Goofy Kim came up and me and the missus went down to Viva again Saturday for the tacos and whatnot--holy cats, tis good, and I love the hippo....
I am being interviewed by an Australian dude for some reason. I cannot remember what it is for. He is picking my brain with questions, and we are up to 11 so far. here are my answers, which tell a lot about me I s'pose...
1. I went to college to study painting but was wandering campus before signing up for classes. I saw somebody working in the ceramics studio on the wheel, and a kiln being unloaded. I had never seen that before and was hooked! The sight of a blob of clay on a wheel rising up into a pot is very improbable and exciting. And the feeling that its Christmas and you have presents to open when the door comes off the kiln, yay!
As for business, I was working as a teacher full-time (high school reading and writing skills) and pottery on the side and really wanted to make pots full time. My wife told me to go for it! And I did.
2. Early problems in business? There were not any. Only just getting used to working at home. If you are accustomed to leaving the house and working on sombody else's schedule, you have to ostop feeling guilty for messing around the house. I have very consistent work habits though, and am usually well organized and form a list each day and work on it :)
3. Key things??? Luckily with pottery, you are making a useful item, which is not like a painting: people can use your item every day. But I think the key thing for me is make EXACTLY what I want, the best expression of me, which is bright and fun work.
4. When I started I went out nearly every week to a craft or art fair. Now I use the internet to meet customers. Things like FB are awesome for marketing. Marketing is ENTIRELY different now from the 1990s. I think some older artists don't get how to use the internet for sales, but it now represents half of my business.
5. I think this is a tough time economically to start in business as a potter. I started full time in the 90s which was very easy. I would say nowadays become a plumber instead ;^)
(he saw my answer there and said Australian studio potters feel like they are going extinct)
I don't know if becoming a studio potter is in danger of extinction in the US, but it is hard for a single individual---you need health insurance, and a place to make pots, and it is a very special and hard driving person who could get that started now, compared to 10-15 years ago when the economy was so good for sales.
6. The only challenge I face is keeping organized. I feel like an octopus balancing orders and keeping everything straight. I am lucky because my wife is a bookeeper and it is tax season in the US so she can handle the most difficult part of being a potter---MONEY.
7. Resolve? Cramming my filofax with lists and trying to work on those lists :)
8. My marketing activities are zen like. Make it and they will come. I am like the peach tree. The peach tree makes the best peach it can and after that a squirrel may come and take it or a person will come along and eat it....
sounds like I am a flake (I am) but its true.
9. I worked as apprentice in the 1980s to a very hard working and well established potter. If you bought his dishes then you could go back today to buy a perfect matching replacement. He is totally hard working and productive. But he has a whole bunch of kids to support, and I like to make one of a kind pieces, so I would say I learned business and work habits from him.
10. My specialty items include pigs and teapots. I make a LOT of teapots. Pretty much the only thing I am in the mood for in 2010. I want to make little gems that are teapots...
11. I don't have anything to suggest. I have no idea. I guess I am pretty lost in my own thoughts and ideas. I am an instructor at Cornell University's Ceramics studio, and I like gossiping with other potters there and we all learn from each other, otherwise I am working by myself in the home studio :)
Gary's Third Pottery Blog
"I'll light the fire, you place the flowers in the vase that you bought today." --CSNY
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