Friday, 24 December 2010

Well, that's that then

Merry Christmas to one and all. It is about 3.50 on Christmas Eve and I am about to shut up the studio and gallery for a few days. It has been an odd couple of weeks, with too much ice and snow diminishing the usual slow but welcome trickle of shoppers browsing for presents. I mustn't complain because those that did make it have chosen very nice pieces of my work (and Kate's) to give to their friends and relatives. I have been busily glazing porcelain during the final 2 weeks and have some really good work to display into the spring. I hope this doesn't make me too lazy in January- I know I have a bit more of the studio to decorate as well as repainting the areas where snow meltwater has seeped in, spoiling the recent redecoration. I have no idea if all the parcels I sent to customers arrived in time- some areas were said to be having serious delays. I hope that all is well and recipients love their gifts.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

The curious world of Sale-Or-Return

I work in a strange field where it is customary for the seller of my work to have no financial commitment or risk. Artists and craft makers are very frequently only able to get their work accepted by galleries and craft retail shops on the basis of Sale-Or-Return i.e I have to pay to send by post or courier, or personally deliver a batch of my work to a retailer, and that retailer then shows the work to their public for a period of maybe 3 months. I have no idea if the work is all on show, or if some or all is away in storage. The arrangement is usuall that unsold work will be returned after the conclusion of the agrred period, but in practice this usually slips until I put in a request to have unsold items returned.
Most of these galleries take the same 50% + VAT of the sale price as the ones who buy the work in. There is little room for negotiation and if I want my work on display in as many places as possible, then that is the way it is.
I would love to know what other areas of trade have a similar system in place, so please let me know.

I can have a small group of pots in a gallery that would be worth say £300, sitting idle and this can be replicated by may 10 galleries at once- representing quite a large value.
However it is certainly not all doom and gloom- I am very happy and grateful to recieve cheques in the post for sales, and there is a great benefit to having the work doing it's job for me way beyond the local public who visit Old Leigh Studios where I make the pottery. If it was all here with me, it would possibly be doing  less good.

I hope this comes over as a short informative item rather than a rant, as this is the spirit in which it is intended.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Recent exhibitions

I went to the final day of the London College of Communication Photography MA show at Elephant & Castle to see the work by my friend Kelly Hill   

Her work involves taking photos at night through windows of young people engaged in their everyday activities/games, and have a peculiar quality of silence and intimacy. Take a look on
There was plenty of other interesting work, but the nature of these shows is to only allow a fraction of the work to be exhibited. Also, MA's are about minutely investigating motives, actions, sources and theorising to death (my opinion only)which I think gets in the way of a damn good idea. The image is the important thing surely...the clue is in the term 'visual arts'

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Can I make more money from my creativity?

As per my previous posting, I have been to a day's session in Southend Uni's Ilab thinktank, along with 11 other artists. We spent the day doing business studies stuff. I was impressed with the setting and the positive attitude of the hosts, but can't honestly say that I shall find it easy to become any richer on the back of the experience. We looked into 'businessy' things like:
'who sets the price- buyer or seller?'
'who is your ideal customer?'
'what benefits are you offering in your produce?' or 'what sets you apart?'
'what are your customer's requirements?'
'who are your enemies?' (who's the competition- a concept I find quite horrid, because other makers in my field and related fields help to make exhibitions and events more appealing to draw a larger audience, and I find that low attendance is the true enemy of both interest in, and sales of my work. You need a 'critical mass' of viewers to make it all work.

Now, what I would have liked to have discovered were better ways to: present my work,
light my work,
display my work,
approach galleries,
get an agent

So if anyone would like to run a day like that, why not get in touch with the Business Hub at Southend on Sea University and make an offer. Also please comment on what other areas you think would be of help in making more money from creative work.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

If you visit Norwich....

The Grapevine Gallery in Norwich has such a good lineup of artists and makers I think you'll enjoy looking at their website

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Making More Money From Your Creativity

This coming Tuesday I shall be attending a day session at Southend University entitled Making More Money From Your Creativity. I have attached the ink below to the blurb on the day, and am kind-of looking forward to it.
I have been a self-employed potter, or designer/maker, or artist for 29 years, so in thoery I already know all there is to know.....or do I? I have successfully survived through at least three recessions and done the things people with 'proper jobs' do, like buy a house and raise a family. However it always feels a bit precarious, in the sense of not knowing where the next opportunity or customer is going to appear from. In a way that is a good thing because I am extremely adaptable to sudden requests and able to take advantage of immediate opportunities that come along.
I am interested to see what blindingly obvious strategies I have missed in all this time, and expect to find some. That is why I am writing this before the event.
I see highly successful artists as people who schmooze incessantly (not something I ever felt comfortable with) or have great contacts, or just have an amazing bit of luck. I am a hard working potter, who loves what he does, and is far more interested in exploring a current idea, and getting today's batch of pots just right, than someone who makes for a market with financial forecasts and profit maximization in mind. This isn't stupid at all, it is a case of getting the work right! If it is good enough to please me, then it will almost certainly intrigue and please someone who sees it. In that sense I feel myself to be fortunate and successful.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

New blog posting resolution

Having done some reading around the whole subject of social networks and media, I now resolve to post regular blogs about a number of areas to do with my work and interests. I hope that these will prove both interesting and useful to those who see them. In no particular oder they will cover:
A) Exhibition reviews
B) Pointing out interesting work by potters I admire
C) Discussing things to do with being a small business in the arts
D) My ceramics, how I make, techniques I use
E) The art world
F) Art Trails/ Open Studios (I set up the Leigh Art Trail in 1997, the first in Essex, now there are 20+)

Saturday, 13 March 2010

5 reasons to follow me

1. This is my first post so it will be short and sweet.
2. I am possibly the worlds most interesting potter.
3. I will be blogging stuff about how I make my ceramics.
4. I will also blog about potters I like and art shows I have seen.
5. I also have a voracious appetite for music in most of it's forms- and often needs talking about.