I own a kiln therefore I´m a greedy piece of shit…
...maybe I shouldn´t write about this but I´m simply too pissed off at the moment…I received a couple of mails of a “fellow Etsian”. In the first mail she said how much she loved my little ceramic houses. It´s alright and it always feels good! But then she asked if I could sell her a pair of miniature house earrings in custom colours (of course) and give her “at least” (?) 20% discount … because she couldn´t afford a pair for 20 euros (shipping included)…and no, she didn´t need the ear wires …she sells her polymer clay jewellery and she knows how cheap findings are…erhmmm…on what planet if I may ask ? You can buy them in bulk for whole sale price but it doesn´t make the finding that much cheaper. You must keep them in stock and it means that certain amount of money is off my bank account anyway!
I consider myself as a polite person ( but I can be a real asshole, ask my family : ) so I answered kindly…no, I´m afraid I can´t give any discount…not even for a “fellow Etsian”. Those earrings sell very well, still I make only maybe 5-10 pairs per month…why? Because the process is long and it kills my neck, my back , my eyes and I simply can´t afford to cripple myself at the age of 41 ( soon 42 OMG !!!) It´s like painting 1000 perfectly round dots on a tiny pea – go on and try to do that for several hours . I´m not a machine and “unfortunately” I have my standards. These little jewels were made to last and you really don´t need to have more than one pair of them….or you can certainly live without buying any. I own only one pair for God´s sake! (Of course she received a much shorter and more polite version of the above :)
In her answer she said that I´m just as greedy and mean like the “clay people” she knows….just because we own a kiln we can basically sell shit for outrageous price ( OK she didn´t use the word shit but that is exactly what she meant)…she took a ceramic class sometimes in the near past and was actually surprised how easy is to work with clay and how low the costs are, so she might make a pair of house earrings for herself PERIOD…no “congrats on your sales” and “xo”s anymore...I was SO mad, I still am! Deleted the mails and even cleaned out the recycle bin of my PC.
So she will copy my work, that´s just fine! But the whole stupid thing makes me wonder: is this how people generally look at ceramic artists? Are we just fooling around in the studio for a couple of lazy hours, make a few silly things and sell them to innocent customers for the price of gold …I don´t think so!
Participating a ceramic class or even 10 classes doesn´t make you a potter…reading about clay and copying other artist´s work helps a lot but it doesn´t make you a potter either.…
you have to fell in love with the clay
you two must build and cherish a healthy, long lasting relationship
you must survive the dust and try not to die because of all those smelly, hazardous chemical formulas
you have to make zillions of mistakes but keep your head up, go on and make another zillion
you must under or over fire already warped stuff frequently…this is the only way to find your very own clay, glazes etc.
you must try to learn many techniques and then realize they´re not for you
you must create whatever comes straight from your heart, display it and learn from the feedback…if you get any attention at all!
you must come up with ideas of what you want to do and able to do and what people are willing to buy
you must learn the basics of running a business
you need to find a place to work
you must buy equipment and materials
you must pay your taxes and bills and must create something called “salary” out of nothing
you must participate shows and pay the ever extending show fees
you must pack your stuff and drive alone in the middle of the night even when you can´t see a freaking thing in the heavy snowing
you must create a nice display in high hopes and you must go home flat broke, cry for hours and then start again in the next morning
you must learn to use a computer and understand the power of internet
you must try not to give up whatever happens
you must not forget your family and try to meet your friends more often
you must try to remember that you´re not just a hard working animal and that your goal is to feel the joy of creating and transfer part of the joy to other human beings...for a suitable amount of money
ETC. ETC. ETC…I could continue the list forever…but excuse me, I´ve got this sudden urge to heat up the sauna with a handful of hundred euro bills !!!!
mad mAD MAD Sissy