I have to say that I really enjoy this forum. There are some highly intelligent people writing on here.
One thing I learned from Mark Cortnoy ,when selling your work- cover your basis. Try to have a lot of variety. I could have sold 6 mugs, if I had them in brown. I do have a nice Temmoku brown, but it doesn't take decoration well. Would it hurt me to glaze up a dozen mugs in brown?
I have two,two day sales in my studio a year. Last sale I had a beautiful turquoise glaze on a dozen mugs. They walked out of the studio. I had a bunch of slab built trays that were artistically decorated with balanced colour and surface pieces of clay attached. Not one sold. So, you need to make things with a clear function that your customers can see an obvious use for, if you are in the game of selling your work.
I like to sell my work, but I do not like to sell my soul. I guess I will only go so far with the compromises. I do not make French butter dishes, for instance. Now you are into the whole debate of whether you are an artist, a crafts person, or a seller of chotchkas.[goo-gaws]
I think people still want beauty in their lives. It is tough to slap down $720.00 for a painting. Less painful to spend $25.00 on a mug. I still love painting though.
This is why I agree with John Baymore about not using the term; "playing with clay". I never refer to clay as mud. Clay is a mineral. Yes, I feel that I have a monkey on my back. Yes, I feel that when the winters are long and cold and dark, it's tough to get into the studio. I put on my parka and boots to walk 15 feet out my back door to my heated studio. Sometimes the door is frozen shut and I have to get a hair dryer to thaw the lock. But the thought of not being able to spend time in my studio makes me walk back to the house to get the dryer.
Even if I just stand in my space. Even if I just move stuff around. Even if I sand 40 mugs-I'm in there thinking. Even if I look at glaze test tiles.I am now mixing up that Reitz green from the John Britt high fire book.
For me it's not the selling, it's the making. The selling is a hassle, but I do it.
I also teach high school art. I had a conversation with a first year teacher who is teaching one art class in the afternoon to Grade 9's. I had to explain to him that you have to teach the basics. You have to teach the colour wheel and complementary colours before you can expect to get a good painting out of these students. He went to art school for performance art. I don't know how you get through drawing without using a pencil, but there you go! I am now old and set in my ways.
I was at a show opening last Friday. My buddy Tim and another painter Armand. Tom gave up pottery to become a painter. He is retired from the health care industry-age 62. Cost him $500.00 to rent the gallery plusprint out colour invitations and posters. I visited the show twice. The paintings were beautiful landscapes in acrylic. $720 a pop. The one I wanted to buy was $1800.00.Couldn't swing it. I went back the next week to look at the work again, because I like to look at work when it is not crowded. Nothing had sold. Took him three years to paint the paintings. He is in Poro Vallarta this week getting away from the cold.
Last night I went to the same gallery, as I knew a nurse who is also a painter. We went to art school together but I didn't know her work [class of 1975]. I was a women only show-5 women artists. Same deal. Beautiful work, no sales. These artists have to pay to show their work here, and do the set up and take down with help from the co-coordinator. I think they make money on the bar, but the artists do not see any of this revenue. I bought a beer.