Category Archives: galleries & venues

jewelart pop-up events

Do you ever feel that barriers are put in your way to help you change what you are doing?

Whether it’s our guides or destiny, saying “no you have to stop going down the path you’re on, as its now time for a different path and a change of direction.”

I definitely am feeling this… it hardly ever snows in Lancashire, but during both my recent jewelart pop-up shops at the Platform Gallery we’ve had both snow and ice.  Ok, I did have a premonition that it might snow when I booked it early last year for a week in December, but then for it to snow again during my recent March event, that was just so ‘Deja-Vue’?!

Lancashire snowscene
March snow-scene the week before my pop-up

All the work that goes into organising and doing these pop-up events, laid to waste by the weather…

Just to give you an idea of some of the work involved:

  • Created leaflets and posters and took them to the gallery before Christmas (so that they could display them and help advertise my pop-up event), filled in the booking forms and paid the gallery hire fee
  • Added the event to my website events list
  • Displayed and gave out my pop-up shop leaflets at other events
  • Promoted it in my newsletter
  • Sent photos/info to the Gallery for them to help publicise the pop-up on their website, newsletter and social media
  • Another journey to Clitheroe the week before the event to put up posters in a few places around Clitheroe and check out the exact gallery space set-up
  • Promoted the event on my social media
  • Brought with me my display board for outside the gallery
  • The gallery hire didn’t include extra time to set-up and take down, after setting up the pop-up display, I was open to the public from midday on Friday and all day Saturday. I’d hired Monday morning to take it down, so this involved 3 journeys to Clitheroe and paying for parking each day

I know that March isn’t the best time of year to organise a pop-up shop and I wouldn’t normally have done it then, except that during my December pop-up shop I discovered that from April the Mix Gallery hire fee was doubling (tripling on Saturdays). This meant that it really wouldn’t be viable for future pop-up events there and I wanted to do it for one last time!

jewelart vintage crystal decorations
vintage chandelier crystal light-catcher decorations at my December jewelart pop-up shop

Alongside my jewelart pop-up shop display, there’s enough room for an extra table so that I can sit making and visitors can watch me creating abstract wire work and chat with me about my designs.

“It’s a shame, as it’s a lovely small gallery space for pop-up events, especially as there are now so few alternative places to do them in Lancashire.”

Clitheroe is such a great place to visit for a day out, as well as the Platform gallery, there are its castle ruins and museum, quirky shops, cafes and galleries, and its beautiful countryside setting.

How it began:
After taking part in some of the Platform Gallery’s pop-up Christmas meet the maker events, I hired the gallery space for a group event with my neighbouring studios, but it didn’t work as there wasn’t enough space for 5 lots of displays and for all of us to be sat with our work.

For the past few years, I’ve usually hired the gallery space twice a year. Its still been hit and miss… sometimes there were only a few people venturing inside for tourist info and they haven’t ventured further down into the gallery, or the weather was too nice for people to want to spend their time indoors and then other times, such as my recent pop-ups the bad weather put people off venturing out to Clitheroe.

my first solo jewelart pop-up shop in 2015
jewelart pop-up shop leaflets 2015

 

“When things just aren’t working anymore, it makes you reflect on why not.”

I feel happy that I’ve had these experiences and pop-ups at the gallery and for the most part, I’ve enjoyed doing them and meeting/chatting with visitors over the years, but taking into account all the work involved with organising them, I do agree that I’m ready for a new path…

hugs and sparkles
Sam Rowena x

Events review 2016

What a busy year 2016 has been! Taking part and experiencing events in all-sorts of amazing venues and locations, including the lovely Lytham Hall, Brantwood and Manchester Cathedral, plus having an opportunity to meet and chat to lots of interesting people.

Many of these events were great and my work received brilliant feedback with some of it heading off to new homes. But my journey though 2016 involved both ‘ups and downs’ and its often difficult to stay strong and not let disappointing sales or other factors dent your self-confidence and belief in your work.

Alongside doing some of my favourite events again, I took part in a number of new events, these are very much ‘try it and see’…

“Normally, I try to choose events that have quite a strict selection process favouring designer-makers and limiting the number of similar stalls, but each year I try out a few different types of events to see how they’ll work for me.”

One of my major niggles – which is a problem at many events – is an overload of both jewellery and glass, as there’s only going to be a certain number of visitors that are interested in buying these items at an event.

