search  current discussion  categories  business - production 

paid for production

updated fri 12 mar 99


Michael Merritt on thu 11 mar 99

As someone who has spent the last three years after finishing school
working as a production potter in Austin I can tell you that to expect to
earn $15 an hour is optimistic at best. I have worked for several different
studios here in town and have not even earned close to $10. People like the
retired RN who thinks she is worth at least $17 an hour might be correct,
but to expect to earn that just out of school in Austin as a salaried
production potter is unrealistic. That is in the existing studios, if your
investors are willing to pay you what you are worth maybe you can set a
more livable precedent. With the local push to adopt a "living wage"
instead of the measly minimum wage it is obvious that the starting pay in
the local production potteries is unrealistically low. I have found that
people hiring ceramic graduates without significant work experience are
unlikely to be willing to pay more than $7 an hour. And only after several
years are they able to approach $10 an hour. I wonder what level of skills
you think you posses, might it be necessary to work for someone else before
you start your own studio? Daunting as the severely underpaid options are,
I think that they offer the invaluable side benefit of seeing how the
process really works. In order to maintain your dignity you have to
approach these entry level pottery jobs more as assistantships with a small
stipend. Or apprenticeships with free room and sometimes board. If you
would like to contact me personally to here about my experience in this
area e-mail me personally at Good luck, and if you start a
production studio and need throwers at $17 an hour give me a call.
Keeping it real in Austin,
Michael Merritt