Ask A Potter: Is It Hard To Sell Your Favorite Piece of Pottery?

handthrown stoneware bowl

This glaze is ‘chewy’.

“How can you sell your work?’

“Isn’t it too precious?”

“If you love something, how can you bear to part with it?”

“Do you ever keep the best for yourself?”

John’s answers range from “I can always make another one.” to “That’s how I pay our mortgage.”  I like to say “We’re in this for the money, honey. It’s our day job, not our hobby.” We are business people in addition to artists. We make our living making and selling pottery. Professional artists find a way to answer this, just as we do. But the answer hinges on art, not money.

Everything we make isn’t precious just because we made it. Editing and critiquing is vital to creative development. John’s simple explanation is this: If it’s not good enough to give his parents it’s not good enough to go into the showroom.  If there is a pot or two he hates, and there are those pots, it never makes it to our Almost Perfect Pottery Sale (May 25/26 or September 13/14). He doesn’t want anyone to know he made it. So no one, except me, of course 🙂 ever sees those.

So the pots we make, which are the repositories of our heart and soul, become products for us to sell. If we didn’t sell them, we’d have too many beautiful pots filling our house that is being foreclosed on!  You get the picture. It’s not easy to let them go, don’t get me wrong. Some pieces have to hang around while we study them to learn what we like or don’t like about it. Then we sell or smash.

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Of course, there is the mug that we have to have. The one that is brand new never been made or seen before.  We can’t bring one into the house until the current fave is broken. Then we can have a new one. Just not at every firing. We do have rules which we follow.

Then, there is the pot that represents an important shift in direction. Seismic. Paradigm. Like that. That one has to stay with us forever. Those pots are few and far between.

handthrown vase

Small vase in ‘Rock’ Series

The second part of this burning question is what do we do? Where do we get the pottery we use everyday?

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We do have pots made by other potters which we use, but for the most part the seconds that don’t get sold at our 2nd Sales end up in our kitchen. Since we are always making pottery (and fortunately for you and unfortunately for us) we are always making seconds! I like to clean out the cupboards, sell what I can, and then refresh with the leftovers. New twice a year!

We don’t have to own the best we make. Like any artist, we aren’t making bowls or vases or mugs for us to keep. Making pottery is our art, it’s how we express our soul, how we reveal what and how we see the world, it’s our way of spreading beauty, joy and love. We must be making it for someone, for our audience, which is you. Just like any artist, musician, writer, painter, actor, etc., we need an audience, fans, customers. We share our story in our own special way with you.

Our pottery has no use on our shelves. The completion of the process is when it enters into your hands, your life.

cup(anb)

yunomi

From us to you.

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