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Sell More Art By Being With The Process

As a career potter or maybe anyone who sells their work, I am often considering the sale of my work.  I look back on records from shows and galleries to see what has been bought, I check old consignment records to remind myself of what people have ordered and I check Etsy to see what people are buying.  It's hard not to make this an obsession.  I can spend a lot of time and energy trying to make the perfect pots for everyone but we all know that is not going to happen.  I do know that if I make mugs people will buy them, many of them anyway.  I also know that I don't sell many sake bottles so I don't make many of them.  However, sometimes I just feel like making sake bottles, so why not do it?  The right buyer will come by eventually and that person will love that bottle.  At the point where I decide to make a piece I should be fully invested in making that piece.  I need to be with the process and not be spending my energy worrying about whether someone will buy it or not.  To quote Wayne's World "if you book them they will come."  If I make them they will sell, provided I'm focused on art, not on profits.
A study was done recently where two groups of children were given paper and crayons and told to draw a picture.  The first group was told to draw whatever they wanted to draw and just have fun.  The second group was told the same thing and offered a prize for the best drawing.  The first group drew better pictures because they were simply enjoying themselves and making their art for themselves not for any reward.  The second group of kids got so focused on the prize that they did poorly on the drawing.  I suspect that's true of most artists.  If we focus on making the sale it will distract us from the actual piece we are trying to make.
How many times have you made a piece that you really loved and as soon as you put it out for the public it sells.  That is because the feeling you put into the work shows in piece.  Love what you do and the buyers will see that and help you to make more great work.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery


  1. isn't that the truth? I try to tell that to people who want me to make some odd custom order---since I am not passionate about it, it would not be all that great!

  2. Gary, that's a great way of wording it.

  3. I notice on etsy folks buy a lot of supplies and jewelry, sets, I don't seem to see which pieces of pottery are sold but I've been spending less time there recently.

  4. I've been spending less time on Etsy too, Linda. It seems to be a huge time suck with little result. I think people want to see and touch pottery. I sell much more work at Art Fairs & in the brick & mortar venues that carry my pots.

  5. Ah Lori,
    I envy that you have made a career doing what you love.
    More and more people are asking me to sell / market my work and I find that while its tempting, i am having a lot more fun creating than i ever will marketing...
    Still as you say as long as i never loose site of why i'm doing it...
    (at that point i fear the fun gets lost)

  6. Hi Gary,
    It is true that I do have to spend more time than I'd really like marketing but I still totally love what I do. If people are asking you for your work then you are apparently already marketing it. I've seen your art on Facebook, Youtube and your wonderful blog.


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