Local Clay General Meeting Minutes

May 23, 2007  


In attendance: Kay Irish, Paula MacCullen, Tim Sheehan, Greg Kennedy,  Frank Gosar, Avi Harriman, Wayne Lambert, Claire Delffs, Karen Washburn,  Susan Fishel, Erika Worman, Ziggy Blum, Leslie Friedman


Discussion:  Pottery Sales 

The most common venues are fairs, galleries, wholesale trade shows, retail establishments, the internet, hiring a rep in Seattle .  Several people combine their pottery marketing with places that are fun to visit.  They go to the Sierras, Mt. Rainier or drive up the Oregon Coast and visit galleries with their portfolios and pottery samples. 

·         Send intro letter to galleries with photos and price sheet.  On the follow-up call, gallery owners often sign up, although some are rude.

·         Cold Call gift shops including the Smithsonian Gift Shop.  One person has had a 70% return on cold calling.  Small gift shops seem to be struggling these days.  The $20-50 price point sells best in gift shops.

·         Visit galleries, talk to the owners.  They’ll look forward to getting your info.  The other advantage of visiting the gallery is to see if your work will fit in with their line.

·         There are so many shows and fairs, the market is saturated.  The Seattle and Las Vegas trade shows are best for potters in full-time production.  The county and state fairs in Washington , Oregon and California are currently less efficient than in past years.

·         Saturday Market: the tourist season is the most profitable time period in Eugene .  Some people sell at Saturday Market as advertising for the highly profitable Holiday Market.  Regarding Portland ’s Market, the consensus is that uncooperative management and high gas prices have kept many Eugene potters away.

·         Some galleries and shows with our members’ work include:  Opus 6, Pacific City Gallery, Blue Heron, Earthworks, Heron’s Nest, ClayFest, Club Mud.  Erika Worman announced her new co-op studio and teaching facility in the Whittaker neighborhood near Georgies.

·         Some people limit consignment sales because of the time spent on tracking their work.  Greg Kennedy has an agreement with his galleries in which he sells his work to them at 50%.  He buys back any piece that doesn’t sell.  In all the years he’s done this, he hasn’t had to buy back anything.

·         Selling directly is best.  No split commissions!  When selling from your studio or with a group like the Oregon Crafted Tour, offer wine and cheese and sell more pottery!

·         Several people have taken Product Photography classes at The Craft Center in order to take better photos of their pottery for their website or portfolio.  Contact info:  346-4361  http://craftcenter.uoregon.edu

·         Kay Irish’s observation:  In Eugene, the customer looks at the price and asks if you’ll take less.  In Portland , the customer looks at the price and buys it.  In Seattle , the customer doesn’t look at the price, and buys the piece.

·         Big shows like new blood.  Salem , Brisbane , and Bellevue have large shows.  The Art Source Directory for the Northwest is a resource for finding the best shows.

·         Advice for Newbies:  Build your inventory and design a show circuit to sell your inventory.  Be careful not to overbook with shows.


Thanks to all for the very generous sharing.


Treasurer’s Report:  The profit for period 3/1/07 to 5/16/07 is $451.19.  During that period, five people paid ClayFest late fees to be used for Clay in Ed and Workshops.


Clay in Ed:  The committee pays members $25/hour to teach short pottery classes in school classrooms and community groups.  Slots are still available.


Workshops and Programs:  Local Clay sponsors 1-2 day workshops with potters from outside the area. Several times per year the committee offers demonstrations by members after the general meeting.


Empty Bowls:  The Food for Lane County fundraiser includes a Throw-A-Thon (Local Clay members throw bowls that are glazed by LCC students), an online auction (bowls may be entered until 6/30) and a gala live auction.  Food for Lane County pays a 60% commission for donated bowls. 


Scholarship Committee:  The budget includes a small college scholarship for a high school art student as well as two small workshop scholarships for Local Clay members.


Clayfest:  Local Clay endorsed the ClayFest budget of $16,733.  Income and expenses balance out.  Frank moved to accept the budget as presented.  Avi seconded.  Motion passed.


ClayFest will be held October 13-14 at the Fairgrounds.  Check the website for your booth number and size.  The booths are all currently filled with a short waiting list consisting of Tim Sheehan (who didn’t receive a postcard) and Ziggy Blum (who’d like to upgrade from ½ to full booth).  Karen and Paula will offer waiting list positions to past participants.  Priority will be given to mail snafus, former chairs, and new members. The procedure will be fine-tuned for next year. 


Old Business:

The Webmaster Chair is still available.  Don Clarke would like to retire.  Tim Sheehan, a former Software Engineer, will call Don.


Picnic:   The potluck picnic is scheduled for Sunday afternoon, August 26.  In the past, the picnic has been held at member homes in Veneta and Brownsville and in local parks.  Some parks are closing for the summer due to budgetary problems.  Susan Fishel volunteered to host the picnic at her home.  She has a fire pit and a grill, and lives on Howard, off River Rd.   Directions will be provided closer to the date. 


New Business:  None!


Motion to adjourn made by Avi and seconded by Paula.