Brett Wulc | Episode 916
Brett Wulc is a studio potter from Portland, OR. Brett has been working with clay for 14 years and has always had a focus on wheel thrown pots. Throwing functional dinner ware and filming is his process all along the way.
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How important is it to get laser focused and go from, I want to be a potter to being I want to do this? How important is clarifying your idea?
I mean I feel like it was everything. It definitely takes a lot of time and going into it I don’t think I would have ever agreed to it if I didn’t already feel comfortable, I can throw this pottery, like I can make the pots. And I had the skills to do it because at that point I had been doing it since I was sixteen. I had ten or twelve years of pottery experience and I think like with anything, pottery just takes so much time to really own the skills. I have ADD and once I get focused on something I can’t get it out of my mind and I devote everything to that.
Did you do any kind of market research before you went into this?
(Laughter) I did a little bit of research. I think the hardest part for me getting into it was, you know the business part of it came in so secondary to me and it’s something I am still figuring out. Pricing your work, it’s just one of those things. It’s tough for everybody. Pricing my work is still a struggle for me because I want to be able to earn a living but I also want my pots to be attainable.
You were willing to boot strap and do what it takes to make it happen. How did that lend itself to your success?
It feels like it was everything. I can’t imagine if I would have maybe thought more clearly about not having the equipment necessarily to put out these sets, saying, I don’t even have a kiln maybe I shouldn’t be saying I will make one hundred pieces of pottery. I just agree to it and I kind of figured it out later and I think I’ve done that with a lot of things like that in my life.
So there’s a bit of a risk taker that needs to be in there?
Yeah, and that feels…it feels exciting to me. It feels like, Well, I don’t know exactly how I am going to do this but I am going to figure it out. And for better or for worse I have always been able to figure it out and sometimes it’s been harder than other times.
How important was it for you to build your studio based on your next big need?
It was essential. I mean even thinking back on it now it feel so wild to me that I would say make a large dinner set for somebody without having for one a space for making glazes and being able to make a mess. And secondly having the equipment and the tools, I’m like, How did I do that? But there’s resources I feel like, all around us. People are capable of things that they don’t necessarily know until they do it.
Do you have a mentor?
I don’t. No. You know, I have kind of just figured it out on my own. When I first started selling pots and taking it seriously in Portland pricing was such a hard hurdle. I didn’t know what my work was worth and I started out pretty low. I think in the beginning I was selling mugs for twenty bucks, twenty-five bucks. Then I kind of raised it up to thirty as the demand grew and then I was trying to find a middle ground. It went from selling a mug for twenty bucks and now a standard mug I sell for forty bucks.