Successful Ceramic Studio


Clay is one of the most commonly found materials used by mankind. Its history goes back tens of thousand of years. The exact date of its origin, when man mixed clay and water, formed it and heated it, is lost in history. We know, though, from the shards and items found, that ceramics had utilitarian purpose (vessels for instance) and artistic expressions, albeit primitive in its early stages.  

Ceramics, so called after “keramikos”, the Greek term for pottery, is the resulting material after submitting clay to elevated heat. Clay used by artists consists mainly of aluminum silicates, which exist in abundance, as silica and alumina make up a large portion of the earth’s crust. It seldom exists in pure form, containing many different contaminants or additions, which dictate the final outcome after firing.

Our world would look very different and certainly be much less exciting without ceramics.  

Ceramic studios exist all over the world and are mostly small entrepreneurial businesses, sometimes with just a single owner. I have had the privilege to get to know hundreds of ceramic studio owners. I bought a ceramic distributorship in the middle of my professional career, and thus entered this fascinating, vibrant and “under the radar” (very little official statistics) part of the world’s business community.

Although the businesses tend to be small, the composite of all of them make up a substantial, global industry. What I experienced in my worldwide journeys meeting ceramic studio owners, was intriguing and inspiring. It led me to get to know its opportunities and challenges, its general nature and the mental make-up of studio owners.

After many years in business, the last 30 or them in the broadly defined business of studio ceramics, I decided to write a book about the business aspects of this segment. With a master’s degree in economics and business administration as my educational platform, I have studied the studio business and, in the process, also learnt the basic techniques. I have lectured about the pertinent business principles to hundreds of owners, while learning what made the successful ones – yes, successful.

It is my hope that this book will help these colorful and brave present and future entrepreneurs stay in their ceramic studio businesses and grow successfully. 

Rolf E. Ericson                        


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© 2011 by Rolf E. Ericson, Oneonta, New York, publisher. All rights reserved. Photocopying, reproduction , copying, or redistribution of any kind in printed or electronic form is strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher.