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Told To Get A "real" Job

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#21 TJR

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 11:29 AM

I love the snow, but my studio,which is in an old service station,does not function too well at 25 deg f. So we just settle in and wait till the roads clear, feed the birds and put small warm coats on the squirrels and possums that come by for a visit.

The roads are clear today so back to the shop.

Wyndham

Made me smile. How do you catch the squirrels to put little coats on them?

T.



#22 JBaymore

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 12:05 PM

John, when I first read that, I thought you said you were still snowboarding.

I had a flash of an image of you riding a snow board, with a sword strapped to your back.

 

I'm a two sticker.... not a one sticker. ;) Been skiing since I was a kid. Still current Level III PSIA Cert and former PSIAE Ed Staff member.....but no longer teach skiing at all. Pottery hasn't damaged my body much.... but high level skiing has. :rolleyes: I've been in PT all winter so far for some rehab of some long term skiing damage ....... and with Dr.'s permission went skiing for a couple of hours yesterday for the first time this season. So far, so good.

 

Little known fact........

 

While used sometimes for the transport of a katana by Ninja, the "swords in saya (sheath) on the back with the hilts projecting above the shoulder"......... doesn't really work in a combat situation. It is a "ninja" movie convention. For a normal length katana, the amount you can extend your hand and arm over your head in the draw usually isn't enough to get the tip of the sword to clear out of the saya. This fact has repeatedly be demonstrated in lots of dojos.

 

It can be done,..... but it is not something you'd want to have to do in a fight. To do it usually the saya has to be mounted very low on the back, so the tsuka (hilt) does not project as highly above the back as is typically seen in the movies and anime.

 

Looks cool and kinda' threatening sitting there with the hilts high in the air though.

 

Watch the movies carefully........ you'll typically see the person start to draw, there will be some sort of a cinematic visual cutaway, and the katana will be flashing away already out of the saya. You won't see the sword actually come off the back out of the saya. The exception to this would be a short sword, a person with an extermenly ununual arm length to body size, or anime manga and movies.

 

best,

 

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

 

PS: How do you find the right size coats for the squirrels?


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#23 GEP

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 12:16 PM

My first test for hiring a new "financial advisor"........  they better be driving either a Rolls (riding in it while someone else drives) or a Lamborgini (themselves), their offices should look like a set for a company from a James Bond movie, and their home better have at least 23 bathrooms, a heated olympic swimming pool (inside), a staff of 10 to manage things, and electrified fences and armed security guys with big bad-lookin' dogs. ;)
 


I've been working with the same accountant for 18 years. During this time he became a partner in his firm, and now owns two houses and a boat. Not too shabby! He does a great job and deserves it all.
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#24 Chris Campbell

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 04:27 PM

My husband is a financial advisor ... But he only advises ... does not sell any financial products. He feels that ( for him ) this is the only way to give people fair advice. It really makes his day when he works with people who listen and follow his advice ... then, see the huge difference a year or two makes.
What always amazes me is the people who pay for his advice and never follow through. Maybe he should park the Rolls in the driveway and stop asking the house staff to stay out of the way.
I am in Atlanta still waiting for my cancelled/ rebooked flight home tomorrow ... Snowy Raleigh is finally thawing so I can get back.

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#25 Mark C.

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 04:47 PM

UH oh Mea I own two houses and two boats maybe I should be advising???

I have had the same account for 25 years untll this Monday-as she retired this past year and we have a new person we have yet to met on Monday.

I'll have to let the home staff in on the details it will break the butlers heart.

 

 

TJR the jackets are the easy part its the socks and shoes that are hard to get on them with those tiny laces.

My squirrels are training for two rodent bobsled races held next year in  Manatoba

Mark


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#26 Benzine

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 04:54 PM

 
TJR the jackets are the easy part its the socks and shoes that are hard to get on them with those tiny laces.
Mark


Might I suggest rodent-sized Slip on Vans?
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#27 Wyndham

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 09:45 PM

 

I love the snow, but my studio,which is in an old service station,does not function too well at 25 deg f. So we just settle in and wait till the roads clear, feed the birds and put small warm coats on the squirrels and possums that come by for a visit.

The roads are clear today so back to the shop.

Wyndham

Made me smile. How do you catch the squirrels to put little coats on them?

T.

 

Make them and they will come,smart they are.

Wyndham



#28 Mudslinger Ceramics

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 12:42 AM

Mmmm, yes, the 'real' job..........

