Sunday, April 27, 2008

Problems in Blog Land concerning comments

There seems to be a glitch in my blog. I keep hearing from friends they have made comments on my blog but I never see them. I have searched the site to fix it but I am afraid I don't talk computer language and cannot tell how to fix it. I have only been able to read comments from 2 fellow bloggers. So if you want to comment please send your meassages to my email (note the 00's are numbers not letters).

I really enjoy all the feedback from everyone I see but do believe I have not received many that have been sent.

Thank you everyone for telling me how much you enjoy my blog. I'll try and fix the comment problem when someone can help me.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Don't Take yourself too seriously! Ha!

This is hilarious. A terrific You Tube about Art via Tom Ackley who may have helped me cure my arm as well! If I don't laugh myself to death over what is art, I may get my arm well and get back to making some terrific Hawaiian inspired pots!
You all must watch this. Thanks Tom!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Cash Value of Art and Pottery, Thoughts and learning the system for us all!

Hmm, speaking generally about the philosophy of art and selling as we all find our way...

Yesterday I was talking with a friend again about what makes some people's pottery more valuable than other's. This is a question we all ask as we decide what kind of artist to be.

The friend asked, " Is it just holding out until someone pays?"

So why does someones pot sell for $4000 and another person's pot a hard sell at maybe $40 or so?
I wish it was simple. We all could hold out for a while and maybe get a fair price. And of course if I really knew a simple answer I would be buying my own new studio or writing from the Bahamas. Hawaii wasn't bad so maybe I do have a few answers.

Sometimes it as simple as some people think more positively that the world owes them something and the rest must work for everything we get. I have some wealthier friends who simply don't settle for less. Great homes, clothes and the works. They think that is the way it is and they get it. Some will do anything to keep it that way. That is their honest choice and what they want.

But can you pull that off in the art world? I do have many former students who charge a lot more for their work than I do and they get it. Is any one's art work worth less than someones work.
Were the ancient pots presently on display in the Philbrook and Gilcrease made with great value in mind? Were those pots at the right place at the right time to end up in the museum? Only some have the artist's name. Most are categorized by tribe or culture. The artists ego was not present in those works but they must have felt a great sense of accomplishment when the pot came out of the fire and it was not broken.

It is certainly not the amount of time you spend on a project. A lady interested in a mask class called me about having me teach her and confessed she had just spent 7 hours on a mask and was obviously convinced the amount of time she spent on the mask would determine how valuable it was. Well, after a lengthy discussion with her, I was sure there was no freshness or spontaneity left in the piece. I saw Steve Freedman make some mighty impressive pieces in only a few minutes. He was into efficiency makes money.

Steve had an industrial attitude in producing his art. Touch the clay less, do it quickly and keep all your costs down. Yes, he sells pots for $4000. Making less expensive pots is a new idea for him. Still, efficiency is not the only factor. Efficiency helps but won't cut it alone.

If you are a shaker and a mover and change things that might help. Steve said it is the "Cutting Edge Artist" that makes a difference and helps the work evolve and makes trends and styles change. As the son of a evolutionary scientist he constantly thought and read about evolution. He was very aware of the science of art and evolution in art. Now we have eliminated the "Super Christians" if evolution is an issue. The dissatisfied artist makes a splash.
Does that mean if we are feeling comfortable with our work we will never excel and make those big bucks?

When I surveyed friends most people said networking makes the difference. And we all agree being at the right place at the right time helps.

As long as we have enough money, and that amount varies from time to time, some of us don't worry much about it. When kids need more money for college or we want more time off to do other things money matters more. Has not being money oriented hurt me financially? Probably.

Because my art is so personal to me I am usually honored if someone really likes and wants it and feel embarrassed to be taking money for something I love to make. That is really stupid but I seem to cling to those old 60's and 70' ideas. It is hard to undo that kind of thinking and my friends often encourage me to get real. Perhaps that can be either too little or too much ego for us all depending on how you look at it. I communicate my most personal feelings in my pots and writing to try to deepen an understanding we can all share and benefit from. I have always known that putting yourself out there makes you vulnerable but how else can we communicate honestly? If you put yourself in a leadership role you must be open to criticism.