This was actually one of the factors that prompted me to organise both the Easter and November ‘handmade in Lancashire’ pop-up events at Barton Grange Garden Centre. I really enjoyed having these opportunities to do events together with my neighbouring studios, plus a few makers from the Art and Craft Guild of Lancashire and guest artists/makers. I didn’t make any money from organising them, but they were great learning experiences for me. Sadly, there won’t be any more of our events at this venue, due to the increase in the room hire.

There seems to be so many different ‘art and craft’ events now, perhaps its become a bit of an event overload, too many for the number of local people interested in buying from them.

jewelart popup 2016
jewelart pop-up 2016

For the moment I just want to concentrate on developing my web shop and will see what 2017 brings… I’m hoping though that the events I take part in will go well and there’ll be some more of my jewelart pop-up shops.

Samantha, jewellery artist x

pop-up with RedThumbPrint 2016

Red Thumb Print and Jewelart Christmas pop-up shop at the Platform Gallery in Clitheroe.

Our collaboration to do a pop-up shop at the Platform Gallery came about quite by accident, whilst we were neighboring stalls at the Clitheroe Christmas Market and got chatting about our difficulties finding decent designer-maker events in Lancashire.

In previous years, I’d taken part in the Platform Gallery Christmas Makers pop-ups and we decided to see if there was any availability for us to do a pop-up there before Christmas. But, the only dates left that we could both do, were the Friday before Christmas and the next day, Christmas Eve. Would there be many visitors then? We decided to give it a go anyway and find out…

Red Thumb Print
Red Thumb Print

“I thought it might be too close to Christmas, but I’m glad to say it was better than expected with our work being greatly admired by gallery visitors and some of it going off to new homes as Christmas presents.”

It was a brilliant showcase for our work. Our displays looked fab, the complimentary chocolate and biscuits went down pretty well, we had a bit of Christmas music and even my new up-cycled Christmas decorations were a success.

making jewelart

During the pop-up shop, I decided to trial a creative activity that would help me to interact with people visiting the gallery and I sat making up-cycled Christmas decorations using recycled beads, wire and vintage chandelier crystals. Gallery visitors could buy ones that I’d just created or choose a personalised one that I made / adapted whilst they looked around the gallery. Alternatively if they had a few minutes to spare they could watch a demo, then have ‘a go’ and make their own piece of sculptural wirework, which I’d add to their chosen decoration. It went down really well and I’m going to include similar activities at my future pop-up shops.

“I really enjoyed chatting to everyone, visitors and customers alike, there are some real characters and interesting people that come and visit the gallery. Its a lovely place to spend a few days…” Samantha, jewellery artist

more Info

www.redthumbprint.co.uk
Red Thumb Print makes contemporary furniture, wine racks, and home accessories. Furniture with personality, handmade with love in Lancashire!

www.ribblevalley.gov.uk/platformgallery
Platform Gallery info

  • Visitor information centre
  • In the gallery shop there is a curated selection of Lancashire and Northern craft
  • In the main gallery space there are changing exhibitions throughout year
  • In the Education Gallery space there’s often something on; either demonstrations, workshops and talks linked to the main exhibition, or pop-up art and craft exhibitions by artists and designer-makers

Northern Lights 2016

A superb showcase of Lancashire and North-West craft can be found at the Platform Gallery annual Christmas exhibition. There are a number of handmade Christmas themed pieces as well as lovely designer art and craft gifts.

I was really excited to be invited to take part in the exhibition again and am exhibiting a selection of abstract fused glass and beaded sculptural wirework with bronze, copper, red, fuscia and vivid emerald green colours (Autumn/Winter colour theme).

jewelart venus fused glass earrings
jewelart venus glass earrings

The Platform Gallery hosts a number of different exhibitions each year and is a great place to visit on a day out in the lovely picturesque market town of Clitheroe. The Gallery – in what used to be the train station ticket office – is ideally situated next to the trains, buses and car parking and is also the Visitor Information Centre.

The Northern Star Christmas exhibition is a great opportunity to buy something handmade locally, whether its ‘just a card’ and a Christmas decoration or a unique present!

In the Education Gallery space there’s often something on; either demonstrations, workshops and talks linked to the main exhibition, or pop-up art and craft exhibitions by artists and designer-makers.

northernlight16red
Red Thumb Print Rudolph’s

Which leads me onto… Meet the Designer-Makers Christmas pop-up shop in the Education Gallery.

