Sunday, 28 November 2010

Bouncing back!

Well, I never did sell any more than just those two sets of coasters at my first show of the season. Pytchley was much better although only being a one day show, and sales are very reassuring, so I've put all that negative vibe stuff behind me - it's time to bounce back!

My table at Pytchley

Actually, I'm not doing too much bouncing at the moment because I'm nursing a rotten cold! Scott and I always seem to get them really badly, but on a positive note it's not as bad as the flu we had this time last year!

I still have one more show left to go, and I'm hoping I'll do well there. It's more of an arts and crafts market, and I tend to think people go to markets to buy, rather than to just look at beautiful art, which is what I think a lot of people go to art exhibitions for. Am I right?

Once that's over with I can't wait to get my hands in some clay again! It may seem a little early to start setting goals for the next year, but already I'm thinking ahead about what I want to achieve. The FPAA have said that there will be a limit to how many pieces each artist can exhibit next year, which is fair. Currently artists can only exhibit two paintings, but if you are a ceramic artist you can display a whole table. Next year ceramic artists will also only be able to exhibit two pieces of art, so I really want to exhibit my best. I'm kind of excited about this. I think it will mean no more sales at the FPAA for me, but it will become an avenue for me to display real works of art. I shall have to keep stretching myself to produce pieces that create enough presence on their own.

Back to the present day, the glaze on the swan didn't turn out too well and so I couldn't include it in the Pytchley show. That'll teach me to test my glazes before using them for the first time!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Negative vibe

Hello all. Well, what can I say? I'm not sure how to start this post off because all I'm going to do is moan my head off anyway. You don't have to read it, but it's my blog, so there!!

I was "stewarding" at the show today, and each time I do it I come home feeling negative and down. There just doesn't seem to be a very positive vibe this time, or maybe it's just me? I can't decide.

Why it could be me: I seem to need a lot of reassurance about my work, and I'm just not getting it. I "only" sold two sets of coasters on the preview evening, and nothing since. Still, I keep trying to remind myself that someone liked my Jane Austen theme enough to buy the coasters, and that maybe they just couldn't afford a larger piece. No-one has left a comment in my comments book this time though, which mean as much to me as sales.

Why it's probably the vibe from the show: I don't even know where to start with this one! I really hate snobbery and partiality. On the preview evening I was talking to a member of the FPAA when someone else butted in to introduce a posh looking lady who was obviously very "important", and suddenly I wasn't in the conversation anymore, and I was left standing there looking at someones back. I was too tired to care at the time, but with other events this week it's really starting to niggle me.

You may recall that in the summer when Stella (a fabulous artist and a really lovely lady) won both "Best Ceramic" and "Runner up", Scott was outraged. It really didn't bother me at all, but Scott was convinced that it was all fixed. But this time round it is starting to bother me, but not because I haven't won anything, but because I just hate hate hate the favouritism thing. Once again Stella has won the "Best Sculpture" (and rightly so), but maybe others had mentioned that she shouldn't win both 1st and runner up because this time there isn't a runner up!

I started looking around at the other pieces that had won prizes, because I noticed that some fabulous paintings had been completely overlooked, and some of the winners weren't actually as good. What I noticed is that a high percentage of those who had won were committee members of the FPAA (and two of them were there while the judging was taking place). I don't know why this depresses me, but it really does. Other people have noticed it as well, including the actual owner of the Museum, who made a complaint to the Chair Person of the FPAA. She was very honest (despite being a winner herself) and agreed that the person who judges needs to be someone from another town who doesn't know any of the members. But sadly, some other committee members (who have won three years in a row) feel very strongly that the judge stay the same... it just disgusts me, and I don't particularly want to be associated with an organisation like that.

So I'm wondering if all of this is affecting the "vibe" at the show. It just doesn't feel the same as it did a couple of years ago before I was a member. I remember going to the preview evening with Anita and the room was just buzzing. I've never seen it as busy as it was that night and the vibe has never felt the same. This one feels worse though.

All of that being said, I have to say that it is a beautiful exhibition with lots of different styles and media.

Rant over. I'm just not sure about renewing my membership at the end of the year.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Updates and photos

Wow, what an insanely busy week I've had! I was glazing all day Monday and Wednesday and I just about got everything fired in time! I unloaded the kiln at about 12.30 Thursday night / Friday morning, and I had to set up my show on Friday!

There were a few disasters along the way... the piece that broke in my hand and dropped into the kiln... but also my lovely swan ended up with a huge crack underneath!

This actually happened in the glaze firing, although the swan wasn't glazed. I know that sounds strange. Well, the swan was made with stoneware but I wanted to use a low fire glaze on it, so I read that I could fire it to stoneware and then glaze it. Previously I would have just low fired it even though it's stoneware and it wouldn't have been fully "mature", but I got it in my head this time that I wanted everything to be done "properly". Anyway, I have managed to repair the damage with more paper clay (amazing stuff) and popped it in with my low fire glaze firing, but it still needs to be glazed. Thankfully, John (from the clay class) has said I can pop it in their kiln on Monday, so I should have it by the weekend for the Pytchley show. Thank you John!

Another disaster was the red vase I made for my sister in law. When it came out of the kiln it looked like the surface of the moon! (but red) I took this photo especially for you dear readers...

... but then when I looked at the photo it struck me how much it looks like a strawberry... which gave me an idea! I filled in the pinholes craters with black under glaze, and then refired the piece with my low fire pieces. So now the dots look like seeds (I hope) and I shall exhibit this as a strawberry vase! The finished result is included in the slide show below. I have no idea what caused the pinholing in the first place though. I vaccumed my kiln, and wiped my vases down before glazing, so I don't think it's dust. And it only happened on the red one...

Apart from that everything has run fairly smoothly, I've just had to make some last minute changes to what I had planned to display and where. This is my table at the FPAA. The drawings in the background are from a kids drawing competition.

A couple of people at the FPAA said that my work is "evolving" and that I'm "coming along well". One lady bought both sets of my coasters on the opening night, then another man asked about them, and my friend was planning on buying them herself! So I know what I will have to start making soon!

There are so many photos to show you I decided to join Photobucket and upload a slide show. I hope you enjoy it. I still have my pendants to photograph once they are on the chains.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

My new toy

Just sit back and relax, and have the blog post read to you!

Potter at an art fair by icsthrower - enjoy!

Hey, let me know if you like this type of post, I may do it more often!