On a personal note, it does feel odd to me when friends and former students get those top dollars for pots, take great pride and I stand there with a smaller wallet, mouth hanging open and clay that just feels like dirt in my hands. At that moment I have a bit of a pity party and regroup. Enough naval gazing.

Why do some of us enjoy marking pots down so people can afford them and giving lots away? Sometimes it feels better to give than to receive. There goes that ego again.

Still I get confused and irritated when I am handing out free technical advice to someone who is sending show pots to galleries in New York and selling them for $2000 each. I know my pots are as good as his.
So what is it? What makes somebodies pots worth more? What makes giving bowls so much less expensive than a painting in a local art show?
Who? What? Where? When? Why? These are all questions we must ask ourselves all the time.

I was selling at the annual University of Tulsa Pottery sale today. It was again a very windy experience but fun. I like to see students selling and the community being aware and buying their work.
It always pays to be aware of what the buying public wants and can afford. You need to know your audience and decide who you want to sell to. What do your people buy?
I saw people buying small utilitarian pots with a personal touch added and some tried to match what they already own. Some people love the eccentric and some want to live in a more controlled environment, matching colors etc. Some people with a little money to spend, faculty and students, play it safe. The less expensive nice pots, not edgy, sold first. And when the customer is buying for another person, like Mother's day, they will guess the personal taste and choose carefully to please, of course.
These kinds of sales are fun and good for the public but they are usually not the $2000 venue. Sometimes when we do these little shows where we get positive reinforcement for less expensive good production. I like to see the university departments interacting. Look what the art students are doing. These are valuable shows and teach students how to sell and what to make if they want to sell.

Ian, my edgy son, had a west coast pottery look with very bright colors and little functional application and guess what? They did not sell as well as the more utilitarian things. He lugged heavy pots across campus to the selling tent and lugged many of them back to the shop. It was a fun experience for him and he became aware of what the customers want. Another learning experience.

Experiences like this send mixed messages about how to earn a living and what direction to turn. Remember you do not have to choose just one direction.

Can you just wait it out? Do you have a trust fund or really need health insurance? How do get someone to write that $4000 check. Lots of times the big cash comes from big businesses.
Big hotels, oil money and the like. That requires good networking skills and a very professional look and still an awareness of what the client needs and wants. Just the word customer to client says something important.

In graduate school it was taboo to think about really selling your work. It was a luxury. We were there to learn our craft and skills and concepts. Yes, that was a luxury. I was amazed to well more that a thousand dollars worth in one night at my show in the museum. Money? Someone was willing to pay for what I loved to make? It was great to show in museums. It is amazing how valuable things look on pedestals and in good lighting.

Formal education? It helps but alone it is not the sure fire way to get rich. If it was you could not get into a pottery class. Education is a good way to accumulate knowledge and get smart fast but job opportunities are limited and there is no big pile of cash automatically waiting for you. Steve Freedman did not go the college route, he chose industry and he is financially successful and very bright. It doesn't hurt that his mother was a potter. Tradition plays a great role in accumulated knowledge.

Knowing people, having them believe in your work. Being at the right place at the right time. Working hard in a productive way. Believing in your own work and not letting the ego work against you. These are just a few of the ways to gain financial value in our work.
And, you must have the time to ride the financial wave. Now we have to prove our pottery is as valuable as gasoline for the car. So do we make more expensive pots for richer folks or more smaller pots people can afford. Maybe both.

I am collecting comments by blog and email to get your feelings on the value of pots. I will post what others have said soon.
So, think about it and let me know and we will all meet in Hawaii later and drink boat drinks. Who knows?
I realize when I write personal statements I am opening myself up to criticism. I am hoping by accumulating every one's life experiences we can compare and contrast our knowledge and help art grow. This is not just about me and why I get less cash than others. I like playing the role of the village potter and making one of a kind pottery as well.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Joys of Art and Earth

Oxley Nature Center's table with plants that grow easily and naturally in Oklahoma along with many other objects de nature on their table.

Wineries are popping up all over Oklahoma.

Wines in Oklahoma have come a long way.

If you aren't recycling in Tulsa, you should be. They will come to your house and get it for so little money every month. It's not that difficult.

Green tea root beer? Flax bars, sesame bars and more good stuff. All to sample.

