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the cost of a career in ceramics....

updated sun 8 dec 02


Pat Southwood on sat 7 dec 02

I think Janet just about said it all, at least that was a very accurate =
picture, in my experience, from this country.
Hovever, just to run on a bit.....
My best clayfriend and then- tutor looked me firmly in the eye once and =
stated quite categorically that I was not to expect to make my living =
through making pots.=20
He could see in my face (he has since told me) that I was thinking "just =
watch me" and yes, thats exactly what I was thinking. and still do =
think, but you really have to hold on. Very hard.
I decided that if I was going to do this, then I was going to do it =
properly and declared myself to the Inland Revenue as self employed =
potter, regardless of the fact that at present, my sales are not high. I =
could get an exemption from National Insurance on the grounds of low =
income, but choose to make voluntary payments of N.I towards my state =
I make what I want to make.
I will not waste 5 years of ceramic education on tourist tat.
I am known to the tax man as a sole trader.=20
The advantages of stating to the world what you are are manifold.=20
Mentally as well as financially.
tax refunds, etc..

And yes,( Arti,) I teach 10 hrs a week, in 2 locations. Over 2 days. =
This brings in enough money for our (2 adults, 2 children and pets) food =
and drink bills for the month .=20
Pot sales, averaged out over 12 months, NET, would probably feed the two =
Who do you have a moral obligation to support?
If only yourself, then fair enough.....
Children complicate things.
And yes, teaching does detract from my own work. However, I can't =
sponge on my full time working spouse any longer, I just did that for 5 =
years, now SOME money needs to come in.=20
It depends on your mindset, you need to stay focused and not let other =
peoples pots wander into your mind when you are not being paid for it.
I heard a story from an ex student of Hans Coper, that when he was =
asked why he didnt do more teaching he said that if he taught on a =
Monday then it was Thursday before he could get on with his own work =

We are basically either making things that are non essential or things =
that are made more efficiently by other means. =20
How, in all reality can one create a market for such items?=20
They are simply not necessary and are made with more accessibility than =
we are prepared to give=20
(M.I.L blue anyone?)=20

The classic marketing example is the Sony walkman, we didnt know that we =
needed one until thay were available, one of the best marketing =
strategies, ever.=20

There is a huge market in the U.K. at present in milking (oops, sorry, =
promoting) recent graduates in every aspect of the art and design world, =
the result of these events is that students expectations are =
unrealistically raised and the only people who go home happy are the =
event organisers.
Students who probably already have a huge student loan to repay are =
then expected , upon graduation ,to cough up about a thousand pounds =
each in order to attent these events. Yes, some do get picked up by =
industry, galleries and such, but for most it is a crushing and =
expensive jolt into the reality of the artworld as it stands at present.

Talking of flipping burgers, Our technician is off sick at present and a =
memo came round asking if any of us wanted the job for a bit.=20
This poor girl has an upper second in ceramics, she has a dirty, shitty =
job, is at everyones beck and call and we now find out that she earns =
less per hour than a burger flipper at
Mc Disgusting. No wonder she's gone sick.
$50,000 - I don't think so.