A common question that we received today at the conference is “how much?” I love this question. I love it because I know that my answer to that question will completely catch them off guard and make them feel good. It’s exciting for me and the person asking. I am excited to see the reaction and they’re excited to hear that this cup is free of charge.
At Malvern we have been taught how to give our pieces away. Last year I participated in the mug assault which is where students make 25 well crafted mugs and give them away for free. You’d be surprised just how challenging this task is. Most people think that there is a catch behind the whole thing and others won’t even make eye contact. Either way we found a way to give almost all of them away.
We also have Empty Bowls where students, faculty, and family members throw bowls for an event to raise money for the homeless. Every bowl we make is given away and we usually will not see it again. But we do it for a greater cause and also because it just makes us feel good.
Aside from seeing someones reaction to us telling them it is a free cup – it goes a little deeper. You know that the person will hold on to that cup and whenever they look at that cup, they will think of us. It’s such an out of the ordinary thing that it sticks to us. For the potter, it feels good to know that something you made and put time into will be cherished and used as a spark for a memory. Giving work away creates such a strong connection that goes unnoticed. It’s a powerful thing and I think it is safe to say it is one of our most favorite things to do in ceramics.