Barbara Lewis on sat 21 feb 98
Just came back from the ACC show in Baltimore. Not enough artists.
Apparently the public had complained that the show had gotten too big. So,
ACC reduced the number of artists -- by too many, I feel -- and certainly
not enough clay artists. Barbara
5412 Well Spring Road
La Plata, MD 20646
firstname.lastname@example.org on sun 22 feb 98
What happened? Not only was the show size cut, there seemed to be a change
in focus. Someone looking for a mug or a casserole would have found a very
limited selection. Many potters classified in the show directory as makers
of functional ware stretched the definition to its limit and beyond. Makers
of tableware were scarce (maybe 10?). Many potters who have been there for
years were gone (Steven Hill, Ellen Shankin, Tom and Connie Clarkson, and
too many others to name). Supposedly the booth fee was raised
substantially and a day added to the wholesale portion of the show. I hope
these potters just opted out of the retail this year. Anybody know what's
Silver Spring, MD
>Just came back from the ACC show in Baltimore. Not enough artists.
>Apparently the public had complained that the show had gotten too big. So,
>ACC reduced the number of artists -- by too many, I feel -- and certainly
>not enough clay artists. Barbara
>5412 Well Spring Road
>La Plata, MD 20646
Richard Aerni on mon 23 feb 98
Well, this is a great time to be a functional potter, if the pots are
good. There are markets for your work like you wouldn't believe. Many
of the the old "established" functional potters have found that they can
keep their wholesale business going by just keeping in personal contact
with their galleries, rather than spending the approx $3000 it takes to
do Baltimore, not to mention the week at the show, the travel, and the
time to prepare. I've not done Baltimore since 1991, after nine years of
doing it, and still have at least three times as many orders from
galleries than I could possibly fill. And, when you consider that doing
a very high quality retail show brings in a substantial amount of
business, and the fact that doing workshops is becoming a nice way to get
out and see the world, meet new people, do some teaching, and make some
sales, there just aren't that many pots left over for wholesale. Potters
such as those you mentioned (Ellen Shankin, Steven Hill, etc) are one
person shops, who make work that is very time consuming per piece. There
just isn't that much to go around, and the complexity of their processes
is such that it isn't feasible to hire help to boost production. So,
eventually one winnows out the parts of the business that aren't
absolutely essential, or most efficient, or just plain a pain to do. As
for Steven Hill, he hasn't sent out a wholesale order in several years,
and did Baltimore for the retail. This year he did the Coconut Grove
retail show in Miami. Ellen finally decided not to go to Baltimore
because she would go into the show with a year's worth of orders and
would just spend the wholesale period saying no to galleries. Tom and
Connie Clarkson have regretably split up, but they had also given up
wholesale in favor of retail sales. Same for Jim and Cheryl Parmentier.
Royce Yoder is so backlogged with orders he has now decided to spend the
winter producing and shipping rather than going to Baltimore and turning
down orders. I could go on. It's essentially a business decision. And,
and this is just my personal feeling, the wholesale marketplace is being
more and more taken over by the small factory potteries (in some cases
not so small), and a one person shop is better served seeking out
galleries who tend to show that kind of work, instead of the mass
produced handmade "studio" product.
> ----------------------------Original message----------------------------
> What happened? Not only was the show size cut, there seemed to be a change
> in focus. Someone looking for a mug or a casserole would have found a very
> limited selection. Many potters classified in the show directory as makers
> of functional ware stretched the definition to its limit and beyond. Makers
> of tableware were scarce (maybe 10?). Many potters who have been there for
> years were gone (Steven Hill, Ellen Shankin, Tom and Connie Clarkson, and
> too many others to name). Supposedly the booth fee was raised
> substantially and a day added to the wholesale portion of the show. I hope
> these potters just opted out of the retail this year. Anybody know what's
> going on?
Mary Klotz on mon 23 feb 98
Ruth wrote that the show size/# artists had been decreased. I heard there were
1400 WHOLESALE booths (an increase, I thought); don't know about # of retail
because I only shop the ws days. I think an exhibitor can opt to do both or
only one or the other, so maybe the folks you thought had dropped out opted to
do ws only.
It is very expensive to do that show, and slick as all get out. I remarked to
a couple exhibitors that I miss the old days, with barefoot craftspeople and
buyers, guitars everywhere, and folks nursing their kids at the booth. Now
everyone is dressed like downtown NYC, and I am ruthless about walking right
past many booths- otherwise it would take days to see the show.
It's getting so the amount of goods needed to be sold to justify the cost of
that show is so large that it's very unlikely to be the work of a single
Just my observations/opinions.
rscorl on tue 24 feb 98
Would you advise a newly opened, one man pottery shop to do at least one
wholesale show to get the ball rolling, or would the time be better spent making
local contacts? It seems that a large wholesale show would be a great way to
start getting your business spread out across the country and then go from there
Curious for your opinion on this,
Big Baby Head Pottery
Don Jones on tue 24 feb 98
>and this is just my personal feeling, the wholesale marketplace is being
>more and more taken over by the small factory potteries (in some cases
>not so small), and a one person shop is better served seeking out
>galleries who tend to show that kind of work, instead of the mass
>produced handmade "studio" product.
I second your eloquent post. I was accepted into Baltimore but turned it
and Philly down because of too many galleries as it is. My work is kind of
spacey and would have fit right in but I needed the time for R&D.
Everytime a competitative show comes up I never seem to have my best piece
available or a slide of it.
As far as the wholesale end of it goes. I think Wendy is getting the best
of this market. Even she said in one of her posts that the best use of her
show is a ceramic shop with 60 employees and fewer. 60 employees!!! Still
if you show up at her show with a good line you can make a good living.
I think Baltimore is becoming a high end crap shoot (IMHO)
I'm even starting to think about becoming a functional potter again.
:-) implied in all messages and replies
Candone Wharton on wed 25 feb 98
I just got home from Baltimore and truth is it was a great show for me.
a bit down, but still good. As far as wholesale and everybody trying to
one out, on the brighter side, we can take as much as we want or none at all.
have a limited production, as everything is handmade and by me, so enjoy the
contacts and feedback from my buyers when I do the wholesale part. Orders
great, fewer, but larger pieces and more $$$$$$$. I still think the show was
large and could have been aboutn 200 exhibitors less on the retail days.
Email me if you have any other questions about Atlanta.
william schran on sat 26 feb 05
Just returned from a day at the ACC show in Baltimore ( lucky it's
only a couple hours drive) - sorta getting me revved up for NCECA.
Nice work in a variety of media. Noticed less glass (as a percentage)
in this year's show and also less exhibitors. Many clay works I would
have liked to add to my collection, settled on a lidded & altered
wheel thrown form by Sequioa Miller.
Picked up information on "Tour de Clay" - man, there's gonna be a
mess-o-clay around Ballmore!
Bill, in Fredericksburg, VA, where we got 4" of snow Thursday, now
it's mostly gone.