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What sells?

This is one of the griffins from the stoneware age.

Before we had kids, and before our little house became so packed with junk that there wasn’t room for one more plastic cow or taxidermied armadillo anywhere, John and I would spend our weekends yard sailing, flea marketing and stalking the local classified newspaper. We got lots of great stuff over the years. When we scored a big gas ceramic kiln ( I read that as “big ass” too) at a reasonable price, John and I began a short lived hobby of firing stoneware ceramics. We were cheered on by our ceramics-expert friends, Mark Hines, ( we started Windstone Editions with him) and our good friends G.F. and Penny Cloud. They were always willing to talk us through the tricky parts of the firing process; the quartz inversion stage, avoiding giving the pieces “carbon core” in the reduction process, and whatever else we were fretting over while that big scary kiln roared and blew salmon-colored flames and sparks out the top. ” AHHHH!!! Is it really supposed to do that?!?” Firing a big kiln is a lot of fun, in a nerve-wracking sort of way. Amateurs like us never knew which pieces, if any, of a precious kiln load of sculpture would survive the ordeal of a high temp reduction firing and which would become thunder eggs …BOOM!

G.F. and Penny suggested we bring the stoneware pieces that we hadn’t managed to melt, toast or detonate and do a “show” at their shop in Folsom ,CA. This show was very interesting. Almost everything I had made eventually sold, but it was how the items sold that was worth thinking about. I had sculpted lots of subjects; Hogs, cats, guinea pigs, frogs, other odd fantasy creatures, a wolf, a few kirins and several dragons and griffins. Now remember, this was way back in the bronze age, in 1982. There was no internet, no Griffin Guild, no online fantasy art sites… I didn’t think anyone except the D&D nerds even KNEW what a griffin was, and yet the griffin and dragon sculptures FLEW out of that store the morning of the first day!
I remember thinking, hmmm… this probably means something…

The one piece of mine that never sold was that Capricorn sculpture that is in my Elfwood gallery http://melodypena.elfwood.com/capricorn10_2_bb__1_copyjpg_cr.jpg.html . Ok, so people don’t like fish-goats, that makes some sense, but strangely, the other turkey that took a really long time to sell was a little griffin that didn’t have ears! Isn’t that weird? People seemed to want griffins, but they had to have ears!

It’s now 27 years later. I still have that Capricorn, and G.F. and Penny still run the “Cloud’s” studio and gift shop for their own hand-thrown porcelain pottery in Folsom, California. http://cloudspottery.com/customers.aspx.
Mark Hines still creates incredibly gorgeous, classy stuff too, in his art-glass studio in Arizona http://www.markhinesdesigns.com/loginfail.asp?accessdenied=%2Findex.asp
And all of my griffins have ears.

5 Responses to What sells?

  1. ghostndragon March 11, 2009 at 6:30 am #

    Wow. I love this sculpt. It’s so fierce. Wish I could get my hands on one of these.

  2. Jennifer March 11, 2009 at 6:42 pm #

    The bronze age of 1982. I’ll have to remember that, for when people ask when I was born. It’ll be great to tell them it was during the bronze age.

    I’ve been (trying) to sell my stuff for over 10 years and I still have NO IDEA why pieces do or don’t sell.

  3. KoishiiKitty March 12, 2009 at 2:31 am #

    how interesting. that is REALLY cool. of course growing up in the net age where all the artists i know,know of dragons and griffins…and you can’t find a best selling book or movie with out one of the two(or both), it is an interesting thing to imagine.

  4. Lokie56 March 13, 2009 at 2:58 pm #

    I love the sleek looking front to that gryphon. So is that a OOAK sculpt that was sold, so no copies exist?

  5. windstone March 16, 2009 at 7:54 pm #

    No, there are no copies of this griffin. It is an ooak sculpture.
    I don’t even have a photo of the display side!
    I wonder where all these pieces are now!

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