Shows vs. Online
Hmmm ... Always a tough one to answer. I like the ability to share my work, world-wide, online. I have sent purchases as far as Australia, Europe and Asia. I find I have a much better chance of reaching someone that likes my work, especially the unique or more elaborate or outstanding ones, when online. Not that I don't find people that are interested in my pieces like that around here locally, perhaps just not as often. I will always get a few gems or as we call them "gifts from the kiln gods" that are in a league of their own and I do charge a bit of a premium for those. Where I live and the areas I do shows in, there is a mixture of folks with a variety of tastes and I have found though online sales there are some areas that have more of an interest in the arts and appreciate the beauty found in handmade, wood-fired pottery.
I do however, like the ability to meet new people and having a chance to interact with them, a lot of times, answering questions about how a particular piece was made or especially with me being a wood-firer, a lot of questions about the process and my kiln. What caused something they noticed on the piece that they don't usually see in other processes. I do enjoy sharing what I'm passionate about (can you tell?) with folks that are interested in hearing it. I also enjoy seeing the smile on someones face when they see something that strikes a chord with them. I realize at that moment, that they are seeing what I enjoy seeing in my work. There has to be something pretty special about it, that would make me want to immerse myself in the depths of the work necessary for wood firing. It is a lot of work!! But when I get those "gifts", it is so worth it.
There are some pieces that I don't part with, or at least not for a while, up to two years sometimes, before I put it out on there for someone else to fall in love with. There is something about pottery that is very intimate. The touching and using on a daily basis, that creates a special bond. I can imagine there are some readers that are thinking, "This poor guy has lost it", and they are free to think what ever they want of course, but I know there are some that have that "favorite mug", or special bowl or platter for when guests come over. They will put it out as a centerpiece with snacks, veggies and dip or a meal even on it. I think it takes the wisdom that comes with age about taking the time to slow down, even a little, to enjoy life's little pleasures...
that favorite mug or glass perhaps. I bet some people even keep those pieces out on "display" all the time to enjoy daily as a "life enriching item." Wood fired pottery is often not "loud", but has a more subtle presence to it. That mug that you pick up to drink from and pause to notice something new on it, the way the ash sprinkled one side... telling the tale of the firing, which side the fire came from or an edge where the color changes.. before drinking from it.
So, getting back to the age old dialogue of shows versus online, I would have to say... do both! How else can you get the opportunity for more people to be able to enjoy your work that are beyond "local" and enjoy the interaction and sharing of your "world" with interested and interesting people?