… Well, sort of.
Spec work is creating or producing without a guarantee of payment… and is usually frowned upon by in the creative community. I feel it’s a little different within the world of pottery. If I step back and think about it – everything I make as a potter is on speculation that someone will use or at least appreciate the piece(s). This doesn’t work in the graphic design field, and I have rarely done spec work in my real profession. If one were to produce a brochure or logo for a speculative client/company – and isn’t compensated for it, there’s not much usability for other clients. (Re-using and re-purposing design elements and graphic treatments is a whole “‘nother” can of worms that is in continuous discussion and debate).
I received a request to produce some handled bowls by a friend-of-a-friend. The pictures I received as examples were of a set of 4 low-fire slip cast beauties, with some underglaze detail work. They were completely different from my style, so I set about doing my set on speculation, and with the understanding that if the end-user didn’t like them, I could sell them elsewhere. I was happy to do it, because it was a challenge and I hadn’t done a set in 30+ years.
Repeat-throwing really hones one’s skill on the wheel, and every potter should take on the challenge every once and awhile to develop their muscle-memory and style. I’m ready to make some plates again, this summer.