Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Bitter Pill

One day I went to the flea market with Gary and brought some of my pottery. Flea markets are big in Florida especially in winter. I sold several bowls, some magnets, and most of my pendants. People especially like my leaf pendants. I sold the wall tile above, a horse of different color. Gary said when he's selling my wall tiles he explains the color is fired on but he said lots of people argue with him saying they are painted. Perhaps folks think it is paint because it doesn't have a shiny surface. I'm not sure how to address this issue. Perhaps a certificate of authenticity explaining the process of how I make them. What do you think?

One woman from Canada asked if I could make more pendants for her. She wanted to incorporate them into her jewelry. I'm not sure I want to do that, since she wants the hole really close to the top of the leaf. If the hole is too close to the top there's a potential for loss with a possible crack developing there. 

Most of the vendors at the market are retirement age, on disability, or families selling personal belongings. Some vendors remark they don't make enough money to cover the cost of their booth. But I noticed these same vendors don't acknowledge people looking at their items. Other vendors are too busy talking to other vendors and ignoring potential customers. Some vendors have prices which are too high.

Lots of people remarked they were happy to see hand made local items at the market and not imported goods, but those folks just looked and didn't buy. One man picked up a vase I made with a scallop shell on the front and said it was a beautiful piece of pottery, but he didn't buy it. Sometimes I miss opportunities to say something. I could have said I thought he should add it to his collection. I brought a wide price range of items so almost anyone could afford to buy something. However, many people go the market just to take a walk and aren't really shopping for anything. Lots of folks meet other folks there and walk up and down the aisles for exercise. The folks with their little foo foo dogs in baby strollers almost never buy anything.

At the end of the day a big wind came up and blew over my puffer fish wall tile which was on an easel and it landed on a woven porcelain tray. The tray broke in lots of pieces and the top of the fish tile was chipped. I might be able to patch the fish tile by grinding it and then putting some acrylic paint on the chip, but it would be chipped and fixed. It was a bitter pill to swallow. This post is part of show and tell Saturday Artists in Blogland. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.


  1. I don't think you should wholesale your pendants.They sell well for you so you may as well get the retail price.You certainly do not want someone else at the same market selling them even as part of something else.

  2. Hello Linda:
    Ah, the psychology of selling is something which we are certain would elude us and we are not at all surprised by all that you say here about selling at the market. What, we feel, makes it doubly difficult for you is that each of your pieces is very, very personal so that it becomes a little bit like selling part of yourself.

    We are most distressed to learn of the fate of the woven porcelain basket. Such a beautiful piece.

  3. There are always those browsing at craft sales for ideas, as well. They aren't there shopping but committing theft of a sort!

  4. Hi Dennis, thanks, she lives in Canada and would take them home and make the jewelry and sell it there, but I decided it was to much work for too little pay to wholesale them. Lots of bead makers do sell to other jewelry makers but hopefully if you do you should have the jewelry maker acknowledge that in some type of reciprocal advertising or link back or something to garner more sales.

  5. Hi Jane and Lance, thanks, well my pieces used to be even more personal to me when I had very few, now I have a good amount and feel confident I can make more so no worry. Although that tray took a lot of time to make and was quite nice so it was difficult to have the wind wreck it's havoc on it.

  6. Hi Ms. Sparrow, thanks, oh I didn't even think of that, but you are right because Gary mentioned a lot of potters stop and look at my work. Ugh, just what I need. But actually they are also the ones who say the work is wonderful as they know all too well how long it takes to make hand built pottery.

  7. When I lived in Florida, flea markets were a source of entertainment, especally for my out of town guests. For others it is what you do after church and before lunch. I usually had something catch my eye.
    Your art would be a breath of fresh air since a lot of things are just imported, cheap wares.
    So sorry about that tray. Such a shame.

  8. Hi sorry about the loss of the pretty tray. Great that a flea market has sales of I do summer TailGate markets too...but only in summertime, where most sales booths have produce. I've never tried flea markets.

  9. when my parents wintered in Florida they always took us to the flea market when I visited... and the ladies with dogs in baby carriages, I never understood that!

    I have sold lots of loose beads and pendants to jewelry makers but not at a wholesale price. Check out Maku Studio on Etsy. She sells a lot of raku pendants for others to incorporate into jewelry.
    Sorry about your breakage... maybe you can keep the fish for yourself :-)
    we have lots of chipped and glued together pots in our house (unfortunately).

  10. Do you think a picture of your pieces loaded into your kiln might convince people it's not paint?

  11. Breakages are part of the deal with ceramics but doesn't make it any easier when you get them through the firings and all and then lose them :(
    Perhaps if you did a small version of the display 'how pottery is made' that you had in the local library - maybe just a laminated sheet with photo, those that don't understand about matt glazes would then be convinced your tiles are not painted?

  12. It's got to be hard to sit there and hear comments and worry about sales. That basket looks really cool. Sorry for the damage from the wind. I hope your next market day goes well.

  13. I don't blame you for not wholesaling the pendants. Some people just don't understand about the time and effort involved. That's too bad about the woven porcelain tray getting ruined. It was beautiful and I hope that you can make another one.

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  15. Hi Patti, thanks, yes it is fun to go to the flea markets as there is always something unique to find there.

    Hi Barbara, thanks, tailgate markets now that's a good one, actually these flea markets are kind of tailgate markets because folks drag the stuff out of their car and set up right beside it, fairly convenient.

    Hi Michele, thanks, yes Gary gets a kick out of the dogs in baby carriages, most dogs are so tiny they probably can't walk that far. Ha. I'll check out the jewelry link, thanks so much.

    Hi Melissa, thanks, well that is a good idea, I'll try that simple and to the point and I have the photos already, and can print them up quickly.

    Hi Anna, thanks, I am going to put together something to show how I make them to education those doubters.

    Hi Mary, thanks, well actually the comments aren't that bad really, most are complimentary and only a few not.

    Hi Marguerite, thanks, no I sell them fairly reasonably so wholesale wouldn't be worth it really.

  16. That had to be sad. I dropped the lid to a salt bowl yesterday, and broke it :o(. Must have been some pottery-breaking energy in the air!


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