Green tea root beer. Pretty good!

Perhaps the "best hair at festival" award.

There are now at least 3 farmer's market every week in mid town Tulsa. These folks represent the Pearl District Market.

A classic beauty near the waterfall in the park.

Global gardens make good things happen.

Kendall Whittier School African Drummers were terrific and obviously enjoyed every moment drumming. These kids know how to have a creative art experience!

The boys find the flowing water and cannot resist.

Wild Birds Unlimited helped educate the public and gave out generous bird seed samples!

Voted in my opinion hardest working soap vendor for the past 2 weeks. She was everywhere and makes great soap and body products. 3P's in a POD, the Pankey girls. Visit her at or you can probably find them at the Cherry Street Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings. Note her drawing of her dog on her pet products.

Positive energy for art and awareness of the beauty of life and earth makes me feel good.

I had an inspiring talk with a new friend, a like minded supporter and dreamer who realizes the value of art. We talked about the what if''s and dreamed about building an art center. My aching arm disappeared for a bit and I felt the feelings of art in motion. All the arts, music, photography, visual arts, cooking, poetry and writing and more all supported in a historical building in Tulsa. It could happen. It might happen. It is the great thoughts. We will see.

Someone and unfortunately I cannot remember the source, said. "All societies will be judged by their art and science." I wish I could find the source for that quote. If you know, email me.

Also, today there was a celebration of Earth Day in the Pearl District in Centennial Park.
There were lots of tents and several organizations represented. Thanks to my husband always being aware of what is happening in the community, we walked around, tasted wines from Oklahoma wineries, listened to the kids from Kendall Whittier School show off their African drumming skills, and talked with lots of friends. I had to shoot some photos to share from this fun but very windy event. Yes, the white tents were blowing again.

And, we took in a great little movie at the Circle theater called "The Year My Parents Went on Vacation." I highly recommend it. Of course there are subtitles and no car chase scenes.

This week will probably be a telling week. This week, I am told is when Venture properties closes on the purchase of my block. Then? Next? Change.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Time to Teach Again-Sign up now!

Yes, it is about time to start spring pottery classes. Wanna join? It's fun!

I have several people signed up but there is room for a a few more. It is first come, first serve. A deposit will hold you a spot and you can call it in at 747-7574.

Classes planned so far:

Monday night Beginning Pottery Class, Begins April 28th
Teacher: Linda Coward
$150 plus 40 materials fee
six weeks, one night a week
class size: about 8

Tuesday night "Second Time (or more) Around Pottery Class, begins April 29
Teacher: Linda Coward
$150 plus $40 materials
six weeks, one night a week
class size about 8

Friday Night, Young Singles Pottery Class: A fun project each time you meet, begins May 2nd
Teacher: Ian Coward
$25 plus refreshment each time you attend, $150 for 6 weeks and $40 materials
six weeks, one night a week
Class size may vary
designed for ages 19-29 years old or so
socialize and meet new singles in a pottery class

We also schedule birthday parties, scout groups, wedding showers and other interested small groups for one or two sessions. Call for details.

Any more ideas for us? Call and let us know. It only takes 5 to start a class and classes run from 4-6 weeks generally.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Photos from Brookside Herb Festival

Lynn Stokes, "Jamie's Mom" and I woman the booth

Randy Doss and Lynn meet and brave the wind

Jamie's pots make their way from Hawaii to the Brookside Herb Festival. Jamie is originally from Tulsa you know!

A glance at a few of the pots for sale on the table. Already many have sold

More of Jamie's pots

Hawaiian red pottery caught a lot of peoples attention and sold quickly. Red for fire and hot lava, black for the new earth, green for growth and plants as seen below.

Having a good time in the never ending wind selling Hawaiian Pots
The "Green" of the islands

New friends, old friends everyone came to the Brookside Herb Festival .
It froze last night and the night before and we must wait to plant. So don't plant until the 15th and cross your fingers for fair weather.

