Monday, 16 December 2013

Just Resting.


Making pots is what I do.
Finding a home for them is where it gets a little tricky.
It seems that there are plenty of gift shops that call themselves Galleries that will take pots on sale or return. But that has never worked for me.
You know the kind of place. Glass and chrome shelves, those little bright spotlights on wires. Lots of prints, cards and jewellery at the front, some gaudy glass, like half sucked lollipops and lurking on the back wall, an eclectic collection of ceramics. Something for most tastes but the brighter and more quirky the better.
Honest, wood fired vessels can't compete, poorly displayed and relegated to the bottom shelf, I find myself fetching them back six months later.

So from November through December I start to send out applications for ceramic fairs, markets and contemporary craft events and wait...

In January onwards the 'unsuccessful', or these days it is referred to as 'rested' along with the 'You have been selected' emails start to pop up and from this wreckage I put together the years marketing and selling campaign. Some don't even reply or put you on a waiting list, so that's how I find myself in Penrith, Cumbia and five days later in Oldenburg, Germany, but nowhere to go in July and September.

Needless to say, all these events have different formats. It can be an open space with four chalk marks to indicate your home for a few days. In a big tent set on a sloping, soggy field or a table in a hall and none of them are the same size, so a very flexible display system is required and an ability to work in feet and inches, metres and centimetres and guesswork.

Mostly I enjoy this solution to selling my pots. I meet up with other potters and get the gossip, see lots of inspiring work by other artists, whilst adding to our growing collection of fine pots. Good neighbours can make or break a show. We've made many friends, like minded people who work hard, make work with passion and great skill and take their chance in a field with a hundred others. The most important thing though is meeting the people that buy your work, watching reactions, seeing them pick up a pot and handle it knowingly. Discovering that a few simple flowers can sell a vase, or placing a pot at it's right height makes all the difference to how it draws attention. And during those long inevitable periods of ennui in the last few hours of the day as the crowds dissipate, I watch which stalls draw the most smiles and which like mine are void of buyers or try to guess which folks will stop at a particular stall. I mostly get it wrong, it is not yet a perfect science.


Now as we head up towards Christmas, the deluge of Christmas markets, craft events, coffee mornings and girly bling shows is upon us. "Can you bring a few pots, we are having a fund raising event".
You have to pick your events carefully here. It seems more and more people are doing a bit of craft work to earn a few bob and not all of them actually make the stuff they sell.
Draw a dicky bird and have it printed on a mug made in Poland. Put it in a jute bag with a draw string bought on the internet - instant craft and they sell like... well, hot cakes and you stand there with the zip zip of cellotape all around, wondering what you are doing here.

On reflection, it's been another good year and now resting completely it's back to making new work, to top up what is left. It seems most of it has found a new home.