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the business of pottery long

updated sun 22 feb 04


WHC228@AOL.COM on sat 21 feb 04

The business of pottery is but a small part of pottery that is neglected by
I think that it is fair to say that most of those people teaching have no
clue about how to make a living making pottery.
We are a group of folks that have to be not only good at our craft, but good
at all of those things that allow us to do our work. To be able to have a
working studio requires all of those skills that come with that. Kiln building,
electrical, plumbing, carpentry, bookkeeping, photography, promotion, display,
packing, advertising, packing, managing, fire codes, safety codes,
environmental laws, and more. You need to be flexible, and willing to learn new skills.
Sometimes it seems like there is so much of that sort of thing to do that there
is little time to make things.
I have met very few people in education that know what really makes a potter.
I am glad that I went to college to learn about ART. It is the one thing that
allows all of the rest of the stuff to happen. There are some attitudes about
selling work that had held me back in the beginning of my career, but a few
years on the road doing craft fairs got that out of my system.
I learned far more from other craftsmen while doing shows than I ever did in
college. Those shows gave me an opportunity to try my work out on the public
and come to an agreement with the marketplace. It taught me about displaying my
work and working with customers.
Since that way of doing business starts out slowly it REVEALED how to do
business to me as I needed to learn. I'm not sure that the issue of learning to do
business is something that can be learned in college, the same way that the is
sue of becoming a potter that lives from making pots can.
We all seem to solve the question of how to make that living quite
The hard stuff for me was the bookkeeping, and tax issues. Fortunately there
are a lot of accountants out there that can be hired to do that sort of thing.
I always try to hire that work that is too difficult for me to do. I can make
more doing what I know how to do, than trying to learn to do something that I
have little interest in, or is too great a challenge.
I suspect that colleges are not going to change the way that they hire
instructors. To me it means that there will not be much help teaching potters how to
face the marketplace, and do book work.
I love this job.