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fw: re: more on pottery pricing

updated mon 2 oct 00


philrogers pottery on sun 1 oct 00

Dear Mel,

I sent this a couple of days ago and received a message telling me that =
it had been submitted but it was never posted. Here is an amended =
version in case the original didn't meet with approval.

Best wishes,


Phil and Lynne Rogers,
Lower Cefn Faes,
Powys. LD6 5LT.
Tel/fax. (44) 01597 810875.

----- Original Message -----=20
From: philrogers pottery
To: Ceramic Arts Discussion List
Sent: Friday, September 29, 2000 5:04 PM
Subject: Re: Re: More on pottery pricing

> Charles,
> I could really get into this one but I don't have the time to write =
all that
> I would need to write to fully explain my feelings. What I would say =
> and you'll have to forgive me for what seems like a personal attack =
> its not meant to be, is that it is people with these 'hang over from
> the hippie sixties attitudes' about making pottery cheap, and =
accessible is
> what has kept studio ceramics lagging so far behind other art forms in =
the pricing game for all these years.( There are other historical, =
cultural factors I
> know). This misguided notion that studio pottery has to be almost =
given away has, over the years, gone some way to delaying the serious =
academic and financial attention that the area deserves.=20
Things ARE changing. Since the sale rooms started taking a serious =
interest in Contemporary Ceramics and some galleries both in the U.K. =
and U.S.A. recognised that the best Studio Ceramics has a rightful place =
alongside the best of fine art, we have seen a dramatic improvement in =
the way that pots are viewed and considered by he public.
> There are people working in clay who have stuck their neck on the line =
> asked higher prices in an attempt to bring to ceramics the recognition =
> serious attention that it deserves. Why the hell should good quality =
> be cheap? Who says it should be? If it wasn't for a number of those =
> asking those higher prices and the sale rooms achieving high results =
> much do you think the average pot would cost? Have you considered the =
> on effect? It is partly because Shimaoka, or Brother Thomas, or =
Lucie Rie,
> or Hamada or even Bernard Leach sell for large amounts of money that =
> then can achieve a price higher than they might have hoped and a price =
more commensurate with the efforts, expense, creative talent involved in =
making it.
As much as I greatly admire Warren MacKenzie and his work I believe =
his attitude to pricing has done the pottery world no favours at all. ( =
that should get them going!!!)
> Before you knock those who are achieving high prices just stop and =
> for one moment why they are getting those prices and the effect they =
have of
> pulling everyone else up the ladder with them. I was really saddened =
and embarrassed to
> read the whining posts criticising the high prices of Shimaoka and =
Brother Thomas.
> People achieve those prices because other people are prepared to pay =
> Whatever their reasons are - usually because they recognise talent and =
> lifetimes dedication.=20
There exists a self regulating mechanism. In other words a certain =
potters prices are to a large extent governed by the people who buy his =
or her work. I have a friend who makes pots and sells them too cheaply =
(in my opinion). The net effect is that he never has enough work yet he =
stays up half the night trying to keep up. The message here is clear, he =
should put his prices up. He would make as much money by selling fewer =
and possibly better pots, he won't burn himself out and the public will =
be just as happy with their purchases because the pots will still not be =
At the other end of the scale, what is the point of a potter selling a =
piece, lets say for $100 if the purchaser can take it straight to =
Sotheby's and sell it for $1000? This has happened to me. Others have =
decided or created the value and a potter would be a fool to ignore it. =
In reality there are few of us who would refuse a high price for our =
work if the opportunity came along and why should we. Didn't we make the =
pieces with honesty, integrity and serious intent?=20

Can't write anymore just now but have plenty more to say on the =
subject. In
short, price your pots realistically with a mind to colleagues and with =
respect to your craft.
Don't sell yourself or your fellow potters short.
Phil Rogers.
> Phil and Lynne Rogers,
> Lower Cefn Faes,
> Powys. LD6 5LT.
> Tel/fax. (44) 01597 810875.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Charles
> To:
> Sent: Friday, September 29, 2000 5:38 AM
> Subject: Re: More on pottery pricing
> > I agree completely...I know what the market has done to those who =
> their
> > work so high and to such a small group of collectors, but what =
> > bothers me is the fact that this is the kind of life we as students =
> > pointed at. It is simply not sustainable for the large numbers of =
> > we had coming through. I really had to get over some predjudices =
that I
> > absorbed while at school. Our focus was always on creativity, never =
> > technical skills. I guess it was assumed that we would pick that up =
as we
> > threw ourselves silly over the 4 years in college. I can't say there =
was a
> > bias against production pottery...but I suppose there was on a =
> > level. Production pottery was fine with the condition that the =
potter took
> > their time to make each pots design special and beyond what a =
> > trained person could do. I am still trying to sort it all out, but I =
> > that I don't want to ever end up selling in a high end gallery. I =
want my
> > pots used by people on a daily basis. But I still have that urge to =
> > each design really special and unique to me. Art pottery done =
> > on the edge. I guess I'll just make my pots and let =
> > people worry about what they are and how much I am =
under/overcharging, so
> > long as my bills get paid.
> >
> > I read Terry's article on pricing, very informative and it makes a =
lot of
> > sense. I think I am starting to charge above break even now...used =
to give
> > it all away. Now I am figuring in the profit too.
> >
> > Anyone on the list selling in the high end market? I'd love to hear =
> you
> > have to say on the prcing structures and more importantly what you =
> left
> > after all the people take their cuts.
> >
> > -Charles
> >
> > Visit my webpage...
> >
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: June Perry
> > To:
> > Sent: Thursday, September 28, 2000 10:53 AM
> > Subject: Re: More on pottery pricing
> >
> >
> > > Dear Charles;
> > >
> > > Years ago, during a workshop at Big Creek, Karen Karnes said that
> although
> > > her pots were going for thousands, she wasn't making any more =
> >
> >
> =
> __
> > Send postings to
> >
> > You may look at the archives for the list or change your =
> > settings from
> >
> > Moderator of the list is Mel Jacobson who may be reached at

ZALT@AOL.COM on sun 1 oct 00

Bravo Phil;

It is about time someone called it the way it should be.