Dear John- I sent your saddle home!
John Craigborn of Tennessee wrote on my blog: "I want to continue to sell my work and I have only been at this for 10 years and I realize you are retired and so it doesn't matter at this point to you to have to earn a living-you worked hard to get to the point to retire, but I still have 25 years before I can retire, and I want to always make work, but I don't want to have to work till I die." Dear John: You're not going to like my answer. If I were an employer and a candidate for employment asked what his/her pension plan would look like in 25 years I wouldn't hire them. Pottery is not an easy way to a comfy retirement. I am not retired! I am lucky enough to live in Canada where I get an Old Age Pension and a Canada Pension Plan. This is not enough to keep me in the life style I am accustomed to. I will work till the day I die probably face first in a spinning ball of clay or propped up by my firing crew while rigamortus sets in before the last stoke of the firing. If a pension 25 years away is on your mind do something else! Work at the Ford Plant and make pots for the joy of it. I never once thought about retirement. I thought about making it through another month. I always thought retirement assumed you'd rather be doing something else. I love what I do. I love the people I hang with. I love the idea of making something that brings love to someone's life. John I am the wrong person to ask about the next 25 years. There are plenty of young hot shots making pots and doing amazing jobs of social media and marketing. I doubt any one of them has retirement plans. They are hanging on making art and living a life style that suits them. I wish I were young again and all full of piss and vinegar. Would I have done anything else- No! If you have any doubts at all about being a long term studio potter- do something else, make pots for fun and happy retirement. Written with all respect to you and your career. Best,T Getting ready for a wood firing.
My experience is different. Never had a partner with another job, never inherited, and I moved potteries 3 times which probably set me back 10 years with each move.
My aunt and uncle worked till the day they died 84 and 94. They were rich in life not in money. As am I. We potters usually have nice homes full of fine craft, art and interesting spaces.
Canada may be harder to make a living than the US. We have 1/10 the population spread out across a vast country where most of the population live within 100 miles of the US border. We have a mere handful of college/university programs offering ceramics as a major. Actual studio pottery programs are teaching mostly sculpture and conceptual ceramics. I can think of 4 Universities offering an MFA in Clay. The US has hundreds. The Guilds and pottery centres are alive and well teaching pottery. Something I will address in my next blog- 2/3rds of Everything.
I was told I would never go to University (B.Comm, B.Ed, MFA, RCA). I was told not to be a potter (42Years now). Tell me I can't do it and I will.
Setting out to be a potter is like preparing for a wood firing. Never go in thinking it will be easy and always have respect for the hardships that will present themselves. If it were easy everyone would be doing it. Best, T
5. The Smell is Good for You
it may prevent mitochondrial damage that can save you from heart attacks and strokes in the future. It also helps you from Dementia, by changing the way enzymes function in the disease.
So eat your baked beans and enjoy!
Isolation can lead to revelation.
There's much to be said for temporary removal from the conventional thoughtmosphere.
Whatever you call it—clearing your head, getting some space, taking time off—some plain and honest looking at yourself clears the way for fundamental rewiring.
It’s hard to explain. The very nature of this type of learning makes it hard to talk about. After all, if it were easy, it’d be in a textbook. But I will say, that finding the right situation and environment for prolonged periods of time might turn out to be worth multiple art school degrees.
Even 1st and 2nd year students at colleges seem to be running to the chiroprator between classes. Why aren't students being taught healthy habits to have long careers in ceramics and pottery?
What's the answer?