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Honey Jar Story

This morning has started slowly for me, I'm recovering from the Inman Park Festival this past weekend.  It's a good show, I like doing it because it's close to home, I get to see a lot of friends and I get to sell a lot of pots.  This year I had an awful lot of pottery because of getting ready for so many shows that all rain consecutively.  That's not a bad thing, it gives me a nice variety to offer people.  The sales were pretty good, most artists I talked to were happy although nobody has been ecstatic but that may still take a while.

Most of the customers were awesome, they appreciated my work, I received lots of complements and had some great discussions about everything from pottery to OCD.  I feel like I've made some new friends.  However, this one experience keeps sticking in my head so I have to write about it.

Honey Jar
A woman spotted some honey jars in my booth and her face immediately lit up; I love that.  She examined the jars then called to the other woman she was with, she showed her the jars and said to her companion "for mom." Then she said to me "she broke her old jar and is very sad about it."  They asked the price which is $35 and includes a nice wooden honey wand.  The companion said "it's too much, I'll find something on-line." They both left while I stood there feeling hurt and sad and a little bit angry.

I should have mentioned that when you buy locally you keep a lot more money in your neighborhood, which is good for you.  It's good for the local economy because I'm going to spend that money locally supporting people like the venders at the East Atlanta Farmer's Market or Park Pet Supply who hires our neighbors.  This is all good for her property values so buying locally is actually less expensive than buying something cheaper on-line.

I could have educated her about the time it takes to make a hand crafted item, how it's expensive to fire a kiln, how I care about the pieces I make and put a little bit of myself into each piece I create.  I am assuming she didn't mean that I'm not worth it, but that's what I heard, and that hurts.  Of course she thinks that spending $35 on a nice gift for her mother is "too much," and I think if $35 to make your mother happy on Mother's Day is too much then I shouldn't be hurt, it's just how this woman thinks and then I was sad.  I'm lucky, I have a mother I can love, not everyone has that.

Other Stuff:


Why Buy Local?
Time Business Article - Buying Local: How it Boosts The Economy

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Comments

  1. She can probably get a molded or mass produced jar for less but will have to pay shipping and I doubt it will have the style and beauty of yours. Some folks can't afford much either, but if she was shopping at an art fair she probably could. I've found some folks take great pleasure in finding items for the cheapest price they can get.

    Unfortunately it usually doesn't pay to explain to those who are so quick to say 'too much' since they are rarely influenced by the information any way. I am wondering if a pictorial placard style display explaining the cost and time involved might be worth it at art fairs?

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    1. You're right Linda, but nothing about these women suggested that they couldn't afford it.
      I really like your idea about the pictorial, I'll have to think on that for a bit.

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  2. It always amazes me when people say that to a craftsman... it's not like we are clerks in Walmart, we actually made the thing! Don't they realize that we take it personally?
    Even worse when they ask if we will take less. :-(
    Glad you had lots of nice customers to make up for the rude one.

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    1. Michele, I hear you on the taking less question. When was the last time they asked for a discount at the chain restaurant or the big box store? The answer might be that those store have sales but the reality is, they have just been overcharging people by x% before they marked it down so they can move the product out and make way for new stuff from China.
      I am so grateful for the nice customers, they make me enjoy doing the shows.

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  3. Lori, I've thought about that a bunch and have had good response at art fairs in California with my placard displays, the only mistake I made was having a display with a fern platter and a teapot and not have either of the two for sale, really I think I could have sold a bunch of both if I had had them. Each venue is a learning experience of what to do and not do next time.

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    1. Linda, do you have pictures of the placards? It's something I've thought about doing but have never brought to fusion. The closest I have is in a guest book that I made which has some process pictures and descriptions, but that means people need to turn the pages and look at the pictures which they never did while I was watching.

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  4. Before I judged these fools and said something nasty, I imagined that they were on food stamps and had just lost their jobs because of the economy. The reality is though, they were probably just uneducated tight asses that don't even deserve to own a piece of your work! Women like these just wore me out to the point of not even looking at outdoor shows to sign up for this year. I just can't take that mentality anymore, it makes me crazy that so many people are so clueless regarding the value of hand made work. However, there are those moments when you meet people that love you and your work and that makes you come back for more. Thank goodness those people are out there for us!!!
    $35 ?!? that's a bargain!!!!

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    1. Tracey, I've tried to come up with scenarios to justify the behavior but it was really just inconsiderate to me and the mother. I can handle rejection, plenty of people say things like "it just won't go with my decor." I get that, my work is not for everyone. The woman was just rude. I was a little surprised that the other didn't go ahead and buy it anyway, she really seemed to think the mother would like one.
      Thanks for the kind words.

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  5. Sorry I can't find those photos, but basically what I do is go under the program with a collage of photos and I take a photo of each process, like one for rolling out the clay, one for decorating it, one showing it in the drying cabinet, one for bisque firing it, one for glaze firing it, then one of the finished pot I put a short sentence under each photo telling what it is, for the firing, I might put the temperature it's fired at and perhaps an estimate on the cost of the firing - (costs shown explain why we charge what we for what we make - perhaps how many hours it takes to make a piece of pottery). and I print the photo collage out on paper and put it in one of those plastic placards on my pottery display table, that's where having the actual piece of pottery next to it is needed. I think that would work especially for pieces that are two parts like your lidded honey jar. Now that I'm typing this to you I'm thinking I'll make up another one for my current work again, I think it would help me again. Ha. Remember my library display I got a lot of nice compliments on that and I used the same type of placard displays in that one but it was geared more to the education aspects of working in clay. Hope this helps. I also think the placards are a way for many folks to be occupied in your booth and also it stimulates questions and conversation, people like to read. I also keep saying I'm going to have a big photo or banner made of my pottery with food on it but have never done that - I saw a potter had that in her booth and it looked super because of the bright colors that were so eye catching at the back of the booth.

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    1. Thanks Linda, you're giving me good ideas. I've thought about the big photos in the back of the booth too. I think it can be eye catching.

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  6. (you have shows RAINing consecutively? ;)
    Oh man, yes, the things people say to your face or their friend or online, good lord. NO, people do not think about the maker standing there. Its enough to make you hate humanity.....or, instead, jump in next time and explain, as you say "you know, I made that and I live around here and I am just trying to earn a living and buy groceries. Why is OK for a mechanic to fix your brakes for 750 but a 35 dollar pot is too expensive for your mom?".

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  7. Hey Gary, Thanks for pointing out the typo, I'll do you the same favor;-)
    That's about what I wanted to say. Have you seen the t-shirt that says something like "I'm an artist, No I won't work for free, I have bills also." I am tempted to get one to wear on show days but really the nice people FAR outnumber the inconsiderate one's and I don't want to offend them.

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  8. I just saw this post on Linda Ellets blog and was amazed at how much time it took to make a tile - her post is similar to what I was thinking of:

    http://linda-ellett.blogspot.com/2012/05/anatomy-of-custom-tile-order.html

    Gary is correct, it is amazing what folks will say on line about others, I myself have been guilty of this but I do try to apologize and contact the folks personally if I was having a bad day.

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