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Pottery Not Art

A woman called to commission a dog bowl to replace the one she broke.  She explained the specifications of size and color and then asked for a price.  When she expressed her surprise and dismay at the price she was quoted she was told "it cost money to commission an artist."

She replied "I don't need an artist, I just need a potter.  I'd just make it myself if I knew how."

If she knew how she wouldn't have balked at the price or made such a ridiculous statement.

Pottery Salad Bowl by Lori Buff
Serving Bowl

Sadly many people think of artists as painters only.  They don't include many other artists like writers, actors, and musicians or even potters.  It makes me wonder how they classify trapeze artists.

It's true that I am a crafts person since I craft something out of clay but let's think about a functional piece of pottery.  I have to consider how that piece is going to be used then I have to engineer it to function properly for it's intended use, I have to design it to be esthetically pleasing and then I have to mold it out of clay, fire it and decorate it in such a way that someone will want to pay me for all that I've put into it.  Even the most simple piece I make contains all of these elements and a lot of love.

So potters where many hats; designer, engineer, chemist, crafts person/manufacturer.  The price for that dog bowl should have been much higher.

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

Comments

  1. My friend Cathy and I were discussing whether we're artist craftswomen, or crafts-artists. It all comes out to be art, and takes good craftsmanship, er crafts-person-ship I guess. Yes, prices are an issue that must be held to a standard. It's hard.

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    1. Thanks Barb, I do like crafts-artist. Did you settle on one or the other?

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  2. The age old struggle of craft vs. art. I like to think of myself as an artist who works primarily in clay. When people ask what I do I say I am a potter.
    I think most of the potters I know are artists who also can draw or paint, they just choose to make pots because they fell in love with clay.

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    1. It's true, Michèle, many potters do many kinds of art.

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  3. How to educate the public and provide them with something that they can use everyday is tricky.
    Plus, there are really good dog bowls out there cheap, if she wants cheap.
    I always think when you go into something like this someone will be unhappy.
    What I love is when you go into a commission and everyone is happy.
    Give me those.

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    Replies
    1. You're right Meredith, she decided to look elsewhere for a dog dish.

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  4. She just needed a map to Walmart!
    I actually like to refer to potters as craftspeople instead of artists, I truly love the word craftsman, or crafts person, it indicates all of the things you mentioned, the designing, engineering, chemistry, etc. it's an honorable and true description of someone that creates a thing of beauty with their hands.
    Oh the uneducated public..... What to do with them!

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    Replies
    1. Ha! I would have suggested she shop at her local pet store but then she might complain that it wasn't as cheap as Walmart since she'd be supporting a local American business not Chinese slave labor.

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  5. We got an estimate from a painter to paint our home when we moved here, we painted it ourselves, you wouldn't believe what he quoted us

    At a recent estate sale we had someone asked me if I'd make them a thick legged horse sculpture, money was no object, they even had a sample of what they wanted. I told them I didn't make copies of other artist's work. They actually said they understood, they ended up purchasing quite a few pieces of my pottery that morning.

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    Replies
    1. I've had a few people ask me to copy another artists work. I did it one time because the customer was a very sweet man who had broken a favorite plate of his new wife's and he wanted to do something to make it right.

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  6. there are times you want to give the middle finger salute to the general public, but you have to smile and be polite ;)

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