To Be or not to be . . . . flattered

A number of weeks ago I took part in my first ‘proper’ exhibition.  ArtRooms at the Melia White House Hotel near Great Portman Street in London, see link .  It was a very interesting experience to unpick it afterwards.  The weekend was hugely flattering to my ego but it left both my wallet and my feet in a state of exhaustion.  I spent the entire weekend in a hotel corridor talking to people about my work, I made it to a number of reviews by name and lots of people said very nice things.  I didn’t sell a single thing though and it cost me a fair amount to be there.  I didn’t mind because I saw it as oxygen and hoped it might lead on to other more exciting prospects.  And it has!  This week I have been approached by two curators inviting me to take part in forthcoming exhibitions.  Wow!  What’s not to like?

The thing is though, how do you know?  Obviously I cannot afford to keep going to exhibitions simply to massage my ego.  Financially that does not put bread on the table – it doesn’t even put clay in the kiln!  These exhibitions would make me an international artist – one is in Turin, the other in Tokyo!!  But I cannot afford to go to either, and anyway, how on earth can you tell whether an exhibition is going to be the right setting for your work. I think this is one of the hardest things that I have to face as I approach the end of my diploma.  I sort of know where my art is going creatively but I have very little idea of where and how to put it ‘out there’.

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Part of my mud-larking haul.

On a simpler note, I can happily report that a couple of days of mud-larking in Falmouth during the lowest tides of the year has given me a fabulous selection of artefacts, some of which are already finding their way into or onto some of my ceramics for the final semester.

All this is a lot of fun!  It gives me permission to spend time clambering around on the shores of Cornish estuaries and feeling mildly insane – something which I find quite energizing.  Back in college the results are showing some promise although they are so think that nothing has dried enough to fire yet so I am not confident of success.  Oh, and I seem to have blotted my copybook at college by having such a good time – I got kept late on Friday because I had not done enough work!!!  Now I just need to work out melting temperatures, shrinkage rates, joining techniques and finishing methods and I will have a piece that someone might pay me to transport to Tokyo!

Falmouth shackle in Cornish clay
Falmouth shackle in Cornish clay

Oh What a Night!

I was interviewed beside the Helmet.  Apparently I was 'better than expected'
Helmet being filmed by the press.

My first ‘real’ show!  ArtRooms 2015 is a new concept in art exhibitions for London.  It is taking place in a large London hotel.  The idea is that people can visualise how the artworks might look within a home setting and have a better idea of how they might be displayed.  The exhibition has been timed to coincide with the London Art Fair so that all the international buyers are in town and if the press conference and VIP evening are anything to go by, is going to be a huge success.

I have no idea how I got invited to take part.  I suspect that it is a spin off from taking part in the Open Studio events at Wimbledon Artists Studios but however it happened it is, for me, a very exciting weekend as it represents the first time that I have dared to put my work on show in a public space and let the critics at it.

Feedback has been informative; some of it has stung, (Oh! is that art?) some has been extremely complimentary (Wonderful ideas expressed with such sensitivity) and some I shall be holding in my head for a long time –  (But you must be so young!  The ideas that you are working with here must come from such a youthful and innovative mind!!)Oh, is this art?

I have yet to sell anything this weekend but that is not what it is about.  The feeling of putting my pieces on show properly for the first time has been a mix of excitement, trepidation and pride.  You might think it is silly to wish them each goodnight before I go home each evening but, to me, it is not so very remote from the feelings that I experienced when leaving my children to fend for themselves at playgroup for the very first time.  I have to cross my fingers and wish them sweet dreams and a peaceful night.  And when I greet them again next morning it is with relief that they are still fine.