“You Want How Much For This Mug?”

Pottery Process Primer: Step One: Making Clay

It happened again yesterday.

A visitor to our gallery (can’t be called a customer, they didn’t buy anything) had a few choice words for us about the price of a teapot.

Suffice to say, he suggested that we were rich because our prices were so high. He was not smiling when he said that.

John jokes around when people make passing remarks about the cost of this mug or that goblet, “You’ve heard of the millionaire potters of Door County?” They say no. He says, There you go. Everyone gets the point and laughs and agrees that indeed we are being fair.

We know what the problem is, and it ain’t us.

People don’t have the money to buy what they want. They are frustrated with the whole economy thing and the stress of a vacation just pushes them over the edge into impropriety. Some are closer to that edge than others and then, they zero in on the one person in front of them.

Usually me, since I am in the gallery. And I’m a woman. Fair game, I guess.

Anyway, this man told me he was only joking, and I told him it wasn’t funny and he said too bad, have a good day anyway and left.


Once again, I examine my prices and review my math and think about this whole issue. Again. Ugh.

The fact is that all artists all around the world, and here in my corner of Paradise, have a right and an obligation, to make a living. The starving artist shtick is baloney.

I’m trying to make a living.

So in the interest of my sanity and everyone else’s edification, I will explain, in detail, what it takes to make that $38.00 mug and why it is worth more than that.  The message I’m spreading today is that ‘You are getting a beautiful work of art for a very reasonable cost’.

Chapter One coming up:

Making Clay


12 thoughts on ““You Want How Much For This Mug?”

  1. We have a collection of beautiful handmade mugs, most of which didn’t cost that much (they’re old) but I would gladly rid myself of all the 10 and 12 dollar Chinese mass-produced stuff & have just a few works of art to sip my teecino from. 🙂

  2. Thanks for your comments. I think we all have mugs like that in our cupboard for one reason or another. Even we do. We use them in the studio and workshop to hold and pour things so at least we aren’t donating them to the landfill or the resale shop!

  3. Thanks for your comment, Craig. Your comment is exactly the reason I wrote the previous posts and the ones planned.
    It’s a very fair and reasonable price and in the end, our work isn’t for everyone.
    Thanks again for stopping and taking the time to read and comment.

  4. Well, I know what’s involved in making a mug. As a practicing potter for 47 yrs I’ve made thousands. I own hundreds. I’ve never paid nor charged $38 for a mug. Not being able to see the mug in question, I’m curious as to what makes the price fair and reasonable or if you actually sell many mugs at that price. Kudos to you if you can get $38 but by the same token, I can understand someone questioning the price.

  5. Beautiful glazes, Craig. Thanks for the links to your website. As all artists and craftspeople know, setting a fair price on their work is probably the hardest part of making a living as a full time creative person. Our studio/gallery is located in a tourist area in NE Wisconsin which has a well respected reputation as an arts destination. For the most part the majority of our customers are sophisticated collectors who expect excellence in music, theater, fine art and fine craft. As far as whether our mug, in and of itself, is actually worth the $38, that is determined not by our bottom line or accountant/banker, but by John, the potter. He works very hard to elevate his craft. To make damn sure the mug, and whatever else he makes, is worthy of that price. He’s only had 45 years as a studio potter and believes, as I think you do, that there is more to do and learn in the studio. Recent firing:



    I do so appreciate your comments. The best part is that I got to see your beautiful Mandala Platters. WOW we enjoyed looking at those.

  6. I encourage anyone who stops by to pop on over to Craig’s website and explore. There is so much to see. Thanks, Craig.

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