I may have discovered the real reason that I still have a part time job after all these years. I'm kind of embarrassed about it, but I am noticing that I don't want to do anything for eight hours a day...including make pots. Last December when I started this long reflection on my goals, business practices, and how the two can work together, I decided that I needed to make studio time a higher priority, in order to spend more time at it. I did that, and it worked, except for this small, uncomfortable detail: spending more than a couple hours in the studio per day makes it feel like a chore. Not what I had in mind.
If I were the sort of potter whose things are finished when they come off the wheel, I could probably make enough pots in a couple of hours a day to live on, but I'm not. (I'm just talking wetwork days, here.) Everything is altered and decorated in some way. At the end of two hours, I might have eight finished pieces. Hmmm, let me do some math. Eight pieces a day, and not every day can be a wetwork day, so...thirty-two pieces a week. Let's say average retail is $30, half of that is materials, firing, and overhead...and say, two out of thirty-two won't make it due to cracking, accidents, glaze flaws, kiln kisses. 30 x 15 = $450. A week! Hey wait, I can live on that!
Except that, I can't. I mean, I can certainly squeak by and be perfectly comfortable for now, but sooner or later I am going to need health insurance. Sooner or later I will be too old to work, and I should have money saved up against that day. Eventually I would like to pay down my credit card debt, instead of merely holding the line.
What's the solution? Right now it's the IPTOG, which is looking less and less like an inconvenience. Long term, I don't know. I don't want claywork to turn in to a grind, or what's the point? Maybe charge more? Maybe, but I am not selling so hot at my current price points.
Still some thinking to be done.