[Clayart] costs and business (digression)

Terry Lazaroff terrylazaroff at gmail.com
Thu Jul 27 08:55:13 EDT 2017

Snail,   you hit the nail on the head.   Too many artists undervalue their work. 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

From: Paul Gerhold
Sent: Thursday, July 27, 2017 8:42 AM
To: Clayart international pottery discussion forum
Subject: Re: [Clayart] costs and business (digression)

I would hope that anyone who works in clay would get personal satisfaction and pleasure out of their work.  


Sent from my iPad

> On Jul 25, 2017, at 4:39 PM, Snail Scott <claywork at flying-snail.com> wrote:
> Some people do their craft for personal satisfaction and pleasure, and that is 
> also an honorable and worthwhile endeavor, and they need to find the balance 
> of cost to payback (if any) on very different terms. If they choose to work a 
> remunerative day job, and then plow those funds into making ceramics 
> (instead of traveling, buying a car, or whatever), that is up them. It the 
> birthright of all human beings to make art, and to do so on their own terms.
> Few other professions so closely overlap a leisure activity. (Pro athletes and 
> prostitutes come to mind, but not many others.) ;)   Few people do plumbing 
> or accounting purely for recreational purposes. Many amateur artists are 
> highly skilled and may have spent many years at their craft in between their 
> paid work, and conversely, a declaration of professional status is no guarantor 
> of excellence. A certain  amount of friction is inevitable, as some practitioners 
> rely solely on their art  for financial support and must recoup their spending 
> and earn a living wage, while others are able to shift some costs to an art 
> center or school, and others simply have no expectation or desire to make a 
> profit. Nonetheless, we have much in common.
> Professionals must acknowledge that effort, time, and money spent do not 
> make an object worth more to a buyer. If the selling price won’t cover 
> production costs, then something needs to change: time, overhead, prices…
> whatever. Amateurs are in an enviable position in many respects, free from 
> at least some of the hard choices of professionals. A suitable courtesy, in my 
> mind, is to charge a fair market rate for all work.  Transferring some cost 
> of production onto an outside paycheck, subsidized studio, or other means 
> of support is fine, but allowing it to affect public selling prices is unfair to the 
> many professionals who require an honest market rate for their work. Humble 
> modesty (“Oh, I’m just an amateur) and generosity (”I want everyone to be 
> able to buy it”) seem virtuous, but have their own costs to others. 
> Charge what your work is worth. If you still can’t break even that way, then 
> reconsider your practices. If your work is worth more than you need to charge, 
> then buy gifts or a vacation or donate to charity, but charge what your work is 
> worth, regardless of your source of income.
>            -Snail
> (So, what is your work worth? Well, that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms, to 
> be opened on another day. It’ll keep.)
>           -S.

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