Tuesday, September 21, 2010

No, sorry, no McKenzie or Johnston pots


How do I write this without sounding pitiful? Ummm ... OK, here goes. A very nice Englishman on holiday walked down my driveway a couple of days ago. The sound of his feet on the gravel took me away from the wheel and the half-thrown serving bowl spinning there. "Hello," he said. "We're on holiday in Hyannis and I found you on the internet, and saw a reference on your website to Warren McKenzie and Randy Johnston."
That much was true. Several months ago, McKenzie and Johnston both had wonderful simultaneous shows in Massachusetts - McKenzie at the Fuller Museum in Brockton and Johnston at the Pucker Gallery in Boston. I wrote about them in a blog post, which is no doubt what this nice man from the Lake District found online.
At this point, we go a bit off the rails, though I didn't realize it at the time. Yes, I said, I'd seen the shows I wrote about. Lovely work, I'm an admirer of both, etc. "Yes, well," he said, "I've bought some of Mr. Johnston's work at the Pucker, but it's terribly dear, isn't it? These pots are so expensive at these galleries, even though the people at the Pucker were extremely nice to me, showed me all around all the upper floors, saw some wonderful pots ..."
Yes, I said, it's a great gallery. They let you look at anything, even if you're unlikely to buy. The conversation went on like this for a few minutes - gallery talk, high price of pots by well-known potters talk, and so on. "Well," I said, "We have two galleries here. One in the back yard where most of the pots are and one upstairs where the special pots from the kiln are. I'm happy to show you both." And I led him to the shed in the back yard.
"Look around, take as much time as you want," I said. "I'll be working in the studio. When you're through here, come on back and I'll show you the pots upstairs."
I went back to work. He was back quickly, after a very brief visit that I have come to recognize as the "ain't nothing I like in here" time period.
But I wiped my hands and brought him to the back of the studio, through the door and part way up the stairs to the pots that I think are my best. "I'm afraid I've made a mistake," he said. "I thought this was a gallery that sold McKenzie and Johnston pots. I see that that's not so."
Aha ... he thought he would find cheap pots here by famous potters.
"Nooooo ... I would never have written that," I said. "Or, I think, even implied it. No, all I have here are my own pots." (I was being polite; I know damn well that nowhere in my blog is there anything that implies I handle anyone else's pots, let alone Warren's or Randy's.)
He got to the top of the stairs, into the room where my pots are displayed. He kept talking about his mistake and about seeing Lucie Rie and Hans Coper pots at Galerie Besson in London, about the high prices at London's Craft Potters Association gallery. He never looked at the pots. Didn't stray from the top step, didn't wander at all in the small gallery.
He talked quite a long time, longer than necessary. And I was polite and contributed to the conversation, and then we went back downstairs and he said goodbye and walked back up the gravel driveway to his wife - not a pot-lover - who waited in the car the whole time.
I went back to throwing my serving bowls. It took a few minutes for me to be pissed.
And I still am.



17 comments:

Ron said...

Kinda get the feeling he was just buying the name.
He certainly does not sound like someone who understands pots or what they can be about seeing how he didn't even look at your work. His loss.

Tracey Broome said...

This is the point where I have started using my "I'm over 50 now and just a bit crazy, so I'll say what I please to fools!!" I don't mind saying what I think to people like this and I believe I would have had to tell this fool to quit wasting my time! As I sit here, drinking some tea from my Hollis cup and Wesley is using her dad's Hollis cup because he is out of town, I can tell you that it's his loss, because he missed the chance to own some great work!!!!
F#*k him!

brandon phillips said...

what a tool. name buyers piss me off. when we had the deep roots show here last summer we had some mackenzie pots from personal collections for the show. the show was more about influence and less about sales(thought the sales were nice.) it was formatted as an "exhibition" rather than a sale. the mac pots were obviously not for sale. there were more than a few people that showed up to buy mackenzie pots and were pissed that they weren't for sale. there was one lady who showed up and apparently had driven a couple hours to get there and upon finding out the mac pots weren't for sale rudely insisted that they should sell them to her anyways. thank god i wasn't there to deal with that. most of these people never even looked at any of the other pots, and we had some big names including RJ. bunch of jackasses. funny thing is all these people came weeks into the show, his pots would have sold long before then.

brandon phillips said...

ps. i use my hollis yunomi more than my mackenzie yunomis. fits the hand better. thought you'd like to know that.

Elizabeth Seaver said...

And no wonder you were pissed. You were MORE than polite to the cretin!

cookingwithgas said...

flush them is our motto here- when it finally sinks into the brain they are here just to let us hear them talk about themselves or their collection- we say flush them- and we do.
Don't let the 1% get to you.

Anna said...

Good grief. That is definitely what can ruin a day. Hope your serving bowls turned out perfectly. Bah.

Hollis Engley said...

Thank you, guys. All appropriate reactions. "Flush them" or "F#*k him!" also work well for me. Onward ... gotta plan for a trip to NC.

imagine said...

Sounds like you had my sort of day.
The worst thing is, they really spoil what could have been a nice day. I usually feel that I need to have a shower afterwards.
Tracey is right, it is his loss.

By the way have you got any Hamada pots for sale cheap.

Kings Creek Pottery said...

Ugh, what an arrogant bozo and rude to boot. I agree with Tracey, whole heartedly!

Hollis Engley said...

Yep. Well, John ... let me see if any of those discount Hamada teabowls are still in the gallery ...

togeii said...

Great post. I have to say if someone came to my place looking for someones work other than me I would have a hard time not laughing out loud.
Dave

ang said...

wow you get all sorts hollis...glad you got back to the studio albeit a lil extra motivated..:)) hope you have a great trip...

Winston said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your uncouth visitor. It's just terrible when you come across these people. I wish you'd thrown the slurry bucket at him.

Paul Jessop said...

Hollis, you had almost past the test. This man was obviously a mystery shopper, and he came back to me with very high scores on the patient and polite aspect of the shopping experience. But you just FU**ed it up on the blog post.
so I'm sorry to say The Queen will not be dropping in for tea on her visit next year.

Paul Jessop said...

PS: I love John's comment about the cheap Hammada pots, made me laugh out loud.

Hollis Engley said...

I should have known, Paul. I noticed the HRHEII on his jacket, but didn't make the connection. Damn!