Herts Open Studios – September 2013
Wow, what a month…. Timing wise September is not the best of months to be open for me, straight after the summer holidays, two new schools, open evenings, meet the teachers, after school clubs and a new season of timetables to get back into – you get the picture so to speak!
Paperwork had spiraled somewhat out of control, and it has taken a couple of weeks after closing to begin to rein it all back in!
We were ‘open’ for ten days in all, didn’t sound like a lot when we agreed which days we would open, but my word, it is quite a chunk out of the month with so much other activity going on as well!
The first challenge was tidying the studio, during an external exhibition, you can leave all your work in progress and chaos behind and come back and tidy that away once the work is up, not so with this! In addition, I had work to complete during the month for my London exhibition which was due to start as soon as OS finished, this didn’t happen in the end, we just never caught up on ourselves! Luckily I had enough work to put in, by pulling pieces back from galleries, although it wasn’t quite what I had planned.
We didn’t do too much promotion of our opening during the first week because we were still sorting out all the little bits and pieces. Likewise, there was no private view, we just didn’t get around to it, we agreed it was better to keep our sanity than to add another thing to the list of things to do!
After a final count up, we had 97 visitors, that’s an awful lot of cups of coffee and conversations. People seemed genuinely interested, whilst we had some friends and neighbours visit, the vast majority were visitors we didn’t know. That had been one of my aims, to get strangers to like and possibly buy my work, and they did, repeatedly, so I was well chuffed with that. Some were on the open studios trail, others were just casual passers by. All interesting guests, often with their own stories to tell, that’s the most exciting thing about doing Open Studios, you get to meet and engage, which you often don’t experience selling through a gallery.
I sold lots of cards and 14 pictures over the month, some large, some just small, all of which were encaustic, which I found interesting. I always say Encaustic Wax has a bit of a Marmite love it or hate it quality to it, and as sales show, the vast majority of people were in the ‘love it’ camp, which I was delighted with.
People were especially interested in my layered Mixed Media style wax work, there is no one around locally working in this style, so I put a sheet up to say that I was considering running small workshops to share some of the techniques I have used and have had lots of people sign up, I’ve bought in some extra equipment, so next job is to finish off the course plan that I need to do to run it and get back to everyone on my list!
Faye sold some of her beautiful horse pictures and again had some really encouraging feedback, particularly regarding horse commissions.
There has been so much to take in, I’m sure the memories will keep drip feeding back into my consciousness over the coming weeks, it is a whirlwind of a month, but utterly exhilarating at the same time. I have had letters, thank you cards, people bringing in unwanted art supplies ‘so they go to a good home’, people have walked especially to visit us, it is a humbling experience, for which I am truly grateful to each and every one who has taken time to visit or send messages of encouragement on-line.
As I reflect on another event over, and another experience under my belt. I am learning not to stress over it all so much, to just go with the flow and see what transpires. Was it perfect? No. Did we enjoy it? Yes. Would we do it again? Absolutely!
I will leave you with a few comments from our visitors book, there was no arm bending involved!
Thank you Julie & Faye for a most enjoyable visit – really glad we came
Very interesting work & environment
Great technique. Need to know more
Good Luck with your exhibition in London, very interesting work
Well done! A great show
Lovely, truly vibrant exciting work! Very well done