[Clayart] Is your website stamped on your work?
vpitelka at dtccom.net
Fri Jan 6 08:37:51 EST 2017
Hi Owen -
I am sorry if my comments came across that way. You are to be commended for coming up with a salable product you can move in volume online and you have obviously done this diligently for a long time. I did not understand your product or your marketing, and the advice I gave to you was the advice I would give to any studio potter, and has nothing to do with the fact that I teach in a university. I supported myself and my family as a production potter for ten years before I went to graduate school. There is a certain anti-academic classicism that rears its ugly head periodically on Clayart, and it is not accurate or appropriate and does no one any good. Certainly there are people in clay academia who have a completely unrealistic impression of what it takes to be a self-supporting artist, but those people are not participating in Clayart.
For the product you are making, the website address might serve you very well. But I also maintain that if you have a distinctive and unusual studio name (like Owen Dearing Studio), and you have a website, anyone can find your website by entering your studio name in a search engine. We gave you our opinions with the best of intentions and with no intent to insult you or your product. You have sold these mugs very successfully, and that is the best gauge of whether you have been doing things right.
Appalachian Center for Craft
Tennessee Tech University
vpitelka at dtccom.net
From: Clayart [mailto:clayart-bounces at lists.clayartworld.com] On Behalf Of Owen Dearing
Sent: Thursday, January 5, 2017 10:00 PM
To: via Clayart <clayart at lists.clayartworld.com>
Subject: [Clayart] Is your website stamped on your work?
Hi Vince, and everyone else who’d chimed in on this thread.
Vince, you live in the world of academia so I don’t know if you are pulling my leg or not with your comments. Others are joining in with their two cents worth, and I think if I’m not mistaken many of you are all telling me that I am making a mistake, that my practice somehow cheapens the product that I have literally spent over two decades to perfect. If you or others on the list think that my practice of putting my website info on the bottom of my mugs put them in the same category of a mug made in China that sells in WalMart for 69 cents, fine, you are entitled to your opinion. I think you’re full of it but that’s my opinion. :)
My business is 100% web based. I do not do anything else, no Saturday markets, no teaching on the side, no special holiday sales. I have helped gett my son through college because of the stamp that you so delicately put in the same category as a cheap mug. I have paid off my house because of the stamp that I put on the bottom of my mugs. I have helped put my wife through nursing school because of that stamp. Because of that stamp, I have been able to make and sell about 2500 very high end and expensive mugs for each of the past 10 years and I feel like I am just getting started as a potter. I have a lot more mugs that I will make before I hang up the apron for the last time. But I gotta sell them, don’t I?
I do not have any pretensions about my work. It will never be displayed in the Royal Ontario Museum’s world class ceramic collection. That is fine with me - after all, I am a podunk, no name potter in podunk Oregon. I get all the satisfaction I could ever want by the wonderful messages, hundreds and hundreds of them, which are displayed on my website, from customers who tell me how much they love the mugs that I have made. Somehow they don’t think of their mug on the same level as a mug sold at BiMart or WalMart. So all of the folks on the list who in somewhat typical Clayart fashion who are jumping up and down, seeming to say “he’s not traditional, he’s just as bad as WalMart's crap pottery - I say, get over yourselves. You folks and I live in a different world.
I never intended to convert any of you experienced potters. You have a marketing technique that has worked for you. Super! Some of you have been at this for 30, 40, even 50+ years. Why would you want to put your website on your pots? I sure would not if I was you. I was and still am sending out my message, stamp your website on the bottom of your pots, to the young potters, brave souls that they are, who are trying to get a foothold as a full time potter. You know, the ones who often never post here, but lurk. They don’t want to get their heads chopped off by being such a fool as to post here like I did. :)
I don’t think I deserved the negative commentary. For Hendley to equate my mark with a hand towel dispenser in a public bathroom is not a joke. I don’t know him. But my gawd, my immediate image upon reading that from David was of a dirty bathroom at a gas station, toilet overflowing, and one of my mugs is in the room…I was insulted for sure. How could I not be? And to be honest, I have seen so many good potters driven off this list over the 15+ years that I have been mostly a reader and occasionally a poster, it kind of makes me sick. Don’t you dare try it with me! I have a thick skin, I have tangled with the big boys (they are not always right) and I know my way around the ropes. I also have a great sense of humor and I love to laugh, ask anyone who knows me if I have a sense of humor. I am a passionate man. When important issues come up, when my core values challenged, and I have to stand for my principals, I do. Which is why I am writing these words. I care very deeply for Clayart. I never would have met Ron, Mel, Hank or many others but for this list and for that I will be eternally grateful. How about some of you lighten up in the piling on category in hopes that we can give every Clayarter confidence that if they post something they will not be driven off?
If this gets through moderation I invite a conversation. A friendly, respectful conversation. Not with me. But with each other, about why it is that Clayart has been known to have a reputation for the negative. I do not think that is what Clayart is supposed to be. It is the new year. Let’s resolve to make this space a great space for anyone and everyone who wants to share information, or wants to receive information. Or inspiration. Or even, gasp, marketing tips. :)
Thanks for listening and Mel I laughed out loud at your joke!
Owen Dearing, potter
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