[Clayart] where have all the potters gone/long

Paul Gerhold gerholdclay at gmail.com
Thu Mar 27 08:19:27 EDT 2014

Glass is not getting hugh, it has been the field for at least ten years and maybe more.  We did Sofa Chicago nine years ago and it was dominated by glass then.  And they weren't making goblets or wine glasses they were making art.  And glass had the outsize characters who knew how to promote their art and themselves. 

Functional glass is now coming to the United States from all over the world at prices US glass blowers can't really match.  As a matter of fact several glass guys at One of the major shows twelve years ago were reselling glass made overseas as their own product.  They did do the design but the production was overseas.

So if you want to learn from glass the lessons are this.  The future is Art sold at high prices to those who can afford it. And success means promotion and marketing worldwide through the big galleries and shows.  And the work gets larger and larger.  And the techniques of making are constantly evolving to permit making new and different work.

As for the future of functional work.  My guess is there will always be a market but it will continue to shrink.  And more and more of it will come from overseas where labor is cheap.  And probably the line between Handmade and manufactured will blur more and more in the eyes of the consumer.  


Sent from my iPad

On Mar 26, 2014, at 5:28 PM, mel jacobson <melpots2 at visi.com> wrote:

> 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.
> imagine.
> 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
> new.
> 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.
> odd.
> 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.
> mel
> 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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