[Clayart] where have all the potters gone/long

mel jacobson melpots2 at visi.com
Wed Mar 26 17:28:28 EDT 2014

i have been thinking about this for now ten years.
it is a very important subject.
it has many answers.

if a farmer goes broke raising chickens, he is out of business.
same for a potter.  if no one buys the pots, they are out of business.
farmers are hard working, dedicated and worked to death.
if no one buys chicken, they are out of it.  no matter how
dedicated they are.

when corn is 12 bucks a bushel, lots of farmers start clearing
land for corn.
supply and demand.

arnold is on his way to las vegas.  big glass show.
paragon is selling more glass kilns than clay kilns.

they are taking 25 kilns to that show. (had four at nceca.)
all of them plugged in for folks to use as demos.
glass is getting huge.
just like clay 15 years ago.
and, it sells.

a new market.  things change.  the big craft magazine has
glass, glass glass, and one pot.

as tony said...`who buys the kilns, clay and glaze?
record numbers sold.
hobby potters.   continental clay would go broke if they
had two hundred of me as customers.  i buy next to nothing.
i don't need anything.

supply and demand.

there is a story to be told in the `old guys`....they did magic.
they made customer base, mystery.  ferguson was always short
of things to sell.  he sold in galleries.  it went out the door.  it was all

taste changes.  color taste changes.  price point changes.
there are always weddings, so it is a big part of my business.
urns are starting to be a part of the business.
and, if you do not think of it as a business, you will be out of
it before long.

we have dozens of folks here on clayart that are fine potter business
people.  i loved talking to the no/nonsense kathi laSauer.  all business.
and she makes a living. many of you know the names.  as she says.
`on time, make the commissions, do good work, and make sure the
customer is happy.`  she wins.

if and when the last mackenzie teacher leaves the U of Minnesota
they might as well throw out the wheels as he leaves. mark pharis
is on semi/retirement now.  it will be all
concept after that.  a fine throwing teacher that colleen really liked
did not make tenure and she is gone.

so.  potters?  they sure will not come from academia.
and, that is fine.  each school department has their own value
structure.  they will not seek my ideas.

there is a really important concept that is waiting to take hold.
`potters must start working together`.  make your own art show.
store fronts, combine mailing lists, look for new venues together.

my god, the hay creek potters support each other on everything.
i want kerry, kevin and zac to keep going.  i send them customers.
(just made the call...a granite tops company wants me to make sample
sinks...(hell no)  but, kerry makes sinks..so, she will get the contract
if she wants it.)
  we have done group shows.  we had a `women of hay creek` show
at the hopkins center for the arts.  huge hit.  they sold a ton of
stuff.  cooperation is key.
you cannot go it totally alone any longer.  and, then you have that
wonderful variety of work to pick from for the customer.

why travel any longer?.(unless you have a ready audience)
..hard to justify.  we had folks drive to
denver for the art festival.  not much sold....expenses huge.
the folks that come to cherry creek already have their favorites.

tom wirt is doing a festival at his farm.  many people show up.
big hit.  good for the community....and people buy like crazy.
\he controls it all.  thousands attend, and he is forty miles
west of mpls. no one cares...they show up.

the big st. croix show in minnesota is huge...potters from all over
in their studios with guests.  great project.  thousands of dollars
sold, thousands.  and, they have a guy with brains running the show.
no bs.  he holds their feet to the fire.  you have to invest smart money
into the project.  good food, maps, brochures..the works...he does
it all...often with resistance from those that have the most to gain.

i have to give colleen hope.  she has to see how a buck can be
made.  if not..she will be out of it fast.  no profit, all work...no
one can do that for long.  it is not realistic.

the only reason i have stuck with it is that i make it work for me
and my family.  i can still do it at 80.  but, i was born with that
goofey nordic energy and stick to it attitude.  make it work.
(and that mailing list of 800 is magic.)  now selling to the grandchildren
of old clients.

i can give you twenty reasons pottery is on the death bed.
but, i need 40 ways to give it oxygen.
we need concrete ideas on how to make it work for you, and you,
and you.  and, we share the ideas, see how they work.  that is what
clayart is for.  information, good information.

why is david hendley successful in maydell, texas???? no ware from no ware.
it is beyond the `sticks`.  he is smart, knows his market and has huge
support from his family.  but, when the crash hit, karen went back to
teaching to help the family income.  works fine for them, and she
loves her work.  go with the times.
raise corn.  just like tony and sheila are doing...they have twelve corn
fields with seed in the ground.  it will work for them.  i cannot wait for
`hay creek canada` to open for good...full of excited potters.  everyone
wins in the end.

from: minnetonka, mn
website: http://www.visi.com/~melpots/
  clayart link:  http://www.visi.com/~melpots/clayart.html
new book: http://www.21stcenturykilns.com

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