 

Wanted to go to art school since I was 17, had immigrant parents and told to get a REAL job, ended up working for our federal public service in Taxation, Defence and Social Security....you can just imagine the 'joy' this dry administrative work bought me.......

 

40 years old, one child, a dead marriage and a well deserved mid-life crises saw me walk out of a very secure job and into art school......... art degrees fed my mind and engaged a deep excitement in the joys and frustrations of creating my own visual statements in the world..................yes, much, much poorer but, without lie, each day in my studio energises me more than my well paid job did.............

 

My own caution encourages my son to pursue an engineering degree but his acting classes each week are absolutely essential, they bring him an animated joy that no amount of 'real' work will provide.......

 

a bit esoteric maybe but is a REAL job only measured in money?    ....or might it be in the engagement and excitement at what we do?  If a REAL job is measured by happiness and not money then I AM doing it!

 

Financial advisors are like take-out meals.........food poisoning once, never go back...........

 

Irene

 

P.S. Had an intereseting conversation with a potter of  +20 years 3 days ago who talked about becoming 'real' artist!!!  (see painter!)

 

We have spaces in a multi-disciplined art studio complex and our conversation was around the perceived value of ceramic works in comparison to painting works in our society ..... for a regular potter 1 week + equipment/materials + expenses yeilds a pot of $25-150 (??) and for a painter/painting $650-$10,000 !!!!

 

Maybe the 'big guns' ...Min, Mark C, John, Marcia, Chris, et al....might be able to talk us through that perception!


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#29 ChenowethArts

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 07:12 AM


a bit esoteric maybe but is a REAL job only measured in money?    ....or might it be in the engagement and excitement at what we do?  If a REAL job is measured by happiness and not money then I AM doing it!

 

Oh, not esoteric at all, Mudslinger.  I am not kidding myself to think that I will ever be wealthy (monetarily) by making things from clay, but the joy I receive personally and the joy that I see in people who make a connection to me through a piece that I have made is priceless (no offense MasterCard).  I would like to dream that some of this joy means that I am actually doing something worthwhile/creative/appreciated and that there are those who recognize that and are willing to part with some of their monies.  I do ask myself on occasion, "Just who are you making this for?"...and when I can honestly answer that there is something of me in the piece that is worthy of sharing with someone else, I am doing the right thing.

 

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#30 Chris Campbell

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 10:33 AM

"We have spaces in a multi-disciplined art studio complex and our conversation was around the perceived value of ceramic works in comparison to painting works in our society ..... for a regular potter 1 week + equipment/materials + expenses yeilds a pot of $25-150 (??) and for a painter/painting $650-$10,000 !!!!

Maybe the 'big guns' ...Min, Mark C, John, Marcia, Chris, et al....might be able to talk us through that perception!"


Sorry, this is not just perception but reality. In a survey done a few years ago potters were second from the bottom in earnings for all types of Art. The only people we beat it out were the mixed media/crafts people.

In my opinion ... And it is only my opinion not a fact ... I think there are several causes of this.

One - the myth of the humble potter supplying wares for the community at a price all can afford.
Two - experienced potters stubborn resistance to increasing their prices to create a market for well made pottery.
Three - our lack of arrogance in proclaiming the worth of our wares.
Four - our inability to get around our own mythology to reach the people with money who are more than willing to pay.

We are marketing and pricing for the 1960's but unfortunately, living in the next century.
You would never hear a painter or glass blower say they priced their work so everyone could afford it!

Chris Campbell
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#31 JBaymore

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 10:54 AM

In my opinion ... And it is only my opinion not a fact ... I think there are several causes of this.

One - the myth of the humble potter supplying wares for the community at a price all can afford.
Two - experienced potters stubborn resistance to increasing their prices to create a market for well made pottery.
Three - our lack of arrogance in proclaiming the worth of our wares.
Four - our inability to get around our own mythology to reach the people with money who are more than willing to pay.

We are marketing and pricing for the 1960's but unfortunately, living in the next century.
You would never hear a painter or glass blower say they priced their work so everyone could afford it!

 

 

Chris has nailed it square on. We are our own worst enemy.

 

"I'm gonna go play in the mud."

 

"I play with clay."

 

"Ceramics; the world's most fascinating hobby."

 

 

Tom Peters, marketing guru, relative to products: "Perception is all there is. There is no reality. There is only perceived reality."