Myself and David from RedThumbPrint furniture will be there on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 December. An opportunity for you to come along and meet us, chat with us about our work and buy your last minute Christmas gifts.

Friday 23  December 11-5pm and Saturday 24 December 10-3pm

jewelart wirework xmas decoration
abstract wirework xmas decoration

Watch me making unique Christmas decorations with vintage chandelier crystals, recycled beads and wire. Buy one (£4 each or 3 for £10) of these or you can customise your own, have a go at bending wire into an abstract shape for a few minutes and I’ll add it to your christmas decoration  x Samantha, Jewellery Artist

 

more info:

www.ribblevalley.gov.uk/platformgallery
Platform Gallery info

www.redthumbprint.co.uk
Red Thumb Print Makes Contemporary Furniture, Wine Racks, and Home Accessories. Furniture with Personality, Handmade with Love in Lancashire!

www.facebook.com
Facebook event page

Lytham Hall Winter Art Fair 2016

It was lovely to be back at Lytham Hall to take part in the first weekend of the Hopeful and Glorious Winter Art Fairs 2016. Despite the bad weather on the Saturday – a mix of rain, snow, sleet and hail – thankfully it improved and we had some sunshine on the Sunday, which made a big difference, everyone seemed happier, we had lots of visitors and a better day all round.

There’s always a great selection of arts and crafts, and I have to admit that I get a bit of stall envy looking at how some people display their work… So, with this in mind, I’d been recently trying to revamp and de-clutter my display, especially as I need to make room for some new glass designs. Quite a few of my ‘classic design’ sterling silver bead earrings have moved into a ‘sale section’ and I’ve been making a new display for my glass jewellery with a gorgeous vintage frame that I’d discovered a few months ago in a charity shop.

new glass display
putting together my new vintage display

It takes time getting together all the bits and pieces for the display; the felt, wadding, netting etc and to figure out how to get it to stand upright and attach it to my stall. Luckily, I had help from ASC, a shop in Chorley (its a DIY suppliers, that sell allsorts of fittings and fixtures, wood etc), a really nice guy helped me out there and I was able to get my display finished and ready in time for this event at Lytham Hall.

“I’m chuffed to bits with this gorgeous display! I don’t know if I’ll ever manage minimal, but its looking a bit better.”

Its a hidden gem, a beautiful building in a lovely location that’s brought back to life hosting the arts and crafts fair. Hopeful and Glorious do a brilliant job, selecting the 30 plus artists, managing and promoting it. I’ve really seen it grow since the first event 2 years ago, which is great for Lancashire art and craft as we have very few really good events for us to showcase our work and we usually have to travel further afield to do events.

Enjoyed taking part in it, catching up with other artists and friends that came to visit, and having the opportunity for visitors to see my work. Even better, my jewellery got lots of compliments and some of it went off to new homes.
Samantha, jewellery artist x

“I look forward to hopefully being back there again at another glorious event in the Spring!”

more info: 
Lytham Hall, Lytham, Lancashire
Hopeful and Glorious, art and craft fairs in Lancashire
ASC Chorley, Timber Supplies and DIY store, Chorley, Lancashire

an earlier blog post from 2015 with more photos and info about Lytham Hall

Brantwood Winter Fair 2016

What a gorgeous location it has on the bank of Lake Coniston in Cumbria.  Brantwood, the former home of artist/writerJohn Ruskin is a real treat of an event and its been lovely to have had the opportunity to be part of its Annual Winter Craft Fair for a number of years.

Its a great location and venue with super arts and crafts, but it involves quite a lot of work and long days, so as this might be last time taking part, I brought my camera along to capture some of its beauty.

There’s a few photos of its stunning setting on the Lake and its ever-changing  gorgeous Lakeland views as well as one or two photos of some of the jewellery pieces I created during the event whilst sitting at my stall.

Luckily, my artist friend, Sally Anne Lambert has moved up to the Lakes and invited me to stay, this has been a big help and this time we had a good catch up and I had some interesting chats with her mum about fairies, fairy story books and artists.

Samantha, jewellery artist x

Art in the Pen, Thirsk 2016

Thirsk Art in the Pen

Jewelart in one of the cattle pens at the first Art in the Pen at Thirsk, Yorkshire, where over 100 cattle pens were transformed into amazing pop-up mini galleries.

Some of the ‘pens’ are stunning, gorgeous arts and crafts displayed beautifully. Many ingenious ways of displaying work is used in each space, making each one a unique pop-up gallery.

Thankfully, a friend’s partner came over to look after my pen and I had an opportunity to take a wander around – say hello to people I knew – and enjoy looking at the other pens and see how some of the other artists and designer-makers had displayed their work.

Some of the pens looked so professionally displayed, plus the work was of such high calibre, that I couldn’t help feeling a bit of ‘stall envy’. It’s only my 2nd year of taking part in the Art in the Pen and I think my pen display has improved. I’ve upgraded from white bedsheets covering the inside of the pen to a thicker woolen material which drapes better, although next time I’ll buy something specifically for it – in one colour – that’s long enough to cover it all. Overall, my display could also do with some tinkering, maybe it needs extra sparkle…

more info about the Art in the Pen – www.artinthepen.org.uk

why I do events

Why bother doing art and craft events? What motivates us – the artists and makers – to do them? 

I think its much more interesting to purchase something handmade and be able to chat to the maker, instead of purchasing something mass produced from the high street or on the internet. At events you get to see my work displayed, chat to me about particular pieces that you like and find out more about them. It makes it a much more personal purchase.

“I enjoy chatting to people about what I do and taking part in art and craft events.”

Winter Arts Market, St Georges Hall
Winter Arts Market at St Georges Hall, Liverpool

Although the main motivation for taking part in events, is for the opportunity to promote, display and sell my work, there are other reasons too…

Like most designer-makers, my work is quite insular, so an event is a great opportunity to meet and chat to people, both customers and other artists / crafters. Over the years, its been lovely that a number of friendships have blossomed out of chatting with my neighbouring stallholders at events. If I get chance, I also enjoy taking a quick look around the art and craft stalls, to see who’s there are and say hello.  I love seeing how everyone displays their work, the innovative and creative ways of using their limited space.

One of the things I don’t do, is ‘sell’. I don’t like pushy salespeople and think there is nothing worse than people being hassled to buy something when they are just having a day out and enjoying looking around an art and craft fair.  So, my work has to sell itself and I just help it out.

“Its really a great confidence booster, when people like my work and compliment it, and even better when they like it enough to purchase it!”

beaded wirework brooch
one of my beaded brooches made at my Easter event

I prefer to be busy at an event, so if an event has quiet spells, I’ll do some making, either my abstract beaded wire brooches (as they are easy to ‘pick up and put down’) or wirework shapes. I’m happy then as I get in my own creative zone and time flies. Plus it has other advantages too, as visitors are usually intrigued with what I’m making and its a good way of starting conversations.

At some events I only have a 6ft table and my making tends to be more hidden from view, but at other events, such as the ‘Art in the Pen’, ‘Handmade in Lancashire and at my jewelart pop-up events I have a bigger area and my making becomes part of the display.

making table at the Art in the Pen Skipton event
my making / leaflets table at Art in the Pen

Some of the events I take part in are for charity fundraisers, so my being there is also helping out a good cause.

A highlight for me is that I get to visit and enjoy the atmosphere of some amazing venues. These range from gorgeous gardens to interesting buildings rich in history, such as St Georges Hall in Liverpool and Lytham Hall in Lancashire. There is a lovely buzz about these places when they are filled with amazing arts and crafts and the hubbub of people chatting, admiring the stalls and making purchases.

Come along and visit me at one my events, Samantha x

taking part in art and craft events

After all the preparation work is done and you’ve been successful and got a stall at some art and craft events you’ve applied for, then the real work begins… Its not just about ‘the making’, there’s sorting out your stall display, designing and getting business cards / leaflets printed, buying your packaging etc.

On the day of the event, once you’ve arrived and found where your stall is, there’s the unloading and moving everything, before setting up your stall display.

St Georges Hall Winter Arts Market
at the Winter Arts Market St Georges Hall, Liverpool

“Ideally, if I’ve got time before the event opens to the public, I like to take a quick look around the venue and see who’s there and say hello to the other stallholders that I know, but sometimes it has to wait until quiet spells later on in the day.”

