Monday, December 10, 2018

another dismal weekend in more ways than one


As predicted, as expected, the weekend was cold and wet on Saturday and just plain cold on Sunday, overcast both days. You know, the kind of days when you stay in warm and comfy with a good book or catching up on whatever TV series you are watching with a hot beverage. And so people did. Of course, our attendance is always low, those who come out usually come on the first weekend. A few sales were made though not by us. I thought we had two good possibles, the husband of each couple was willing if they had gotten even a little encouragement from their wives, which they did not get.

We used to get big crowds but now attendance is one of our big problems for several reasons. For one, the glass blowing studio is in an inner city neighborhood that has become gentrified over the years and so there is almost no street parking and the parking area for the studio is fairly small. Another problem is that as a small group of artists, we don't have an advertising budget and so we send out notices to our personal mailing lists or create a FB page or put notices up in things that don't have a fee. So far, none of the people on my admittedly very small email list have shown up. Another problem is that over the years more and more events began happening on every weekend in December from neighborhood events to a large art community that has grown up in an old warehouse district (and not that far from us) that draws a huge crowd as well as many smaller art/craft open houses and shows which was not the case when we first started doing this. Add to that that our glassblower friends are no longer active in the larger art and gallery community and so our visibility has shrunk to almost zero.

One of our participants puts on an art/craft show/sale on the second Saturday so I went over to check it out and am planning to participate next year (we'll do both if our friends are up for another go at it next year, me in one place, Marc in the other). They had more traffic but the price point of the goods on offer was lower so I'll have to do some thinking about what I can produce that might actually get bought (like note cards printed with my little drawings for one). I have some ideas and some plans for this next year. Now that we officially retired last year around this time and the house repairs/remodels were finally finished last October, I plan to build up an inventory, approach one or two galleries, rejoin the Glass Art Society, and work on increasing my visibility as well as playing with this new (for me) technique and doing more little drawings. I have to be careful though and remember why I make this stuff in the first place. The last time I tried to be economically viable it just led to unhappiness.

The question I got the most over the last two weekends...is this glass?...mostly referring to the feathers on sand pieces.

Here's a pic of our display (bigger version if you click on it).


We have one more weekend adding the Handweavers Association. The wood turner and the ceramicist set up last Sunday morning after doing the Saturday market that our other participant puts on. The jeweler did not since he sold all but 5 pieces at the same show. We are hoping that the handweavers will bring in a new crowd. I'm not expecting any sales this next weekend either but that's OK. I got to spend time with friends that I only see once a year since we moved out of the city.




14 comments:

  1. It is so hard knowing the right venue to sell at. I did shows and the overhead was so high. Then tried selling through stores, only two of which bought the items outright. Of course all the stores wanted the stuff 50% off which really galled me. Online was hard too. It is hard when you have to be the salesman, advertiser, business manager etc., and left me with no time for the creativity. I never figured it out. Seems the jewelers always had it the easiest. Blew in with a few small cases and were done. Guess everyone likes jewelry but me. Sounds like you have it figured out. Nice display. Donna@gather

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  2. We weavers always draw a crowd. Hahaha. As a promoter in the early days said to me, It's all a crap shoot. And then there were the tried and true, sure money shows where I could wander out at 9:45 and see "the gate" lined up around the block. You are retired (like Cher) and probably can afford putting your noses into a dozen venues and see if a new one flies. I wonder what it is these days. I tried a tiny comeback, and didn't find a niche.

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    1. oh yeah, jewelers always do well. vanity items always do well. don't think I'll try a dozen, just one or two. I don't really like selling my work. I mean I like it to sell, I like the money but I hate manning (or is that womanning) a booth or table waiting waiting watching.

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  3. Fickle weather, fickle public.
    Sounds like a combination of events that just wasn't working.
    I'm sorry.
    "Is this glass?" They ask that because it's so hard to believe that you could create those beautiful things out of glass. That's what I think.

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  4. It is hard to get the word out, many news stations offer for free.

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  5. Our summer river appreciation festival brought fewer artist and while the weather was great, they did not make many sales. It is sad that art and beauty created by hand is missing its market. Thanks for the display pic as I try in my mind to think of how customers see this. I do love your work.

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    1. I think it's also that the younger generations have no appreciation for art or handmade objects.

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  6. You could still get a sale or two if they go home and talk about it; hopefully some folks took a business card. Man that’s a lot of work for a low turnout though.

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  7. You might not be interested, but I'm wondering if some of the high-end Christmas markets might be good venues -- not your average "art on the square with wassail" sorts, but things like the Houston Ballet Nutcracker market. Those places are full of people with plenty of money and a willingness to indulge impulse purchasing.

    Also: do you have another website, just for your art? I've know a few people who've done very well selling from their sites. Just spit-balling here. Your work is so great, I'd love to see it selling for you.

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    1. I'm not really interested in doing the high end Christmas markets as the goods on offer tend to be Christmas themed and I don't work like that. Also fees have to be considered and I'm just not set up to do shows. I do have a website www.emstudioglass.com which needs to be updated and perhaps the etched glass part removed since we aren't doing that anymore. I have thought about setting up a shopping cart and will look into that this year.

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  8. Marketing and selling art can be harder than creating art. Your pieces are lovely and I m so sorry that you did not do better at the shows. It was a good learning experience, though, and hopefully next time will be better.

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    1. some years we do OK, once in a while we do great, and sometimes like this year we don't sell anything. and yeah, marketing and selling is a pain and can take up all your time.

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  9. My cousin the potter hates to sell their stuff too - and they really make their living going to shows all over the place. She's a sort of nervous/anxious person - it's a wonder she's on on Xanax or some such. Or maybe she is...

    I hope next weekend goes better than you expect!

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  10. Thank you for your insights on the predictable and the unpredictable and the happiness of meeting with friends we don't get to visit with all that often. I enjoy looking at your glass art and hope to see more of your drawings.

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I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.