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touching pots and sales/story

updated sun 16 jul 06


mel jacobson on sat 15 jul 06

this topic came up at `fired up/ny`.
if you allow folks to touch the pots and
sort of `be one` with the pots..they sell.

put them in glass cases...and they are viewed.

it is like the concept that: if you have pots
in magazines, your sales will increase fast.
not true...and least not in the long haul.
you may get some instant gratification from
phone calls etc. but your customer base does
usually not give a hoot.

same for writing books. your standing in the
profession may rise, but your customers really
don't read ceramics books...other potters do.

my customers haul pots all over my studio.
take them out on the deck and look at them in
the sun, set them on picnic tables...fill teapots
with water from the goes on and on.
i encourage it...and for sure, if they do not like the
feel of a pot, they can bring it back and exchange it for another.

we took glass case covers off some of the pots at
amoca for the `iron saga` show. we asked
folks to pick them up...look at the glazes in
sunlight. we even had an `ott light` on one stand of pots.
same for the show in shanghai. no glass
cases. all the pots could be picked up and examined.
and, of course, they sold.
the chinese do not like being kept from touching.

i think this answers connie's thoughts. why did more
pots sell in the back room studios than the gallery?
`folks got to pick up and examine the pots in an
intimate setting.`

we as potters `feel glazes`. we love the touch of certain
glazes, and then will use them over and over. our customers
do the same thing. if a mug feels funny on your lips, you will
never use it gets moved to the back of the cupboard
forever. oft times this is `sub/concious`. we don't even think
about it...we just reject certain pots...period.

it is what most of us hate about museums. two feet away from
(you know, the prison guard.) and thick glass over everything.
our fingers itch to touch.

i have said many of the chief reasons i was able
to win with the `iron saga project` was that joe sent me
four of the old /thousand year old jian bowls...real ones.
i sat with them in my hands for hours...looked at them with
a jewelers loop (the one ron roy gave me as a gift.)
i saw things with that loop that lead me to believe there
was glaze layering. one of the keys to the project. i touched
those pots every day. felt them with my hands. looked at them
close...very close. on many occasions i would sit with one of the
old pots in one hand, and one that i had made in the other...not
looking, just feeling the glaze. `was it the same?` did it have
the same quality? it was the feel that convinced me i was on
the right path. and i know many of you would have done the
exact same thing.

it is the part of art that many museum folks
do not understand. it blows right over their heads. i have seen
it many times. what i understand about clay, the curator does
not have a clue. often entire schools of art become reality
through an interpretation of a curator that does not have
any `reality` for the artists working. it is all `made up`.
then as ivor states, it becomes `DOGMA`. in most cases,
artists do not give a `fat rats ass` about what newspaper
critics and museum people have to say. it is all babble.
how often do you find a newspaper critic that has ever taken
an art course, ever thrown a pot...fired a kiln. no, they
majored in a gig at the paper writing
about an art show...and then became a `critic`.
just opinion. and that often becomes `arrogant opinion and

it is what a friend of mine says...`the world would be better off
without sports annalists, art critics and fashion models and of
course political pundits.` "now, this is what the president of
the united states really said". `this is what picasso really meant`.

by the way, read the writings of matisse and richard diebenkorn.
they both wrote well about their art. they actually talked
about what visual art meant to it works.
many artists cannot express verbally what they do visually.
then others do it for them and probably are on another planet.

i believe in art being `VISUAL AND TACTILE`. without these
two critical human elements we get what we have today.
`smart art`. it is all about words/thoughts/ideas. craft, skill
and knowledge of materials are far down the list of art concepts.

i want my customers to see and feel my pots. become one with them.
hold them, touch them to their mouths..(the best reason to make mugs.
your customers have `almost sex` with you every day when they drink from
your cups/mugs.) i want my customers to feel everyday comfort
with my work.
i know that sounds romantic, but who cares. it is still an essential
of being alive, loving beauty, having things in your space that you
love. nothing wrong with that.

from: mel/

Clayart page link:

Bonnie Hellman on sat 15 jul 06

I loved reading Mel and Connie's observations that ceramics needs to be =
touched and often held. When people can touch the pieces, they will buy =
more because they can appreciate ceramics in its entirety.=20

This reminds me that one of the things I particularly enjoy about going =
to galleries showing ceramics at NCECA. Those owners don't seem as =
uptight about viewers carefully picking up the pots. (If they are =
initially reluctant, they get used to it. )=20

Their goal is to make sales, and the smart owners know that clay is a =
tactile medium, in the creation and the appreciation.=20