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the best remedy for competition and "discerning" taste

updated wed 23 apr 03


julie milazzo on tue 22 apr 03

Hmmm... competition is a wonderful, horrible, necessary thing for me. One of my closest friends also happens to be my biggest competitor, as we seem to be the two most prolific, quality-minded potters in the area, with the most experience. We also live three miles apart. She has a killer studio, but a bad commercial location, while I have a great spot, but spacially limited studio. She was the only one around until I opened up last July. Easily, this could have been a recipe for disaster. We both craved a potter friend, but both knew we wanted to be "the best". What has happenes in the last several months, is that both of our work has grown leaps and bounds. I used to be sloppy. She isn't. I didn't want my stuff to look inferior next to hers at shows, and in galleries, so I cleaned up my act. Her work has also developed a voice that sings, and seems to dance as well. My influence? Who knows? Who cares? We're both getting better all the time, because we have to. At shows, sometimes she sells more, sometimes I do. Does it matter? A little bit, but the drive home, we giggle about the woman who came up to us, and (while nodding and winking, as if to let us know it was the

best kept secret) told us that our pitchers would be a lot "better" if we wrote "ICED TEA" on them. Uh huh. I also call her when "interesting" customers come in, just to get a sympathetic groan. Ah yes, The woman yesterday who told me my work was "nice", but would be much "better" if it was all decorated with sea turtles. She spent the next fifteen minutes picking up random pieces, to show me where the sea turtles should be placed, exactly, and then informing me that she'd be back Memorial Day to see if I had decided to make some. I was so tempted to say that I'd have to wait until the turtle eggs started hatching, so I could catch a baby one and use it to make a mold. She left, and I called my friend to laugh. Now, I do laugh about this kind of suggestion, but not because it's bad advice. It's just that I don't want to write anything on my pots. I also hope that my pots are interesting enough that they don't need an animal to attract people. The animals would not be a part of the pot, as they should be; merely a quick add-on to make it gimmicky., because it's part of the piece, and is reflective of the person who made it. Ron Meyers is one person who springs to mind as

an amazing animal potter (same with Mr. Ferguson, but I've been potting all day, and can't remember if it's Ken or Tony; sorry guys!). It just strikes me as funny that people seem to think these things are necessary for making sales. It probably would help (though things have finally picked up again), but I just plan to just keep on giggling. It really is the best way to cope. Uhh.. IM(not so)HO. Jules

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