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updated wed 10 sep 03


Stephani Stephenson on mon 8 sep 03

Lela wrote:
A clayperson from our area sells slipcast ware, some molds
homemade, some
perhaps not. She does beautiful decorative finishes. In the
past she sold at
a very large pre-Christmas sale ......very low prices,
......undercutting the throwers and handbuilders.

Lela, I wonder ,
from your post I couldn't quite tell if the type of work
ticked you off or
was it the fact she was underselling all the potters?
It sound like you consider the work itself to be good
enough to be included in the sale,
as you described the finishes as beautiful.

For example, if it had been another potter or handbuilder,
underselling everyone, would that have been irritating also?

I have seen that happen before.

To be honest , if someone is putting beautiful glazes,
especially handpainted ones, on slipcast ware.
they ought to consider raising their prices.
It is not necessarily cheaper or faster for an individual to
produce slipcast ware
any saving in dollars or time can quickly be overshadowed by
time spent
on glaze application, especially if intricate,
I don't even see how someone who buys premade slipware can
underprice too drastically because their initial materials
costs are higher right off the bat. Unglazed slipware prices
I have seen are not that low,
so I wonder if she was underselling herself as well.?

If her customers did not notice that the pieces were
slipcast v. thrown it must mean that either the pieces
looked very much like thrown work, and her customers could
not tell the difference, or her customers did not care. It
may be that she attracted many of her own long time
customers to the fair, probably providing some revenue to
your group as well, in the form of entry fee, refreshment
sales, booth fee, percentage, or other sales by those same
It sounds like those customers have been lost to your fair,
and followed her to the other fair.
In the end they likely bought her wares because they liked
them . Was it color that attracted them? who knows?!
Even if it was labelled 'Barbara B. slipcast ceramics ' they
may not have been as particular about the forming methods,
as you and the other potters are.

But I just wondered if the underpricing was the real bone
of contention. That is what generally gets the hackles up ,
especially when the lowered priced booth sells out and
others don't. and that is a tough one to address.
Usually you have to pull yourself together , focus on
drawing people to your own work, educating them on the
beauty of a handthrown pot, and try to ignore the mob across
the way!
I have to admit, with all the talk of different types of
work, etc. my hat's off to people who organize and manage
these fairs and sales, there are lots of difficult issues
such as this one!
Anyway, I wish you good success at your fair this year!

Stephani Stephenson