The first meeting of the Tallahassee Clay Arts club was well attended for a mid- week affair. Don’t judge the event by the photographs – Gregg usually is smiling! Attending were: Mary Donahue, Barbara Balzar, Ivy Frankenfield, Libby Armstrong, Erika Passage, Julie Guyot, Claudia Howat, Elizabeth Fravel, Judd Spence, Rusty Miller, Brian Bachman, Sean Lawler, Gregg Matthews, and Mark Fletcher.
We spent most of our time introducing ourselves and stating a “problem” we may be facing right now with our ceramic endeavors. Of the fifteen people that came, there was a wide variety of backgrounds and experience. Some have been potters for 30+ years, some that are just starting out. Some are sculptors and others are fine artisans making distinct wares. Some don’t know yet what they are doing but know that they just love love love to work in clay. And still others are waiting for that illusive inspiration to get them to the next thing.
But not surprising there are many problems clay artists have. Those with experience talked of their frustration of selling work out of Tallahassee. Traveling to shows works for some, selling on Etsy works for others; the local opportunities are not working for most. Even for those not selling, there is still a need for better resources and space. Once you are out of school, the options are very limited here and the expense can be too much. Here is a summary of some of the “problems” I heard:
It is hard to make a living as an artist here. Being an artist is hard to sustain
Can’t find the resources (space, kilns, supplies, support, expertise, extra hands) easily. Either they are cost prohibitive, too time consuming or just don’t exist.
People in Tallahassee just don’t buy art!
Tallahassee Clay Arts can go in a lot of directions to try to solve these problems – But before I start to organize events, build web apps, set up shops and web pages, I need specific, doable goals that you are agreeable to so YOU can build a better environment here. Sure, I can make a list of my own and just get started. But in order for this to work, members of Tallahassee Clay Arts need to communicate with each other and look into specific issues. So as a member, I would like you to think about how to change things around here a bit and imagine a different community in Tallahassee; a community that wants artists to thrive.
In my next blog, I will outline how we will spend our time at our monthly meetings and start to tackle organizing all our ideas and potential projects. Our next meeting is Wednesday, October 8th at Julie Guyot’s house in Mid Town. Details soon.
And as a final note, I need members to continue recruiting others out there in clay land! Direct them to our web page: www.TallyClayArts.com
Thanks – Sue