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death by craft one's work

updated tue 12 oct 04


Kathy McDonald on mon 11 oct 04

-----Original Message-----
From: Clayart [mailto:CLAYART@LSV.CERAMICS.ORG]On Behalf Of clennell
Sent: Sunday, October 10, 2004 6:04 PM
Subject: Re: Choose Death

I tend to agree with you. I used to do them all the time, and
for the most 20 years ago they were a fun thing and a way to
make enough money to keep me in clay and pay for my gas to fire the kiln.
Now i do a few select ones and an open house.

Now. many have become *kit-sales*, and fridgemagnet bazaars,
and the only people really making any money are the organizers.

The in Manitoba, especially where I live
there are not too many venues to sell. In my town there are
a few craft shops and one gallery. They want the stuff wholesale.
And in a town this size they want exclusive .

The gallery here takes 50% consignment and often buys pottery
from others outright, but doesn't buy local stuff (go figger.).some of it
is just excellent.

The hi end stuff can be shipped or driven the 200 kms to Winnipeg
and thats good but its all on consignment. The galleries here do not pay
shipping charges..they don't have to as there are a number of excellent
potters who live and work right in Winnipeg. The only thing they will pay
the shipping for is my mugs,,,,because the turnaround is quick, and a lot of
others don't make many mugs.

To make a long story short if I want to make any money here,,,,,
I need those sales. Mugs here sell for 12 dollars tops...good mugs ...bad
beautiful mugs... ugly Brandon a mug is a mug. I get 6 for em.

When I took my last order into the local craft shop the owner lined up all
the mugs side by side
to make sure they were the same size
(she says her customers have issues
with size and consistency). It's a small a small marketplace
they sell lotsa pots this time of year. I gritted my teeth and
didn't say what was on the tip of my tung,,,,,
(which was tell em to walk 3 blocks to Walmart), and dutifully took out the
4 that were about 1/4 of an inch shorter than the others.

So for me the craft sales are where I can get at least 12 bucks for a mug.

I did not write this to whine or complain...just to explain the reality
of working in the place where I've lived all my pottery life. Things have
changed, the market is poor, I need to go beyond my current borders to
sell but that takes time and money.

Maybe I'll apply for a grant from the Manitoba Craft's Council,,I've never
had one in 25 yrs of pottering. (Oops! My tongue got stuck in my cheek on
that one!)

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving.



Kathy: I'm condemning craft sales. Every two horse town has 2 or 3 Crap
(not a freudian slip) sales a year and the quality of crafts they attract
are demeaning to our profession. There are just not enough good craftspeople
to attend these flea markets labeled Juried Craft Show. They claim to be
juried- horse do-do they are. Pay your money and flog your knicky knackies.
As a potter with a career almost 3 decades long would I go to these shows to
look for work for my collection or for inspiration?. i have a collection of
pots and a pottery library probably in the top 10% of this list. I visit
shows and galleries in search of good work and inspiration.
In my three decades i have been there, done that and i threw out the
t-shirt. Some never move on and I don't intend to go back.
Tony and Sheila Clennell
Sour Cherry Pottery
4545 King Street
Beamsville, Ontario

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