Artist Spotlight: PotTerre Raku & Stoneware

Artist Spotlight: PotTerre Raku & Stoneware

Terre Christensen, DBA PotTerre Raku & Stoneware, offers stoneware and raku pottery designed for collecting. Passionate about the relationship between her work and her customer, Terre innovates fresh ways to enjoy the magic of raku, going well-beyond the common raku pot. Using common methods, she creates the uncommon. Her education is ongoing – mostly self-taught, she researches new alternative firing methods and applies them to her work which includes sculpted, wheel-thrown, and hand-built creations. PotTerre product lines include angels, Nativity sets, candlesticks, penguins, snowmen, and owls which are treasured by collectors and carried in gift shops and galleries coast to coast.

Describe Your Work

All of my work is made one piece at a time. I use a variety of clay techniques and firing methods. The lion’s share of my work is finished using alternative firing methods including traditional, naked, horsehair, and Obvara raku. I make all of my pottery personally start to finish and to this point, with no use of molds, so each piece is truly one-of-a-kind.

How did you get started in the crafts business?

From a very early age, I loved making different crafts. In Junior High, I connected my capitalistic nature with my creativity and loved that people would pay for things I made. I have sold paperclip and jigsaw puzzle jewelry, stained glass, and airbrushed clothing over the years, but pottery is where I landed. In the early 2000’s, I started doing retail shows just to share my hobby and this morphed into a desire to build a bona fide business. I went ‘business official’ in 2009.

How long have you been wholesaling?

In 2009, after researching ways to grow my pottery business, I applied to become a member of Wholesale Crafts, now IndieMe. I participated in the Las Vegas shows starting that year and have continued to advertise on the website.

What percentage of your business is Wholesale? Retail? Commission, etc.?

My business is a 50/50 of wholesale and retail at this point, though the wholesale is again growing. I do regional shows during the lead up to the holidays and have a good following. Many of my product lines are appealing for gifts.

What are your top 3 marketing methods for reaching new buyers?

Number one is the IndieMe website and advertising options through it have been my go-to. I have had success with the Feature ads as well as the Buyer’s Guide ads. In addition, I joined a coop with other IndieMe artists to participate in the Las Vegas Market.

How has IndieMe helped your business?

IndieMe has been the reason I have succeeded in wholesale. The support and tools provided have given me the right amount of exposure and easy pathways in promoting my work. In addition, I am grateful for the camaraderie of the other artists who are gracious in their sharing of information and advice. From the beginning with Nancy, the direction, educational opportunities, and marketing tools have been key to building my wholesale business.

What advice do you have for new craft galleries?

Learn all you can about the artist and their process. The more you know about a piece of art, the easier it is to sell. Your customers will appreciate learning from you and value the art more if the story is shared with them. The making, selling, and buying of art is personal. As the conduit from maker to buyer, you provide a bridge of connection. Buyers of art relate to the story and want to connect with the artist. You provide that connection. Your customers will value you as a resource and love to buy from you. More, artists will love working with you.

What advice do you have for new craft artists?

Once you have determined best-sellers, stick with them, but allow time in your production schedule to continue to create. Art is a business, but it is also a passion. If you do not nurture the passion, the joy is soon diminished.

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