Sunday, July 25, 2010

economic realities.

We've had a bad year as far as pottery sales go so I've been forced to pick up my tool belt again and get to work. The only difference this year is that I've had to go work for a contractor rather than working my own jobs. The contractor I'm working for likes to overbook and I'm the only employee of several that is well-rounded enough to work without his guidance so he'll go off to other jobs and a lot of that pressure falls on my shoulders. I'm also having to teach the guys I'm working with which is fine but it certainly slows work down to a crawl. This week he is gone on vacation while we are working overtime to finish a job by Thursday. We've worked long hours everyday, most days are 10-12 hours. All this for $10/hour. Crappy pay for my skill level, but he's the only guy that would take me on for just 4 weeks. So here I am on a Sunday firing the gas kiln at the school so my summer school students can have the last of their pots. The firing should've been done around 7pm but rain tripped the outlet to the burners and I didn't catch it so that tacked on about 3.5 hours and I gotta be up at 6:30 for another 10+ hour day in the Texas summer. Do I sound frustrated? Probably because I am. Ah well...what can you do?

For those that don't know, I'm not full-time faculty. I'm an adjunct/artist-in-residence but I'm also the only ceramics teacher so I'm free to run the program as I see fit which is pretty cool. But in case you didn't know adjunct=joke pay. I don't hold a terminal degree(MFA) so a full-time slot is not available to me. So as long as that's the case I'll be doing side jobs until pottery sales come back up.

So hopefully this will be my last week and I'll get back to the studio soon. More importantly I'll get those brushes mailed out, they're coming. It'd be nice to have a free minute when the post office is open. Well anyways, time to go check that kiln and see if cone 10 will let me go home.

Cheers!

12 comments:

Linda Starr said...

what a work load you have and such long days in the hot sun that sure isn't easy, I hear you about the economic realities.

FetishGhost said...

Staying hungry is keeps the wheels moving. I've been watching our local arts fall into stagnation due to the unengaged ambivalence of the educated elite. The privileged stance is proving corrosive to our local arts community during these times. Apparently if you get paid enough to be comfortable, you don't need to make yourself relevant in your community any more.
Staying hungry keeps the wheels moving.

ang said...

thats some hard graft BP but good to see you're still keeping your hand in, things are tough all round but at least we enjoy what we do...there's no better work really....had squiz at your etsy page again love the ash!!

cookingwithgas said...

this has been the worse summer for sales I can remember and this is our only income.
I might have to pick up a tool belt myself- hang in there the pots are great- I hope sales pick up for us all.

Tracey Broome said...

I have absolutely no words of wisdom and no idea what the solution for artists is, wish I did. I see so many struggling to sell work that is so great. I sold $30 at the last show I did, hardly worth the gas to get there and we had ticks and mosquitoes and 90 degree weather to deal with. The lady next to me selling bread sold everything she brought and her bread wasn't cheap. When I do the Farmer's Market the ice cream man has a line at his tent the entire time and it's hit or miss for me. Why will people shove food in their mouth and not even think about the cost, but balk at a $30 mug that they could even hand down to their children one day? I just don't get it. Makes you want to bash your head into a wall! Hope things get better for you, if sales are slow for your brilliant work, none of us have a chance! Artists and teachers get paid the least amount for the most effort of anyone. Screw these CEOs that are ruining our economy!!!

Ron said...

Pottery sales have been way low here this summer too. Thank goodness Sarah has a pretty good job. I'm hoping the fall will see some sales pick up. Hope to see some new pots from you soon as possible.

John said...

Man, all these comments ring so true! Adjunct faculty have it rough (I'm glad I'm out of the game) and $5 bread definitely sells...such a strange contradiction...

My fingers are crossed for you, all of us...

I don't really have an answer either, I just keeping buying mugs...

Aaron Sober said...

I hear you. Bad here as well. Pots look great, though. Hang in there. It's not the pots.

TropiClay Studio said...

I agree with Tracey... It's even worse when you are BOTH an artist AND a teacher!

Joe and Christy said...

we feel your pain, b. it is a challenge to get your own creative work done when your energy is sold to someone else (who happens to be a pretty low bidder) out of short-term necessity. makes it hard to keep the pottery faith sometimes.

hope to see your post on Mr. Mackenzie sometime soon, too.

**c

Lori Buff said...

You are working 3 jobs, you must be physically and emotionally exhausted. Maybe when pottery sales pick up you'll be able to transfer your energy towards getting an MFA (if you want that).
Hang in there.

rwhendrix said...

Hey I can feel for you. I work full time to support my family and am glad to do it. That doesn't leave so much time for all of the wonderful ideas that run through my head! I squeeze in some pottery and brickwork here and there when I can. Lifes that way. I couldn't ever imagine trying to make a living off of my hobby work. If you can, go for it I say. That would be fun.