I was looking for videos today on how to make large pots when I ran across this,

I have not made a lot of big pot because I have to stick with what I can move through my inventory. I suppose that may sound mercenary but it is a fact of life for one who makes his living with clay. If I am selling pots I get to make more.

on this blog.

Very on the money. The part that interests me is the mercenary comment.

From the Oxford English dictionary.

Mercenary = Of persons: Working merely for the sake of monetary or other reward; actuated by considerations of self-interest. Hence of motives, dispositions, etc.

How does one get from making things with ones hands that will sell to the definition above?

Easy. The conventional wisdom is that those who make things, artisans, are supposed to be motivated by the love of making the world a beautiful place or some such other altruistic motivation. They aren’t supposed to want to sell those same things and actually eat. That is more for the mercenary. Someone who makes work that sells well through the efforts of the maker is always the exception.

I watched my wife sell the jewelry she makes yesterday in the city of Gojo. It was very interesting to see the process she uses. Without fail she would identify the need and taste with a simple question that would open up a conversation with those who stopped by. That would usually proceed to her explaining that all the parts of the jewelry are either antique, vintage or handmade. Without this conversation the sale would have not gone through in most cases.

I am always left dumb when it comes to making conversation with those who browse my booth at art fairs.  The fact that my ceramics are fired in a wood fired kiln only seems to facilitate  conversation for about 2 seconds and only if I draw the words out. The last time I was at an art fair I brought a lot of pictures of my work with food and that seemed to really open the possibilities. The problem  is it is somewhat unnatural for a man in Japan to talk about the joys of cooking. Making conversation about the technical aspects interests some but not the majority of the people who buy my work. They are most interested in how the work is going to complement their cooking or “lifestyle”. That is the area where conversation will be most fruitful and it is interesting in a sense. How to connect that with my mouth is the problem.



2 Responses to “Heretic.”

  1. Lee in Mpls Says:

    David, Have you read Shop Class as Soul Craft? I put up the magazine article that was the book’s beginnings here: Second entry.

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