As my gallery sales have dwindled and shows have not been the best (as reported earlier) I jumped head first to the farmers markets.
General observations on working a farmers market.
Eventually it will pay off.
The first market, on Wednesday, is small, very small.
Great place to cut my teeth and learn the ropes. What to take and what not to take.
How to stand in the hot afternoon sun on asphalt and not burst into flames on an 85 degree day, while still smiling and greeting customers.
Attending my second market at a small upscale neighborhood this morning I have to say my feeling are somewhat optimistic. The crowd was brisk and seemed excited to see pottery from a local artist. Several buyers went home to retrieve checkbooks or cash & actually returned. That will boost anyone's spirits!
I love the hours of the farmers markets! 3-4 hours max and home by early afternoon with a good bunch of veggies and local cheeses, eggs, and meats to boot. Also love the handmade soaps. I am passing out loads of postcards and information pointing to the website. The booth fee for a 10 x 10 booth is $10 - $20.
People come back to see you each week and know you will be there. This is not a hit a run kind venue, like the art fair scene.
Both of my markets allow me to work out of the back of my truck. This makes loading and unloading a breeze! I think the sales will improve as the summer goes on, both markets end in October. I do enjoy the people watching and chatting. Oh and let's not forget the double tasking of shopping for the weeks groceries!
Research and development have been HUGE!! I am keeping a running list of requests. Made a list and pounded it over my wheel for those flat line times in the studio. All in all I have to say I love making functional work. I also love watching shoppers pick up work and handle it; watching their faces smile or scrunch up as hands glide across a rim or caress a handle. Proving, people really do fall in love with what they are purchasing.
But alas sales are not strong enough to support my studio habits.
Thursday, the phone rang with an invitation to work in the estate gardens again. I jumped at the chance to make a very fair wage for a day of hard labor. Leaving the house at 6:30 a.m. with my coffee cup full and NPR blasting on the radio I arrived on time, laced up my boots and loaded my tools into the wheel barrow. Hi Ho Hi Ho......... Met up with ace garden wench Bee and we were off to the races. We decided not to stop for lunch as the day was HOT! Head down, drink water and keep going until 3 p.m. 2:55 p.m. pack up, run the brush and weeds to the curb and do a final walk about for high garden satisfaction! We rocked the estate!
I gotta say I miss this work and LOVE this work! By noon Bee and I discussed current events, solved world peace, caught up on mutual friends and dreamed about being gardeners for some secluded Bed and Breakfast in Vermont. Is it possible to have two loves? Is it possible to do both well?
Took my camera too work ........ not a bad gig.
Ann Rosmarin is the designer and I must say she is my favorite designer that I have worked with over the years. A South African transplant but a lover of all plant material! I took a sabbatical from the gardens two years ago Ann stayed put. Ann is an artist and print maker in her own right. She is frustrated with living in two worlds; Art and Botanical. We both agonize over which hat to wear. As the years progress all three of us wonder how long our bodies will continue to entertain wild thoughts of these long days of laborious work.
But we all drive away in our trucks........ smiling and feeling pretty good about the day's work.