The market and show

Following last weeks post on “90%”, trying to understand the definition of art and crafts related to the market,  I was able to attend some art/craft events and an art/craft market.  The events were Culture Days in New Glasgow, Windfall Fine Art and handcrafts market. and Antigonight in Antigonish. The first events were Windfall And Antigonight, held on a beautiful Saturday during the last weekend of September, in Antigonish.

The Windfall market was interesting to say the least. Ran into a good friend of mind there, Rachel De Conde (check her work out at ), who was selling  there. It was a market which had some great pieces of ceramics there including Bronwyn Arundel ( and Shauna MacLeod  (, and of course Rachel. As I was walking around, I began to realize that not was all that it seemed. The market itself had a variety of products for sale, which is all fine, people should be allowed to sell where they can. But the unfortunate thing  was that all of sudden you go from high-end products, hand-made products to  one’s you are not so sure about. When I got to the tie-dye clothing, I was not sure how to define this market. I understand the need to expand the product range when doing a market, but how do you choose a range of products that will conflict with other objects sold. I am basically  saying that including tie-dye t-shirts within a fine craft arena is downplaying all the rest of the products sold within the market.

On the other side, The Antigonight ( showing had no conflict within it’s event. All art and crafts melded together and formed great group of work and ideas. The show also encouraged interaction with the crowd (within a high concentration), and the crowd was more than willing to join in. While I understand the intention for the night was  the interaction aspect, director Fenn Martin  had the right idea and no doubt juried the applicants extensively. And this is my point. Why are the markets and crafts shows so relaxed about jurying the shows they  start? This is not to say that all or most  of fine art or craft markets are not juried well, this is impossible to know, but my experience is that they have some issues.

This is when we hit the reason, hobbyists. Hobbyist’s often present themselves in a market with no real reason to promote their work or meet a level of success. While I admire the notion that hobbyists have a yearning to make some craft or art in their free time, and they do love what they are making,  they do not however feel a necessity about the selling, success and promotion of the product they are creating. Their involvement in their work ends only at their self-interest level. This is what I see occurring in places such as Windfall. I have no idea behind their choices within the jury, or for that matter, the commonalities in the show, but the investigation and promotion of the show should be based on the perception of artists and crafts persons  making work for a living. The show delegates should also promote the show on a city, provincial and international wide level. This all depends on where the show is situated. Windfall did however have a good online presence, advertising some of the products to be had. And it is to say that I do not know the entirety of the selection process, how many applied and the good applications over the bad. What I can see is that perhaps the show worked for some, maybe some broke even financially, but the thing that confuses me about this type of showing is : Who they are advertising to and who do they want attending; and who is fit to show at such an event. I believe more questions within this market setting should be addressed.

In regards to Culture Days within New Glasgow, it was a fine day to show the process of my work as well as other artists from the area. While not many attended, due mainly to the last day of summer happening outside, it was good to run into Creative Pictou County initiative. This group is attempting to understand the artist needs and the artist community at large within Pictou County , Nova Scotia.  About where the artists are situated and what help, if any, that they need. It was worthwhile to make this connection at this point of the residency. The event was also a reminder of the importance of community involvement, where it is strong and where it is lacking. This involvement needs to be fought on two fronts: the council should consider ways to bring in creative initiatives and  promote culture back to the county (perhaps a deeper search for reasons  of the why’s and why not’s of public interests, directly related to creative purposes); and artist accountability to promote such events. I understand  that most art/crafts needs to be brought to the people, where to look for them is key.

Now for some light reading, in and around the subject of this post:






Why 90%?


Let’s start off with a thought that came to mind when looking  over ceramics online, mainly functional ceramics. I looked over local potters/professional potters of the area, international artists mainly related to ceramics, and looked over some lectures and podcast related to our art and art practice. I was looking for inspiration and some examples of interesting art, mainly in the form of photos but then it moved on to readings on the ceramic art/craft.  I felt it was about time I got back to reading more on the art/craft field I have skirted for a while.  I want to build my own decisions and create my own likes and dislikes, through reading some essays but due mostly  to pod casts, but on a neutral level I would like to understand the art that is out there and not come to any unfounded conclusions. And to also not be snagged up in a con.

