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By Madeleine Coomey -- Clay Works
As published in CRAFTLINK Newsletter by Karen Booy
Hand made pottery created with attention to both form and function by Madeleine Coomey.
Finding the right venue for her product has placed Madeleine Coomey in the enviable position of being able to sell all that she can produce. Providing original and thoughtful designs, while paying high attention to product quality and fair price, has created a clientele that keeps coming back.
Madeleine creates wheel thrown and slab built functional pottery, most of her pieces are for the kitchen and table use. Her unique design and decoration make her pottery exciting. “I try to have the form visually appealing in addition to being very functional. Most of my work can be used for more than one purpose, a sushi plate can double as a sandwich tray, a lazy susan as a pizza serving plate.” Madeleine looks to architectural design and nature for inspiration.
The pottery business began over ten years ago, when after taking a few evening pottery classes, Madeleine enrolled in the ceramics program at Capilano College. Upon completion of her course she felt she had enough knowledge to start up her own business. With four young daughters at home, the logistics of working from home were much easier than working outside the home and so her business began.
Madeleine restricts her sales to retail only, rarely doing custom orders, she prefers the freedom to express herself, constantly changing her product line. She carefully selects her shows “the Coquitlam Christmas Sale is one of my most successful. It is filled with quality crafts and is a very well run show, well juried and the show promoter tries very hard to keep everyone happy.”
Technology simplifies her work with a glaze calculation software program that enables Madeleine to alter her glaze formulas to work well with the different clay she uses. However help is still needed to lift the 50-pound boxes of clay and crates of finished pottery. Madeleine’s husband and her daughters lend a hand lifting, packing, pricing and selling.
Success at craft shows comes back to product quality and a show stopping display! “Make your product as good as your ability allows! If you can see a flaw - so can someone else. Presentation is very important. Having a good display at a busy craft sale means getting someone’s attention. The key is having them stop long enough to buy your work.”
What’s Madeleine’s most valuable piece of advice? “Enjoy what you do. There are so many frustrations and challenges with running your own business that you need a passion for what you do to succeed!” Join the long line of repeat customers at Madeleine’s booth during the Coquitlam show and see first hand how her passion for product quality, customer service and creativity pay off!
Decide if you are running a business or practicing a hobby.
If you are running a business then don’t forget to pay yourself!
Learn to take constructive criticism
Don’t get complacent about your work
If you need to upgrade your skills ¾ then DO IT!
contact Madeleine Coomey at Clay Works:
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