Sunday, 5 February 2012

Part One : What Do You Do ...

when your pile of jewellery suddenly turns into Mount Vesuvius and starts erupting quietly in the corner?

Well, there are a couple of things you could do. Race out and buy lots of new clothes to match the gorgeous pieces you have made, give them away as gifts or, you could be brave, and approach an outlet to sell your pretties in.

I’ve never really considered going out to buy new outfits as that is just not me  but I have given quite a few pieces away as gifts.  Even then, there comes a time when you run out of people to give them to.  There is a long time between birthdays and Christmas in our family.

I decided a few years ago to sell my creations at the local market.  Now this is a great idea if you are prepared to slog it out through wind, rain and heat.  I began by setting up a trestle table but had no cover when the rain came down.  I wish you could have seen me madly scrambling for plastic sheeting to throw over the stock and then standing under the umbrella watching the water gather in pools on top of it.  I’ll have you know, I did put on a brave face whilst I watched fellow stallholders peeking out from under their nice dry canopies. 

Having stood in a number of torrential downpours it was time to take the step and buy a canopy.  I had joined the sacred society of  market sellers but never let it be said that taking a stall on a regular basis is easy.  It’s an early start to make sure you get a good spot allocated by the person that holds all the power - The Market Manager.  There can be 50 pairs of eyes imploring him to give them the perfect location today. You try to act like your okay with everything but deep inside the begging voice is saying “Pick me, pick me.  Surely I am next in line.  I was good last week, I didn’t leave any rubbish, I didn’t park my car in the wrong area, I set up in the allotted spot and I didn’t go over my boundary.  PICK MEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!”

Eventually, having shown I was turning up consistently, I was given a permanent spot.  Oh the glory of it all.  So much easier to arrive and start setting up without having to line up with the throngs.  Up goes the canopy (not quite as easy as I write),  unfold the trestle tables, on with the cloths, out with the display stands and then rummage through the wares to find the best and most sparkly pieces to sell today.  Collapse in the chair with a cup of coffee and wait. 

Be prepared to spend a whole day of your weekend for your art.  Believe me it can be a long day.  The market I chose closed at 3pm and you couldn’t leave before that time.  It is so much faster to break the stall down and once you have done it a hundred times it becomes a well oiled machine.  The only hard thing is trying to negotiate your car through everyone else intent on the same thing.

 I tried the markets for nearly 4 years.  In the beginning I sold quite a bit each time but as more stalls began to set up selling commercial goods it became harder to sell handmade.  I felt I just could not sell my work for what it was worth anymore.

It is a hard decision to make.  Do you drop your prices, do you make cheaper things or do you get out!!!

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