As soon as my taxes are complete and my arm can heal a bit there will be many new Hawaiian inspired pots. I got big ideas and lots more to make as I reflect the environment of Hawaii.
Just give me a few days to heal this tennis elbow and rest and think.
Also classes will start the last week in April. Call me to reserve a spot.
I will post a schedule and $$ tomorrow.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Thank You for Supporting Your Local Artist! (Me)

Wow. Thank you all. I am grateful.
What a wonderful turnout for the Herb Festival in Brookside. Thank you for loving my Hawaiian pots and buying them. I saw so many of my regular customers accumulated after 16 years of being in OK and many new people as well. Thank you for not only liking but actually buying so many of my pots. It was fun to share my Hawaiian experiences with so many people and to have such a great response.
Thank you all for caring and helping me stay in the art world by buying my pottery.
Sincerely, Linda
Photos of the event coming soon.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Come to the Herb Festivals

Hi Everybody!
Just a reminder that the shop is closed today, Saturday and we are doing two herb festivals instead.
I will be at the corner of 41st and Peoria at the Brookside Herb Festival. My Hawaiian pots will be there as well as several pots too. I will also have some of Jamie's bottles from Hawaii. You can tell my pots made in Hawaii because they will have round red price tags and there is a palm tree top symbol on the bottom as well. Come take a peek and help support your local potter.
Ian, my son, is at the Tulsa Garden Center with his pottery. It is bright, he hates brown pottery and is very contemporary. He has very unusual garden planters, masks and more.
So, if you have time come and see us both.
Normal shop hours resume next week and classes will start the following week. Call if you have not reserved a space and want one. Originally, classes were to start next week but Rachel won another photo award and we are going to Gutherie to her awards ceremony on Tues night.

Aloha. First come, first serve on my brightly colored Hawaiian pottery!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I'm not coming out yet

Ok! I gotta get with it, starting today. It is Tuesday and the shop opens at 12 and I'll be there, sort of.
I have lots of good ideas and feel inspired but my arm still hurts. Yuck I'll work gently today
I took my daughter Rachel and her friend Parker to the Nasher Sculpture Museum in Dallas for an orientation/reception for Art Institute of Chicago in Dallas. It was one of those marathon trips in one day 6:30 am till midnight. The new museum is worth the trip as well. I will post more pictures of the art visit soon.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Going Bananas in my Dreams

Abundant Bananas in the yard in Hawaii

I wake up and wonder where I am. No kidding. Reversing the sleeping time, jet lag, and overwhelmed by my dear friends with their welcome homes.
I actually did not hear a firetruck in the drive up in front of the neighbors house for a potential gas leak and thought I was still in Hawaii. I focused on my unfamiliar bedroom windows and wondered where I was. Another time I heard my son come in at his typical 4am and thought I was in my childhood home in Indiana. Later, I was asleep and I said "Jamie?"
I start to reach for the drinkable water faucet instead of the ever so safe water faucet in my own sink. I don't know where anything is in my shop. I forgot I never have a car if I leave last and I am again enjoying my alternative way of getting to work on my recumbent bicycle.
I am amazed at the piles of necessary (?) objects in my house with still no time to "sort."
I am glad to be home and I think I feel like nesting and building my home again. I gotta make some serious changes around here. I want to build little Hawaii complete with lots of banana plants in my back yard even though there will never be bananas. Guess I can always glue some on the plants later!
I guess I am landing now, trying not to recreate old habits. I may ditch my black and brown clothing and may eventually wear clothes that really fit.
I remember Adrienne Rich's poem I wrote early in my blog. "What am I going to do with the rest of my life?"
And as Ian said looking up in the sky at 4 years old and I hurried him to the pre-school bus in a real hustle, "Mom did you see the birds on the line today?" We should all see the world through childhood eyes occasionally.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Show Pots Left in Hawaii

land and sea 1

land and sea 2

land and sea 3

palm pot 1

palm pot 2

lily pot 1

lily pot 2

being there 1


gold impressions

kava gold

journey woman 1

new flight

journey 3 In the air

journey woman arrival

suggested arrangement of journey women

These are the "Show Pots" I left in Hawaii for a show. I have 3 big boxes of additional pots coming home within 10 days (so Fed X says) and I hope they get here in one piece after paying $158 plus $58 in bubble wrap to get them here! I will post it on my blog when they arrive.
So enjoy these photos. They were taken in a hurry on the last day of the trip so I apologize for the quality of the photos. I hope to have better later.