That's a very good question. I display some of the best pieces, use bowls and mugs every day, sell some, and the rest I give away. My pots make great birthday and Christmas gifts, and people seem glad to receive them. (Maybe they're just making polite noises?)
I also give pottery to charity raffles and auctions for organizations I like or support. Today, I packed up six mugs for the annual Petzl Ogden Climbing Festival raffle. I'm not a climber, but I admire those who do. I am in awe of the mental and emotional courage along with the physical skill it takes to do technical climbs. This year, their guest speaker is climber Emily Harrington, and I definitely want to show support for women who climb.
Here are five of the mugs:
Ceramics is all about process for me: happy hours spent in the clay studio, the constant learning, the challenge of making a beautiful shape. The final product is sometimes wonderful, and often, for me, disappointing. It's not quite this or that or something else. As Samuel Beckett said: "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better."
So it's pretty easy to let my pieces go because I'm always hoping the next one I make will be better.
I don't feel this way about my textile work. I have a hard time giving hand-dyed quilts away, perhaps because I've put so much work into each one. I don't know. I rarely sell pieces. Few people want to pay what I consider a fair price for all the time and labor.