PLEASE ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF,

I’M A MAN OF CLAY AND GLAZE

PUSHED MUD AROUND FOR SEVENTY YEARS

OR TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND DAYS.

Robin Hopper is a man of many parts, mostly worn out, rusty or dysfunctional, due to a lifetime of excesses! He started working with clay at the age of three and is still doing it over 70 years later. His lengthy, peripatetic career as a mudpusher has included side trips into working as a Professional Actor, Stage Designer, Property Maker, Stage Manager, Stage Carpenter, Grocer, Greengrocer, Jazz Musician, Teapot, Wine and Beer-Bottle, Trumpet, Trombone and Bugle Player, European Travel Guide, Founder of Several Clay/Art/Craft Organizations, Alchemist, Geologist, Primatologist, Linguist, Ornithologist, Botanist, Ceramic Historian, Educator, Author, Garden Designer, Lecturer on Japanese Garden Design, Laborer and Star of Stage, Screen and Potter’s Wheel!

Friday, February 10, 2012

ON MAKING, PRICING AND MARKETING

FRIDAY, 10TH FEBRUARY, 2015




THE DEVELOPMENT OF A POTTER OR CERAMIC ARTIST IS A LENGTHY LOVE AFFAIR THAT IS DIFFICULT TO CONDENSE AND SPEED UP. ALTHOUGH IT IS A VERY BEAUTIFUL THING TO DO, IT IS GENERALLY A SLOW PROCESSES, DEVELOPING MANY SKILLS THAT TAKE CONSIDERABLE TIME TO MASTER.  IF YOU GET HOOKED, YOU WOULD BE WELL-ADVISED TO PLAN FOR THE LONG HAUL!


ALL POTTERY IMAGES SHOWN ARE FIRED AT CONE 9 IN OXIDATION AND WERE MADE BETWEEN 1958 AND 1967.











THREE CASSEROLES.


FIRST: COMES THE LEARNING OF ALL THE SKILLS NEEDED TO ENABLE YOU TO MAKE WHAT YOU VISUALIZE AND WISH TO MAKE. THIS INCLUDES THE SKILLS OF MANIPULATING CLAY BY A WIDE RANGE OF METHODS FROM HAND-BUILDING TO THROWING TO SLIP-CASTING OR COMBINATIONS THEREOF. THIS IS FOLLOWED BY FINISHING THE RAW PRODUCT AND THEN ITS COMPLETION BY FIRING IN ONE OF THE UMPTEEN VARIABLES THAT ARE AVAILABLE FOR YOUR EXPLORATION. THIS IS ALL THE PRACTICAL, MANIPULATIVE PROCESSES OR FOUNDATIONS OF THE MEDIUM.

SECOND:  IS THE GENERAL DEVELOPMENT OF THOUGHT PROCESSES BEHIND THE WORK. THIS IS THE REALM OF IDEAS. DECIDING ON WHAT SORT OF WORK YOU WANT TO DO - IS IT TO BE SIMPLE-FUNCTIONAL,  COMPLEX - FUNCTIONAL, OR PRIMARILY SCULPTURAL OR PRIMARILY PAINTERLY. COMING UP WITH NEW IDEAS IS WHAT GENERALLY SEPARATES THE  ORIGINAL FROM THE CLONE. THESE SKILLS USUALLY COME FROM TWO-DIMENSIONAL ART PROCESSES SUCH AS DRAWING, PAINTING, PRINTMAKING AND FOLLOWS THROUGH THREE -DIMENSIONALLY WITH POTTERY AND SCULPTURAL FORM IN DIVERSE MEDIA.

THIRD: IS THE DEVELOPMENT OF THOSE IDEAS INTO ACTUAL OBJECTS FOR CONTEMPLATION OR USE. WHAT ARE YOU CAPABLE OF?                                  












SAUCE BOATS









      GENERAL PURPOSE BOWLS

FOURTH:  IS PUTTING A PRICE ON IT! HOW DO YOU ESTABLISH A VALUE ON WORK THAT, FOR THE MOST PART, YOU DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH ACTUAL TIME IT TOOK TO MAKE BECAUSE IT WAS MADE OVER A PERIOD OF TIME IN AT LEAST SIXTEEN SEPARATE STEPS. YOU DON'T ACCURATELY KNOW WHAT THE MATERIAL AND FIRING COSTS WERE AND LOGICAL PRICING JUST DOESN'T EXIST.

