by Juanita Canzoneri
"Pottery by the Pound" opens at 10am on Friday, January 8 and runs through 6 pm January 31.
Every January we host a sale called “Pottery by the Pound.” (It used to be called “Pots by the Pound,” but since the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and the opening of recreational marijuana stores in Manitou Springs, the name change seemed prudent to avoid any confusion.)
How does “Pottery by the Pound” work? Let me take you through the process.
We send out a call to local artists in the Front Range area telling them about the dates for the event. We ask them to bring in their seconds, prototypes, and any other art items that they made and would like to sell.
Then 3 days before the sale we clear out our gallery area and set up as many shelves, pedestals, and other fixtures as we can fit there.
The next 2 days are busy with artists bringing in boxes of their work. For pottery, the artist weighs their pieces, figures out a per pound price. and affixes corresponding colored stickers to each and every item. Each color-coded sticker shows the artist’s initials so we know who’s work we’re selling and can pay them for their sales. (Artists always like it when you pay them.)
For work that’s not pottery, the artist’s initials and price are written on a single colored sticker. Once the items are priced they are put out on the earlier mentioned shelves, pedestals, and other fixtures.
Then on Friday morning, bright and early (at 10 am), we open the doors and let in the shoppers. As the items are brought to the sales desk they are taken by member #1 who weighs each by-weight item on the scale coded to correspond with our sticker colors/prices. The item price and artist code is written down and handed off to member #2 who is acting as the cashier. While the cashier Is ringing up the sale, member #3 is wrapping and bagging the items for the customer. If we do it well, this dance is pretty seamless. If we don’t do it well, there is a little waiting by the customer. Each year it takes a little practice to get back in the rhythm, but it comes together quickly.
Once the crowds die down, typically after the opening weekend, we have one person doing all 3 tasks. But those first 2-3 days of the sale, there are a lot of people coming through.
After the opening weekend artists are welcome to come back and put more work in. That’s why we say “shop early and shop often.” New work comes in almost daily. And the beauty of this sale is that we never know what is coming in or who will be bringing it.
We have beginning potters bring in their early, thicker and heavier pieces. We have professional potters bringing in prototypes or seconds. For non-potters it is a chance to sell work that might be sitting in the studio. If we’ve been experimenting with a new medium or process, we may bring in that work. It really comes down to what we have lying around that we just want to part with. It’s a good chance for us to clear out the studio and start the year fresh.
And it’s a good time for you to come in and find your next treasured bargain!