A few thoughts:
Who Am I?
My name is Brandon Schwartz. I enjoy American football, loose leaf tea, and apple dumplings (not always at the same time). But more importantly, I love working with clay! I’m also a teacher, father and
husband. When I have free time and I’m not working with clay you can probably find me at a computer working on a website or a design or editing photos. If you are a fellow potter or ceramic artist, especially one that enjoys reading or writing blogs, you may have visited one of my other sites: Pottery Making Info. It has had a great run over the better part of a decade but a few years ago I started thinking about a different kind of site.
What is Expert Clay?
I wanted a site that would allow me to offer online courses and workshops, podcasts, digital files and options for membership and multiple product offerings.
Expert Clay is this new site.
Since we are just getting started here at Expert Clay, there are a lot of possibilities. I have my own vision for the site but I’m open to what others need and want to make this site as helpful as possible. In the future, I’m picturing a site where members can come to learn in a variety of ways about a variety of topics. Not just a collection of video clips but online courses that could include videos, presentations, slidewhows, and documents. Video workshops that can be live and interactive or recorded and re-watchable. A variety of digital file formats including pdf and ebook files for flexible reading, slideshows to visualize information, podcasts for listening and plenty of cheat sheets, templates, checklists and guides.
Supporting Potters and Ceramic Artists
Many of the resources will be free for everyone but there will also be some premium offerings that will be available for purchase. I love to take workshops and attend lectures in person. I usually budget a certain amount of my money each year for this research and development. But sometimes the potters that I really want to learn from won’t be presenting within driving distance. If you can capture some of that experience and put it in an online workshop or course, I think that would be pretty valuable for presenters and students.
Students would have more choices to find a presenter that is offering specifically what they need and presenters would be able to find a wider audience. Another benefit that presenters could take advantage of is the re-usable nature of digital media. Presentations can be recorded and offered to new audiences. Digital files can be distributed without the need to create them again.
This idea of passive income seems like a perfect fit for many potters. We just want to keep making pots! But wouldn’t it be great if we could also support our businesses with extra income each time that somebody purchased our digital resource?
Everyone is An Expert
If you’ve been making pots for 50 years you probably have plenty of knowledge that you could share. But what if you are relatively new to working with clay? I bet there are still plenty of things that someone else could learn from you. Maybe you know how to run a business, or are an expert in accounting. Maybe you can share tips for social media or using technology. Maybe you’ve just found the perfect way to balance your time. I guarantee that there are other creative types that would love to learn how you do these things or anything else you could offer.
The Goal is Growth
As a teacher in public education, I can tell you that teaching is not the most glamorous job. And there aren’t a lot of teachers that are in it for the money. But the best part of teaching to me is to see the students grow. There are a lot of struggles and every day is a challenge but when you think about what students could do at the beginning of the year and then see how much they have grown by the end of the year, that makes it all worth it.
I think the same is true for potters and ceramic artists. I see Expert Clay as a group of teachers that are dedicated to helping potters and ceramic artists grow. Not just sharing tips but showing how they have grown their skills, their businesses and grown as people. And then helping others to achieve the same.
The Journey Begins
The road will be long and winding. The obstacles will be many. Progress will slow at times. But I’m excited for the journey. I’ve already talked to a number of potters who are interested in contributing something. I’ve recorded a few episodes of a new podcast with an official announcement coming soon. I’m working on my first course. I have plenty of ideas for articles and documents.
We’re not traveling to Canterbury, or Mordor, or a specific place at all. But we are a collection of unique individuals with at least one common bond: clay. Would you like to join us?
Join the Expert Clay email list to be the first to find out about new opportunities.
Or sign up as an Expert to find out how you can share your knowledge and resources.
(You CAN sign up for both lists.)
Thanks for spending the time to find out more. I wish you the best on your journey, wherever it may lead.