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nancylee

How to find production pottery jobs?

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Hi all,

I am looking to change careers - I teach, but have had enough of the ridiculous changes that occur every 3 to 4 years, and all of the paperwork and all of the nonsense that goes along with the joy of working with kids. I can retire in 4 years, but my pension will be the same whether I retire now, or then. Minuscule. And 4 years seems like forever to me right now.

 

Since I love pottery, I was thinking of production pottery. I know it is tough work, but I am strong and healthy, thank goodness, knock wood, and it wouldn't be forever, probably for 3 or 4 years.

 

Any ideas how to look? I am in upstate NY, don't really want to relocate, so I know that really limits me. Thanks,

Nancy

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Hi all,

I am looking to change careers - I teach, but have had enough of the ridiculous changes that occur every 3 to 4 years, and all of the paperwork and all of the nonsense that goes along with the joy of working with kids. I can retire in 4 years, but my pension will be the same whether I retire now, or then. Minuscule. And 4 years seems like forever to me right now.

 

Since I love pottery, I was thinking of production pottery. I know it is tough work, but I am strong and healthy, thank goodness, knock wood, and it wouldn't be forever, probably for 3 or 4 years.

 

Any ideas how to look? I am in upstate NY, don't really want to relocate, so I know that really limits me. Thanks,

Nancy

 

 

Where in Upstate NY?

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Guest JBaymore

Salmon Falls Stoneware in NH is ALWAYS looking for new production people. (That tells you something! HIGH turnover.) Look in the back of Ceramics Monthly for details. Most months there is an ad if I remember correctly.

 

I believe that Simon Pierce in VT asl often is looking for new folks.

 

Like most job searches.... you often need to go where the jobs are.

 

And realize that if you have not done that kind of work......... it is a REALLY demanding, highly physically stressful job. One of my students recently spend some time working in just such a setting........ making 300 + pieces a day. Day after day.

 

Real eye opener for him. He was a pretty skilled "academic training" thrower..... kenw how to work in series..... and it took him weeks to get going to the level of precision in the forms and the volume expected.

 

And it is not a get-rich-quick scheme either.

 

best,

 

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

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Hi all,

I am looking to change careers - I teach, but have had enough of the ridiculous changes that occur every 3 to 4 years, and all of the paperwork and all of the nonsense that goes along with the joy of working with kids. I can retire in 4 years, but my pension will be the same whether I retire now, or then. Minuscule. And 4 years seems like forever to me right now.

 

Since I love pottery, I was thinking of production pottery. I know it is tough work, but I am strong and healthy, thank goodness, knock wood, and it wouldn't be forever, probably for 3 or 4 years.

 

Any ideas how to look? I am in upstate NY, don't really want to relocate, so I know that really limits me. Thanks,

Nancy

 

 

Nancylee;

I don't know what to say. I was a production potter. I apprenticed in England and Scotland. I also have an MFA from Alfred which is in Upstate New York. You live in a lovely part of the country. I actually bought cross country skis when I lived there for two and a half years.

My advice to you is;DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB! I have had a great career as an art teacher-26 years, after starving to death as a potter for five years.I work hard as a high school art teacher, but I worked WAY harder as a potter.If you don't like the politics, take a leave of absence, but don't quit. I took an unpaid leave for a year and was an artist in residence at the Archie Bray Foundation for 10 weeks.I also travelled a great deal. I still have a studio, make the kind of work I want, and am in 5 craft fairs a year.

The guy you want to talk to is Mark Cortright, who is on the road selling pots as we speak. He will not have a day off until Christmas.

Please take some time to think this through.

TJR

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Hi,

Thanks for the wise advice. I did take a half of a year off last year. Hated going back. I love my students, everything else is tough. I am a driven person, so i give 100% to my classes every day, snd the job is emotionally draining, with the state always questioning us, and administration having to implement so many changes all of the time. It's become a paperwork job, with some teaching in between. Four years sounds like a prison sentence.

 

Now that I am thinking about it, though, I am 50, doesn't sound like I could throw 300 pieces a day! Well. It was a nice fantasy while it lasted. :)

 

Thanks for knocking some sense into me.

Nancy

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Look at the next four years as the means to an end. Perhaps your school would be willing to let you "job share" with another teacher . . . or teach part time. But, use the time to think where you want to be with your pottery at the time you do retire, and use the time between to position yourself to make that happen . . . could be retiring to become a studio potter. In the meantime, take some workshops to develop skills or learn from someone whose work you like, etc. I'm "semi-retired" . . . for the last couple of years working full-time, pottery helped me make it through the insanity. I was a "lifer" -- did 35 years before making "parole". (And, my wife taught for 30+ years in jr. high, high school, community college, and university . . . so, I can understand your frustration with non-teaching stuff).

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Production work is tough and often very boring. If you want to learn how to make pottery that will sell, and make it fast and precise, then the production experience is very helpful. From what I've seen though you really need at least three years of it to gain much. You might want to consider setting up a wheel and kiln in your garage and looking for locations to set. Perhaps there is a good show nearby. Build steady and transition. Keep your mind on your studio and perhaps the four years will steadily become about you and not about a school.

 

Joel.

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Hi,

Great advice, everyone, thank you. I do have a wheel, and I actually have a little shop where we sell local and American made goods. I want to be home making pottery, not out doing other stuff anymore!!! Sigh.

 

You are all very thoughtful, I appreciate it.

 

Off to the trenches. Have a good day all,

Nancy

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