Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hobby, Therapy or Living?

I am curious, we all love playing in the mud and the benefits that we get from doing so. For me it calms me like nothing else, while I am centering the clay it centers me. It helps me think things through. I hope to one day support myself from my pots and such. I have many friends who do and the main topic of discussion right now with them as with most industries is the economy.
So I am curious; for those of you who make all or part of your income from your pottery, how are you being affected by the current economical climate and what are you doing to promote you and your work to get people to buy?
Please leave a comment and share your thoughts and experiences. And lets all hope for a better climate for artists and thier work in the coming year!


Patricia Griffin said...

Hi Chris! Happy New Year!

Interested in hearing about pottery and profits, eh? Well, in my case, I just finished my first year with a studio-gallery. I'm there three to four days a week (sometimes less due to time constraints) and sales have been steadily increasing. December was good, though I have no benchmark from previous years there.

I was so fortunate to have a successful career in marketing communications prior to opening the studio, and continue to work with four clients on an ongoing basis.

This "other" career has made it all possible. First, to pursue it as a hobby for many years (and afford to take awesome workshops from incredible potters) and now to open the studio-gallery.

If I had to pursue it as a profit-making business, there are things I would do: market to tour groups and make the space more welcoming, more signage, be open consistent hours, do special events, connect with arts groups in the area, maintain customer contact via mailing lists... Also, I could pay my rent just through doing kids classes. But, at least for now, I don't want to invest time in that.

I just want to make my own work right now and see where that goes - without having to wear the "business" hat so much.

Well, there's my two-cents worth!

Chris McCormick said...

Happy New Year Patricia! Thank you for your comment. You are doing what I want to do eventually. Have a studio space/gallery open to the public and offer classes, hopefully where i live. And I want to offer classes in different mediums as well. I will probably do a few shows a year as well.
In a perfect world!

Linda Starr said...

Hi Chris, a few years back I found ceramics which I've substituted for my landscaping which I can no longer do. Since I'm fairly new to ceramics, I must supplement my income with another job - which I am looking for. We're trying to sell our home so we can move to a larger population based area and I want to establish a dedicated studio/gallery. In the meantime living in a very rural setting with little traffic and no major cities close by, I am finding it hard with the present economy situation. I have held back from promoting or marketing till I perfect my work and develop my style. I also want to be able to consistently produce work to replenish what I sell. Since I plan to move, I've only gone to a few art shows and am attending as many workshops as I can. This next year I'm partnering with a couple of other potters and branching into other ceramic avenues. I am also re-opening up my small studio here dedicated to ceramics rather than my lavender gift shop. I've had folks ask about classes which I may give to help defray costs. Patricia has given some good ideas and I hope others will too. Eventually I plan to develop a website, open a web based store, or an etsy site and look for other outlets for my ceramics.

Happy New year to you.

shoshonasnow said...

I'm a full-time studio artist. I sell online and in about 40 shops and galleries. I had to stop teaching classes in order to keep up with the demand. I just finished my 3rd full year of working full time without teaching and I must say, this past year has been the best financially. I sold almost double October-December than last year. Gallery shows have been pretty dead. People just don't seem to be coming out and if they are, they aren't really buying. Online has been great and the shops that sell my work seem to be doing well. These are shops that sell all or mostly handmade work. I think people are feeling better about spending their money on something handmade. Anyway, I don't really do any promotion. People just seem to find me. I didn't have to contact one single shop or gallery that carries my work. A good online presence seems to be key. I have my website, my blog, flickr, Etsy...