Monday, July 13, 2009

Interview: Laurie Erdman

Another week, another interview. Click here to see the questions on their own if you want to be in next week.

Vital statistics (name, age, location, link to website/blog)?
Laurie Erdman, 42
Arlington, Virginia

Where do you work in clay?
Primarily at the Art League ceramics studio in Alexandria, but just set up a home studio to work between sessions

Do you have another job?
Yes. I’m a business development professional for an education company. While fulfilling, it keeps me away from the wheel far more than I would like.

Are your studio and occupation decisions made by choice or necessity?
Both decisions are made by necessity. Pottery started as a creative outlet from a stressful job. It has become a passion and I am now just starting to market my work. I still have to have the day job help pay the household expenses.

How do you budget your time (in the studio and out - family, errands, etc)?
During Art League sessions, I am the studio every Sunday, and increasingly on Saturdays and any other time I can, as I am building up inventory for holiday shows and sales (currently have 4 scheduled). Every morning I spend my tea time at the computer managing my Etsy store, tweeting and blogging. Then it is off to the day job. In the evening, I take pictures of my work and manage my online presence. Of course, with the home studio, I can now start working on pots in the evening.

Why do you make pots (or sculptures)?
I have always been drawn to the tactile nature of clay, whether playing in a mud puddle as a child, or picking up a finished piece in a gallery. It was natural that my creative outlet would flourish once I decided to try ceramics. I was hooked the first time I touched it.

How concerned are you about environmental issues? Does this affect your work?
Very. However, working in a community studio doesn’t give me control over those issues. However, last year our studio moved from cone 8 electric to cone 6 to reduce energy usage. When I get my own kiln, I would be very interested in learning how to single fire (just did it in a soda kiln and was very happy with the results). I do recycle my clay as much as possible.

What do you do when you're having a bad day in the studio?
Walk away. And often I go eat because there is something about working in clay that makes me forget to eat. Not good to throw with low blood sugar; the results are bad.

Do you create art in other mediums?
I have painted and I love photography, but I do neither on a regular basis. Although I have been thinking about adding photo work for potters as a service.

Where do you sell your work?
Right now I sell mostly online and to friends. I have an Etsy shop and have sold a piece on eBay. I am planning on doing most of sales at the end of the year. I will do a local craft show at my church in December, a local collectors show in November, a charity show sponsored by my employer and finally a home show.

How did you approach those venues about selling your work?
I am a member of the sponsoring organizations for the crafts shows, so its just people I know.

Do you have any questions you want to ask other artists?
For those that have their own studio, how do you manage all the equipment and materials and how many different glazes do you use? As I contemplate my own studio, the investment is overwhelming.


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