 

 

The misunderstanding of the Mingei Movement in Japan in the US by SO many has done more damage to the contemporary craft of pottery that anything I can think of. Kawaii, Hamada, Leach, et all were NOT Mingei craftspeople.... and they never were. They were highly trained visual artists that knew the high value of their own work. They were INSPIRED by Mingei aesthetics for sure.... but they knew how to charge for their work.

 

The philosophy of "Cheap Pots for Everyman" is certainly a noble concept....... but it tends to keep the whole profession econionically depressed, and is not doing a 'service to the field' when gasoline costs $3.50 a gallon and people cannot live on minimum wage .

 

Many of us often complain of the impacts of cheap imports from China on things. Well......... what about cheap non-imports from right here in the good ole' USA?

 

Compounding this is the fact that the US education system does not spend much time anymore teaching people about making tangible things or the arts. So the general population has litle formal aesthetic or craftsmanship understanding. So the public in general differentiating between the work of a highly skilled artist and that of a newer person learning the art is not there.

 

This is not "politically correct" to say.... but I will anyway:

 

My advice to START to fix this: get pretty darn skilled before you move to selling in the marketplace, and then price your work commensurate to the time and skills it took to get there.

 

best,

 

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


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#32 GEP

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 11:20 AM

For a full-time working potter, a week's worth of work yields a whole lot more than $25 - $150. I actually just did an exercise for myself, trying to figure out the correct pace of production for me, and landed on $2500 for a week's production. Or more accurately, to make $5000 every two weeks, followed by one week of firing/glazing. So really it's $5000 every three weeks. I betcha Mark C., Wyndham, and others are producing at a higher rate than this.

It's not that I don't agree with Chris and John about potters undervaluing themselves. It's a problem. However, working potters make up for the affordable prices with high rates of production and selling. I've also seen the opposite problem ... ceramists making large-scale art pieces and trying to charge $1500 - $5000 per piece, and having zero sales at a show. Or maybe one sale, still a net loss. I think high-end paintings have the same high-risk. At some shows, they will make a killing, and at most shows they will make zero. Whereas a functional potter can make a fairly consistent income at all shows.

I would not trade my affordable functional pottery business model for the high-risk $3000 art pieces.
Mea Rhee
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#33 Chilly

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 11:34 AM

 

........ gasoline costs $3.50 a gallon ........

 

best,

 

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

 

 

Wait till it's over $2 a litre like it is in the UK.

 

I think some of the "pricing" issues are that pottery creates both functional and art pieces.  Painting tends not to be functional (Sign-writers excepted).  So  when people see mugs in the pound shop, why whould they want to pay more for hand-built, exclusive pieces of (mug) art?


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#34 JBaymore

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 12:47 PM

I think some of the "pricing" issues are that pottery creates both functional and art pieces.  Painting tends not to be functional (Sign-writers excepted).  So  when people see mugs in the pound shop, why whould they want to pay more for hand-built, exclusive pieces of (mug) art?

 

 

A Mercesdes and a Lotus and a Lamborgini are all also "functional".  They also happen to be a 'cut above' the physical craftsmanship and aesthetics of an old (pick your automotiove target here).   They would want to buy them because they are (potentially from the really skilled artist/craftsperson) a 'cut above' the physical craftsmanship and aesthetics of a Walmart 'I heart My Poodle" cylindrical mass produced 1/2" thick mug.

 

But that assumes the awareness that there might be a difference.  And we are back to my comments about aesthetic and craftsmanship training in the education systems today and the new focus on stuff like STEM, rather than STEAM. 

 

The problem is finding the right venues and manner of selling to the higher price points.  And to do so the WORK must be appropriate.  You likely can't sell a Ford for a Lamborgini price ;)  .

 

best,

 

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

 

And yeah......... us Americans are spoiled by gas prices.  But America has essentially no effective mass transit other than in large city centers... so we are quite dependent on the car.  And American is BIG.  When I go somewhere here, it is often the equivelent of going thru England, France, and Germany in Eurpope.  And I'm only changing States.


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#35 Bob Coyle

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 01:52 PM

 

And we are back to my comments about aesthetic and craftsmanship training in the education systems today and the new focus on stuff like STEM, rather than STEAM.

