Monday, September 29, 2008

Changes and Challenges, Part II

I'm happy to report that our Garage Salein' was a success. Great deals and lots of fun! We're already looking forward to this Saturday. Especially because our friends Nigel and Cheyenne of Rudolph Pottery will be joining us.

In defense of "Super Consumers"...

One of my very best friends is a Super Consumer. She's my dear friend - no judgments made. Maybe we need people who buy "everything" just as much as we need people who buy "nothing." There's a balance. Buying new things stimulates our economy and drives technology. I just hope all purchases are made with informed, conscious decisions. "Vote with your dollar", the saying goes.

I think the hardest part for me will be applying the "buy nothing new challenge" to the studio and my business. Is it ok to buy some materials new? clay or sterling silver wire for example. But a lot of my glass and steel are recycled. So, I've decided that there will have to be some exceptions. And I will still buy other handmade work - new, used, or otherwise.

Well, those are the ramblings for today. It's time to get to the studio. I have a bisque kiln cooling and some cleaning up to do.

Thanks for reading,


Brian said...

We've also been trying to reduce, reuse and recycle here more. Whenever possible we choose a local, handmade or recycled product over more wasteful alternatives.
We're also fortunate to have a Green Power alternative for our electricity here, and while we can't quite afford complete green power yet, we purchase a percentage. When the time comes that I have my own kilns, I will purchase all the power for them as green power. The eventual dream is to go solar, and actually sell solar back to the grid.
You can check for green power alternatives for your state at the Dept of Energy website here:

nigel rudolph said...

Well we are looking forward to see y'all too this weekend. But to get on subject...we too are struggling with living simpler. It’s hard, but not having much money to spend seems to be helping. Honestly. When you can’t buy new things you tend to start looking for what you can make yourself or buy used. I’m by no means saying that folks should choose a life of poverty to save the planet, but it is something to think about. Certainly purchasing new things does stimulate the economy, however we are all well aware of the condition of our economy and the fact the this country is no longer the international leader in exporting goods anymore. At all. Not even close. Except for the manufacturing of weapons that we export all over the world…wink wink ;). But the fact of the matter is we are sending our money out of this country and not necessarily stimulating our economy as much as we would hope. NOW, if we purchase locally from locally owned and operated businesses is that different? Is that ok? I don’t know. But in my opinion keeping the money local will certainly stimulate the local economy. “Think globally, act locally” , the saying goes. This also brings up a very interesting topic we were discussing at the recent clay conference. The new DIY (Do It Yourself) culture that is all the rage now. With magazines like Ready Made and websites like ETSY, folks are really getting into this idea of creating functional, useful items themselves. But where does that put us? How do trained craft people fit into this new sub-culture? I think a problem with many products made by DIY’ers, that they don’t contain the craftsmanship or conceptual integrity that trained craft people aspire for. It’s not an issue with them. They make stuff because they can. This is great, don’t get me wrong, but where does that leave us? Will it in turn change how our craft is looked at by the unknowing viewer or purchaser? Will it make it more difficult for me to charge 40 clams for a mug? I’m not sure, it’s a very interesting subject and I hope we can discuss it further over some of Ben’s homemade brews!!!!

Brian said...

I like to think that the explosion in 'diy crafters' creates both a huge demand for qualified instructors, ie professionals, as well as helping educate the general public about what true craftsmanship involves, the time and the training. Someone who's tried to do something on their own or taken a beginner pottery class quickly realizes what's involved in that $40 mug.

niko said...

are we speaking of me?