So when I start off this post with 90%, I am bringing forth the theory that 90% of  work within an art form is  not well made or thought out. Some of it is crap. And this does not exclude my own work. I am sure there could be some strong opinions about whether it is logical to “police” ,  in a way, work coming out in the ceramics field. I am bringing this up as an understanding of what art/craft should be about and what  art/craft is now. While I see less and less of real pretentiousness in craft,  unlike art, some pieces made in the craft field are considered basic and not technically well made.

The point I want to make is this – How do we create a continuous, growing market  and not stick to the usual conventions of art and craft (Art being about  having a subject  attached to it while craft has a more technical aspect associated with it, how and we tend to stick within those guidelines to feel “safe”),  that those fields will expand the populations interest. Now the market is vast and most of the population, I assume, still would rather buy an industrial model of a mug, rather than the “expensive” version from an artist. Over the years, and this is perhaps due mainly to my growing involvement in the art/craft field of ceramics, I have seen more and more interest in the “handmade” and “local sources” of ceramics. People are coming around to art and craft again, because it has become less rigid, less “isolated” than it was in the 80’s and 90’s. But we are still after the same models as before, we make our art and craft and believe so blindly in the market of selling our work.

The result of the question I asked in the last paragraph,  how do we create a market for our art/craft in ceramics, is answered by thinking like a designer. What do the people want?  How can I assess what relates to their needs and then to mine or vice versa as related to importance.

I came up with getting my work within the area I will most likely find my ceramics, in the kitchen and in the home. In my case, I plan to talk to restaurants about what they use ceramics, what aspects do they look for in the wares that they buy, and the wares they will serve their creations in. And it is also keen to ask the user how they perceive the use of the pieces I have made. These pieces have been designed to fit my own model, but how will the populace share that model.

It is a funny thing for a ceramic artist to pick up his own work and use it, then to see its flaws and it’s perfection and come up with the same “perfect” results, or to work on correcting the flaws. What can be said for an artist/crafts person who can change the way the make and what they make. What can be said of an artist/crafts person who relies on the same work that they have always done, and it becomes a niche. Should an artist  and crafts person look for change?

The hope with this small article is to simply pass along an idea that was stirred up, and perhaps lead to more discussions.

reading/listening material:

Julia Galloway’s Field Guide for Ceramic Artisans


featured image is of work by Brett Kern

Things going on out there

A new week full of new updates- Have a peek!


Good news if the Khyber can be kept up and modified to be a stable space for artists-


HEY!! I am on Musing about Mud check out the page here-


Remember to vote for RBC Emerging Artist- get the public involved if you can


Artist for the week- I had wanted to put two artists up on the board but I had to stop and say this artist was the one.

Daniel Ricardo Teran work is what I describe as ceramics with a minds thought drawn on them. The illustrations are  ghostly images, doodles almost. Check out his work.


Website of the Week goes to a Tumblr site

Once in a while I focus on print, and 2d imagery. This Tumblr site caught my attention because it also promotes artist works and gives links to sell work to the public. Well done.


A little extra this Week- an interesting article and photos of Heath  Ceramics in San Francisco –




Raised awareness of making and selling, small town market

Small town or city life, doesn’t matter anymore. The need to make is more obsessive than ever , but now I think about who I am selling to and where is my market for the type of pieces I am making. Quite the thought that keeps you up at night, dreaming of making pots and how to correct them or to adjust them. And then you move on to where to sell them. I have really had no experience in this department, I have mostly sold through University events,  small shows and through Medalta of course. Producing work has always been my goal, but I have always stalled on selling it to the mass market.

