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Jennifer Harnetty

Pottery/ceramics Cooperatives

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A CAD subscriber sent this to me and I thought I would share it since others may have similar questions: Myself and two long time friends, are in the early but progressing stages of setting up our "Studio / Gallery". To preserve our very sacred friendship, succeed in our goal, and of course grow and prosper, I was wondering if you have published any papers, books etc. on working together as a co-op . We would be very interested in any direction you can send us because the more info the better! After viewing the videos of the pottery studio tours, it struck me that the energy that ceramicartsdaily generates you would be a great research point!

 

Here's my response:

In the January 2007 of Ceramics Monthly there is a great article about the Union Project, a nonprofit co-op in Pittsburgh. The founders of the Union Project did a great deal of research and share a lot of their findings in this article. Check your local library to find the archived issue of CM. Also, the entire research document was posted at one time on the Union Project's website: www.unionproject.org. Not sure if it is still there.

 

Other than that, I would suggest browsing the CAD website (we have a lot of articles by working artists that might be insightful), as well as talking to other organizations that you see as models.

 

Can anyone else weigh in on good resources for this type of project?

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Hi Jennifer,

i am a member of a ceramics cooperative/gallery in Jerusalem. We are 14 potters under the same roof showing and selling together for more than 20 years already. I joined the coop 10 years after it had been established and i am more familiar with the ongoing routine. I might help you with some specific issues. Good luck! Ida

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This topic is exactly what I've been looking for information on, and I'm posting this in the hope of re-activating and re-energizing this discussion. I'm in the very early planning stages of working toward having my own studio, but the idea of having a cooperative studio and gallery is very appealing. Anyone else here have any tips, experiences, good books to read, links to sites, and any other helpful words to share?

 

Thanks to all who do!

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I am part of a 12 member co-op in Dunedin, New Zealand. We run a ceramics gallery, dividing the duties and running costs between us. We are open six days a week, so each 'man' the gallery one day a fortnight. We don't pay commission, just divide up the running costs as a flat monthly charge.

We all work from elsewhere, mostly from home.

Running the gallery as a co-op has lots of pluses..

-only 1/12th of the cost for each of us

-each only need to be on site one day a fortnight, freeing up time for potting or other jobs

-we can put what we like in the gallery, no dealers to negotiate with

-being part of a supportive community of like-minded artists

-no commission

Minuses too..

-getting 12 people to agree on anything

-strong personalities could dominate, though I have to say, that really hasn't been much of a problem

-some members selling a lot less than others still have to come up with the rent

We've been running six years, now and it seems to work. In these harder economic times, it's good to pool our resources!

Cheers,

Jo

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