Saturday, April 27, 2013

What A Lovely Life!

When I was a potter
Had my kick wheel spinning ‘round
Pulled my clay straight from the ground
Sold pots priced by the pound
And life was good

When I was a potter
With wooden ribs and brushes
Slipped surfaces so luscious
Pushed by exhibition rushes
And life was good

When I was a potter
Nights lit up by hot kiln glow
Then waiting for hours and hours to know
Anxious for the opening show
And life was good

When I was a potter
I loved to dance the kiln dance
What appeared by fire and chance?
Leave, return for one more glance
And life was good

When I was a potter

Friday, April 12, 2013

Getting Back To Pricing

I told you I'd get back around to continuing the discussion about pricing.  Here are some more thoughts I've  jotted down since my last post.

Because demand is a slippery thing in the art world -- with personal taste being so prominent in the mix -- the relationship of cost of production to sale price is probably more willy-nilly than in any other marketing endeavor. I'm not exactly whining here -- my pots have sold extremely well and still do. But many of my potter friends can ask for and get 2, 3, even 4 times more of a return on their effort than I can. I marvel at it, really. And sometimes I understand it. Sometimes their work is so exceptional that I see reason for the disparity. I'm not trashing my work -- I'm just acknowledging a difference in kind in theirs. Sometimes I don't get it. And (I believe) art will always be that way.

I do know that sometimes it's a matter of living circumstances. I'll bet King Solomon wasn't the first to point out that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Or, as my mother-in-law used to say, "Poor folks have poor ways".

Pottery makes a better second income than it does a primary income. Many of the potters who can demand a higher price for their work can do so because they don't really need to sell it to survive. As such, they can "hold out" for a better price. If they can do that and still remain ambitious with their work (if they love making pots), then they can add to their inventory in such a way that allows them a HUGE bonus when it does sell. And it usually does sell because most of us, in the final analysis, DO know our market.

But if you have bills to pay and there's no other way to pay them than from the sale of your work....buster, you are not going to be holding out for a bigger payday on your precious mug.

Many, like me, made money extremely well for a period of time -- had pots that were just the hottest thing going at times when the market was just ripe for 'em. But even with eyes wide open to the probability that such a windfall was not going to last forever, many of us created a living circumstance that at least in larger part reflected that income level. When that windfall fell, we were left with overhead that the new reality couldn't maintain


And if you're catching from this post:   This is meant to be encouraging to fellow artists to not lose sight of that goal -- to live within the means that the most normal market circumstances will afford you -- whether by being a second income or by living more simply. 

 I could go on, but I think I'm done for now.