I go over this in my head and come up with the answer immediately : it is fear that stops me from getting work out there. What if they don’t sell? What if they are too contemporary for the public? What if the glaze should happen to chip!?

I know the most basic answer that comes to mind is to be confident in your work and the technical aspect of the work must be figured out, but the real reason for the stall, to get work out there,is only because of an invisible barrier. The only true constant that stops me is thinking about what the market will want, how should my pieces identify with the user/buyer. I had a great discussion with some local people around the county of  Pictou and have had some discussions with peers and professional’s I have met over the year.  The reality is when to make work for yourself and when to target your work for only the public. It is a constant debate, where some are so  opposed to making work specifically for the public, breaking a rule of your personal creative dynamic to sell out in a fashion. Some on the other say it is a matter of integrating in the community, to give the public want they want first, objects made (decorated perhaps)  in relation, in some way, to the surrounding community. When you have some measure of identity in the community, with those objects,  I have been told that is when you reel them in to your own ideas and your  real intention through your work.

With this in mind, to be “authentic”  or to make work which markets to the surrounding community you live in, I have come up with the basic plan of making the work as I want to, technically , but the imagery presented on the pieces will delve into community themes and “likes”. It is all a matter of changing the imagery to suit my own creative desires within the pieces. Authenticity is a slippery slope.

As an example, let’s say I put an image of an anchor on the piece I make. I am aware of the history of the surrounding area, so the anchor is symbolic. But I need to change that anchor, as an artist , that anchor must be manipulated in some fashion. And this is my goal, to find the answer to making work, while engaging the community as well.

One of the reasons this theme or these questions came to mind is due to:

And  also the questions were raised due to random conversations with artists and the public.



Things going on out there

In the latest news

Medalta spoon show is up and running at Medalta A.I.R, here is the link and image website

I also would like to do a shout out to new Resident artist at Medalta- good luck Susan, Daniele and Stephanie and whomever is there with them.


Vipoo Srivilasa is at it again with another great project, creating a collaboration between many great artists check it out at


Archie Bray is taking applications for “Beyond the Brickyard show”. Get on board!


Canadian Ceramic Emerging Artists-  remember to vote!


Artist of the week Didem Mert. Check this work and blog site out, this artist is fantastic


Website of the Week

Saying goodbye to Medalta and starting a new residency in the east

These images are from some of the travels I had time to do around Alberta, and the Hat (Medicine Hat)













So by now I have traveled 3- 4 days away from the splendor that is Medalta. I traveled out East again, this time stopping along the way, visiting good friends along the way, and one of the next residents to reside at Medalta. I missed out on visiting artists and ceramic guru’s (best name I could come up with), but I will let them know that I plan at one time to be back that way and look forward to sit down with them. It is also an opportunity to visit artists and get their sense of the community around them. These people are my colleagues and now with the ability, finally, to drive to certain destinations, I will make sure that I can make an effort to get involved in the discussions present and presentations of craft and art.

Now, I am in small town New Glasgow, around the north eastern part of Nova Scotia. What dragged me back to Nova Scotia was a residency opportunity through NSCAD university. I had applied in the knowledge that I could continue a practice in a studio space, and since it was through NSCAD, I was happy to be apart of the community of artists in and around Nova Scotia and NSCAD ceramics. The studio is nearly set-up, which is behind the library and fire hall, in a separate space. I consider this residency to be the test, if I can make it in Ceramics. It’s how far I am willing to push and what I will ask for. Timing and time considerations are on my mind.






 Image of the new studio


My goal now is to make a body of work, based on what I have learned and discovered during the time at Medalta. So it will be based on: cut and paste ceramics; decoration based on geometric and calligraphy patterns (my graffiti)  and using engobes to add color punches; the form and shape of pieces have to be more “normal” in a certain fashion, a sacrifice to sell ( we can discuss the dilemma/debate of making work for yourself or others).

So that is all that is new for now. I look forward to trying new things on this blog/website, so I hope to pop up new things on here soon. Keep an eye out.

Until next time!


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