Gary's Third Pottery Blog

When the going gets tough, dragons gonna get going....

Gary's third pottery blog

WRITE TO ME! Come see me! Open studio HERE! November 25-26 (11-4 each day); Aurora Art and Design, daily until 12/24; Cooperstown Art Assoc. daily until 12/24; Ellis Hollow Community Fair, 12/10; December 10, Little Red Wagon at the Space at Greenstar. All material on this blog unless stated otherwise is copyright Gary Edward Rith 2016

Thursday, May 9, 2013

why we do this = how we sell it!

Lori mentioned a clueless customer the other day, asking "I broke my dog water dish, would you make a replacement?" and Lori was like "sure, and this is the price" and the lady was like "HUH!  I could make it myself for that kind of money!" which was rather MEAN and ignorant of that person.
Lori said, brilliantly, if the customer could make it herself, then she could understand how many years it takes to learn pottery and what goes into making an item!  Plus, this person contacts you out of the blue AND INSULTS YOU?  It happens to potters every day!

Basically, there are 2 items I NEVER make because the market is flooded with cheap factory made imports:  pet food dishes and plant pots or planters.  Of course, the market is also flooded with other manufactured mugs, bowls, etc from around the world, but  people seem to have those in a higher category.

ANYWAY I always feel like there is no point in making stuff to compete with the factories, so I express myself in my work so it is unique.  I am also quite affordable, I think.

I heard from ALBUG the other day, an old aquaintance and blog reader.  She was on vacation and had a pleasant visit with a potter, but THANKS TO my BLOG right here, she felt like an appreciative and understanding customer.

Dear Gary,

I thought you would enjoy this story.  I read your blog every day and enjoy it, so I feel like I know you, but don't worry I'm not a stalker.

My husband and I were visiting in Carefree AZ two weeks ago.  We stopped into a little pottery store one evening.  The owner greeted us and we looked around.  I picked up a slab made bowl.

I said to the owner, who was at my elbow, "I like your slab work. The edges remind me of the mountains around here.". Well, he was thrilled and he said, "come back here I want to show you something". He took me back into his work room and showed me a piece of slab he was working on,  it was really cool, with overlapping work and some kind of popcorn looking design. He showed me other things, too.  And we had a nice little conversation.  He was a very nice man.  In the end I bought the bowl that reminded me of the mountains and it is in my gazebo with a candle in it.

I don't know why he took me into his workshop, maybe because I knew what to call the way he made the bowl, or maybe because I understood what he was trying to do, or maybe because he wanted to make sure I bought a piece.  I want to think, he was just a friendly, creative guy who liked my smile.

For some reason, I thought, I bet Gary would be just like this guy.  So that's why I'm telling you this story.

Have a good day,

On May 8, 2013, at 4:26 PM, Gary Rith 
I love hearing from you, and SO MANY people have visited my studio here and sometimes it goes like your story, when a nice person with a creative mind and an appreciation of the work shows up.  I do not have a storefront, but people visit all the time for open house or if they contact me.  I am sure this person was glad you GOT it and many potters or artists love to show you what they are up to and why.  THAT IS WHY I started this blog, to do it virtually!
Thanks a million, with your permission I will share all this tomorrow on the blob, not with your real name?  THX, gr


I would be honored if you shared.  That's not why I relayed the story, though, I just thought you would find it interesting, and you did.  
I'm not an artist, but my mother was and she taught me many things, especially a respect for what artists do.


In other news, speaking of sales and ME, check out new items in my etsy shoppe!
pretty pair of black patterned mugs sold togetherpretty little green creamerpurple piggy pitcher


Michèle Hastings said...

what a nice story!

bartster said...

These stories taken together speak to my own differentiating between "consuming" and "connecting". While quantity, convenience, and a very low price might "do" sometimes I have found more joy in using handmade items crafted by people I know and have a sense of kinship with. (He says as he drinks coffee from his special mug with a beagle on the handle.....)

Lori Buff said...

Yes, that's the customer that you love and remember fondly. It's heartwarming to know that many people like this writer are out there. I appreciate you sharing the email and linking to my blog.

Sandra Kohlmann said...

The woman who wanted the replacement dish is like people who look at a Rothko, Pollock, Kandinsky and say, "my kid could do that." I drives me crazy. If you could do it, or your kid could do it, then do it. I was once in the Art Institute in Chicago and heard an old woman say to her friend that she didn't care for Van Gogh, because he, "just slapped slapped the paint on the canvas."

Critique is one thing, but to demean a person's work as replaceable, or suggesting that anyone could do the same, just makes me mad. It's really lovely to hear a story of a person who could walk into a potter's shop and show respect and admiration for the artist's work.

smartcat said...

Those are the customers that keep you going. Thanks for the story.

Customers are strange, no doubt about it. One Christmas Sale at our co-op I had a woman say "I"m not paying that for a cat dish." I politely said that they could be used for other things. She sniffed, turned away and proceeded to buy four of my ice-cream dishes, which were only a little larger and half again the price. Go figure!

Darlene said...

I have met all kinds in fifteen years of selling and it is the ones who truly get something out of the experience who make it all worthwhile. Nice to hear from the women who wrote and how much she got out of it from her end too. Gary I love your blog. Thanks for sharing the days with us!

Anonymous said...

What a sweet complement to you and your work!
Years ago I took a pottery class. I sucked royally at it, so I TOTALLY appreciate the skill and talent involved. But everyone's an expert, right?

Anonymous said...

What a sweet complement to you and your work!
Years ago I took a pottery class. I sucked royally at it, so I TOTALLY appreciate the skill and talent involved. But everyone's an expert, right?

smalltownme said...

Really? You wouldn't make custom cat food dishes for me? Awww....sad face....sad cat face... sad fat cat Homer face... Oh, I know you'll break down under the force of all that sad catness.

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I am a full-time studio potter, sculptor, and dog walker, married to superhawt Missus Tastycake.