Debra Oliva | Episode 194
Originally from Illinois, Debra Oliva earned a BFA from Northern Illinois University. After a decade working in the printing industry Debra began exploring ceramics. She has worked as a full time artist for 24 years. She creates utilitarian ware and vessel forms from unglazed colored clays, celebrating form and surface through the use of color, texture and pattern.
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What is the most important tool in your tool chest for ceramics?
Well right now I have just discovered the Bat-Mate. It is a rubber fabric disc that you wet and put on your wheel head so your bats that have big holes do not slide all over the place.
What do you like most in the creating process? Do you like the forming, the glazing, the firing? And why?
With the work I am doing now I would say it is the assembly of more complex pieces. I like to put the parts together and make the piece work.
What is the most important marketing that you have done for your business?
I have enjoyed your webinars and it kind of motivated me to get going on the marketing part. I have now been looking at the website and Facebook and Instagram and I try to get myself to learn a little bit about those things at least once a week. I use Facebook to connect with artists that I don’t know. for sharing other people’s work and for sharing my own work.
What has been your best sales outlet?
Right now I sell primarily through galleries and they do a pretty good job in selling just about everything I can produce. But I realize that the internet is a big boon for artists to show and market their work and I want to be a part of that.
Are galleries going to go extinct?
Not every one wants to buy online, they want to see and feel the ceramics before they buy. Galleries give artists a service. It is another place to sell our work. I think they are important and I think the good ones will make it.
What is the best way to approach a gallery?
I have heard some gallery owners say, don’t send me anything. I will find artists I want to put in my gallery. So I think you just take a chance, send them a post card, or you send them a CD with some images on it, you direct them to your Facebook page, something like that.
What is your next big dream?
I am living the dream I think. My next big dream is to keep doing what I am doing, and do it better.
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