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open studio/regulations

updated wed 1 nov 06


Ryan Clyde-Rich on mon 30 oct 06

We are getting ready to host our first open studio and at the last minute
thought we might have a problem with city regulations since we are in a
residential area. So the question is: has anyone ever been hassled by the
city for selling/showing pottery in a home studio? We do not operate a
regular retail establishment, so we do not have a business liscense. We
are looking at this event in the line of a home office that is hosting an
open house rather than a regular retail outlet.

Thanks for any advice or experiences,
Ryan Clyde-Rich

Susan Fox Hirschmann on mon 30 oct 06

I have had studio shows biannually for 14 years and yes, I do have a business
I live in a residential area and built a pottery studio in the back yard
about 4 years ago, totally approved by regulation stringent Fairfax County,
Virginia, and I even got commercial rates on my electric and gas service.(cheaper
than residential rates...lucky me!)
Prior to that I worked in the basement, and still did the shows in my house
at the time. (I packed up all my own artwork, and put out everything for
sale, in those days.) Now I have converted my garage to a small gallery, and
keep my work displayed so that people may come by appointment to see my work and
purchase it.

I always give my neighbors holiday presents....and they often come here to
buy gifts ....and since I teach their kids and am a "quiet" kinda potter, they
actually look upon me and my business as a resource rather than a neighborhood
nuisance! Often they come to me to do custom work for them.

I would say be nice to your neighbors, invite them, and give them a little
something to keep them happy---a small piece of pottery created just for your
show. People LOVE gifts! And do get a business license and display it
prominently. Convince them that your work is important and special....educate them on
the value of buying original work and that there is no finding a parking
place at a mall to come to your studio. Eventually, hopefully, they will get it,
and realize that your shows are exciting events! After all these years, I
actually have my neighbors stopping me on my way to the car, and asking me, when
my studio show is this year. It is something you need to "develop" over the
years, I would say.

I also have studio insurance, since this is also a teaching facility and I
need to have the liability coverage, as well as other coverage. An absolute
necessity. In this litigious happy age we live in in the USA, you would not want
anyone to slip and fall down in your studio and sue yer butt off!
On that positive note..!!!.......:>)
Best of luck with your show!
Annandale, VA

Nancy on tue 31 oct 06

When my studio was not in farm country in lovely New York you were allowed
to have an open studio sale as long as it was only done occassionally during
the year and there were no permanent signs put up. I think each state and
township have their own zoning codes and you should play it safe and check
with your local town to be safe.