Business Philosophy for Potters | Will McCanless | Episode 207

Will McCanless | Episode 207

Will McCanless

Will McCanless Vase 1Will McCanless is a second generation potter from Seagrove, NC. Will has been very fortunate to have been exposed from an early age to some of the best potters in the country while living and training in Seagrove, NC. Will’s training has primarily been on an apprenticeship basis early in life with his parents, which was then followed by lots of informal travel and exposure related to all things clay. Will does a variety of styles and he is striving always to evolve.


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Will McCanless Three Vases

As a maker, do you find that what the public wants determines what you will make?

Yes, absolutely. Certainly for the position I am in. I started my business with big overhead so the majority of my time will be making things that will provide an income. It is very, very important to always experiment realizing that you always need new products.

Will McCanless Seagrove Red Vase

Catering to market desires, is that a sell-out for a potter/artist?

I think to some it is. It is hard to define exactly what an artist is. As artists we definitely admire the artists that aren’t bound by economics. They don’t have anything impeding them from expressing themselves exactly they want to express themselves.

Will McCanless Platter


How do you market your work?

I have set up two galleries that have great locations. Here is Seagrove it is such a famous place that when we do market we essentially marketing for other potters too. We share with others and we share the same customers. Workshops, shows, galleries, magazine exposure, that sort of thing, we buddy up with those in our genre and marketing comes to us and we share it with folks that do a business similar to ours.

Will McCanless gallery119_small

How do you keep yourself open to opportunities?

I’ve never been lacking in opportunities. It just happens automatically here.

Will McCanless Decorated Plate

What do you do when you are having a bad day?

I pause. I take a moment and think. I’ve got people I talk to. When you are having a bad day I think the worst thing to do is isolate. I think to the extent we can reach out to somebody, people we trust,they can give us perspective that we may not have.

Will McCanless Crystal Plate

If your work were to be considered music, what style of music would your work be?

It would be glam rock from the late 80s. Def Leopard.

Will McCanless C-Mu gourd



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  • Jeremy McFarlane

    This was the best episode yet! I agree totally about what Will said regarding getting away from the Artist point of view and selling what puts you into a path of prosperity instead of the traditional starving artist. It is great to hear a potter besides myself follow this path. Setting up shop in a tourist area is key to limiting your time outside the studio selling as well as allowing you to make less due to keeping all the revenue from your pots.