Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Are You the Potter Who is Giving Cups Away?

For a few months I have been making and giving away cups, in response to Ehren Tool's long-term project of making cups for/with veterans. He makes them with images from soldiers' combat memories and gives them away.  He is up to some 14000. I have made maybe 25, carved with a ubiquitous statement of his: peace is the only adequate war memorial.

 Just starting, and beginning to learn how people react to the offer of a cup. Besides giving cups to family and friends, I have offered them at 2 craft sales.

Most people seem to need an explanation, of the cup, or of the offer. They do not stand alone as a cup, a message, or an offer. Usually people want an answer to "why are you offering these?" Perhaps, in the context of selling, the gift is too odd to accept easily.

Some people have felt guilty at accepting something free, and have bought another pot from me, out of guilt rather than liking. I don't get it.

One woman returned later, having gone to her car to bring me a return gift, a lovely small book of Buddhist advice which she kept in the car for her use. I think that's fellow-feeling, not guilt. I appreciate it; I read it.

One man stayed to tell me at length what he does to support veterans. I'm very pleased; it was not at all clear to me that my project would be seen as supportive of anyone. 

So cups lead to conversation, and that seems to me a fine thing. Someone really did come by my booth at a sale, several hours after the cups were taken, to ask if I am the potter who is giving cups away. In some way these cups are an invitation to expand on the offer, to continue with whatever attracts people to them. I am reminded of one of the pleasures and products of these sales, an openness for me and the customers to what comes up, an availability, an invitation. It's not just selling, and not just the "stuff". I started making and offering cups because Tool's message and project spoke to me. Now I am seeing them attract other people in their own ways.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Upcoming Sales and Pots

Ready to think of Christmas presents? Ouch.

I'll be at 3 very different craft/art sales this month.

November 16-17 all day; a sale to raise funds for the ceramics program at ECC (community college branch), at Educational Cultural Complex near 805 and Imperial;
     very variable quality, including flower arrangements and potted succulent gardens, very low prices

November 19, 9-3, at Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary School near 805 and Balboa;
     a homey, friendly, not fancy craft sale

November 20,  Talmadge Art Show, 10-4, at the Liberty Station Conference Center;
     very classy craft products