keskiviikko 23. tammikuuta 2013

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

16 kommenttia:

  1. Dont let one stupid woman get under your skin! Keep up the good work, treat me on eye candy with your gorgious art, keep yourself sane and happy!

  2. Karin - you won´t believe how hard I try :) thanks for the support!

  3. This is the kind of thing that makes steam come out of my ears! We call it "The Happy Carpenter" coined by Proge's father, who was a house builder. "You work with your hands and enjoy what you are doing so why are you charging so much?" Never mind the time and energy that goes into becoming an artist!

    It's easy to copy, but we copy to learn. The trick is to take that learned information and let it inform work, not plagiarize it.

    I think we all go through this in one form or another. I was doing a sale at my old co-op when a woman came up with one of my teapots and four of my mugs in hand and asked if I could give her a discount because she was buying so much. My initial reaction was to simply stare at her. I gathered my wits and said I couldn't do that as my contracts with the shops I sold though prohibited my underselling myself. She humphed and walked away. I found later she bought the items.

  4. P.S. I liked this posting

  5. you really are a smart cat:)...I agree that copying is a great way to learn, we all did that...people should understand that they pay for the knowledge we have + the actual item(s) we made...they are not forced to pay and will definitely survive without buying anything from us...years ago I wrote a long list of completely unnessessary things I´d like to buy for myself and by now I could afford only 2 and I love both to pieces!

  6. So sorry to hear that :( I have looked at many a wee house over the years, and I love yours because they are so specially crafted! Thank you for your wonderful work!

    1. thanks can see many ceramic houses on the net...that is really OK by me...I make my own Eastern European little homes

  7. Wow - I'm surprised she didn't want to come over and drink your coffee, have you mentor her on how to make houses and the proper placement of the ear wires, how to mix special glazes, how to brush it on, how to fire-up the kiln, proper placement in the kiln for ONE pair of house earrings, have a slumber party sleep over, eat pizza all night, snuggle with your dogs (while the kiln was heating up and cooling down) and then have you pay her for the privilege of showing her how to make a "Sissy Pair of Artisan House Earrings."

    Sissy, you are an artist of the cutest little irresistible items and I wish I made a million dollars so I could buy them all, but I need to pick and choose for my collection because I don't make a million dollars.

    Don't let her ruin your day or control your mood. She is one of many who just don't understand what goes into handcrafted art work, she may be an "Etsian" but she's not a true artist. I've got enough words to write volumes, but I wont.

    You are a Rock Star Artist who I think has a great business, great prices, and awesome art work. I think you are doing it right.


    1. Tina - I don´t vaste precious coffee for people like her!:) After all I´m SO HAPPY she didn´t buy any of my houses - she doesn´t deserve to wear them and also because it´s so easy to make molds then cheap copies of the originals...

  8. Oh no no no, what is wrong with people! I am so sorry you had to deal with someone so rude, there is absolutely no excuse for someone to behave like that. grrrrr. You know how much I adore your work and I am completely in awe of your creativity. To have the idea in your head and have it come out your hands and form the clay, I can not even fathom. For her to be so flippant about it is ridiculous.

    Like Tina, I have to choose carefully what wonderful pieces I can buy from you. And when I want something extra special just for me ;) I save my money and skip other pieces (so very hard!).

    Smartcat's link was great, so perfect! Those of us that appreciate your hard work are truly blessed with the joy the pieces bring everyday in our lives.

    1. Missy - you´re absolutely right : why she had to be so RUDE! I just don´t get it...

  9. I just saw this post, I would love to email this person myself. I like your list for potters, we should all print this out and put it up in our booths where the crazy customers come to "shop". Sorry this happened, your work is so authentic and so YOU, at least there are plenty of people out there that appreciate your labor! Xo

  10. I,too,am sorry that you had to endure dealing with that nonsense. Your work is great! and your list terrfic..(it does need to be a poster). Carry on :)T.

  11. I've just come across your blog, but I've seen your beautiful work many times. I'm not surprised at this person's attitude, but wow that she had the *ahem* to say those things right to you! I believe many people don't understand all the work and materials and training and practice that goes into art. I feel lucky that beautiful work like yours is available to me. You are right - good thing that person did not buy your art. Who wants her to have it? Just know that there are many of us who really value what you do. Just looking at it makes me smile.

  12. I am just getting around to reading this blog post. I, too, am a potter. I know that look you get when you tell someone the price of a mug. Here's what I feel like telling them. "If you think the price is too high, then make one yourself. But first you'll have to learn to throw the clay, which may take years to master. Then buy a wheel and a kiln, which could cost a few thousand dollars. You'll need studio space. Buy lots of glaze and clay, because you will have to experiment with firings and colors, and will have a house full of rejects. Don't forget that your monthly electric bill is going to rise. If all that sounds like it is too much to handle, then buy a mug from me for $20.00 or go to WalMart and buy some crap."