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Hipster Hippo don't care about no snow.

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Time

Americans seem to be obsessed with time.  We are always checking the time on our watches and cell phones.  We often seem to be running so late we will risk lives darting through traffic.  We take work home because we don't have enough time during the work day to do all our work.  New students are often asking me how long it will take for their new clay creation to dry and customers are often asking me how long it took to make something.  I'm never really sure how to answer this question.  Do you mean how long did it take to learn how to throw with any kind of proficiency?  Do you want to include the time waiting for the clay to dry.  Is drawing, carving, painting, glazing, and firing included?  Should I add in the time it took to apply for the show and set up my booth?

Ceramic Lidded Jar
Covered Jar


I'm sure people have different motivations for asking and I'm never insulted by the question, I just am unsure what to say.  I don't want to come across as being rude but it's just not a simple question to answer.  How do you answer this question?  

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Comments

  1. That is always a really difficult question to answer. I usually answer how long I spend actually working on it but then explain that several weeks are spent between the steps that need to be done before it becomes a finished piece.

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    1. Hi Sue, that's a good answer. Not many businesses have to store unfinished work in a safe place until it's ready for the next phase in the creation process, those shelves are Real Estate and that equals cost.

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  2. People may see me demo throwing a mug shape in a minute and a half and wonder why the mug is 19 bucks.... or usually, they just ask. I say 'well, there is the throwing trimming, glazing, decorating, about half an hour...but I have been working in clay 30 years, so its half an hour plus 30 years. I takes a long time to learn! Its like rocket science and brain surgery!" which is usally a good answer for them. Visitors to the studio yesterday, really good friends, asked if I spend all my time in the studio, because there is a lot of stuff around and I said "well, sometimes you are in here working, sometimes packing boxes and going to the PO, you have to count all that, and I work every day because it is all I like to do, plus sometimes you have to go to the dentist of the store...". And that seemed to explain things to them :)

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    1. Great answer Gary, it does seem like people don't appreciate the time it takes to master the craft, probably because they don't know that it can take 30 years to get to where someone can throw a really good mug in under 2 minutes. They know how long a doctor studies but not a potter. Maybe we should call it practicing pottery like practicing medicine or law.

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  3. I like Sue's answer... I think in the past I have given a different answer depending on who asked the question. If they rub me the wrong way they might get a smart ass answer!
    btw - the jar is beautiful!

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    1. Thanks Michele, it's true how someone's attitude can effect our response.

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  4. Oh boy I just glazed the million dollar pot, or at least it seamed like it. I had the silly bright idea to hand brush two different glazes all the way up a piece, not even sure it will make it without having some blank spots since one of the glazes was hard to see once it dried. I really want to make a progression of photos of my time consuming pots and below each one show the time it takes to do each step. Hopefully a photo would say a thousand words.

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    1. Hi Linda, I sometimes think the same when I'm hand painting a dragon onto a stein, "Look a million dollar mug!"

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  5. I don't think they ever really understand.
    The blank look of awe is one that gets me.
    Sometimes somethings are best left unsaid and just we can hope that the true pottery lovers know all the hard work.

    People always say but you do this for love.
    No, I do this for love and money.
    Artist have bills too.

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    1. You're right Meredith we do this for love, love of clay, love of art, love of food, shelter, health care...

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