[Clayart] value of pots

dianamp at comcast.net dianamp at comcast.net
Mon Jul 31 21:52:30 EDT 2017


Thanks Barry! 

Well said. 

Diana 

----- Original Message -----

From: "Barry Salaberry" <bsalab at gmail.com> 
To: clayart at lists.clayartworld.com 
Sent: Saturday, July 29, 2017 1:00:09 PM 
Subject: [Clayart] value of pots 

Value of pots 

The recent discussion of price/value of our works has opened an interesting 
aspect of what and why we do what we do. 

The freedom to take earth and express myself is mine. What I do with that 
material is mine to decide. Keeping that process, maintaining whatever 
integrity I impose on that process is mine. 

If I consider that process to be complete, in and of itself, that is my 
decision. 

For me, an essential component of that process is about making functional 
work, things that humans can use in our lives. Part of that allows me to 
connect with my fellow Earth Occupants, and expands my reach, so to speak. 
When I am deciding while making, much of that involves how well I meet the 
functional needs I am able to perceive. How a handle helps a pot to be 
used is important to me, and how it fills my sense of aesthetic call is 
also important. 

All of these choices I consider to be sacrosanct, holy, part of the soul 
work I simultaneously pursue in this work with clay. 

When another person accepts my work, includes my work into their life, 
expresses a joy as a result of that integration of my work into their 
life, my purpose is fulfilled. When someone likes what I have done, and 
goes so far as to put that work into use, a use I risked to foresee, my 
purpose is fulfilled. 

The value of that work, for me, lies in that realm of fulfillment. 

If money, the exchange of money, becomes part of that transfer, that is 
outside of that already wholeness, that completeness. Having met the need 
with my work completed the process I have the freedom to pursue, by my 
right as a potter. 

Whatever one calls value, when expressed in terms of money, is for me an 
oxymoron...the two are mutually exclusive. Money can be used by me to 
continue my work, but it does not give me that deep sense of fulfillment. 
That 'ca-ching' thing doesn't mean a thing, it doesn't have essential 
value; it remains an item of exchange, with no inherent value. It doesn't 
have meaning, if you get what I mean. I did not make the money; I made the 
pot. The meaning I derive is generated in the making, the guessing, the 
failing, the seeing. When I count the money at the close of market, that 
experience goes on in my head, not my heart. 

Getting into price leaves me with a bad taste, especially if someone 
intends to influence my decision based on their concept of value. Because 
other vendors choose to pay a mortgage, choose to buy and own whatever they 
decide, all of those choices are driving their pricing energy. When I 
price my work, I can base my decision on whatever I choose, even if that 
decision doesn't make sense to others with admittedly abundant expertise is 
collecting money. This expertise is called by some to be practicality, 
that without it one will soon fail. Anecdotally, my fifty-plus years speak 
to a different drummer. 

So far I have always been blessed with clay to use, fire to complete, and 
time and place to make. That completes the process, the circle, so to 
speak. 
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