I hope my last post didn't come off as negative! I was actually feeling pretty good, in the way that a moment of clarity can make you feel, even if the conclusion you reach isn't the one you hoped for.
I didn't mean to be mysterious or foreboding about my upcoming change; all I've decided - although it still seems like a pretty big deal in my head - is that I am not charging NEARLY enough, not nearly. In the new year I will be increasing prices for most items by 40 - 100%. Maybe more, I need to do some math to come up with the actual numbers.This is intimidating for a couple of reasons, one internal and one external. Externally, it will probably mean connecting with all new vendors: I don't know if any
of the stores currently carrying my work can sell the price points that I am talking about. I have a list in my head of higher-end outlets to approach, and will need to assemble a set of images and sample pieces that represent the body of work well. That's a bunch of work but -hey!- it's no harder than what I've been
doing. (As an aside, if you have been considering a piece listed on the website
, now would be an excellent time to grab that, before the new prices kick in.) The larger obstacle is internal.
Maybe it's my New England upbringing, but I have a naysaying voice in my head constantly muttering, "Who do you think you are? $250 for a teapot, I guess you think you're really something!" And so on. Just choosing to be an artist at all means pushing back on that voice, but I haven't yet learned not to tag on the disclaimer, to apologize for anything that might appear as prideful - such as charging a sustainable price for my work.
I can make a reasonable number of things without any pain. I can fill the kiln once a month, even if I throw every piece in it. That's what I want to do: I want to make fewer things, spend more time on each one, and get a better price for them. Here's what I don't want to do: contrive more and more ways to make more pots in less time, just so I can sell them for price that a thrifty Yankee would deem a bargain. I look at potters I admire: Adero Willard
. Kristen Kieffer
. Jeffery Lipton
. Jennifer Mecca
. Joy Tanner
. These folks aren't apologizing for charging for their work and skill. Oh, but now the inner critic is howling:
I dared mention myself in the same paragraph as this illustrious company. Maybe someday you'll be good enough to deserve a living wage,
she says. But I doubt it.
Shut up, bitch.
is today (well, technically, "someday" is January 1). Yeah, I know I'm not Kristen Keiffer or Joy Tanner, and I don't have to be self-loathing to be acknowledge that, but - dare I say it? - I'm a pretty good potter. It's time I started treating myself like a professional. I have to, because the other choice is not to be a potter at all.
Not that that option is even in the running.