We spoke to each of these stallholders about their love of ceramics, market selling tips and more…
Pedddle: Where did you first become interested in the skills it takes to produce your products, and how did you learn them?
Laurel Tree Pottery: I am a big fan of handmade crafts and have tried many different crafts over the years, then approximately 4 years ago I had the opportunity to join a Taste in Ceramics adult education class and was immediately hooked. I continued with the classes, developing my skills and learning different techniques until I had a fair understanding of the subject, which allowed me to join a ceramics club which was run in the same building.
She Who Clays: I find a lot of my interest in ceramics and pottery actually stems from my love of 70s and 80s interiors. I have collected Hornsea, Denby and other retro pottery since I was a teenager. In the early days of She Who Clays, these designs acted as inspiration for my jewellery and I still take influence from them today.
I began using Polymer Clay as it felt like a very accessible material, and I can use it at home in my oven rather than needing a kiln. It’s become a really popular crafting material, especially since lockdown, and I think it’s because of this. I believe a lot of the skills I learnt around Polymer Clay have come from trial and error, it is very much about how you handle the clay, which takes time to master.
Pedddle: What is your favourite things about creating ceramics?
Laurel Tree Pottery: Ceramics has taught me patience and to slow down. I find I can completely lose myself in the process of making, which feels meditative and soothing. The magical part of putting something glazed into the kiln and never really knowing for sure how it will come out is pretty exciting too. The subject is so vast, the learning opportunity is endless.
She Who Clays: My favourite thing about creating ceramics is that every piece I make is completely unique. Whether I am using Polymer Clay or Jesmomite, no two pieces will ever come out the same. It feels like every single thing I make is new and exciting because of this. I also love the versatility of these mediums, in that I can make jewellery or homewares just by changing the method I’m using.
Pedddle: What first made you want to sell at markets?
Laurel Tree Pottery: Recently, I’ve been selling online, which is wonderful but not very personal. I used to own a bricks and mortar shop and I miss the customer interaction, which you get at markets. It’s really great to be able to talk to customers face to face (pre Covid!) and see regular market goers.
She Who Clays: I have always loved visiting different markets and shopping from Makers Markets. The sheer array of beautiful and unique products that are available is amazing, and I love knowing that everything that sells there gives the makers joy. It’s because of this that I began selling at markets, to actually physically interact with a customer, hear about who they are buying the item for, or what occasion they’re wearing the jewellery to. That brings me so much joy!
I also love the feeling of community, and the like minded folk you meet at markets. It’s great to meet other makers and stallholders.
Pedddle: What’s your best tip for selling at markets?
Product photos say everything about a product, and when you can’t express to someone in person how something is made, it’s really important to capture the essence in a photo. Because customers can’t feel or touch the product, they need to be able to see clearly what they are buying.
She Who Clays: My best tip is to be yourself and talk to customers! I have experienced pushy sales people in many environments, but markets don’t require pushy sales – you can just have a conversation. People are genuinely interested in the different things you can find at markets. You can spark up a natural conversation with people who are browsing, find out where they’ve travelled from, what they’re looking for and if they can recommend another stall etc.
The same goes for online markets as well as in person ones – talk to your customers on Instagram, comment on things, talk to those who like a lot of your posts or share the love for your business to their stories, and thank them for the interaction.