Connie Pike | Episode 270
Connie Pike started her clay journey in 1971 and since 1978 she has been making her full-time living as a ceramic artist in Alberta, Canada. Connie’s approach to working with clay evolves as she investigate a balance between function and aesthetic. Shapes and designs build upon themselves and new versions of form and decoration filter through the body of work and refresh the process. It is Connie’s desire to create forms with rich surfaces. is interested in how her work can be used every day to bring art into our lives, enhancing our experience with food, adorning our homes, and providing a necessary ritual to nourish our soul and mind as well as our bodies. Connie is trying to make pottery that is successful in several ways: comfortable to use, enjoyable to look at, and interesting to think about.
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Have you ever had negative feedback for your work?
Yes, I have had somebody come back and bring a whole dinner set back to me because of the drips. I took it back. You just have to smile and take it back, right? We have total guarantee on our work. If they get a gift they can exchange it, or get their money back. I don’t take it personally.
How do you explain to your customers the different between handmade versus Walmart made?
OK. The time involved. I tell them about that. I am pretty lucky because I have my own gallery and people who come are already pretty saavy about pottery. So I do not get a lot of people that say, Wow that is way too much money. When you do a Farmer’s Market or something similar, you get that, and it is very hard on young potters.
I want to talk about the value of building a list. You give a hundred dollar prize. How many people need to sign up to your list to make it worth your while?
I don’t think I worry about that. What we do is just try to be generous and we just hope that it will come back to us. Another way that we advertise our sales is that we put signs around town. We do that and we get probably another 20 new names each time we do our sales just from those signs. So that’s one way we build our mailing list and that hundred dollar thing is just a way for us to be generous.
When you are gathering people for your mailing list, would be sign up if you were not doing a generous give-away?
They would sign up anyhow.(?)
Yes, because they like pottery and they want to know when my sales are. And my classes.
Do you think you would lose some of those sign ups if you were not being generous?
If I wasn’t giving the hundred dollars?
Yes. Do you think you would lose some people?
No. Because they do not even know that I am going to do that. We do it when they get to the studio for the sale. We also do twenty percent off on our sales.
What has been your best marketing strategy?
Maybe being generous, I don’t know. OK Probably, we did the Millerville Market, so we built our clientele by going there. This market is only about 30 miles from us. We did a few craft shows in Calgary. We also rented a hall in Calgary and took all our work in and did our own sale. So we have done that and kind of built our mailing list.
Everyone needs a break sometime. What kind of things do you do to refresh yourself?(Away from the ceramics)
I read books. I walk my dogs. We go to music events. We have a great town where there is lots of local music, like blues, so we do that. I have a family, so I have a son and a grand-daughter and his wife, so we go for supper. We go to movies every week so we are up on movies.