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Thursday, January 3, 2013

What Now........

A new year, a clean slate, a fresh start. Beginnings hold so many promises don't they? And yet I don't feel like I am beginning anything at all. I feel in limbo, like a piece of driftwood out on the water. For the past week I have been moving very slowly through everything I do. I listen slowly, I move from room to room slowly, I was even slicing toast yesterday one piece at a time instead of stacking it all up and ripping through it like I usually do. It was an odd Christmas for us, not having water, being sick with a chest cold, having my mental issues, having to travel. It was a good Christmas though, no bickering, lovely gifts, lots of down time. I have an amazing family.
I have been reading everyone's blogs this week, the new year's resolutions, the reflections on what 2012 was all about, the new goals, the past mistakes and successes. But I have no desire to visit any of this, I have no resolutions, I know what happened last year and don't care to dwell on it. But I should set some goals, get a path laid out before me and get on with it. But what........
I read on someone's blog yesterday these words: Some years are for questions some are for answers. Last year was a year for questions, this year may be more of the same, but I'm not sure. My last two shows have me puzzled and not really knowing how I want to move forward. Let's see:
Last year I made a shitload of houses/barns, sold a few, got a few commissions, got invited to be in some shows, that was all very nice. In 2011 I had set out to "brand" myself, get recognized, get in some galleries, get in some shows. Did that.... so what..... I still don't have the income I want and sales were sllllooooowwww at the end of the year. Except for the things I didn't spend too much time on. The under $50 items sold well, little houses sold well, tiles that were an after thought all sold, jewelry sold, stars sold. Raku sold and sold and sold. I have over $10,000 in inventory now out in galleries so why make more houses.
In fact, my desire to make houses with found objects has come to an unexplainable screeching halt. Raku is rattling around in my brain. Maybe smaller houses that are raku fired will get me moving. I do know one thing. I have painted myself into a corner with this pricing thing. Everyone kept telling me to raise my prices, my work was too cheap. And so I did, and now my sales are slowing down. Yes, everyone says "I love your work, wish I could own a piece, wish I could afford it". and I wish you could too. I wish I could afford to make it cheaply, but I can't. So maybe I can make some little things that are more affordable to balance it all out. And there, in fact, is the key to my stillness. I am out of balance, and I am a LIBRA for God's sake! I need me some balance.
So I sit here.....still.... waiting..... I will know when it's time. But for now I am trying to figure out:
how to sell my work, where do I want to sell it, who do I sell it to, what do I make, why do I make it, do I even want to do this (of course I do, but I should at least ask).
I love the making, I have no problem with that, it's this selling business that makes me crazy! Where do I sell, what is the price, will you like it, will you buy it, why won't you buy it, what's wrong with this, I love it! I'm sorry I charged so much for it, no it's not a bird house.
I put so much of myself into the work that went out of my studio in 2012 I suppose I am just all spent up and need to recharge. So January is all about my friends and family and recharging and staying the path.
Growth, change, understanding, questions and hopefully answers.

17 comments:

Dennis Allen said...

I noticed the picture you led with,and the phrase "driftwood on the water". Sounds like you might need a few days on the beach!

Tracey Broome said...

I just had a few days at the beach, maybe that's the problem, haha! Need to still be there..... Sigh.....

Michèle Hastings said...

I wish I had advice, but I don't. This is weird business.

JUDI TAVILL said...

Ok... here are questions I pose to you...
1.If money were not an issue...what would you love to be doing?
2.Even then, would selling the work validate who you are as an artist/a creative soul?

Susan Wells said...

Well, your houses on stilts look as prepared for anything as you are. I love the making too. Let's do more of that!

handstories said...

sometimes a commitment to staying on the path is all the resolution one can make, just putting one foot in front of the other. i'm not good at plans or promises to myself, but do need to figure out some of these same questions you pose. loving the making is not enough to keep the family going...sigh. here's to hoping we run into some answers this year.

