Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

by - November 07, 2009

The Handmade Market today was fun and exhausting. I was happy to have the company of Joe, Sarah, my sister-in-law, and a handful of friends that stopped by to look and chat. I didn't sell as many pieces as I predicted, but I met a lot of people, gave away plenty business cards and took some cues as to what people want to buy and wish I offered more of.

There were three types of customers that came through: the collectors, the gifters, and those attracted to shiny, pretty things. Collectors look for something unique, evenly distributed weight, with balanced form, and they don't seem let price govern their choice. They see what they want (almost instantly), then check the price to make sure it's reasonable. The largest group, the gifters, look for semi-functional/semi-frivolous mid-range priced items. They will usually narrow the selection down to two or three items and then debate (with a spouse) for several minutes which their mom or in-laws or friend would like best, or be able to use the most. Those who like pretty, shiny things trend towards that cereal bowl they will use whenever clean, a pair of tea bowls for an obscure, cherished tea, or the eye-catching serving bowl that they can picture the perfect dish for at Thanksgiving. They usually have a hard time deciding between two things, may circle the other vendors, and then return to debate a little more before deciding.

My teacher Julie would chastise me, but I develop relationships with my pottery. This doesn't mean I regularly use them or display them, but it does mean I hang on to them and have a difficult time putting them up for sale. Last night as Joe and I were pricing my new pieces for the sale, he convinced me that it was time to part with some of those that I'd been greedily hanging on to. I had stacks of lovely, unique serving bowls that I agreed to display in the show, although I secretly hoped they wouldn't sell and even tried to hide the under the table... but they were found!

Several years back, I had turned in a large batch of enormous bowls to be fired in the gas kiln at NCSU, and to my dismay they came back nothing like expected. The kiln had lost power mid-firing causing the glaze to bead up in places creating these amazing bumpy terraces on the surfaces of the pots. Eventually I grew to love these. My mom has one on her mantle, but I sold one of my favorites today to a woman I immediately knew appreciate the bowl, because she immediately knew that was the bowl for her collection.

You May Also Like


  1. I'm glad you had a good turn out! I'm totally a gifter! I mean I think you were specifically explaining me.

  2. Wow your booth looks great. It really shows your pieces well. I'm glad the show went well and I'm sure the next will be just as much fun.

  3. Paige, nice review. You are very gifted. I am trying to picture your entire home filled with custom made pottery... ha. take care,

  4. It's great that you learned a little more about your target crowds - sounds like that will be useful in the future. How sweet to have people there keeping you company and supporting you!



Get lovesown posts in your inbox!