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“First Hand,” will function as an ongoing collection of tips, musings, and information gained primarily from ‘first hand’ experience. It will cover topics like: How I built a website from scratch, pricing and packaging, why Lady Gaga would wear your work, and a plethora of other exciting stuff in between. In addition to my own contributions, I will solicit the knowledge of others in the field in an effort to shed light on topics I have identified as vague but valuable in my own experience as an emerging artist.
As a recent MFA graduate (2012!), I am preparing myself for a number of post-academia projects and aligning my practice to match specific goals. In the past year I have learned that there are many practical things that remain unaddressed in my experience in academia that I needed (or will need) to know in order to pursue my goals as an artist. The heavy focus on technique, concept, and production found in university programs is ideal to producing competent artists, however, I have found myself focusing on a post-graduate future that I felt unprepared to tackle, one that is not dependent on teaching alone: a world where you must sell to survive, be attractive or innovative, and develop a business strategy and brand. Having taught myself some things on my own along with some good advice from others', I have found some success worth sharing in a few simple things that have brought about unexpected opportunities. I am learning how to adapt and develop strategies to maintain my practice, and am constantly tackling issues dealing with every part of my professional career, but I am making small steps in a positive direction. Acknowledging the lack of preparation for many topics during my academic career, I want ‘First Hand’ to be a source of some practical knowledge that has helped me in my practice, in hopes that it will inform others as well.
So, who am I? My name is Katie Poterala, and I am an emerging artist with a focus in metalsmithing and jewelry design. Like many others reading this post, I am also a multi-tasker: a CAD designer, problem solver, product photographer, graphic designer, small business owner, and whatever else I need to be to support my practice. I have a BFA from Winthrop University and a MFA from Arizona State University – both in metals. I currently live in Greenville, South Carolina, where I am establishing a personal studio, teaching local workshops, and focusing on establishing a production line. More about me can be found on my website: www.katiepoterala.com.