Making Ceramic Art
If I could offer advice to anyone pursuing studio ceramics as a career, I would say two things: First, work for other people. If possible, quit your other jobs and just work for artists. This will give you invaluable access to tools, space, mentorship, and will keep your hands learning. I would not be doing what I am doing today if not for the people I worked for and learned from along the way. Getting out of school and setting up your own shop by yourself seems likes a terrible idea. Work for and with other people, even if you don’t like them.
Second, just keep doing it. It is going to be as rewarding as it is brutal. Just keep doing it. You will pick away bit by bit until one day you will realize, “wait, how did I get here?”
I think it is important for new potters to remember that there is no one way to build a life of making and selling work. When I first started, I felt like I was pushing pots out the door, and now I find it difficult to keep up with the demand. These are some of the things I have learned: Keeping overhead low means that sales have greater financial impact. I make what I love to make and not what I think will sell; because my pots are an extension of me, my hope is that my customers will feel that in the work. Keeping the reasons why I am making pots in the first place fresh in my mind protects me from a life that can become complicated and distracting. These principles help me to say no to things (even good things), because they would distract me from what I set out to do (I have to edit life just as much as I have to edit my pots).
Working with really good mentors is extremely valuable. I have been fortunate to work with some giants both in academia and in an apprenticeship capacity. The knowledge I have received from working...