Buying & Giving Handmade

I am in the process of glazing, and have been thinking about my customers and collectors, my supporters (that would be you), during this process and over the last week.

The image left is about a third of the bisqued (fired once at a lower temp) ware from the my last six weeks of making, sorted and ready for glaze. I will be loading two, maybe three glaze kilns soon to fire work for upcoming shows, workshops and for my own store, but some of the pieces I’m glazing right now are commissions. In this last making cycle, I have received requests for two cups as gifts from FL, one yunomi for a gift from TX, a bowl for a gift from NJ, three cups from NYC and a covered jar and two cups also from NYC. I’ve also just had a customer from IN contact me to purchase a vase as a gift for a relative in GA, and two local friends/customers come by to buy gifts for weddings.

I can’t relay how happy it makes me when someone calls or emails me to buy something I’ve made for themselves, let alone to buy for a friend or relative. It is truly flattering they think of my work to purchase and/or give, and wonderful when folks choose to buy from an artist instead of a retail store. I agree with fellow potter Ayumi Horie’s comment in the summer ’08 issue of CM, “Choosing to support individual artists has become a political choice, as is choosing to value their work by paying higher prices.” A $56 handmade cup lasts a lot longer and has intrinsically more value than a $56 meal.

When asked if I do commissions, I tend to widen my eyes, raise my eyebrows, shake my head and say, “Uh, no.” I think commissions have gotten a bad wrap, including by me. The requests (maybe that’s what I should call them instead) I mentioned above are by people who know, like and/or own my work, and who make general or specific preferences based on the forms, colors and surfaces I have. I am happy to do this. The orders have been as simple as wanting a Cornflower blue, medium covered jar to wanting a stamped cup in Honeycomb with that one peacock stamp I use.

So, right now, while I’m glazing, I’m thinking of you.

Thank you for supporting artists,
buying local (your city, state, the U.S.)
and giving handmade.

5 thoughts on “Buying & Giving Handmade

  1. Hello. Beautiful work and beautiful words in this post as well. Perhaps in the future I can show you how much I enjoy looking at your art by taking some into my home. The soft colors and stamped designs you have created are elegant and the forms are functional and appealing. Your planters on Etsy brought me here to your blog and I hope to return again soon to see your new work on display.

  2. Thanks so much for your kind comment, Marie. I appreciate your observations. Glad you found my site through etsy. My hope is that the one (the site or my store) leads to the other and back again. Best wishes, Kristen

  3. I also just found your beautiful ceramic work on etsy and placed you as one one of favorites list… I believe strongly in your comment from buying from local artists instead of big box stores…i buy everything i need from local business or artist both functional and visual pleasing

  4. I wholeheartedly agree. I have one of your cups that is in regular rotation for my coffee, tea, wine, whatever. I love my assortment of fabulous pottery and delight in using the vessel that fits my mood at the moment. I use yours when I am craving a bit of elegance.
    I always give handmade gifts, either that I made myself or purchased on Etsy or at a craft shop or open studio. I think that it is a delightful challenge to match exactly the right gift to the recipient.
    Hoping to score a piece of Obamaware for myself!

  5. MJ, thanks so much for your contribution on the important stance of supporting artists and giving handmade. And I’m so glad you own and enjoy my work! I appreciate your thoughts. Best wishes, Kristen

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