Calm Down Dear!

One of the very good thing about being a part of the Design Factory is the provision of a mentor to support you in your creative business.  I have to confess that I have been actively avoiding my mentoring session because I have had so much on that I couldn’t bare the thought of my mentor piling anything else on top.  list[1]

What a fool I am!  During a lengthy and well structured session today we went through the success of my past year and considered where things needed to be done better – not more, just more planned.  It was incredibly useful to actually break down all the events and to work through what might have made it even more successful.  I now have a list, it isn’t a very long list but I have considerably more confidence as a result of it that I can go some way to avoiding the turmoil of the past couple of months if I follow it.

Just three things on my list

  1. Address my marketing – do what makes a difference and don’t bother with what doesn’t.
  2. Get a planner – and use it!
  3. Research the galleries that I want to stock my work. 
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    Tregony Gallery will remain firmly on my list!

Having got that all out of the way I decided that the day was too good to be in the studio and I set off to play in the water.

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With the Falmouth Classics in full swing it was wall to wall boats in the bay.

When I got back to my phone it was to a message form the wonderful Tregony Gallery to say that whilst I had been messing about in boats they had sold five of my pieces!!  Do I panic that I need to make more work I hadn’t planned for?  No!  I will refer to my planner and decide what to do calmly and sensibly.

 

And so, with no apologies, I’ve got a little list!

I am Such an Exhibitionist!

During this last week the exhibition Light, Clay, Colour ended and another one, for the finalists of the Royal Arts Prize started and it has got me thinking about the nature of different types of exhibition and the pros and cons of each sort.

Our three person exhibition at Fountain Gallery attracted a lot of attention.  We must have averaged about 25 visitors per day with some days being much busier than others.  We each sold work, although I think we would all agree that we would have liked to have sold more, but at a self invigilated show such as this, at least we keep what we make.  There is no gallery commission and that has to be a huge bonus.

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Preparation takes a lot of time.

We also enjoyed plenty of feedback from our visitors.  People are not shy about saying what they like about a piece and what they don’t.  They offer comments which can spark a trail of thoughts and might eventually lead to a whole new body of work.  I had a couple of very interesting discussions along those lines and am excited to know where they might lead. On the down side however, I spent a lot of admin time on this exhibition.  Preparing press releases, most of which got me nowhere; helping to design, print and deliver fliers; organising the hanging, displaying and labelling of work; writing, editing and printing out price lists and artists’ profiles.  The list goes on!  I also had a lot of up front costs: the hire of the space, the printing of publicity materials, the drinks and nibbles for the private view to name a few.  Then, when the exhibition was on, it was down to the three of us to invigilate – that is a lot of hours sitting in the gallery!

The Royal Arts Prize exhibition is a totally different kettle of fish:

The aim of the Royal Arts Prize Exhibition and Award is to search out for and showcase artworks by artists that have embraced their individual exegesis in art, artworks that are a product of an inner balance in a world full of diversity and often chaos.
An exhibition of 26 shortlisted artists for the Royal Arts Prize. The prize will be awarded to artists that present works that are the product of an emotional connection between dream and reality; we’re exhibiting contemporary art that shows the force driving individuals to express and affirm their personality and ego, through today’s modern art landscape. A winner will be selected by a judging panel made up of Art Professionals and Artists. There will also be a Visitor’s Choice Prize awarded to the Artist with the most votes by the visiting public.
30th May – 10th June 2017
Opening times Monday to Saturday 10:30 am-6:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday 12.00- 5:00 pm
Admission: Free

You enter the competition, if you are fortunate enough to be shortlisted you take your chosen pieces to the gallery and leave them there.  You come back three days later for the private view where you drink their wine and eat their canapé whilst trying to look intelligent, artistic and graceful and then you swan off home and let them sell your work.

BUT . . .

  • You pay a fair price to enter the competition and there is no guarantee of being among the chosen few.
  • You have fewer pieces on show
  • You have no control over the publicity, except for a pdf invitation prepared by the gallery which you have to accept, warts and all.  In this particular case it looked great and I was really excited by it but, given the dates on the invitation, some of my guests arrived to discover that the exhibition had taken longer than expected to hang and so they had not opened on the day they had announced!  If we had been organising it ourselves we could not have got away with that.
  • You have to accept the price that they sell your work for will not necessarily be the price that you put on it and that you sometimes have little say over that.

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    Proof reading the invitation should be the gallery’s responsibility.

