My office has quite a few creative people and quarterly there is a craft fair where these people can sell their products to their co-workers. This last week, I joined in on the fair with my pottery. It was very motivating to have a deadline, and a specific audience. I focused on making mugs and bowls, because I know that coffee and oatmeal are common in the office.
In preparation for the sale I made a batch of mugs with different shapes and different handles so that I could develop an understanding of what is possible and determine what I liked. I threw rings for most of the handles and tried different shapes and sizes. I also made some heart-shaped bowls and a teapot but they didn’t make it.
In the picture below you can see the bowls that had an unacceptable amount of pinholing and the absence of the teapot which did not get fired because I only have so much room in my little kiln.
I was able to sell a few mugs, but the most useful part of the experience was watching people’s reactions to the work; seeing which pieces were picked up and commented on and which ones were ignored. A mug with a twisted coil handle was very popular while the cups with thrown feet were completely ignored. These and other notes I took give me a basis for future work, and when I start selling these things on Etsy.com I will have less trial-and-error to work through.