On Vessels.

I have often wondered why one of my great loves does not influence my ceramics.  After all, my work is about vessels which carry a story.  So why does my love of sailing not come in somewhere?  The answer escapes me but, in a week where progress in the studio has been just that – progress – and we have had our first outing of the year in Annika, I decided not to write for the sake of it and instead to share with you the two aspects of my love for vessels.

 

polishing bonanza

During a week of serious preparation for the up coming exhibition in East Molesey I have been having a polishing bonanza. 

 

annika

Annika:  This was taken last summer in warmer conditions but we did enjoy a quick once round the Manacle Buoy and then back home under spinnaker in a lovely 17 knots of breeze yesterday.

 

 

 

I Must Go Down To The Sea Again

  • To the beautiful sea and the sky, I find the rocks exciting and have simply no idea why! (with sincere apologies to John Masefield).

Actually I do.  Take the Lizard Peninsular for example.  I was there this week collecting a lovely piece of ceramics from Richard Phethean which I had bought at a master class given by him last Sunday.  (More of that in another post).  The sun was shining – which it had steadfastly failed to do for the preceding few days – and I was motivated to check in on the igeology app on my phone to find somewhere interesting to explore.  Sure enough it was not long before I was indulging in a geology fest on a beautiful beach backed by glorious cliffs and with a myriad of rock pools and some pretty nasty looking rocks out in the surf waiting to snare any passing sailors.

 

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Nasty rocks waiting to snare any unwary yachtsmen!

 

The app described an area of ‘Unnamed Igneous Intrusion, Devonian – Felsic-rock. Igneous Bedrock formed approximately 359 to 416 million years ago in the Devonian Period. Local environment previously dominated by intrusions of silica-rich magma’.  Cool!  Loads of interesting things might happen to a small sample of this mixed into porcelain in the kiln.  But to be frank, I think the app was only telling a small part of the story.  Everywhere I turned the colours altered.  There were red rocks, green rocks, blue rocks: a regular case of rock porn!  I scampered around on the beach like a kid in a sweet shop exclaiming at the colours in the pebbles on the beach and admiring the shells – even they seemed to have absorbed some of the magic of the place and shone with an iridescent golden glow.

Of course, being the disorganised clot that I am, this was the moment for my camera battery to give up and I came home with almost no images of the strata.  Hopeless!  But the reassuring thing is that I now know of yet another great place to go to  the next time that I need to marvel at the incredible beauty of our landscape.

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I must go down to the sea again!

I am also driven to seek out my geology books and discover precisely what I was looking at.

 

I was a Trade Show Virgin

Let’s be honest from the start here – when I signed up to be part of Top Drawer as a part of the Design Factory team I had absolutely no idea what I was letting myself in for.  I had not really thought about what a trade show is and I hadn’t really considered whether it was appropriate for my work or not.  As I catch my breath after my first ever trade show I find myself reflecting on what I got right and what I might have done differently if I had had the presence of mind.  So this week I thought I would share with you my post show feelings:

  • If you possibly can, especially for your first time, go as part of a group. safety%20in%20numbers1

You might get a little less space than if you went on your own but what you get instead is someone reminding you of all the things you have to do, organising the stand, supporting you before and during the event and producing a more corporate feel to the area – I think our area looked great because  it was so coherent in appearance.

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Our stand looked coherent.

 

  • Do not trust the public transport system.

I found travelling to an unfamiliar venue first thing in the morning discombobulating.  On the first day my journey took double the time that it was expected to and I arrived late and flustered.  The second day was better but still not perfect.

  • May friends with your neighbours.

cachedimage1Everybody needs good neighbours!  To look out for you when you need a bite to eat or drink, to boost your energy levels and with whom to have a bit of a laugh and to hold the fort for you when the public transport system lets you down.  Thanks guys!

  • Say no to nothing but promise nothing either  9c47ce60901c0e8e0aee74b0eced525f1

I now have a pile of interested parties to contact.  Potentially I have some very exciting opportunities to look forward to.  If I had promised something to the first person who showed an interest, I would have felt rather pressed to agree to some of the later ones.  By agreeing to things in principle and suggesting that I follow up later, both the potential customer and I have time to consider all the opportunities that the show presented and neither side is stuck with something that might not be the best for them.  I am hugely looking forward to making contact with the people who expressed an interest over the next few days and having more detailed discussions with those who, in the cold light of day, really do want to do business with me.

  • Take a goodie bag with you

I seem to have eaten rubbish for 3 days.  Next time I do a trade show I will make sure that I have plenty of healthy snacks in the fridge so that I can stock up each day and not fill up on chocolate and muffins!

  • Do not party until the middle of the night before!

On the day before Top Drawer I set up my stand in very good time in order to drive 150 miles, party half the night, eat and drink far too much and then drive back on the Sunday morning to man my post.  It was not a good look!  Party all night!

  • Be prepared

 

little-green-book

The invaluable ‘little green book’.

Due to the fact that my wonderful daughter was left in charge until I could get back from Somerset on Sunday I thought it would be a good idea to give her a structure for her conversations with possible customers.  Throughout the weekend ‘the little green book’ was to prove invaluable.  I could never have remembered the detail of all those conversations if I had not had a structured approach to the notes that I made immediately afterward each one.

 

  • Don’t plan too much for the few days afterwards.

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    don’t plan too much for after the show.

By the end of day 3 I couldn’t feel my feet, my brain was in a complete fug and the only place that I wanted to be was my bed – for a very  long time!  So it was a bit of an error to have to go into the studio on the following day to work on 4 urgent commissions.  I need to think that through more carefully next time.

  • Get help

 

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Set up and Break down was a nightmare

The unloading, set up, break down and removing of the stands is a nightmare.  If it had not been for my strong, helpful, patient and tolerant husband I would not have coped.  Simple!

 

 

  • Smile

All the time, at everyone!  bc35526f361a06e4957a0716a80112761