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Denton Ceramics Collective provides camaraderie for local artists

Denton Ceramics Collective provides camaraderie for local artists

Denton Ceramics Collective provides camaraderie for local artists
September 28
12:00 2020

Prior to Denton Ceramics Collective, four Denton ceramic artists struggled to get their foot in the door with selling products. They then realized the challenges they had been facing as independent artists, so they came together to form the Denton Ceramics Collective to support each other and sell their work in art shows together.

“In July of 2019, my friend [who works for the UNT] Dean’s office Melissa and I formed the Denton Ceramics Collective,” said Erin Allice, Denton resident and Denton Ceramics Collective member. “We’re a company that allows other ceramicists in the North Texas area to join as members and we sell our ceramics at shows or through Instagram sales, and help up-and-coming ceramicists on how to learn new techniques.”

The Denton Ceramics Collective is a group of four ceramicists who work together to sharpen their skills and sell their art, and each has their own business for their work. Allice runs Green Faerie Designs, member Melissa Getty runs Hephaestus Designs, Sarah Carlile runs Saramic Studios and Bryanna Wright runs BCW Clay.

“The four of us together have pulled resources, booth equipment, knowledge about small businesses, tips and tricks when you work through ceramics issues, and we’ve pulled everything together to create this group that will allow us to do events together,” Getty said. “When we started, we found out looking for different events that a lot of them won’t allow multiple artists in the same booth, or if they did, they wanted to charge every artist the whole booth fee, which is just absurd. Starting an official business together as a group made it a lot easier for us to branch out and do these cool events all across the metroplex.”

Being part of the collective has given members the opportunity to compile their business tactics to improve their art and selling skills.

“Together, we have pulled all of our small business knowledge,” Getty said. “We have two other members [who] didn’t have any prior knowledge, so we were trying to explain to them what you have to gather, what you have to do, legal paperwork, everything to actually start selling your work. They were just so confused and a little overwhelmed — that’s a lot of behind the scenes stuff, so we all sat down and we hashed [it] out. This is what you have to do from start to finish to create a legal business, and then we started sharing our knowledge about everything ceramics. Everything from design ideas to chemistry issues with different clay bodies and glazes and all the different things that can go wrong when you fire ceramics.”

Working with each other has allowed the artists to focus on the business side of art.

“I think it’s something you don’t really get through college,” Carlile said. “In school, you can learn all the tools and techniques for how to make your work, but there’s not a huge emphasis on what to do once you have it.”

The Denton Ceramics Collective gives the artists a chance to share their thoughts and questions without judgment.

“We feel that the collective is a safe space where you can ask for help without feeling that someone might think that you’re stupid, that you don’t know what you’re doing or correcting issues if you get bad information [and] you want to share it and say, ‘Hey, is this what you do?’ and we can say, ‘No, actually, that measurement is a little off. Why don’t you try this instead?’” Getty said. “It’s a nice group to get everyone together.”

The women in the collective serve as a resource for each other.

“On my own, just trying to Google questions, I never get anywhere,” Getty said. “I don’t really know what question I need to ask. With Erin and I, we both love to research, so we both started digging deep into the internet and different textbooks, and now that I’m in class and she was in class with me, we would ask all of our instructors and the grad students, so we were able to get our information so much faster.”

The pieces made by the members of the collective are common household items that people can use on a daily basis.

“A lot of the work that we make [are] smaller, functional things: mugs, planters, cups, bowls and things like that, which aren’t necessarily shown in art galleries, so it gives us a hands-on opportunity to sell our work in a more realistic way,” Carlile said.

Being part of the Denton Ceramics Collective has given the artists an opportunity to expand their work and market to people across the United States.

“I really enjoy knowing that my work is in somebody’s house 2,000 miles away, and my mug is part of their daily routine,” Carlile said. “I really like knowing that something that is important to me is important to somebody else who is on the other side of the country, and I’ve never met them, but my little thing brings them joy every day.”

Courtesy Erin Allice

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Maria Lawson

Maria Lawson

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1 Comment

  1. Sharon
    Sharon September 28, 21:03

    I am glad you got together. Ihave looked for a ceramic shop. My mother and i had a ceramic shop in El Dorado Springs ,Mo. We had to sell the shop due to her health. I would love to get back into painting. I have been thinking about getting a small or med kiln and a few molds and begin painting again
    My mother and I did glazing,dry brushing, my mother did some air brushing.

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