Episode 104 - Stephen Phillips

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This week we’re talking to Stephen Phillips. A unicorn in the pottery world (at least to my experience) because Stephen has been crafting forms out of mud since he was a little kid. He actually studied ceramics at the university level! What a crazy concept, right? This week, we talk about that constantly nagging itch in the back of our heads to take the leap and make ceramics a full-time career rather than a side-hustle, how Stephen planned out initially starting his studio after his plan for the “safe route” didn’t work, and how he would use that same approach in preparation to go full-time. 

Near the end of this episode, Stephen mentions all of the IGTV videos I produced last fall in his learning how to take better photos of his matte & glossy glazes. If you’re looking for video guides, specific to ceramicists and makers, on how to take better photos of your work, check out that archive here (but better yet, if you want the absolute newest tips I’m sharing for learning photography, be sure you’re on the insider’s list to get my monthly top tips I don’t share anywhere else!).

Listen to the Episode

If you love this conversation as much as I did, be sure to tell us so by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you're listening to this podcast. And as always, if this spurred questions for you, send me a DM on Instagram @themakersplaybook so we can cue up another episode specifically for you.


[3:15] - Partnering with other makers on IG brought a massive boost to the demand for Stephen’s work and a new realization of what he might be able to sell if he had full-time capacity to throw and make.

[9:39] - Changing a major from computer science to art education, thinking teaching would be the “safe route,” and how Stephen’s Hope & Dream book guided all of his decisions to building his own studio.

[18:30] - The importance for all of us in writing down the things we want and how that leads us to actively taking steps forward to pursue our goals (and creative ways to safely think about finances major expenses)

[22:30] - How not getting a job in teaching led Stephen to building his own studio.

[25:00] - COVID has given us all a time to pause and refocus. Stephen’s perspective on how owning your own business can actually give you more security during a time when the economy is uncertain.

[30:00] - Making sure to find educational resources that address the actual issues of our specific industries, rather than generic places like YouTube where you waste a ton of time sorting through tips that don’t apply to your needs.

[34:00] - Considering going full-time and what it would really take to save up to leave another job and feel secure in being on your own. Not to mention, understanding how to actually price your work to support your life.

[36:30] - Breaking down your pricing to other people and how that understanding can bring more respect to the work you do.

Don’t miss out!

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