Table of Contents » Chapter 4 : Employment » Chapter 4 : Alternatives to Academia

Chapter 4 : Alternatives to Academia

The variety of careers, of options to work in ceramics outside of academia, is rapidly expanding. This varies from selling your artwork directly (online or locally), working at a gallery, writing for publications, designing for industry, to whatever you can think of. I would also suggest reading the interview with Ayumi Horie in Chapter 9: under selling & pricing work, as well as the interview with Alleghany Meadows in Chapter 11.

An excellent resource for Artist when making a living outside of academia is a book called ART / WORK – everything that you need to know (and do) as you pursue your Art career by Heather Darcy Bhandari & Jonathan Melber. This book is mostly about painting, but still has great information about the professional aspects of being an artist.

cerf (craft emergency relief fund) has a wonderful Artist Career Resource page. CERF+ is committed to keeping the craft field strong by keeping professional craft artists at work. Good business practices contribute to the likelihood of rebounding from setbacks, whether due to minor mishaps or major emergencies.CERF+ produces live conference presentations and articles on insurance and other topics that help artists strengthen their business practices.

Harriette Estel Berman has a ferociously helpful website called Professional Guidelines. It has professional guide lines like: working with digital images, tips to getting into juried shows, resources for legal and professional advice and much more. It is a good read. She also has a video about professional practices on line at “The Good, the bad and the Ugly“. This is the link for all of her presentations called “Herriete Estel Berman Slideshares”


Selling Your Artwork

Traditional large scale craft shows:

Artisans sell their work out of their homes, during “kiln openings” through Etsy or their own web pages or blogs as well as large scale arts and crafts shows

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Living Beyond Academia & Thriving

essay by Jill Foote-Hutton

“Few things sadden me more than to hear an individual who is walking through the gallery begin to praise a family member for their “creativity” and passion, only to be closely followed by the concerned, “Too bad they can’t make a living at it. Maybe after they finish their degree in _______ (fill in the blank with a choice perceived of as sensible).”

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On Industrial Design As A Career Option

essay by Molly Hatch

I came to my career as an industrial designer through a non-traditional route of studio pottery. My work in ceramics has generally been focused on developing surface pattern for simple functional objects. I have always been interested in drawing, painting and printmaking techniques in their own right but also in relationship to clay. Because of my interest in 2D and surface, I work in a way that is easily translated into surface design for most any material being used in industry—from ceramics and glass, to furniture, wallpaper (room as object) and even fabrics.

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Questions & Suggestions about Starting a Business: Potters Story

essay by Laura Zindel

Why, how did you start your own business?

Starting my own business was not really a choice, being an artist was not really a choice either. I think you start out, go through a series of experiences that make it an either or situation. You choose what makes you feel powerful. I have had many jobs that I liked and a lot that I did not like. The ones that I liked gave me a sense of autonomy that I became addicted to. I liked it when my ideas and direction contributed to the success of something that mattered. I have followed the breadcrumbs… as a certain salty old sea dog once told me to do. Fate, luck what is this thing? There is a universe of wise people always around who tell you things, filter what you will.

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Designing For Industry & Other Alternatives To Academia

There are a growing number of artisans that are designing ceramics for industry. These artist have been involved with working with larger corporations or developing and producing an industrial line of ceramics on their own.

Comments from Diana Fyat, Rae Dunn, Jered Nelson and Christa Assad

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Making Art for the Public

Museum of Art and Design

The Museum of Arts and Design is seeking several experienced makers for demonstrations in the Artist Studios program. The studios are open for the public to interact informally with the working artist during regular museum hours. Successful candidates will have extensive background working predominately in three-dimensional materials and processes; teaching experience is a plus.

For more information visit these links:
madmuseum.org/programs/artist-studios
Job Opportunities at MAD
Email: molly.macfadden@madmuseum.org