Amy James | Episode 666
Amy James is from Minnesota but currently lives in Oklahoma. Amy has been artistic her entire life and started doing pottery in 2013. A year later Amy joined the Air Force. She loves traveling and the outdoors and has been fortunate enough to travel the world and live in different parts of the country while in the military. All this travel and working in the Air Force has also helped to fund Amy’s ceramic equipment and college.
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When you use your Giffin Grip you put sponges underneath the arms. Tell me about that.Why do you do that?
So I just cut up one of those round sponges and put the chunks of it in between…because the pieces, I guess, the little plastic pieces that hold the pot, they’ll dent your pot as it’s spinning. Especially if it’s on the softer side, the clay. So the sponges just help. It’s creates like a buffer and it’s a soft buffer between the hard plastic and the pot so it doesn’t dent it or leave a mark in it.
I thought it was brilliant and I have never seen anyone do that.
It’s good. I recommend it.
How do you find the balance of a busy career, which you have, working your creativity, and having a social life?
(Laughter) I don’t have a social life. Yeah, I mean, luckily here I get a lot of time off. The cool thing about my job right now is if I don’t have anything to do in the office…I hope people in the office aren’t going to listen to this…I don’t want to give the impression that I’m just leaving work and going home and making pots. But I get a lot of time off, I guess, and there’s nothing to do here in town. No offense to the people that live here, but there’s nothing to do. Especially right now we are not allowed to go out and we can’t go to restaurants and bars and stuff so it’s perfect for me. It works out that I can stay home and do my pottery and not feel bad about it.
When you say, We can’t go out. Is that because it is a military thing saying they want to keep you as isolated as possible?
Yes. Every base has their own guidance for it I guess. Depending on how bad it is in the area and our guidance is we can’t go sit in a restaurant or go to bars or anything like that, right now. Pretty much since quarantine stared we’re restricted to take out.
You said you recently got a website set up. Why did you build out a website and how were you selling your work before that?
I was selling on Etsy for a long time. My new website in built through Shopify, so you buy a template and you pay a certain amount per month and you can customize it. So it was a learning curve and it took me a couple of weeks to figure out how to build it. But I moved away from Etsy because they kept changing their policies and I didn’t agree with some of the policy changes they were doing and they were continuously kind of taking money out of the customers pocket. It was something new every year, some new way for them to take more money, so I just got sick of it and I left. And I think a lot of other people did too.
How long did it take you to set your website up and sell your first piece?
It probably took me a couple of weeks to work on the website and get it looking they way that it is now and it’s by no means perfect. I am not a website designer but, it’s a learning curve because I am not very tech savvy so it took a little bit but after that I think uploading the listings and the pictures was a lot faster than the way that Etsy does it. So it worked out in the end. The first sale went really well.
Did you see a drop in sales when you stopped using Etsy and went to your own platform?
No. So, I’ve only had one sale on the Shopify website and that was back in July, but no it went really well. I think it is a little bit harder to navigate, so I think I need to work on that. Every thing went fast and I went really great. I was worried that if I changed platforms where I was selling stuff that it would deter people who are really used to using Etsy that they wouldn’t’ go to the new website but that was not the case.
When you are not doing ceramics and before Covid restrictions, what was your favorite other pastime?
Traveling! So hiking an backpacking, I love doing all that stuff. I actually just went on a road trip to Colorado and Wyoming and Washington. My boyfriend lives up in Washington so I drove up there and I stopped in all these places along the way and spent a bunch of time in the mountains and that was a lot of fun.