Monday, February 23, 2015

Online Marketing for? or to? Potters.

I think online marketing is tough for potters.

I think we do it pretty well, but I notice some problems that we have that I don't think other folks have, especially those who are resellers. Resellers have a pretty straightforward deal, I have this thing, it's a cool thing and I can send it to you now at a fair price.

Potters seek out other potters, like no other group I can think of. We're very incestuous as a group, a huge number of the fans of our Facebook page are potters, I'm a huge fan of other potters Facebook pages. We just love to see what other clay people are up to.
Cone 6 Fake Ash with Cobalt or Runny Blue-Grey Coffee Mug?

Sometimes when I go to compose a post, I forget that I am sharing my story to more than the other potters. I'm telling a creative clay story for the people who are interested and want to buy things. The general public wants a story of a creative person, living a creative life and making beautiful things.They want a peek into the process and a glimpse of the dream. We should be selling to the people who say "bake" not "fire" Not the folks who know the terms Hare's Fur, Soda Fire, Oribe, or Cone 12 flat.

It took my wife about 10 minutes of looking through other potter's Etsy listing tags to figure out a major reason why some folks had more online sales than others.

The folks who had less sales were marketing to other potters, and while that is cool, potters like to buy pots too, once they get over their need to make it, not buy it. They talk about firing temperatures, type of clay, specific name of the glaze, all cool stuff to know if you are a potter talking to other potters. Or listing technical information for a show. Perhaps its not the most important thing when trying to address the general public. The general public searches for terms like "Brown and Blue Coffee Mug" while potters search for "Cone 10 Stoneware wood fired mug" Maybe we should include all those tags to get the full range of customer.

Potters, especially academic potters do themselves a disservice this way. Just like back in English Composition class, you need to know who your audience is.  Who are you talking to? Will they know the terms you are putting in that tag cloud?

Any thoughts on this? Share them in the comments. Are you a potter or a customer who loves pottery?


Friday, February 13, 2015

Feb 18 9PM Eastern Time The Big Day

Feb 18, 2015 9PM Eastern Time 

at our website. www.hughespottery.com

We've worked hard. Laughed. giggled, sweated, and cried. The final kiln is loaded.

This has been so much fun. More fun than the everyday work we have been doing for the last few years. There's always a thrill in doing new work. A carbonation of the creative spirit.

 We are Carbonated!

There will be somewhere around 80 pieces.

All of them one of a kind. All of them with the theme of Forest Spirit. Some will have faces and leaves like the traditional Greenman, some will simply have texture and leaves. None will be repeated. Some are sold in sets, most are individually sold.

More previews can be found on our Facebook page, in the 
event called Forest Spirit




Tuesday, February 3, 2015

This little TC mug


This mug has some history, it's 12, maybe 13 years old. I just glazed it a couple of days ago. I've been carrying it around for a long time, waiting for the right glaze for it. I think I made the right decision. I got it from an art center I used to help run called The Creative Oasis in State College PA. 

It was made by Tony Clennell as a demonstration piece. It sat on our museum shelf with pieces from Seth Cardew, Mel Jacobson, Ian Stainton, Jack Troy, retired PSU instructor David DonTigney as well as pieces from our own instructors. Unfortunately we had to close the Oasis so I gathered the biscware and hauled it around for years. After unpacking the studio when we moved to Tionesta PA, I put the pieces on the shelf absolutely determined to finish them so they would have a useful life.

So I knew Tony was a woodfire potter and this little guy should have ash on it, the trouble is it's cone 6 clay, no one woodfires at cone 6.

So recently I feel like I've been having a mid-career crisis. After doing production work for years, some of the shine was wearing off the 70 hour work weeks. I wanted a return to my roots. Cone 10, gas, wood and salt. Ash glaze. But that doesn't fit in with our business right now so the next best thing is changing everything that can be changed without building a new kiln and disappointing our customers who have come to love everything we're doing now. I needed to have a frivolous relationship..a fling with something new, so, as you do, I hit the internet and searched for my glaze-lover. I searched and searched and made some advances..tested the possibilities. Then I found it.

 For years I have wanted a fake ash glaze at cone 6, so I look and I test and I look and I test and fail and fail and fail.

 This time something happened. I risked a very precious piece on a hunch and after adding a very thin application and a double dip on the rim, this beauty showed up in the kiln. Perfect. I've been drinking tea from it since I pulled it out. It's amazing to me that this much variation came from just one glaze. Anyone who does cone 6 knows that the layers make the magic. This is one glaze and it fits like skin, not a glass over clay.

I'll be mixing up more of this glaze and perhaps doing a delicate blue version too, but I love the glaze as is, just for me. 

I believe this may be a glaze from John Britt but it has not been confirmed.
 .
 Golden Fake Ash cone 6

28.0 Redart
24.5 Dolomite
21.0 Ball Clay
10.0 Gerstley Borate
9.5 Strontium Carbonate
5.0 Bone Ash
2.0 Lithium Carbonate