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State of Craft Interview


Jennifer Boyer

Potter, Founding Member of Artisans Hand Gallery
Dates Active: 1970s on

email      web: http://www.thistlehillpottery.com

I was a maker from the beginning.

By the time I was about 20 I knew how to knit and crochet and do plaster sculpture and do pottery and weave and do batiking.

Learning Pottery at Goddard College

I took all of the art classes and organic gardening and trail blazing and found pottery. And they let me quit everything else. I went to them and said, "I've found pottery. I want to do it all the time. Now." And mid-stream, mid-term, they let me drop everything else and do pottery 7 days a week and have that be my only thing. I could just do that.

Most people are going to a once-a-week class or something; it takes them years to figure out the beginning part. But Goddard, the beginners, there was this studio...with a lot of obsessed kids working there all the time, day and night.

Selling

My husband...would look at the crowds because he was helping me ... and he would say, "You know, these customers, they're looking at you guys like you are these...raw jewels that are being dug out of the mud.

When we were first selling at those craft shows you had to educate the customers; they had no idea of what they were looking at.

I think there's a remarkable number of attributes that you have to have to be a successful craftsperson If you're really introverted and...only want to stay in your studio making beautiful things, that's not gonna work! You can be the best craftsperson in the whole world, you can be so good at that manipulation of materials, but if you can't get out there and sell it: not working. It's not gonna work.

Artisans Hand Cooperative
Food co-op, preschool co-op, Artisan's Hand co-op. You know, everything was a group effort. It was a random bunch of people that got together, but I think it's a miracle we've hung in there this long. And it's, hopefully, going to keep going.