Oh what a week! I love Open Studios. I enjoy all the meetings, I like talking about myself and my work and I love selling but it all seems to take a great toll on my energy levels. First comes the build up with all the making involved – have I made enough? Have I made the right things? Is the quality up to scratch? Then two days or so before the actual opening I begin to worry about layout – how much gallery versus how much studio.
People like the idea that this is where I work and yet they also seem to like a well presented gallery space and so getting the balance right is quite difficult. Then comes the event itself – 4 days of talking to whoever comes in. What do they want to know? How much do they want to engage and how much do they want to be left to look and think. I don’t find this at all easy.
This time I decided that I would make a piece throughout the show and yet this is also fraught with difficulties –
I am permanently covered in mud when I make and this is not always a good look when trying to engage with a gallery owner. Not to mention the mess that it makes all over my phone as I try and keep up with Instagram and facebook and use my phone for my credit card sales.
The aftermath of the show often heralds the most almighty emotional crash. I am exhausted and the room is a mess; there is half a packet of pop-corn and some stale wine lying in the corner but nothing nourishing to eat and I have lived on hastily shovelled pasts salads for 4 days. I am elated by the sales and possible openings but drained by the prospect of getting it all back to normal and beginning to make once more. I am unsure what the future holds and which opportunities to chase and how hard to chase them.
Probably the most useful thing to do with the few days after the show would be to take 3 full duvet days but I am not very good at that and so I was in bright and early on the Monday morning trying to get back to normal. It was mighty quiet I have to say!
One thing is clear though. These Open Studio events at Wimbeldon benefit enormously from the fact that we have a dedicated co-ordinator who’s job it is to get the shows up and running. She has found us some great sponsors and some fantastic opportunities, she has ensured the smooth running of the event, she has greeted many of the 4500 visitors personally and has probably had little to eat and very little sleep for days. So Julie, this blog is largely for you. Your tireless hard work and cheerful attitude to everything we throw at you is incredible. I am a great many other artists really appreciate what you do on behalf of the studios – it won’t be the same without you.