Wednesday, September 8, 2010

what does a 100 dollar bowl look like?

The last few years I would be asked to donate to empty bowls here. I gave 4-5 and looked for gratitude and a pat on the back. One of my bowls was rejected (well, it had a small flaw but I GAVE IT TO THEM). The idea is people show up, pay a monetary donation, get a potter's handmade bowl, then everybody eats soup. I would not want to sit in a big crowd eating mystery soup for 35 dollars, bowl or no bowl, but that is me. Proceeds benefit some charity. There are empty bowl events all over the world. I figure 4-5 bowls was nice of me, considering I prob. earn less than the dude flipping burgers at McD's, or even less than the homeless dude stirring the mystery soup.
OK, but here is the thing: they were MAD AT ME because
a) I donated a bowl with a small flaw and
b) only 4 or 5...because they wanted me to make and donate 40 bowls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
FORK! Forty bowls during the Christmas season? 40 soup bowls, each worth 15-20 bucks (depending on the amount of deco on each). I told them last year that I earn doodley squat, need to make bowls and sell them for groceries, and if they got a millionaire to buy my 40 bowls from me, we could talk. I did not hear back.

My clay supplier lives an hour away, and he asked me to do the Syracuse empty bowls thing, which has some nice features, very different from ours. And just 5 bowls, blahblahblah. Their idea is to find those millionaires who make a cash contribution (fork the stinking msytery soup, amen to THAT) and they each get a bowl. The artists get something substantial: a gallery show for the month of October (nobody offered me anything but grief and guilt for the event here). If I donate something, I need to get SOMETHING back, like free advertising, or like in this case be part of a show. I was like "hell yeah!"

I got the written details last week and gasped. The blahblahblah that sorta sailed through my ears? EACH BOWL DONATED should be worth 100 DOLLARS! Whoa! 5 bowls, 100 dollars each, 500 bucks? I was like, what does a 100 dollar bowl look like? And wondered if I should drop out. I only make 10-40 dollar bowls!

But I realized, they don't know that. We have talked price here: many potters seem to charge an arm and a leg, so why not make 5 really nice bowls, and let them assume they are worth 100 each? Nobody else knows....except us here.... :)


Becky Jo said...

Good GRIEF! I tell ya, all the people that want artists to 'do stuff'... either make a boat load of bowls for NOTHING, make super fancy bowls for next to NOTHING, or, in my case.. make a friggin' custom chess set worth $300 with no money down... these people are NUTS. Why do they think artist should just jump at the chance to do anything, just because? I say fork it.

Gary, I donated a bowl and two pendants to the county fair silent auction and I feel pretty good about helpin' those 4-H kids out... so maybe find a more appreciative charity?

OR, pull the $15 price tag off the froggy bowls and put on a $100 price tag. ;)

Gary's third pottery blog said...

the five bowls you see here, usually 30-40 dollar bowls, are my contributions :)

Liz said...

yikes! Empty bowls is a good cause, but forty bowls??? holy cracker that's a pile of work. Not to mention cash outlay, lost sales etc
I wanted to do an empty bowls deal here, but I wanted to do it in conjunction with Highschool kids. Have clay donated by a local business, and make it a learning opportunity for food security blah blah blah...
But I cannot imagine asking anyone to contribute forty bowls.
I am also getting really sick being asked for donations for things
AND I hate the "its good exposure for your work line" I think that is a load of horse crap. My work gets exposed, and sold just fine, thank you very much. If you want to ask me to contribute to your cause, don't try and make me feel patronized by claiming it is of benefit to me. It is of benefit to the organization, and a cost to me.
How about buying the bowls from me at wholesale prices and then marking them up to suit your cause, then me and the younguns can afford to make soup!
a bit ranty, I know.... but sheesh!

Jill A. Brown said...

They look like $100 bowls to me! ;)

Jill A. Brown said...

They look like $100 bowls to me! ;)

Gallow said...

I'm shooting for $1000.00 photographs. A picture is worth a $1000.00 bucks, or is that words?

Reverend Awesome said...

I feel like this sort of problem comes up a lot in the art world. Would you ask a dentist to fill in 40 teeth for a donation? No. Would you ask a gyno to give out some pap smears? No. People seem think you should just love spending your time, your WORK TIME something you are paid for like a doctor or a dentist or a lawyer doing something for them for free. Like any profession, your time is valuable. To get all pissy with you is a load of bullshit.

I feel the same way sometimes. I think people see what I do as...well I'm not sure what. Not art, just something they can't do cuz they don't have the programs, but I do so just throw it together for them for free.

George and Maureen Johnson said...

I agree with everyone totally. When I have bisque items (that are not so hot to me), or make something that I just don't want to sell, or keep, or gift, I give them to the Senior Center down aways...they love everything, and are so happy. They have a small ceramics class thing going there so they love my bisque pottery to decorate...saves them money from having to purchase bisque. lol lol lol...:) Also the seniors are way cool people! I love them! :)

Liz said...

when I was a teenager, I taght ceramics at a seniors home! I loved it.