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
(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??!!!)