 

I started doing some simple blacksmithing of stands for my pots. they sold quick and at three times the price I would have gotten for the pots alone. Not even close to three times the labor was involved. Perception is everything. More STEM...less STEAM



#36 Chris Campbell

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 03:27 PM

"I think some of the "pricing" issues are that pottery creates both functional and art pieces. Painting tends not to be functional (Sign-writers excepted). So when people see mugs in the pound shop, why whould they want to pay more for hand-built, exclusive pieces of (mug) art?"

For the exact same reason a .65 cent cup of coffee costs $3.50 at Starbucks.
Perception.
If WE don't think a well designed, beautifully balanced, perfectly executed mug is worth more than a beginner's wobbly we are lost.
Yes, a production potter who makes the kind of excellent wares Mea makes can and is making a good living wage everywhere.
But the argument is not the $15 mug versus the $5000 work of art .... It lies in the middle.
Building an appreciation for the craft that allows a customer to justify a $300 platter.

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#37 Bob Coyle

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 07:52 PM

 

If WE don't think a well designed, beautifully balanced, perfectly executed mug is worth more than a beginner's wobbly we are lost.

I'm pretty sure the general public... and even collectors don't understand quality in ceramics. They mostly buy what is "in" rather than what is good. People may pay $15-25 for a mug that speaks to them, but they will be very reluctant to  pay $200-$300 dollars for a platter from a relative unknown potter, no matter how well it is executed.

 

Chris, I'd buy yours every time rather than an over priced lump of clay Peter Voulkas has stomped on, but  most would not.

 

So I guess the moral of the story is like the Zen master said, "Just work".



#38 Chris Campbell

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 09:02 PM

"So I guess the moral of the story is like the Zen master said, "Just work"

One part of me agrees, while the other is eternally annoyed that we potters are not prouder and louder!
Myself included BTW

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#39 Mudslinger Ceramics

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 07:43 AM

 In my opinion ... And it is only my opinion not a fact ... I think there are several causes of this.

One - the myth of the humble potter supplying wares for the community at a price all can afford.
Two - experienced potters stubborn resistance to increasing their prices to create a market for well made pottery.
Three - our lack of arrogance in proclaiming the worth of our wares.
Four - our inability to get around our own mythology to reach the people with money who are more than willing to pay.

We are marketing and pricing for the 1960's but unfortunately, living in the next century.
You would never hear a painter or glass blower say they priced their work so everyone could afford it!

 

 

Chris,  strongly agree... have had considerable frustrations with an artist run gallery in an affluent suburb where potters with 30 year long experience will price a beautifully made mug for $8-12!!.....and they have no idea why the 'younger ones' (who do this as work and not a hobby) insist on charging $25-50 for 'just a mug' and tell us 'oh, you can't expect someone to pay that much!!   They are gorgeous people yet trying to change their mind-set is a hard task so I now only stock my least expensive products there.

 

The reason a person makes pottery contributes significantly to their pricing policy as well I've noticed......so many people make their pottery as an aside to their REAL jobs and so don't have the impetus to see the working value of what they do. Others of course work out clearly what their time/materials/energy is worth because their living relies on it.

 

Then it comes down to the intended customer group, who do we make it for....everyone? or 'those customers'?  

Some in the artist run gallery will discount heavily to secure the sale at any price because they want 'everyone' to buy it......which sabotages the rest of us as well as the reputation of the gallery and handmade ceramics as a whole. There's 4 of us who hold our prices steady and make sales anyway to people who are drawn to our work but even that success doesn't change the old mind-sets. So my work now is categorised into different products to suit my different outlets that way I still find relevant markets but don't under-price.

 

........and, to be fair to my painter colleagues at the studio...potters have Chinese imports/cheap department stores and hobby ceramics undermining the worth of our work.....painters too now shriek over the Chinese imports and do-it-yourself  'wall art'  that has developed with the rise of the home improvements and decorating TV shows......masking tape+ string on a big cheap canvas with a roller full of paint that matches your decor this season and can be discarded to the thrift store when replaced by next season's trend!! ...awful stuff

 

 

Irene

 

 

(Mind you, the value of conceptual art quite bewilders me......  plastic cup, car tyre and old navel lint = deeply contemplative social statement: acquired for $20,000 by prestigous gallery............what is that about??!!!)


Mudslinger Ceramics :   www.mudslingerceramics.net

 

'Don't worry about your originality. You couldn't get rid of it even if you wanted to.

It will stick with you and show up for better or for worse in spite of all you or anyone else can do.'

                                                                              - Robert Henri





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