In the summer of 2015, I closed my studio in Marshall, North Carolina, and relocated to western New York when my husband took a job at Alfred University. I had spent 10 years building a customer base in the rich ceramic culture of North Carolina, and it was a shock moving to a limited pottery-buying community. Honestly, it was risky to leave the momentum and established support network I had built there as a studio potter.
I took the situation as an opportunity and challenged myself to develop more intricate decoration and to pay attention to the details in every step of making without compromise. This means I don’t create as many pieces, but I make sure each one reaches a high standard. I believe if my work keeps developing, collectors and other customers will continue to follow and support my work wherever I move.
The lack of local sales in rural New York pushed me to start online sales through my website, www.shokoteruyama.com, that happen twice a year in May and December to stay connected with collectors despite the distance. I advertise through Instagram and Facebook, and send out direct emails to a small list of clients. So far, this has brought traffic to my site. I stopped selling small works on consignment and keep them instead for the online sales. Considering the time I put into my surfaces, it doesn’t make sense to give half the profit from small pieces to a gallery when I could sell them on my own. I still need help from galleries when it comes to selling larger works and I prefer working toward solo shows, developing a body of work that will be shown as a whole. I am committed to participating in one show every October in Rochester, New York, called Flower City Pottery Invitational, as one of its jurors. I consider this event a local show and hope to start building a local clientele again through the exposure it provides.