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by Sj Ortiz
(Albuquerque, NM)

Question: I have been asked to make 210 cups/mugs w/o handles for a Church. They want to pay me $3.00 a cup. I need to know if the price is too low. They will be made with both stoneware pottery (clay) and micaceous clay. What's your input on this. I'm a new potter and I'm not sure about pricing my pieces.

Thank you so much for your response.

Answer: This is a great question that I really haven't talked about at all. It's a really important question if you are thinking about selling your work.

As with most of my answers, I'll tell you that how you price your work depends on a lot of factors.

I will tell you now that I wouldn't sell a mug for any less than $15 or $20 ($12 to $15 without a handle) if I was trying to make money. The reason for this is that by the time you factor your labor, the cost of clay and glaze, and firing, you're losing money if you ask less than that.

However, here are a few other factors to consider when determining your price:

1) What is it worth to you? Did you put your heart and soul into it or are you just cranking out pots?

2) How excited are you about the project? If you are a new potter, doing mugs for $3 each might be a great way to get some experience and exposure, while offsetting the costs of your supplies!!!

A busy, experienced potter, on the other hand, probably wouldn't feel the same about that.

3) Are you doing it as a favor or to make money? I've given pots to a lot of people for nothing and I enjoyed the experience. I've also sold pots for amounts that made me pretty happy, too. Just depends on your motive in the situation. Only you can determine that.

Hope this helps. If you end up doing them, send me another message with some pictures!


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