tammy jo schoppet

ceramic artist . author . the "hobby potter"

Why am I Still a “Hobby Potter”?

Pottery For the Joy Of It!

LOVE this time of year! This will be my 4th year participating in the Stanislaus Artist Open Studio Tour (April 22-23, 2017) and I still get just as excited as if it were my first time! As I gear up to receive visitors,  I find myself reflecting on what people would like to experience in my studio.

During the tour I’ll share the pottery making process, throw on the pottery wheel and create a mosaic “guestbook” with all the names of my visitors. Sometimes I’ll answer technical questions from first timers  and the more experienced art seekers will inadvertently ask the same question, ‘Why do you call yourself “Hobby Potter”?

It seems since my skills have moved beyond the basic, people are concerned my artwork will be devalued because of the term “hobby”.  True, a respected title is important and it has crossed my mind on occasion to revamp my YouTube channel or materials and just use my name.  But then I remember why I started this journey and why it’s still relevant to me today.

Let me explain!

hob·by / noun
1. an activity done regularly for entertainment, joy or pleasure.

From forming to glazing to sharing, every aspect of pottery making thrills me! It’s all about keeping things light and joyful. I do take my ceramics seriously and enjoy the hard work it involves along with the elements of the unknown. So for me, the term “hobby” helps me continue in a “spontaneously creative” mindset.  It’s the core reason I work in clay….creativity at my own pace, in my own way.

There is a freedom to pursue what moves me, a “no boundaries” rule to play with the ever-changing ideas that inspire me. Because I started my whole clay journey after a long stint of serious illness, I also wanted to continue to feel like I had permission to pause when I needed to and resume when I was ready. Basically it means I am not a “production” style potter. Repetition of any magnitude is just not in my ENFP nature, so I carry a tremendous amount of respect for production potters who do what I can not! My concluding focus will be creating pieces that exude my enthusiasm for clay (even it it’s not in high volumes.)

 Being a “Hobby Potter” is not a “skill level”, or a definition of work quality or even a lack of ambition to do “serious ceramics”.

Hobby Pottery is my pursuit of creative freedom that fires me up with anticipation the second I step out into my studio!

So with that in mind, I’m heading out to Spring Clean the studio for guests, determined to remain just a “Hobby Potter”! 



3 thoughts on "Why am I Still a “Hobby Potter”?"

  • Cindy says:

    I love this! And I could never be a production potter. It’s probably my short attention span that gets me in trouble!! I love exploring new ideas and technics too much. I just need to figure out how to do that and keep a decent inventory for shows and sales I love to do! Glad you are staying the Hobby Potter 🙂

  • Barb Cara says:

    Don’t change the name. Mine is Potting for Fun, and all my pots are unique and different. I do like to expand the horizons with new items and shapes. Keep having a good time with your pottery. I am in my third year and loving it.

  • Carol says:

    Thank you for your inspiration. Just saw the Youtube video where you showed how to do the February Clay Project – Making & Handbuilding Handless Pitcher – HobbyPotter. I get PMI but it would help if I knew what year the project was in – I do have access to tar paper – lots of it at our studio!!! Thank you for everything.

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