ClayHound Web - Commissioning Pottery

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Traditional Pottery

One option open to the collector is to directly contact the potter and have something made - just for you. 
Here are a few hinters:

- All pieces shown were commissioned by the ClayHounds -



Finding a Potter   -     [links to some potters can be found here]

Finding a potter is often easier than you can imagine - if it's not, there's always other options:

Locate the tribe, nation or pueblo that you are interested in (best done through the Web).

Find the number to either the Cultural Center and/or affiliated Gift Shop

Sometimes asking at the Headquarters (or Governor's office) will help

Once you've found the number, call and ask if they know of any active potters.  
    Be sure to specify what type of piece you are looking for.  
    You can also ask if there are other places that may know of potters (shop around)  

Learn about the potter.  If you like their style, you'll like the piece they'll make for you.  

Once you have the potter's number - give them a call!  

You can also search the Web for potters who have Web based contact information.  

Like this:  [ "Acoma Pueblo" pottery ]  or  [ "Native American" potters ]  

Contacting the Potter


Protocol is essential - if you don't know what protocol is, don't call and ruin it for the rest of us.  

All the potters that we worked with have been wonderful people.  Not a sign of arrogance or dishonesty has ever been found.  We should be the same with them.  

Be polite, non-aggressive and patient.  

Tell them what you're looking for and about how much you'd like to pay.  

Describe the shape / style you'd like and about how big.  
      Remember: You should learn about the potter ahead of time.  If you like their style, you'll like the piece they'll make for you.  
      As you should know, each piece is unique and reflects the personality of the potter. If you're looking for a duplication of something, you're in the wrong hobby.  In fact, it is that difference that will make you love each piece.  
      Unless you live close to the potter, you should be willing to pay at about $85-100 to make it worth while (add shipping to that).  Although if you want more than one, its OK to look for $50-65 pieces, etc.  
      Don't expect museum quality at lower prices.  Museum quality starts at around $300.00. Besides, lower priced pottery has some of the best personalities.  Many of the neatest pieces we have reflect a primitive appeal and cost very little.  

Ask how much for shipping also - be generous: give extra for handling, etc.  
    And throw in a little bit extra if you pre-pay (good actions will lead to a nicer piece).  
    Be willing to pay up front - we often pay 100%, but offer at least 50%.  Some potters won't accept advanced payment.  
    You must be willing to live with their schedule.  If you understand the difficulties and delays in making traditional pottery, let them know.  It helps to be on common ground and that you appreciate their craft.  
Be polite, non-aggressive and patient.  I said this once, but it goes a long way.

Once the transaction is agreed to, follow up with your end immediately.  

Good actions = good results.  

The piece could take from one week to 6 months (or more!).  
  Most everyone gives good estimates, but always allow for delays (things come up).  
  FIRING is the most critical phase - some lose 50% during this due to cracks, etc.  Be patient and understanding.  This is a greater disappointment to them than it is to us.  
  Go with the flow, if a delay happens, live with it - your patience will pay off in the end.  
  It's OK to call once and a while - just to keep in contact.  
    You can ask how it's going so far and if they still have your address at hand.  
    You can also make any final packaging / mailing arrangements  
  Rest assured, you WILL get your piece and you will be pleased.  
    We have never been ripped off nor disappointed.  

When it arrives, send your praise and appreciation right away.  

If you don't like it, do us all a favor and keep it to yourself (unless it's broken).  You asked an artist to make something for you - which is what they will do according to the inspiration and talent that flows at the moment. If you don't like it at first, we can almost guarantee that it will grow with you - unless, of course, you're one of those who is just plain hard to please.  So if you're after museum pieces or are hard to please, shop in the galleries where you can handle and poke to your content.  But you'll be missing out on some genuinely pleasing (and exciting) moments.  

Leave a good impression - you're representing our hobby.

And remember, your support keeps the potters active, which keeps our hobby active!