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pottery at honolulu craft fair - dead/dying

updated fri 14 nov 03


terry sullivan on mon 10 nov 03

A few thoughts:

When the economy in the States is not to good, it is even worse out
there in the Hawiian Islands. Probably true in some other parts of the
country as well.

Having said that, I observed in my many travels to those lovely islands
that there was not much functional ceramic work of any note. Some raku
and some fairly avarage pottery stuff. I don't mean to offend and,
altough I went to lots of galleries on several islands, I didn't see
hardly anything exciting/interesting in ceramics.

There are some very interesting things going being done on Oahu via the
College scene, but little in the functional pottery scene that I could

So, in a depressed economy, folks aren't going to buy mediocre stuff.

Figuring I might get a bit of flack on this and that's totaly ok. I am
open to be informed. But realize that if I couldn't find good work as a
ceramist/tourist, then what is the average tourist or local going to

Terry Sullivan
Nottingham Arts
San Marcos, CA.

Rick Monteverde on mon 10 nov 03

I just attended a big pre-Christmas craft fair here, saw 3 or 4 pottery=
booths, all looking pretty depressed. Well made bowls and vases by=
experienced potters selling, if at all, for rock-bottom prices. Potters=
resigned to the fact it's pretty much 'over' over here for the more=
traditional ware at craft fairs.=20

Kitchy little gifts and dichroic glass jewelry's doing well. Twisted=
glittery plastic hanging porch decorations too. They spin in the wind and=
seem to mesmerize anyone with an IQ below... Sorry, I'm *trying* not to be=
too negative, and the market can not be blamed. It is, after all,=
"perfect". Stop whining, find out what the market wants, and supply it. (I=
have a great story that illustrates that point, but it's highly=
inappropriate for the list. )

Talked to people at a gallery on the North Shore. Their few pottery pieces=
were mostly vases, slip-cast in China. A little bit of raku sells. Their=
dichroic glass jewelry's doing well. So is carved/lasered woodcraft and=
turned wood bowls. The gallery folks echo complaints about ceramics that=
I've heard and read in articles about the arts & crafts scene here: there's=
a lack of innovation. I think for the purposes of a craft fair or casual=
beachfront gallery it's safe to say innovation doesn't mean using a new=
glaze or making the swooshes on your bowls wider. The galleries (and=
apparently craft fair clients) want something "new", but they can't tell=
you what that means. I can't figure it out either, but I get the feeling=
that when I see it, I'll think "gee, that's so obvious, why didn't I think=
of that?" Anyone up for twisty raku porch-spinners with dichroic glass=
glued to them? Duh...

- Rick Monteverde
Honolulu, HI

Michael Wendt on mon 10 nov 03

We have been making self watering flower pots for indoor plants as a staple
for many years. I now see them at Home Depot so they must be becoming
popular. Ours cost more than the ones from there but we sell all we care to
make and are constantly hounded for more.
The outside pot is vitreous and large enough to hold two weeks supply of
water for the plant.
The inside is made with a grogged, non fluxed version of our clay body
blended 50:50 with the fluxed version to produce just the right porosity to
allow moisture to wick through without drowning the plant.
As people seek ways to simplify their lives, these do that by holding water
for weeks. Travel no longer means coming home to dead plants or imposing on
a kindly neighbor who zealously overwaters and kills all your plants that
Worth a try?
Michael Wendt

John Rodgers on tue 11 nov 03

terry sullivan wrote:

>A few thoughts:
>So, in a depressed economy, folks aren't going to buy mediocre stuff.

I lived in Alaska for many years and saw many boom and bust cycles. For
whatever reason, Alaska always seemed 180 degrees out of phase with the
rest of the country. When it was booming in the states, it was bust tim
e in Alaska, and then as things in the states fell apart, Alaska would
go into a boom. One thing always seemed to hold true for the work
produces and sold in/from my shop. When the economy went sour, the
little cheap stuff would not sell. People went for the big ticket items.
It was almost as if there was a mindset that came about saying "Times
are hard, buy a "feel-good" item" and people would buy the high ticket
items. I think that it still works that way. During hard times, people
are slower to spend, but when people DO spend their money, they want to
feel like they really got something special for it. Makes'em feel good.


John Rodgers
Chelsea, AL


Rick Monteverde on thu 13 nov 03

Michael -

>We have been making self watering flower pots for indoor plants as a staple
>for many years. I now see them at Home Depot so they must be becoming

Niche and high-end seems to be taking the place of more mundane wares -=
that's the trend that I think has emerged here. Terry's remarks sound right=
too, although I'm still impressed by the craftsmanship of some of the work=
I saw at the recent fair. But innovation or creativity was on the low side.=
I wonder if it's the same all over? Thanks for the comments.

- Rick Monteverde,
Honolulu HI