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corps, bookstores, and potters

updated tue 22 dec 98


Alex, Aurora and Leah Solla on mon 21 dec 98

Normally I don't mind letting the loud voices on clayart dominate the
discussions. I have my opinions and they are just that. Plus, someone is
usually bound to take it all way too seriously anyway.

That said, I feel it is my obligation to point out that we as potters play
a very instrumental role in our communities. We can be a cornerstone for
small business commerce. Sound too high and mighty. Consider all the small
studio sales that happen this time of year. Is this is chump change? Are we
only having these sales for the money or are we doing it to meet more
patrons, to serve our community time, to act in goodwill towards a better
aesthetic? No matter what the reason, if it were only for the money, few of
us would be in this field.

Now, if we really intend to perpetuate our lifestyle and to prosper we have
to really believe that service and quility is ultra-important in a
community. If we dont give our customers a reason to buy from us, they will
be just as happy to stop at the mega-malls and Wal-mart to do their
shopping. One thing I have seen in the last few years is that people buying
pottery don't inhibit their spending the way that people do when buying
clothes, or gifts usually. They start by looking and enjoying the amazing
colors of glaze, then they handle a few ... and then they want to talk.
That is when we as potters and artists make a difference. When that
connection happens we have made something that cant happen at wal-mart. Not
now, not ever. These people buying our pots are getting more than clay,
they are getting us.

A few months back Steve Branfman of the Potter's Shop in Nedham MA, wrote
in admonishing someone for calling him for book advice and then buying it
from Amazon. This is the real crime. A measly dollar or two of savings, and
yet this individual passed up a relationship with someone like Steve. I
have ordered from Steve for almost as many years as I have made pots. I
make no excuses for buying there. I do it because he has what I want. Yeah,
I can shop other places, but I will never find someone who really will look
for clay books that are out of print. The only thing that Steve Branfman
has yet to hit on (or at least I havent heard yet) is the idea of selling
used books. Potters seldom part with their treasures, but even we are
mortal, and I hate to think of these books ending as landfill. When our
library here at Utah State had money to spend in Ceramics this year... we
are under-represented apparantly... they asked for a list of books we would
want. I showed them the list of books from the Potters Shop. They asked
what the library really needed and I marked off over 60 books. They went to
the head of Aquisitions that day and were allocated the money to buy them.
They could have used their usual buyer to order the books through, but when
I told them about Steve and his unique service they agreed it would be
foolish not to support a shop such as his.

This has gone too long, my appologies. Just try to remember that life is
made up of people, relationships and events. May as well make it a
memorable experience!

Alex Solla
Merry Christmas all.

>Our local clay distributor, Highwater Clays, is run by a couple of
wonderful peo
>whom I have known for years. Why would I even bother to purchase my
>elsewhere? I perhaps could save money by shopping around, but I feel
where I sp
>my money reflects my personal philosophy.
>We can, therefore, spend a little more by patronizing our local shops and
>Or we can help rend the fabric of our communities by shopping at mega-malls,
>Wal-Marts, and Yeah, yeah, now I'll get flamed for jumping to
>black and white demarcation. But it's an absolute fact that we Americans
>effectively destroyed downtown business districts, from coast to coast,
by allo
>malls and suburban sprawl to continue unhindered. Downtown Asheville has
over t
>past five or so years begun to be a vibrant, happening place after decades
of be
>dead after five o'clock
>I'll get off my soapbox before I start ranting, but I will continue to
"vote" wi
>my money.