I added up all of my sales, transferred money from propay to my account and while sales were ok and I had great fun, total sales would be bleak for someone trying to make a living doing this. I covered expenses, gave Wes money for her house, and had some to spare that will pay for shows and supplies, but I'm not running out to Nordstrom's to buy a cute outfit anytime soon.
I basically sold pendants...... and small heart dishes and some ornaments. I usually sell a barn or two, so I brought some, also brought them back home. My largest sale to one person was for $50 and that was three pendants that were $20 each and he asked for a deal. Ohhhhh those people that think they are at a yard sale! But I gave him one because he asked nicely and was genuinely interested in my work.
Speaking of my neighbor. Remember I mentioned in my post after the Hillsborough show that I always seem to manage to be next to the "it" tent? Happened again. This time it was Rosemary and she is the most remarkable face painter/henna artist I have ever seen at a festival. She sat down on her stool Thursday evening and started painting and except for two lunches I saw her throw down behind her tent in about two seconds, and one phone call, I never saw her leave her stool. There was a line at her tent for four days, her prices started at $15. Gerry and I figure she must have made around $5000.
For painting a temporary snake, fairy, tiger, henna pattern, blah blah..... on a small child's face.....
sigh........ just shoot me now. I had something to offer for $15 that would be a permanent token of a good time at Shakori, but no, people chose to pay for paint on their child's face, then come into my tent saying they wished they had some money.
This is getting old, I'm getting weary of this, I can tell you that. I love these kind of shows, they are fun, the people are interesting, but I can't keep making work to sit on the shelves in my studio. It's no fun.
I love making these barns. But if it's over $30, it ain't selling. And.... to put the proverbial cherry on top, the day I got home from Shakori, I had an email from another gallery wanting to send some things back.
I probably should just pretend to be cheerful and say, oh yeah, life is great, sales are great, and live in a chair of bowlys, but I'm trying to figure out where I want to go from here. I like making pendants and if they are gonna sell I'll keep making them, but where is the challenge in that, the discovery, the excitement of something new and wonderful? I love making barns, but the shelves are full, no more shall I make. I don't want to apply for exhibitions and emerging artists competitions, and put myself through judgings and juries anymore, been there done that, hated it. The CDCG show was a waste of time and money. So where does that leave me? Etsy, holiday sales, outdoor festivals..... I'm right back where I started.
The other thing I find happening is I have sort of lost my love for the whole clay thing. I still love pottery itself, but I no longer get a head rush when someone says the name Michael Cardew or Shoji Hamada, like I used to. I no longer get a heart flutter when I see a clay book in a used bookstore. I don't care about shino glaze recipes. The crush is over, I'm afraid. I still love raku, but read again on the same blog another mention of it being the black velvet painting of the pottery snobbery world. This is another thing that pisses me off. Get off the dang high and mightyness of this clay thing. The people out there buying pottery don't give a shit, they just buy what they think is pretty and will match their blue curtains.
Of course there are the truly enlightened clay buyers, I know, and the truly gifted clay makers. But I am neither. I can't afford to be a collector and I am too lazy to put in the time to make the perfect wood fired yunomi. Much less try and find someone to buy said yunomi or work to get the press so that people think I am the shit and rush to buy anything with my name on it. It's a game I'm not interested in at this point.
I was shopping for props on Wednesday and ended up at an antique mall near Seagrove. There was soooo much Seagrove pottery in there for sale. Beautiful traditional old time pottery, wish I could fill a room with all of it. Then I stopped in a Goodwill store nearby, and saw a beautiful wood fired mug on the shelf for $4. It sort of makes me feel foolish for having a $150 price tag on one of my barns. But the market set that price for me a few years ago, and now the market is poor.
At this point I feel like a plane up in the air in a holding pattern, circling the airport until there is a place to land. I have no idea right now where to land. I seem to be thinking of larger raku vases.... put some black velvet pottery out there for those who are less informed of the traditions of Leach and Hamada, those that just like pretty turquoise.
Now don't get me wrong, I am not writing this from a place of sadness and despair. I am really happy right now, I'm working in the theater, building a set next week, loving that, love shopping for props, making props, and I just had a fun show for four days, sold a few things. I'm just trying to figure out how to not waste money with this clay business. Keep it simple I suppose, make inexpensive items and try to find more venues for selling. And then there is the weaving thing that I have yet to figure out.....
When my pal Susan read my Tarot cards, nothing came up on my clay side, it was a black hole. But the cards exploded on the fiber side. But those are baby steps right now, I am so far away from making any money from weaving.
Like many of you, I took a class at a local studio, clay seduced me, and the obsession bug bit me hard. But why the obsession? A good friend of mine talks about the discovery of clay being the thing she loves, and I think it has been the same for me. The learning, the process. But the making a living part of it sucks for me. I don't like that part one tiny little bit. I just like the making.... the selling is putting a big old damper on my clay party right now! So the plan is, if I have to sell, which is necessary in order to make more, I am going to sell where I am at least having a good time. I am on the downhill side of my life now and times a wasting. What I want more than anything these days is to surround myself with people that have joy for life, music in their souls. I want to walk through aisles and aisles of antiques, I want to stand in a field of sheep, I want to eat farm grown vegetables, I want to walk in the woods,
life is short, we need to do some living!