[Clayart] spend on yourself (long)

mel jacobson melpots at mail.com
Mon Aug 28 11:43:02 UTC 2023

At some point years back I decided that I was going
to continue making pots. There was that moment when I
thought...Kilns, wheels, clay, cobalt all the stuff I would
need. Then the big thought hit.."STUDIO". Was I going to
spend money on all of it?  I sure cannot make pots in the
basement behind a water heater.

The answer was yes. I was a teacher, had summers to find
another job. I could work at a gas station or make pots. 50%
of my sale money went into the pottery.
I can make a good profit if I do it right, and then air conditioning.

I had a discussion with a very fancy lady at the U of M when working
on my painting study. She was a fine painter, really had the right stuff.
She worked with crap canvas, cheap paper and cheap paint. I told her one
day..."do you have any faith in yourself?"  "What, leave me alone...art
supplies are expensive." I said, "sell your tennis shoes, they cost a
hundred bucks, sell you ring, that was a thousand."  The priorities are
backwards. Junk to make her seem hot. Her talent was not understood.
She drove a very fancy car.

A modern new car is $30,000.

I built a gas kiln in my garage. had an old car I fixed up. It sat outside
all day every day in the parking lot at Eisenhower high school. So, it sat
out in my drive every night. The kiln was in the garage.

My gas kiln made me a great deal of money, the new wheel, then the studio.
with A/c. The Walker pug mill. It gave me a second job. And, best of all, I got to stay home all
summer. With my wife and kids.  We loved summer.

I get a tear when I think of Bill Jones naming my first book. "Pottery, a life,
a lifetime." Yes it was and still is. When the clay bug strikes you, it is all
over, you will do it forever.

For a short time, I was teaching at an art center nights. Three women over that time
took my advice and got a wheel and an electric kiln for home. Got away from
the social clay club. They grew up. I get notes often..."Mel, I am having a
show, or I am in a new book, or come to my home sale. All three are thriving.
They now trust their own talent. Of course, their confidence and self-worth
has grown. No one gets self-worth by talking to a shrink. You have to earn it.
Doing things of value, hard work, problem solving all make you strong.

Part of my studio was a painting studio. Had a big steel easel. All the paint
I wanted. I would buy quarts of acrylic. A gallon of pure white gesso. I took
it seriously. And sold a great many paintings over the years. Like pots, people
could afford my paintings. I would do commissions. If they wanted a pink painting
they got a pink painting. It did not matter to me, I was selling it, not hanging
it in my living room. AS an artist, I to have to do commission work. I pretend I am
an architect. You work with your client. If their home is all earth...well, they
get an earth painting...that is why they hired me. I have lots of colors in my
painting schemes. As Mr. Uchida told me often. "Don't push your taste on others,
let them decide what they like, and give it to them." Then you get paid.

As artists, crafts people we have gobs of time to make what we like best. It is the
bulk of our work. Most people will buy it and love it. So commission work is different.
What day do you become "professional?" That day is when your confidence matches your work.

I have been a professional potter for 60 years. I still am. And, I sell a lot of pots.

I don't "PLAY" in my studio, I work, but do it with grace.

Alexa is in my studio here at the farm. She is a nice lady, gets me any music I want
and every pod cast there is. I pay for fibre optic cable. I ran a cable to my studio
for wi fi. I have an I watch that is around my neck. I get a signal for help all over the
farm. I rigged an old Ipad with a bad battery in my studio. I leave it plugged in and mounted
to the wall. The ethernet cable goes to an old modem, to the I pad.

I just installed a new ssd M2 nvme drive to my computer. Two thousand gigs. (it is small, like a
stick of gum) I use it outside of
my computer. usb connection. All of my docs, pix and other stuff is off my computer, it is so
fast it sings. (I have a ssd drive in my safe with all my computer history)
 I keep up with new stuff all the time. Never play "old".
Well, enough.
some thoughts about being a quality potter. It can be done and should be done.
AT near 90, I need the help of a pug mill. Add a cup of water, mmmmm, that is
good now. I just converted 800 lbs of stoneware to mel6. Got work to do.

website: www.melpots.com

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