On the up side, the gallery has a huge and interested client base, the private view  included people that the gallery has on its mailing list, many of whom don’t know you, and so this kind of exhibition is a great opportunity for building your own customer base and you don’t pay commission for work sold.

The third sort of exhibition in which I am currently involved is through my regular gallery.  Tregony Gallery is what I would call the ‘slow burn’ of exhibiting.  I have had work with this gallery for some time now and I like to think that we are building a good relationship.  I seem to be receiving a steady flow of sales.  I don’t pay to exhibit my work but they charge me a percentage on everything that I sell through them.  This seems entirely fair given what they do in terms of invigilation, publicity and promoting their artists.  If you get a good gallery, and Tregony is, the work just sells and you get the money – well some of it at least!   I just have a responsibility to the gallery to keep supplying them with the work that they want.  The customer feedback is through Brian and Judy so it is slightly less ‘in my face’.  I’m not sure if that is a good thing or a bad one!  All decisions about the running of the gallery are made way over my head.  I’m dead certain that is a good thing!  So when the gallery came up with the idea of Tregony By the Sea and asked if I wanted to be involved I was thrilled!

Tregony Gallery presents ‘By the Sea’, a new event showcasing the best in contemporary and traditional artists, from locals to Londoners and recent graduates.

We are thrilled to be displaying new work and key pieces from a selection of our most talented artists and makers in the beautiful harbour setting of St Mawes.

Visit us at; Millennium Rooms, The Square, St Mawes TR2 5AG.

9 & 10 June 2017. 

(http://www.tregonygallery.co.uk/bythesea.html)

 

This is It!

This week I have done my last day of teaching ever.  Yes, I know that some of my friends think that I won’t last.  That I won’t be able to resist the call of the children for more than a few months.  But this time I really think I can.  There is too much to do now: boats to sail, gardens to create, journeys to travel, houses to love, homes to nurture.  I am so full of plans and so many of them include playing with clay.

So over the weekend we are sorting out and throwing away vast quantities of our old life, shrugging off the chattels which we have lugged from pillar to post over so many years.  Some will go into store to be lovingly unwrapped once the house in Cornwall is decorated and ready to give them a permanent home – I can’t throw out a single photograph and I am having difficulty with some of the children’s toys.  Well, memories are important!

And then I become a proper artist.  Included in my complete change of lifestyle comes a boat on the River Thames which will become our London home from now on.  My days will begin with an exercise regime – well it is about time – and then there will be the trip to the studio, which will no longer necessitate using a car.

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That’s me in the front there!

I already have one piece of work in Cornwall at Tregony Gallery but there will be more to come very soon.  Then there is our Pop up Gallery which has been such a success that we are now in negotiations with the local council to make it permanent.

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Sold but plenty of others available

I have a number of commissions to work on in the next few weeks and I am keen to find myself some kind of artist in residence position before too much longer because I love the idea of doing some site specific work for a while.

 

So that’s it.  Nothing to do now except box up the last few possessions and trundle off up the river to Thames Ditton which is about to become my wonderful floating home.

Cornwall Here I come.

There is a lot going on at the moment but little to show for it because everything is half finished so I think the best thing is just to share the news that I have been taken on by a lovely gallery in Cornwall.

Tregony is known as the gateway to the Roseland Peninsular.  It is an ancient town with its roots going right back to pre-Norman times which now sits at the lowest ‘solid crossing’ of the River Fal, fifteen miles from the sea. Below here it is a case of take the ferry or swim.  The main road is unusually wide – a reflection of the time when the river was navigable to here and Tregony was a busy port.

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Tregony Clocktower.

Now the river is silted up by outflow from agriculture, tin streaming and the china clay industry and it is a tranquil place.  It is also a great place for me to exhibit my work and I could not be more excited about my new relationship with Tregony Gallery.

The gallery is in relatively new ownership.  Judith and Brian Green have been living in Tregony for years but only recently took over the gallery and have worked hard to brighten it and give is a fabulous contemporary look.

I visited them last time I was down and I took the first of my series relating to the Cornish mining industry to show them.  They seemed keen and asked to hang onto it for their summer show.  Imagine my delight when I looked on their website to see my piece in pride of place! Tregony Gallery seems to be the perfect place for me to dip my toe in the waters of the art world in Cornwall, given my love of the Roseland and the link between my work and the mining industry.  I am looking forward to a long and happy relationship with the Greens.

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Coming soon to Tregony Gallery.