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updated tue 9 dec 97


Mel Jacobson on sun 7 dec 97

pricing/a story

in japan pricing is a big deal, real big deal. the potter has almost
nothing to do with it. if as a potter you reach a certain level of
achievement, or even have potential to achieve, you would retain an agent,
and more than likely you would have a sponsor, or group of sponsors. the
sponsor is a very wealthy person that collects very high quality ceramics
or art.

the day that I knew most, that I had sorta made it in the uchida pottery,
was the day that mr. uchida took me to tokyo to meet his sponsor. she was
a little old lady, living in a wonderful house, with a garden to die for.
she had one pot on display in her was a very large `ming`
celedon, no decoration.
we had tea, cakes. they chatted, I smiled. (did not mess with my nose, or
burp.) it was very formal.

uchida explained to me that all the money that was needed to start his
pottery came from that lady. she took a chance on him. now that he sold
all of his pots and was making a lot of money, she got 10%. and she had
always gotten 10%.
she had hired the agent to sell all of his pots...all of them. the agent
and the sponsor had determined the formula for pricing. of course the agent
got 10%

the formula. now remember this was years ago, things may have changed,
but I doubt it. and this information comes from my observations, and
pidgin japanese/english.

all pots sold in japan worth anything, or from famous potters come in a box.
the better the potter the better the box...usually a wooden/handmade
box...with bamboo nails. perfect boxes. less important pots come in a
wonderful fiber/ cardboard box...pure white. each box has the signature of
the potter on it, with a brief description of the pot. uchida, kunio,
temmoku, teabowl, then the potters seal in red is placed on the box. each
pot is wrapped in a linen cloth..that also is stamped in red, with the
seal. the pot fits the box perfectly.

the pricing formula is based on the inside volume of the box. square tsu,
or m meters. your established value times the volume. the agent and the
determine the formula. (in most cases)

do you think hamada had a holiday back yard sale with cider or wine?
people walking through his pots saying `hey martha, check out the jux sta
position of time and space in patterns of milk weed pods on this big
platter, lets get it for billy bob, how much so-gee?` `well, let me see,
how would $5,000 bucks be, or hey, wait a has a little flaw in
the rim.......i will let it go for $4500.
and see the wife, she will wrap some newspaper around it and put it in a
grocery bag for you...`

one day uchida described to me his seeing an art fair in los angeles.
`people selling pots on the street piled on crates, the potters wife
sitting in a chair
breast feeding a baby. made my face turn red, bad way to sell art. I got
out of there fast, ugly place.` hmmm, have any of you ever been there?

if your work has value and dignity,sell it with dignity, and price it in
accordance with that standard.
price it based on what your customers will pay honestly for it.
no one has the answer for you, I only have it for myself. and to tell you
the truth I do not care how much others get for their matters not
to me. I have to take care of my business....and that is all I have time

and as the keynote speaker at nceca last spring said..(in essence) ...`much
of what is attempted at being sold is is nothing at all, a
pile of sand to be talked about. a metaphor of a pot.` I do no make
metaphors, I make pots, and am very proud to be a teacher and a potter, and
proud to be in the line of people who make quality things with their hands.


Brenda Villers on mon 8 dec 97

I wanted to thank you for this post, and all the rest on this list!
I am a new sculpture artist. I started last fall, and after over 20
years as a multi media artist have found what realy clicks with me,and
that is clay sculpture! I know this is a pottery list, which I have
not tried yet, but came on here to learn about firing kilns, glazing,
etc. If anyone knows of a sculpture list that I can join too, please
let me know. I live in Coos Bay Oregon. Been here for 2 1/2 yrs now.
Absolutly love it here. I am saving for a new kiln, a skutt from
Georgies in Portland, but for now, I have a $100.00 special oldie.
It is electric and has low,med,high temp gauge. I have only fired it
twice and am learning its own unique qualities and temperment.
Anyhow, hello from coos bay!

Brenda Villers

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