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ideas for a weekend pottery workshop please


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#1 oldlady

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 11:00 PM

i am toying with the idea of offering a private "workshop" on weekends next summer. since i live on the potomac river and am not too far from DC or Baltimore i thought i might mix lessons with something fun for people considering getting into pottery. showing how a working studio might look, visiting some of the many potters in the area to see how differing techniques dictate different studios. using a wheel or slab roller and trying new techniques the "student" may not know combined with free time to use the canoe, etc. i am thinking friday evening through sunday evening so they can get home in time to rest up for work on monday. i have two extra bedrooms and thought maybe offering a parent and child experience could work.

i can't think of how to plan a weekend of this type and wonder if any of you have had any experience with something like this. i am certainly not Penland or Brasstown or Archie Bray and i would never attempt to try to approach seasoned potters. i believe there is a market for what i am thinking if i can just crystallize it. where would i advertise something like this other than ceramics monthly's april edition. i tried that a couple of years ago and the phone number was printed incorrectly so i got nothing from that source and was discouraged enough not to try again.

any suggestions? i've considered posting notes at the supply centers and wherever there is a bulletin board potential clients might see. what else can i do?
"putting you down does not raise me up."

#2 Potterylover

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 11:02 AM

i am toying with the idea of offering a private "workshop" on weekends next summer. since i live on the potomac river and am not too far from DC or Baltimore i thought i might mix lessons with something fun for people considering getting into pottery. showing how a working studio might look, visiting some of the many potters in the area to see how differing techniques dictate different studios. using a wheel or slab roller and trying new techniques the "student" may not know combined with free time to use the canoe, etc. i am thinking friday evening through sunday evening so they can get home in time to rest up for work on monday. i have two extra bedrooms and thought maybe offering a parent and child experience could work.

i can't think of how to plan a weekend of this type and wonder if any of you have had any experience with something like this. i am certainly not Penland or Brasstown or Archie Bray and i would never attempt to try to approach seasoned potters. i believe there is a market for what i am thinking if i can just crystallize it. where would i advertise something like this other than ceramics monthly's april edition. i tried that a couple of years ago and the phone number was printed incorrectly so i got nothing from that source and was discouraged enough not to try again.

any suggestions? i've considered posting notes at the supply centers and wherever there is a bulletin board potential clients might see. what else can i do?


I'm fairly new to pottery and live in the Silver Spring area. While I take classes at The Little Pottery Shop in Frederick and have my own studio space at home, I would find the experience you are thinking of offering invaluable. I'm not sure where you could list...other pottery course places? Plaza Art?

Any way, I would be mtersted very much.

#3 oldlady

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:33 PM

surely someone has SOMETHING to say about this? good idea, bad idea? we who live alone never hear anyone else's opinion. give advice, please.
"putting you down does not raise me up."

#4 trina

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 02:23 PM

Hi there, I run a small art centre so do this kind of thing from time to time. I would love to give you some advice but my question is: Do you need help with the marketing or actually planning what you would do, like a schedule of what people expect expect to happen. Do you have any idea of what you would charge and how many people would attend. Let me know....or pm me and we can do a live chat thing if we can figure out how it works...T

#5 Rebel_Rocker

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 05:22 PM

Bed and Breakfast Ceramic Experience. Could be pretty cool, I can see the best customers being couples who want to just get a new experience.

Obviously it would be hard to get a full ceramics class in a weekend, especially if you want to include trips to galleries, etc... But it would be a cool vacation xperience to see the in and outs of the studio, play with clay, see galleries. And I don't know, maybe you fire and mail pieces to them at a later date?

You'd need to include a shipping fee and limit pieces to a certian size, maybe have a project that everyone gets to do. A slab box or something. Something easy to create in a day, then they just pick a one color glaze or a two tone you have samples of (you bisque/glaze/fire Monday after they leave)

#6 Idaho Potter

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 07:31 PM

I agree with Rebel Rocker, a weekend isn't a lot of time for the uninitiated beginner. Why not call it an introduction to ceramics or a studio tour? You could demonstrate wheel thrown pottery, and have some (or one) handbuilt item partially finished so you could show them that aspect by finishing the piece. Harken back to when you learned. Would you have felt satisfied with a weekend when you were a beginner? And even if your weekend was six hous a day, your students might get one pot to keep. It would be pretty intensive, and doesn't sound like what you had in mind.

In giving classes, I finally decided the way to make sure the students knew what they were getting into was to demo a little of everything--including wedging--so they would know how physical and how dirty they could be every class. It was the only way to filter out the dilittantes and have a class of enthusiastic students. It took one more day, but sure beat having people sign up then walk out after the first night never to be seen again.

As to advertising--first you have to decide what kind of students you want and then pinpoint your advertising to them. When I lived in McCall (pop. 3000) I tried the local newspaper--without results. Posted flyers on various public bulletin boards offering Ceramic Classes (changed that to Pottery Classes)--still no interest. Finally changed the flyers to read WANNA PLAY IN THE MUD? Awaken your inner child and have some fun! It worked! Actually had two six week sessions that summer. In D.C. I haven't a clue how to reach the audience you are looking for, but I wish you good luck. If I lived there, I'd come.

Shirley

#7 woody b

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 10:01 PM

If you're not familiar with his workshop, check out John Brickels in VT. He runs the "3:00 a.m. Mad Scientists Workshop." It's brilliant and evidently very popular!

#8 oldlady

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:23 PM

thanks, all

you have helped me see that what i am talking about is an experience for only one or two people at a time who are at that stage of interest where they would be seeking info on starting their own studio or taking classes. my thoughts were to try to introduce them to whatever method of work they want to experience, not actually producing a product. trying a wheel, trying a slab roller, trying wedging, but not with the intent to take something tangible home. the emphasis would be that the field is so big that an individual needs to try different techniques and processes to decide what to do next. and since i have most of the equipment and some of the skill, i could help.

with emphasis on learning a particular skill i would give individual instruction, designed by the student before they arrive. working all day saturday and sunday, 9 to 5, concentrating on whatever skill the student wants to learn that i can help them do.

something like "Immerse yourself in MUD!" (thanks, shirley)

i am at the library using their computer since mine is still in the car and i haven't arranged for service yet. only 3 minutes left. bye for now.
"putting you down does not raise me up."




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