View Full Version : Where do all the potters hide?

10-08-2006, 02:12 AM
I've been having a hard time reaching potential students for my class. Where should I try to get the word out that I offer clay classes? My school runs an ad in the local paper once before each semester but it isn't bringing hardly anyone in to sign up. They also have a webpage tho it isn't updated as much as it should be. I've listed the class myself on a online group that is for local residents. I just don't know how to get the word out. I can't pay for advertising as until I get more students my pay is dismal. Any suggestions?

10-08-2006, 08:59 AM
make little flyers and ask if you can hang them up in art stores or general stores.

10-08-2006, 10:00 PM
Try posting in the artists and classes of the local section of craigslist.org

10-09-2006, 12:29 AM
I don't think my city has a craiglist section, at least last I checked. I've been looking for somewhere in stores to hang but it seems stores have stopped letting you do that kinda thing. Books a million used to have a bulletin board back near the bathrooms but I noticed it was gone.

10-10-2006, 11:50 AM
Try local seniors centers, libraries and colleges. I post notices all those places. Actually my best results come from word of mouth. Students tell their friends about what a great experience they had in my classes, but I can be entertaining as I babble on about art history, the geology of clay etc. They end up learning a lot about the art world and human civilzations. Do you have any local coffee shops? They often have bulletin boards too. Try calling art teachers in high schools and see if they will let you put up notices. Some senior might be interested in doing work above and beyond what the school can provide. Here's something you can try for a lark: I had a tee shirt printed with the following notice- "Artist for hire, Inquire within" . It got me some interest actually and I wore it in town for many years. Use a red shirt with white lettering and simple fonts for clarity.

10-10-2006, 04:47 PM
Haha...the school sits right between the library and senior center, notices don't seem to get noticed. Yep, I chatter on about clay and history and cultures while demoing and such most students like it and ask questions but I had one student tell me she didn't want to learn about that stuff...sigh. The class is during school hours so high schools are out as the kids are still in class. Coffee shops? I don't know if we have any...we did before the hurricanes of 2004 but I don't know if any came back...if they did they aren't in the same locations as they were. The hurricane destroyed so many buildings and many are just getting rebuilt now. I'll look around.

I've been putting a liitle card in neighboring car windows when I park at a shopping center. I don't know if it is generating any response.

10-17-2006, 07:47 PM
Well, when I find myself outnumbered by non-artistic types I hide in the studio and work, work, work. I tell myself stories about Van Gogh and try to promounce his name correctly, and then I think about Andy Warhol and Maria Matinez and the Neanderthal guy who carved that bison... just try not to think about being the only one around who gives a hoot about playing in mud and stuff like that. They're out there somewhere and somebody will stumble on your card just when they need a round of creativity! That's how it works.

jeff m
10-20-2006, 06:36 AM
Non targeted marketting has a low percentage return. So with respect the little cards on the cars may only add to your frustration.
So art supply, Michaels, AC Moore. A coloured A4 flyer with picture and clay or pottery in bold type.
Advertising is competertive, so a coloured A4 is far better that a card on a board.
The owners or managers would, I think let you put up an A4 because it would possibly increase their clay related sales.
When you approach the Manager with your A4 advert have a 1/2 size version ready in case they say it is too large, that will save you two trips.

10-20-2006, 12:12 PM
Sadly micheals is out they have classes of their own...don't want the competition. I don't know what a ac moore is, none here. Our one small art supply store didn't come back after the hurricanes.

I did call the local branch of the area's community college after asking my schools director if they promoted there and the college said they are willing to place flyers up as long as the classes aren't the same as their continuing education classes. I looked at what they offer and called the my schools director and they are gonna send a flyer with just the art, craft and dance classes listed since the comm. college doesn't offer those.

Why don't these schools network?...seems my non profit school should of known the college has bulletin boards to hang stuff on.

11-28-2006, 04:28 PM
Also try the yahoo groups as a posting area too.

01-05-2007, 08:54 PM

I have found, Local newspapapers are always looking for "fillers". If you have a picture of yourself and work, with a bi-line and Do their homework for them, they will run it. Even in large cities.
Make it easy for them. Have the most important information in the first paragraph. Mention any awards and anything you have created relating to "the Local Area."
A follow up is important. Thank the reporter, and let them know how you did wiith the Seminar/Show/Event/Experience
I wish you luck, you're students will follow, and I wish you the connections you wish for. ( Just becareful of those wishes )

01-05-2007, 11:46 PM
Last semester the school ran press releases for a couple of one day clay intro seminars I thought would be fun and a good way to contact new student and let them try working in clay without a 8 week semester long comitment and the paper picked up on them and wrote a blurb about them in their whats happening around town section. The story produced no results, not a single sign up.(sigh)

At least its just not me, this semester they had another pottery teacher offer a class too(grrr, they can't fill mine so they add competition?) and his classes produced no students. My classes this semester doesn't look like they will make enrollment either as I only had 3 students sign up spread over 3 classes(This semester I tried offering a class in different time slots hoping at least one would attract attention). They have extended my classes' sign up for another week as I am currently ill with whatever sickness that has attacked Florida along with most of the south according to a website my mother read. I can't teach until I stop hacking up a lung and running a temperture. I've been ask to get togther(after I am feeling better) with the guy heading up the place to discuss how to attrack more students, maybe he will have some new ideas as the school director just quit(not sure why). I would love to get a good clayart/pottery program going here. It has so much potential. thanks, any new suggestions welcome.

