This semester I had the opportunity to intern with ceramic artist Julie Guyot in Railroad Square. Julie creates functional pottery embellished with custom and commercial decals, that are then fired up to four times. She recently moved to Railroad square where she has a studio space to create in, joined with a retail space where she sells a variety of handmade items made by local and regional artist and makers.
I was very excited to have the opportunity to work under Julie because I am interested in on day selling my own pottery in a retail setting. My two main goals in this internship were 1) Learn the behind the scenes of running a small business such as the marketing, organizational skills, finances etc. 2) Observe Julie’s design process and learn more about how to create beautiful art work that sells, without compromising the desire and style of the artist.
Over the course of this semester I worked alongside Julie helping her with a variety of studio tasks while learning what is takes to run a small art business. I did things such as cleaning greenware, applying decals to various pieces, rolling out slabs, pugging clay and managing the retail portion of the shop. As I watched Julie run her business I learned a lot about her design process, and was able to observe her as as she created work that sells while still maintaining her style. I think it is really important to keep your style in your work, even if you are making it with the intention to sell. If the desire to sell something chokes out your own personal flare, then I think something very important has been lost in the creation process. Some days we dealt with finicky glazes while working hard to meet deadlines. Other days we focused on taking inventory of her pottery and restocking the shop. I also gained a lot of insight into the necessary nuts and bolts of managing a small business, such as managing finances and strategic marketing. Though not as exciting as the creating process, there are so many resources out there to help make those often mundane tasks easier and less intimidating, which was really encouraging to me.
As I continue on my journey of developing my art work and gaining experience in managing a business, I am so thankful for the hands on experience and knowledge this internship gave me.