It occurred to me about a month ago that my pottery continues to be attractive to other potters, but not necessarily to the general public. I reached out to a few respected people for critiques.
Now I was looking for actual critiques. Not the kind of "oh you are wonderful, don't change a thing..." critiques. People who love you give you those kind of critiques, because they don't know any better. I was looking for the kind of critique that would tell me what I was doing wrong. Because something is definitely wrong. My work sells, but barely. People who love my work are people who can and do make their own. They don't need to buy it, they can make it. It's a great ego boost to have a fellow potter say something to the effect of "Wow, look at that form!" or "I love the way you applied that glaze!" or "This pot is so light!" but it doesn't put bank in the wallet.
So what did I hear? Color. My color palette does not translate well in the online market. I need to add discernible patterns and color to my pots. Less browns, coppers, bronzes and golds. More white, green, and (gasp!) blue. I need to find a pattern and apply it to my pots.
This has led me to be acutely aware of repeating patterns in our society. Patterns show up frequently in home decoration, tile, wallpaper, fabrics. I have been looking at the work of my friends and colleagues and have been analyzing what they are doing in their own work. What colors do they use and how do they use them? What patterns do they employ? Do they draw them or do they stamp them, or is there some other technique? Why do they choose to use sprig molds to add clay or shellac and wax resist?
I want their work to influence me, what they are doing right to show me the way. It's a fine line between influence and imitation. I am working to maintain my vision of my work and allow these ideas to become mine. I have found patterns that touch me, attract me, and I am allowing those patterns to begin to work their way into my consciousness. The next step is allowing them to be a part of my work.