01-06-2007, 01:36 AM
Well, I don't have any suggestions except to say that I took a pottery class for the past 3 months and here is the website advertising the class. (Just noticed he hasn't updated it for a while).


The potter's had pretty good success with his ad in the local newspaper and I'm guessing that he lists his website link there. These classes begain in October and this was his first time teaching his life long acquired skill. I know what attracted me to attend his class was seeing his beautiful glazed works. Also, it was tempting to have such a successful potter to teach all of secrets that he's learned over all these years. So with that, I signed up.


01-06-2007, 03:10 AM
So has he lived up to that promise of being able to pass on 25 years of potting without the muss and fuss of you needing to pot for 25 years? I was really hoping to see photos of student work to know what his students turned out. Thats a very big promise.

If I ever get enough dang students I have a site all set up for showcasing the results of my students. So far only one of my classes have made enrollment so it could run and my photos turned out horrible(digital camera malfunction).

The school does have a website with classes listed and even signup via a phonecall with signup via online coming soon. They also run the schedule in the newspaper before each semester.

I'm really thinking no one reads that dang paper cause I have seen no results from anything ran there. The class that had made it was populated with students that found out about it in other way(people i knew/people the people i knew knew/people who saw my own internet postings/one that was on the schools waiting list to be contacted when pottery was going to be taught next/and office walkins.

I guess I am getting fustrated, clay is so fun(in a hard work kinda way) why does no one want to learn. I can always hope for another movie like 'Ghost' to make people want to pot.

01-06-2007, 12:00 PM
Hi :-),

I know that some of his students were acquired from word of mouth but the ad has attracted the newcomers every month for the beginners classes. But his classes aren't big classes like what's needed for a college class. He's finding that about 6 is just right so that he can spread himself to everyone as they are learning.

I'm now part of his "guild." I'm the first member of it. This costs $50 a month and I can pretty well come in any time (except during his evening classes) and use his facility (wheel, pugmill, extruders, glazes). In addition, I pay for the clay and the firings.

Yesterday I was there for 8 hours and made much more progress than my 2 hour session classes. I took time to just sit and watch Randy as he threw the pottery. I was able to center my biggest piece of clay (only 3 pounds but I'm proud of that!) and pull up a big bowl. I then scalloped the edge and on the sides I added a thin flowing ribbon with roses. When he saw it he was so pleased and said that he wants to take pics of it and some of the other works of students and put it on his website to show what can be done in 3 months of classes.

I know that I've seen pottery classes advertised with our community college but wasn't too excited only because it seems like it's not anything special, like it's a class I could take anytime. Whereas Randy's class felt like a big opportunity presented to me.

So the only thing that I can pass along is that the ad needs to have a sense of urgency to it and make people feel like they'd be missing out on something if they don't sign up.


P.S. Each month Randy has a bonus class and we do something fun. He also gives out a little graduation certificate on the final class of each month. On that evening he puts out a spread of finger foods, wine, drinks and we visit and have good time. All those little perks really make his class a pleasure.

01-17-2007, 12:33 PM
Yellow pages perhaps? Under "Art Instruction?" Someday I'll have time to get back to my clay and throwing :(. I know I had the dickens of a time finding classes when I took a class ten years ago. I tracked them down through an ad in the Yellow Pages if I remember correctly. Another thought; do you sell at local Art/Craft shows? Perhaps a notice of some sort on your booth if you do, or even (if it's that sort of an outdoor show) set up a kickwheel and do demos. People find nothing more fascinating than watching a lump of clay become a pot and it may generate some interest.

01-18-2007, 07:09 PM
I'm not very familiar with the world of pottery. However, I was a little curious as to how you sell the pottery that you make in addition to doing classes? Coming from jewelry and lampwork, I can suggest the following:
~ Do you do art shows, craft fairs, etc? If so, build up your mailing list.
~ Do any local shops carry your pieces? If so, ask to put up a flyer advertising your classes. See if you can arrange a small demo one day. Also ask if they would be willing to share their mailing lists if they have one. Offer to do a small mailing on their behalf. Combine their sale/promotion with a small feature on a new artist they carry (You!).
~ What about local schools? Your kids' schools? PTA, etc. Donate a piece to the art department, library, etc. network with parents, mention that you do classes. Can you offer birthday party classes?
~ Most importantly of all, word of mouth and referrals will be your best friends! Whatever students you get, ask them to bring a friend. Offer group discounts, etc.

I managed and later owned a martial arts school and these suggestions were always at the core of our marketing programs. Best of luck to you and I'm sorry if I got carried away :) I just like this sort of stuff.