Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Dilemna

First, did I spell that right? The "N" seems superfluous, but "dilemma" looks wrong. And forget all about dilema, that looks like the name of a skin condition.


I've really been getting into these botanically-inspired pots: black stain on what will fire to gold-brown (more or less...) slip. The imagery is tightly painted and precise, the joy being when the soda vapor arrives and causes some part of it to discombobulate. My husband connected the dots for me: this is related to my usual work in the tension between the tight work: throwing, or in this case, brush work and the loose: my usual squishy alterations, or in this case, the softening effects of the flame. A metaphor, perhaps, about our best-laid plans?

Here is a fired version:

You can't see it here, but on the heavy soda side, the roses melt into blue-ish blotches.

So, where's the, problem?

These are very time consuming. Not a problem in a larger sense: the world is not hurting for lack of mugs, which I must rush and finish. But my current sales outlets could not support what I would have to charge for these, in order to get paid for the work. By my behind-the-forehead math, these will have to retail for around $45, or twice what I charge for other mugs. Maybe more, because, of course, if most of the sales are to wholesale outlets, then I only get half...these really are slow going. On the other hand, I will probably get faster with practice.

I know there are stores in which a $45 mug is nothing out of the ordinary, but I am not in any of them, yet. So my plan is to make a few of this body of work each firing - I have some honey jars in the works, too, and it seems a natural for vases - but offer them only online. After a while, I will have a large enough grouping to approach one of the higher end outlets.

If you know of any store that might be interested - real-world, not online, as I don't want to compete with myself - please, let me know!!

These will unload Saturday, June 2.

1 comment:

- Cindy - said...

Some ideas...

-Charge the money it takes to make them (or close to it) and assume people will get that these take longer (and explain to those who don't). If they don't get it, your other mugs are there.

-Charge less than it takes to make them and take the hit knowing you'll get faster at it and hoping you'll make up for it with mugs that take less time.

I was once told this in a pricing workshop (which was very good advice): It's easy to raise you prices later. On the other hand, it's difficult to bring them down.

I know one thing, if it makes you happy to make them, you need to make them. I know you're trying to make a living, but the joy of doing this is why you chose to do it.

Maybe you can somehow extract what you love about making these and speed up the process either through technology or constraints you put on yourself. Off the top of my head, make a decal out of the design. Or, set a timer when you go to paint (5 min drawings only). You know better than me what you could do that would suck the love of it out of the process- don't do those things if it makes you hate doing it.

PS- Nice cup. :)