chicagopotter wrote:The question can also be posed to the customer or consumer: How much would you be willing to spend on a very small and well-crafted piece from an independent artist?
I think this is an issue that many artists struggle with...
The answers to this question are, at the core, based on the "means" of the consumer. To some, a $50 yunomi is pushing the financial credibility limit. To others, a $1000 yunomi can be considered a bargain and a trivial purchase.
I have a friend (and ceramics student) here in NH that has a collection of Japanese guinomi, tokkuri, and some chawan that most museums would kill to have. It includes pieces from almost all of the Ningen Kokuho (Living National Treasures). As you might imagine, his/her "yardstick" for the acceptable price for a small piece of pottery will likely vary greatly from the typical Walmart shopper's.
I own pieces from many very good and well known Japanese potters that I have only because of friendships and professional associations. Were I to need to purchase them, I would not own them. I could appreciate the quality of the work, and fondle them longingly, but I simply could not afford them. My means would not support those kinds of purchases.
Secondly, the answer comes down to the general valuation of good ceramic art work in the culture of the consumer. I have sold pieces in Japan for $1000 that here in the USA would sell for more like $100. The political/cultural "pecking order" for the status of good ceramic art in Japan is generally higher than that in the USA....at least for established mid to late career artists. I imagine that in other parts of the world it will also vary....but I don't know the specifics having not traveled extensively in many other countries. (My perception is that Japan is likely at the "high end" of the scale.)
So that $50 yuniomi in the USA might represent a piece of work by a decent established artist, while a 4200 円 (about the same price these days) yunomi in Japan might be more typical of a newer developing artist. To get a good yunomi from a well established artist in Japan, the Japanese consumer will expect to pay a lot more than the average American will expect to pay for the same general type of object.
Then there is the concept of "percieved value" to fit in here somehow within the other parts of the equation.
For my "really small pieces", I guess my chaire (tea caddies) and futaoki (lid rests) are the two smallest objects I tend to make, and are somewhat similar in general scale. The general pricing on my chaire (before the box charge) are about 7 to 10 times the typical price of the futaoki. This difference has to do with the general valuation most chadoka place on the caddy over the (ceramic) lid rest.
Then there is the factor of "market positioning" and market segmentation.
If I take the aforementioned chaire totally "out of context" and place the same object into a different market segment, the valuation also changes. The same piece sold as a "chatchka jar" or "earring jar" or whatever would not be able to be sold for the same price structure. While the particular object might be a "killer" one aesthetically in that context, it would instantly be looked at by consumers looking for that kind of piece as way, WAY, WAY
The whole thing is very complicated and deals with elements of consumer education, human psychology, marketing, and market positioning.
....................john Side note: For the really new ceramist in Japan, getting "established" at all is REALLY a difficult proposition. The number of potters there is HUGE, and the pot buying populace is pretty well educated at to pots. Competition is heavy and it tends to quickly sort out the rice from the husks. So it can be a very difficult road for the new potter....with prices for early work sitting VERY low on the scale. Often below USA pricing for similar quality.