Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Making a living with clay: part 1

I've had a big change in my life with the recent-ish (becoming less and less so all too quickly) birth of my little guy Guthrie. This has had welcomed and obvious implications on my artistic career and daily choices of how to spend my time. While I tried to predict a slow down in the studio and plan accordingly, it was difficult to know exactly how much time for creating would present itself. Between trading one day of babysitting a week with a friend, some evenings, and catching an hour or two during Guthrie's nap, I've been able to carve out some time in the studio.

Through some careful decisions, recent time in the studio has been spent on some very different projects for me. Over the past few years, I have made the bulk of my clay income by selling pots at retail shows and to galleries, teaching adult classes at Clayworks and taking on the occasional commission (personal and corporate). Since my time has now become less consistent, I have made the choice to pursue some larger projects that have longer deadlines and a bit more flexibility, more teaching opportunities, and only participate in a few retail shows. These projects include a public art commission that started last May (I'll post more on this in the future), an artist residency at a local elementary school (another post), and have pursued and accepted some opportunities to travel to teach workshops (which excites me to no end!).

All this being said, I'm going to do a short series of posts about different ways to make a living with clay. During this process, I'm curious to hear how others are doing it too.

Well, one source of income that I hadn't imagined would happen for me is getting an article published in a periodical. I'm thrilled to say that one of my pots is the cover story of Pottery Making Illustrated! I was shocked (and pleased, of course) to find out that my image was chosen. You can check out the article here.

Many magazines take submissions and have their guidelines posted online. Often they will pay by the word and for images included. PMI likes "how-to" articles that are written from a teaching perspective, which seemed to be a good fit for me.

-wider exposure of your work and techniques
-articulated self-reflection of what you do while creating and why

-time spent writing is time out from creating in the studio
-you have to buy a copy of the magazine for each member of your family