Sunday, 8 November 2009

Surviving Exeter Open Studios 2009

I prepared for this years Open Studios for quite some time. There have been a whole hoard of issues to overcome; issues with the studio space itself, issues with my work, issues with firings... It's amazing how many things can conspire to make it as hard as possible to successfully make work!

I share my studio/work-space with beader and jewellery maker Kate Bartholomew. It's actually a very good match and I have learned a lot from Kate about different things relating to ceramics and just sharing a space with someone else has been a very positive experience. I also feel I have things to share with her and experiences that are of relevance to give something back, making it a give-and-take situation that I'm very happy with.

This kind of event really feels a lot like feeling around in the dark, grasping for something you're not completely sure of what it might be. My gut instinct was telling me it wasn't going to be the best selling event for me but that's no reason not to make an effort. So in short; I worked like a crazed squirrel on speed to get work finished and dug out some older pieces as well to be able to show more of the whole range of things I do.

The Open Studios weekend was a blur of activity, people, and talking about the work. I sold some smaller pieces; I've wanted to try making jewellery for a long time and that's what sold. You get the feeling that a lot of the people who come to these events are looking for a "bargain" and out to get as cheap a deal possible on beautiful and original pieces of art. In that kind of situation I personally would rather not sell, than compromise on what the work is worth. And when I speak of worth I mean both monetary and emotional value.

In the aftermath of it all the studios are quiet, with not a lot of people around. It's almost like the hang-over has affected us all and we're still recovering from it, two weeks later.

What I'm taking with me from this years event is a stronger sense of self, of what I want to say and how I say it, as an artist. I'm more aware of what people enjoy about my work and what they'd like to see more of. It was a great experience and going on from here the path ahead is more defined than before.
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