Art and Craft events are very ‘hit and miss’. There are many factors outside of your control…

  • The weather
    Outdoor events are often a wash-out if its bad weather, raining and windy, not to mention the potential to damage your art and craft. But equally, in summertime if its lovely weather, people don’t want to be indoors visiting an event.
  • Footfall
    If its a new event in a venue that doesn’t have a good footfall, it can often take a while for it to get established and attract visitors.
  • Too many similar types of stalls
    Some events aren’t selective, they just want to fill the stalls. It’s better for an event to have a good variety of different work, to attract visitors to the event.
    “This happens all the time to me – with jewellery – and although its usually all different work, there are only so many people that are going to buy jewellery at an event.” 
  • Hobby-makers and bought-in work
    This makes it really difficult for the artists and designer-makers who are trying to make a living from their art / craft as you can’t compete price wise with the hobby-makers or work that’s been mass-produced in other countries.
    “I now mostly try to take part in art/craft events where there’s been a selection process involved.”
  • Stall location
    If your stall is in a corner or your neighbouring stall has a card spinner or clothes rail in the space between the stalls, your stall can easily get blocked by people looking at their stall.
    “This is really frustrating and has happened to me at events many times. I usually give it a few minutes grace, and then if my stall is still being blocked I go out and ask them to move, so that I can get to my stall display and tidy it up.”
  • The time of year
    The run up to Christmas is the best time of year, as many visitors are buying Christmas presents. At other times of year, it depends on whether visitors have a reason to buy ie. birthday presents or see something they like and either want to treat themselves or are with someone else that wants to treat them.
Liverpool One Arts Market
rainy and windy day at the Liverpool One Arts Market

When an event doesn’t work out, its hard not to take it personally and think that people don’t like what you make.

Figure out why your work hasn’t sold at that particular event and if its one or more of the above factors, or if there might be things you can improve upon, ie. your display, range of pricing, negativity etc. You can use each event as a marketing opportunity to see what does sell, what are visitors interested in, what comments and feedback you get and use it to give out your leaflets and business cards. A visitor who is interested in your work, might not be ready to buy at this event, but might come to a another event later on and buy from you then.

Its all part of the learning curve, you have to try out different events to find the ones that are right for your work.

If its not busy, its nice to get to know the artists, designer-makers and craftspeople on your neighbouring stalls, see what they make, chat about events, marketing etc and help each other out if you need to leave your stalls.

“Over the years, I’ve tried out many different types of events and some just don’t work for me… these include family fun days, school fairs and vintage (with a bit of handmade) events, so I leave these events for others to do.

“I hope this information is both interesting and helpful for other artists, designer-makers and craftspeople doing events and visitors to the events.” Samantha, jewellery artist

preparation for events

A lot of work goes into taking part in art and craft events and it begins months before the actual event.  You wouldn’t believe how organised we have to be, and its not something that normally springs to mind when you think of artists and craftspeople, as we tend to have a reputation of ‘having our heads in the clouds’.

Its planning, researching, organising and completing the applications and then once you’ve been selected for the event, paying for them.

This is how my year starts…

The first few months each year, I start to plan my year ahead. It involves creating a calendar planner, listing  all the weekends from Easter to Xmas and pencilling in potential events, teaching dates, holidays etc.

I begin with a review of the events I’ve done the previous year; looking at which ones worked, which didn’t, which are borderline because they might have been affected by the weather or had other problems and I might have another go.  This is followed by researching other events as potential events to apply to and listing all the events on my weekend planner. Sometimes popular weekends might have a clash of multiple events and I have to make a decision of which event might work best for me.

Before I can start applying for events, I choose a selection of photos, from photographs I’ve taken during the previous months / year and I update my 100 word artist statement and artist CV.  For some events you only need to send this information once, others you need to complete application forms and send it every time, alongside proof of your public liability insurance and sometimes a Risk Assessment as well.

a jewelart spiral beaded brooch
one of my jewelert photos for applying to events in 2016

Application deadlines vary from event to event, some might have deadlines 6-9 months before the event, others maybe 3 months. After applying, then its waiting to see if you’ve got in, then its sorting out paying for them.

April or May, August and September or October I try and keep one or two weekends available for teaching classes and pencil in potential dates on my calendar.

By now my planner is starting to fill up, so I have to make sure I put weekends off and holidays down on it too… otherwise you find your actually going to be working every weekend!