Lori Buff said...

I've been given that advice about my work too (by people that haven't bought anything). "Raise your prices that will pique interest." Bullshit. Raise your prices and then mark them down and tell everyone it's a sale, that will pique interest. I hope things start looking up for you.

Laura Farrow said...

it's good to be aware of that stuckness of selling and second guessing the market... I can certainly appreciate my day job when I get to feeling like that. time to take a step back and remember why we do what we do... cuz we love it of course, and it's who we are!! and let the creative ideas and motivations flow from that place of joy. all those cool multimedia directions you've been excited about.... do it! xo

June Perry said...

It's a difficult balance to make what you love and be able to sell enough to make is financially viable.

Some potters make what they know sells well 4 or 5 days a week and make what they want/love one day a week.

Only you can determine whether it's more important - to make the money or make the majority of you production what you love. It's the ever ending dilemma.

There's an old quote (I forget the source), that says "You don't have to make what you like. You just have to like what you make".

Maybe there's a clue there for all of us.

You may have a new direction with the raku houses - definitely worth further exploration.

Perhaps you can further explore some top end galleries in high income areas for your more pricey pieces. I'll bet there is a larger market for them - just have to dig deep I guess, to find it.

In the meantime, give yourself some good, self indulgent time. It sounds like you need a bit of pampering for a couple of days. :-)

Tracey Broome said...

Michele. so right, it is a weird business!
Good questions Judi, much to think about, this could make a good blog post for all of us!
Susan, yes, the MAKING!
Cindy, that's how I feel too, just to make the commitment to stay on the path seems like plenty to me, just see where it goes....
Lori, it's reasonable bullshit, my prices were way too low for the gallery commissions, I didn't just raise them to pique interest,but there has to be a middle ground that I somehow missed... things are fine, just random thoughts about where to go next....
Hey Laura, yes it is time to step back and I'm fine with that, better than charging ahead blindly :) and I do have a loom now!
June, I like that old quote, a good one to remember. I think all of us as artists go through this sort of thing this time of year, the time when we step back and look at what a year of work accomplished, the good and the bad, and look at where we want to go. It's good to pamper ourselves while we reflect though, good idea!

angela walford said...

all good and valid ?'s trace..it's the same here lower priced items sell the most and thats your bread and butter money, everything else is a bonus and making what you love is the best!! happy chillin time trace

cookingwithgas said...

TB- take some time for you and then see what falls out. Jan is really a hard time to work. It should be a time to feed the brain and soul.

Tracey Broome said...

Hey Ang, yep making what you love is absolutely the best, just gotta find your peeps:)
Meredith, absolutely right, January is NOT a working month for me, time to reorganize my brain!

Shannon said...

HI Tracey, I second the notion (and emotion) tat winter is for withdrawing, turning inward and just gestating for a couple months. Go to museums, weave and let our mind wander. The Elizabeth Gilbert questions are --"what do i really, really, really want? what are my mantras (what you hear in your head all the time)? "and "what are my happiest moments?" Keep it loose and non-judgemental, just keep asking.

Amy said...

someone wisely told me once-- make what you love; while I didn't understand it at the time, those words have stayed with me. they're so true. especially because I'm not dependent financially on making pottery, I can do this and while it is tempting to do only what others want or what sells at times, I keep saying to me--- 'what is me in the pottery world?' this changes at times, yet there is only one you. the world needs you to make what is 'you'.

Tracey Broome said...

Shannon, that's me, the wandering mind! Add "what do I really really want" to Judi's question, " what if money were not the issue" and your mind can do some serious wandering!
Amy, I'm not so sure about the make what you love statement. I love salt and wood fired brown pots but that is beyond my limits right now and probably forever. I like June's quote, like what you make. There is a big difference but I can be content with that. I do agree that you have to make what is "you" and not what yu think others want from you.....

Amy said...

geez, how true. of course yes, there are limits. reality sets in, right? :)