THE METHOD THAT WORKED FOR ME AT MY FIRST STUDIO IN ENGLAND AND WAS FOLLOWED IN CANADA SEVERAL YEARS LATER WAS THIS.  MAKE A GRAPH OF THE WORK AND PRICES OF DIFFERENT ARTISTS WHO MIGHT BE MAKING A RANGE OF SIMILAR OBJECTS TO WHAT YOU MIGHT  PRODUCE. YOU CAN GET THIS SORT OF INFORMATION BY VISITING GALLERIES AND GALLERIES OR THESE DAYS FROM SOME WEBSITES, I KNEW THE ARTISTS AND WHAT THEY MADE IN ENGLAND.

DOWN THE LEFT SIDE OF THE GRAPH, I PUT THE NAMES OF A DOZEN, OR SO, ARTISTS, INCLUDING BERNARD LEACH, DAVID LEACH, MICHAEL LEACH, ALAN CAIGER-SMITH, JOHN LEACH, RAY FINCH, HARRY DAVIS, MICHAEL CARDEW, EMANUEL COOPER, LUCIE RIE, BRIGLIN POTTERY, MAUND POTTERY. ACROSS THE BOTTOM OF THE GRAPH I WROTE THE RANGE OF WORK, SUCH AS: LARGE MUG, SMALL MUG, CUP AND SAUCER, TEAPOT, CREAM AND SUGAR, COFFEE POT, SMALL CASSEROLE, LARGE CASSEROLE, EGG BAKERS, SOUP BOWL, ONION SOUP BOWL, DESSERT BOWL, LARGE SALAD BOWL, INDIVIDUAL GENERAL PURPOSE BOWL, GOBLET, CHALICE, ETC.  THEY WERE SEPARATED BY VERTICAL LINES.  SINCE I WAS TOTAL NEOPHYTE AT PRICING CERAMICS, I TOOK THE GRAPH AROUND A FEW CRAFT STORES OR GALLERIES AND FILLED IN ALL THE SPACES WITH THE RELEVANT PRICE FOR EACH OBJECT. I HAD ALL THE PRICES RELEVANT TO A VARIETY OF SIMILAR OBJECTS, MADE BY A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT ARTISTS. I AVERAGED THE PRICES AND ESTABLISHED MY RETAIL PRICE AT THAT AVERAGE. THAT WAY I DIDN'T OVER-PRICE,  NOR UNDER-PRICE MY WORK. IT WORKED FOR ME IN 1961 AND IT HAS WORKED FOR ME EVERY TIME I HAVE NEEDED TO ESTABLISH VALUE IN A DIFFERENT AREA. YOU CAN'T GO FAR WRONG. ONE-OF-A-KIND WORK IS A LITTLE MORE DIFFICULT TO ESTABLISH VALUE THIS WAY, BUT IT WILL USUALLY GET A BALL-PARK EVALUATION TO GIVE YOU A START.  IN MOST CASES, PEOPLE WHO START TO EVALUATE THEIR WORK USUALLY TEND TOWARD OVER-PRICING, , SUCH A "MY TEACHER PRICES IT THIS WAY!" OR THAT IS WHAT I FEEL I'M WORTH! I HAVE BEEN IN THE BUSINESS OF MAKING AND SELLING HANDMADE THINGS FOR OVER SIXTY YEARS AND HAVEN'T ESTABLISHED A LOGICAL, FOOL-PROOF WAY YET. IF SOMEONE OUT THERE IN BLOGGER-LAND HAS ONE, PLEASE LET ME KNOW.







TEAPOT, CUP AND SAUCER -  WAX RESIST ON GREENWARE FOLLOWED BY A BRUSHING OF CROCUS MARTIS, BISQUE-FIRING AND WHITE CONE 9 GLAZE




MONDAY: FROM PRICING TO MARKETING



















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