search  current discussion  categories  business - sales & marketing 

where to draw the line? (was: self promotion-attn michael wendt)

updated wed 17 dec 03


Janet Kaiser on tue 16 dec 03

I get into trouble all the time for being categorical about "the
rules", especially from those who flout the conventions quite
happily and (apparently) to the approbation of all concerned.
However there are three "quick solution" practices which I frown
on as a purist as well as *a serious gallerist* and which I
always impress on exhibitors if they even look like erring in
their ways:

No. One is that sticking felt to the bottom of ceramic work is
NOT THE DONE THING. Besides being frowned upon by the majority of
collectors, curators and other makers, if you cannot make work
which will not scratch or mark surfaces, I do not want to exhibit
it in our gallery.

No. Two: Do not stick bits on to work which you expect people to
pay good money to buy, using glue, epoxy, resin or anything else.
Before howling starts, I do not care if a piece has been hanging
in your house, garden or elsewhere for XX years or you have made
XX pieces without any problems. Just one piece crashing off the
wall is more than enough to confirm my own distrust of and
distaste of such a practice. A good, proficient maker will always
find a way of incorporating parts (including hanging lugs, etc.)
into the ORIGINAL design and not add them as an afterthought.

No. Three: Do not use paints, inks, or other materials on pots
which people are going to be using. even if only occasionally and
not daily. If the so-called "cold treatment" of sculpture is the
only way of achieving a required effect, then be prepared for
that piece to have a market value well below what a similar piece
would achieve if it had been glazed.

An aside on "permanent inks" here: I have just been repairing a
mould-made figure I knocked off the mantle piece. It is biscuit
fired, white clay which has been partly painted, with features
(beard and eyes) applied with indelible black ink, obviously from
one of those 0.3 mm =D8 "micro" roller pens. As you will guess,
this is a novelty piece bought 9 or 10 years ago and only brought
out for display once a year. It was not cheap (DM 75) but the
really annoying part, is that the pen lines have almost
completely disappeared and need re application. I am just not
skilled enough to do so and quite honestly, why should I be
expected to? The maker had confidence all would be well, but they
had not taken Old Father Time into consideration. How could they?

Including a telephone number, web site URL and E-mail address is
admittedly somewhat unusual for a studio potter or anyone else
come to that... It obviously works for Michael W. stuck out in
the boondocks, but I personally hope it does not become the norm
for others.

As the information on the bottom of pots has always been confined
to the maker (person / company) and at most the city / country of
origin, it is breaking new ground even giving a full address
incl. street name, post code, etc., let alone what could be
considered transitory information ON THE POT. If that sort of
information is included, it is always in the form of some
"certificate" on paper or printed on the box it comes packaged
in. Even custom-made stickers are considered tacky for individual

The only important info to put on the pot, is the name of the
maker and country of origin IMO. Anyone wishing to find them,
must always be able to do so by conventional as well as "new
fangled" means. Which is why a signature must always be legible,
should not be a single name especially a common name like Smith
or Schmidt (unless it happens to be internationally famous
already, like Vincent or Picasso!) and if in the form of a seal,
it should be clear, precise and well documented. As "fame"
spreads, the work becomes synonymous with the name, not the
location which is of secondary importance. Why? Because it can
and may change! Not planning to move? Who can swear that they
never will?

The frustration of trying to find a maker in a tiny country like
Wales (total population around 3 million) would be bad enough,
but in a larger, more populous one..? And if either the workshop
or personal name (or both) is legible, surely an internet search
will cough up the goods if a prospective buyer has that simple
information? Why mess around with extra information, which for
all sorts of reasons may/will not be valid for more than the
short-term? After all, domain names are not carved in stone.

I have to laugh when seen in a historical context too... Imagine
a Roman pot having "precise and full information" as valid 2000
years ago, like "Made by Pluto Maximillius, up the jigger next to
the Public Baths in Segontium" on the bottom! Or maybe it was,
but because it was written in octopus ink, has long disappeared?


Janet Kaiser -- feeling sick... absolutely NO will power when it
comes to marzipan...

The top posted mail was sent by Janet Kaiser
The Chapel of Art : Capel Celfyddyd
8 Marine Crescent : Criccieth : Wales : UK
Centre of Excellence for The Arts
Home of The International Potters' Path
Tel: ++44 (01766) 523570
Open: 13.00 to 17.00hrs : Tuesday to Saturday
************** AVG Virus Protected ********************