Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ceramic career path for the directionally challenged

I've had a number of chats with my studio assistant about career directions in Ceramics.  She's entering her last year for her undergrad with a major in ceramics and has had the summer seeing me at work to think about what might come after school for her.  Of course this has meant that I've had a few critiques about the route I've taken.  I don't mind, I remember being at Art School and being critical of artists and makers that were making a go of it.  It's hard not to have an opinion about what someone else is doing when you are thinking really about how you want to do something.

So I've been occasionally thinking about which direction I've taken in clay, what kind of work I make and what kind of work I might make if my direction would change.  Lots has changed for me since I first embarked on this venture of 'making a living making pots'.  I no longer have the initial desperation that I first had about applying for shows that I once did.  I no longer feel like I have to prove my work to anyone, be it clients or galleries or peers. Without those initial drivers that seemed to plot a course for me, I've been asking myself which route I might take.

I guess I feel as though navigating one's way through a career as an artist, or specifically a ceramic artists, is confusing and at times difficult.  It's like a 'choose your own adventure' book with a number of different outcomes, none actually guaranteeing that you will be able to make a living at making pots.  Sometimes I feel like I'm directionally challenged.   Which adventure do I want to take?  The production potter adventure or the one of a kind adventure?  Selling directly to my customer base or selling through a gallery or shop? Selling consignment or wholesale? Custom orders?  Get my Masters and teach?  Do I think like a business woman or like an artist?  Should I make more work, up my sales, raise my prices to finally pay myself a decent wage?

I know that it takes a number of decisions within this to make a go of it.  Nearly every day I get to make a decision about it and frankly, at the moment I'm just glad to be on that road.  The road where I get to choose my own adventure...

1 comment:

vicki hartman said...

these are such great questions. i appreciate these thoughts a lot and often ask similar questions of myself.