So what was that last post all about, eh? Driving a nail in the already miniscule readership of the blog?
Well, I suppose I was expressing being discouraged about some of my recent sales and how I have been struggling to understand where it all went wrong. But after around 2000 words I’m not sure how many people kept with me, how many stuck it out to the bitter end. I’d still love it if some folks actually read what I had to say in the longer version. There are a few ideas and expressions that I am quite fond of.
But this is the shorter version. So, in not so many words, just what was my point in all that expansive blathering? I guess it was that people look at pots in different ways and that the odds are stacked against widespread understanding of pottery at any substantial depth. ‘Reading’ pottery is a challenge, and we all know how we feel about challenges, don’t we?
But if ‘reading’ pots is challenging it is also true that not all of our audience has the tools to get everything we put into them. Other potters and artists with extensive visual training are the best suited to understanding our efforts. But these are never going to be the customers who can provide for a potter’s livelihood. Artists and potters are just too poor to buy all of our pots (though many of us do our part by filling our kitchens and homes with other artists’ work). No. Although artists and other potters often get what we are up to, we can’t depend on all the subtlety and sophistication of our craft to make much of an impression on the wider audience.
So we may also need to aim lower, to not always set the bar so high, the level of difficulty at professional or maximum. I am emphatically NOT saying that this means we are ‘selling out’ to sell more pots or that we can’t still make great art. It just won’t help us sell pots if our work is inscrutable and challenges our audience too much, right? Only a select audience gets the subtlety and nuance, and they almost always have the training or experience to ‘read’ what we are doing. You don’t hand Tolstoy to someone who is just learning how to read. Not even the people who already know how to read all want to take on that challenge. With the beginners, the inexperienced, you have to start out slow. Give them the easy things to read. Jack and Jill, See Spot Run,…. Small words, short sentences, big letters, and plenty of pictures. PLENTY OF PICTURES. Graphic novels, maybe.
So it probably comes down to the KISS principle: If you want to sell a lot of pots people have to want your work. People will only want your pots if they like what you are doing. People will be more ready to like what you are doing if they understand it. And the majority of people will only understand what you are doing if you make it fairly obvious and easy for them. KISS. If they can’t understand it they won’t be as inclined to like it, and if they don’t like it they wont buy it. Seems pretty simple when its put like that. And it only took me 20 years to figure it out….
So the next installment is going to be another BIG one: Just who are my pots supposed to be talking to and what do they want to see?