arnon Milchan can't criticize Quentin Tarantino, why? Because they are in the same businesses the critique cannot be trusted. Ergo potters can't criticize potters.

Notice how it doesn't sit well with potters. We can't take it, especially from each other. Many of us get jealous and angry at other's potential successes. We are all vying for the same pottery dollar.

 

In other venues such as movies, plays, art, books and restaurants the critics are not writing to the ‘makers’ of the ‘works’ but to the public. Not to say the maker’s will not read the reviews it affects their bottom lines; they most certainly do. But I will never ‘personally’ or ‘not personally’ accept a critique from competitors.

 

 

Pardon my bluntness but what a bunch of nonsense! It's not only nonsense, it's insulting. I'd wager that Tarantino is more interested in Milchan's critique of Pulp Fiction than he is of Roger Ebert's review even though Ebert's review has more effect on his bottom line. That's all writers groups do is sit around criticizing each others work in great detail. They are doing that to possibly learn something about their own work from people they respect and to help other writers. They have nothing in common with the relationship between Pepsi and Coke. WHEN ONE OF THEM HAS A PUBLISHING SUCCESS THEY THROW A PARTY, NOT A TANTRUM. Potters are the same way. When we fire the only anagama in middle Georgia a dozen or so potters come together to fire it and I don't think a single one of us is hoping our "competition's" pots come out looking bad. Last Spring for the biggest (or maybe second biggest) show in Georgia, one of my "competitor's" kiln broke down. I busted my ass to get her pots fired in my kilns in time for the show, even to the point of leaving a few of my pots out of the show. Recently, I have what may be a big break for me in that a collector who donated an incredibly beautiful collection of 807 pots to the Crocker Museum started a new collection by buying all of my anagama bottles. The first thing I did was introduce him to one of my "competitors" who makes better anagama pots than I do. I'm not bragging about being a nice guy; it's just that those are the examples that spring to mind and I don't know a single potter (except maybe you and, fortunately, I don't really know you) who wouldn't do the same thing for his/her "competition".

 

Jim

 

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koreyej    1

The competition for who is the most "real" potter is one that I am determined to win ... so I have decided to plant my own forest so by the time I build my own studio, wheel, kiln and shelves ... dig my own clay from a local river bank and process it ... mine and grind my own minerals and chemicals .... the forest will be mature enough for me to harvest enough wood to fire the work I will have made in my spare time. I will also be firing to at least Cone 20 so as to have the pleasure of hand chipping clay from shelves.laugh.gif

 

 

 

I'm sorry to tell you Chris, but Cone 28 is where it is all happening. And real potters do all of that construction work of studio, wheel, kiln, and shelves without the use of those corrupting influences: power tools. But keep at it..... in 2,000 years you might be getting close to acheiving this goal.

 

best,

 

.......................john tongue.gifwink.gif

 

 

I really appreciate your comments about "real potting". Made me laugh. I have heard a bit of this snobbery over the years and wondered how other potters reacted to it. Glad to know some of you think it is just as ridiculous as I do.

 

I view it like this: my math teacher used to make us learn how to do calculations by hand. Then we got to use the calculator. It's nice to know how to do some of these things on your own, and have an appreciation of where materials come from, how much energy it takes to fire a kiln, etc. However, it's not cheating to use the calculator (or the electric kiln, or Mason stains, or premade clay, or even a commercial glaze or two). It's efficient.:Dsrc="http://ceramicartsdaily.org/community/public/style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif">

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kheicksen    3

We are artists and each of us produce something at least a little different from each other with our own personal flair and energy given to our work. Each type of piece appeals to a different kind of person. There is a huge diversity of taste in style. We are not competitors. We are fellow travelers, students and teachers. Being offended and annoyed by critique, unrequested or otherwise, is a waste of your mental space and emotional time. Take it. Learn from it. Perhaps all you will learn is that your work isn't appealing to the sort of person that made that comment. You can use that info to better identify  and target YOUR market. 

 

I don't envy other potters. I admire. I am in awe. I hope to reach their level some day. That does not mean that my work will look anything like their's though or that we would be competing for sales from the same types of customers. 

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Benzine    610

I'm jealous of other potters and artists in general, but just because I am envious of their work and abilitiy.  But it just makes me want to become a better artist.  I would never bad mouth, or try to diminish another artist's work, when talking to other people. 

 

I have known artists/ art educators, who didn't feel the same way though.  When talking to others, about my work, they'd say "Well that piece wasn't very hard to do", or "He (Myself) doesn't know how to do that".  Basically, they were trying to make themselves look better, by making me look worse.

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Wyndham    98

This goes under the heading"Where Angels fear to tread"

 

So as not to be misunderstood, an example, not a real life event.

 

A customer says that they have purchased mugs from an unnamed potter. they show you the mug and that in the microwave the mug gets hot and almost burned her fingers. You go on to explain why moisture is in an improperly fired mug and why it burned her. You demo in a microwave that your mug does not heat up.

 

Later at a art fair you see the same potter who does not understand how to properly fire and vitrify  the clay used in their mugs.

 

What is your responsibility, say something, nothing, let the buyer beware.

 

BTW imported talcware from elswhere is also a common problem that customers don't know about, but I digress.

Wyndham

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Benzine    610

This goes under the heading"Where Angels fear to tread"

 

So as not to be misunderstood, an example, not a real life event.

 

A customer says that they have purchased mugs from an unnamed potter. they show you the mug and that in the microwave the mug gets hot and almost burned her fingers. You go on to explain why moisture is in an improperly fired mug and why it burned her. You demo in a microwave that your mug does not heat up.

 

Later at a art fair you see the same potter who does not understand how to properly fire and vitrify  the clay used in their mugs.

 

What is your responsibility, say something, nothing, let the buyer beware.

 

BTW imported talcware from elswhere is also a common problem that customers don't know about, but I digress.

Wyndham

You could "Play Dumb" and ask about their work, getting into what type of clay/ glaze/ process they use.  After they tell you, what is already known, you could ask, "Well aren't you concerned about the issues associated with doing that?"

That would be the best way to go about it, in my opinion.  I think informing them, is a good idea.  I'd want to know, if it were me.

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