Learning Experience (by )

So yesterday I did the village craft fayre all profits were for charity and yet it was the worst one I have ever done. It was slow - all of them are being slow at the moment but something else was going on, people were still buying the odd bit from the other stalls. Now I had Little Books of Poetry and art prints for sale rather than my normal stuff (which I'd given up as it wasn't selling) but it was not that change that was the issue, others were selling prints.

I watched the girl across from me sell pretty much all of her hare prints. They were lovely and she was lovely but I find that sort of thing boring especially since moving here to the Cotswolds as there are hare pictures EVERYWHERE. But people bought those. (And I bought some of her buttons as I loved the style she had done on them but the ones I liked were the ones that were left on her stall at the end).

People bought chutneys that I would never buy as I make my own and they bought ceramics and they bought fluffy hedgehogs from the hedgehog hospital stall but I sold one little book and that was to somebody who already had one. My science-art prints were looked on in horror by some with comments about them being creepy or scary. And then when asked what the actual pictures were done in I got sneers over 'fine liner' and as for my felt tip pictures such as Creativity and The Little Book illustrations... people kept asking if they were Jean's work.

Creativity, Science and Art equals Future Innovation

And yes I have imitated children's drawings for the The Little Books but not drawn them childishly. The cat in the christmas tree was harder to draw than my space montage. I didn't think I really cared about what people thought of my art anymore but having it thought of as something a child could do upset me - this is in contrast with the reaction I had at the Tate Modern to a book that entitled Why Your Five Year Old Could Not Have Done That. My objection to it was that it felt children could not think the deep thoughts behind the art and yet I know Jean can and she had already won prizes for art works by the time she was five - the issue is that she does not yet have the dexterity and refinement for the finished piece but the ideas, the concepts are there.

To be fair it was said by people who know Jean but still...

I would feel completely crushed except two things came out of this a) I came to the conclusion that I am not mainstream, I can do fine art I choose not to I have my own style and yes it is not most peoples thing, b) Kids picked up the Little Book and read them avidly - the target audience loves them but unfortunately they do not have the ability to buy things themselves it is the parents who need to do that. So now the problem is how to get them to buy rather than the style of the book being wrong. I also ended up letting kids colour in my trilobite prints that went wrong at the printers - these are just line art and it was a keep my kids occupied thing but Jean's friends kept coming and joining and in the end I ran out of them! This has given me the want to produce a colouring book.

I also met some amazing artists, only one of which had a website but I think they live next do to each other.

Cloth Figurines

I loved her camera man!

Camera Man

The other issue is that I need to make sure that people know the business cards are for taken as I had a number of people try to buy them! Go Moo.com.


  • By Jo, Tue 27th Nov 2012 @ 8:10 pm

    Oh, that is an age old dilemma. It's hard to stand while people walk past. One of the courses I have run works with young mums to help them organise and start a small business and this is the hardest bit. Actually selling enough to keep the motivation to keep trying. There is a lot to be said about finding where your customers are. If people don't buy, then you are not in the right place but finding that place is incredibly hard. I choose not to produce work to sell now as I found it too hard. I was awar that I was feeling the need to justify my desire to be creative by how much people were prepared to pay for it. Someone else buying it validated it for me and I have to validate it myself. Oops wandering off into therapy there. Better stop Have a good week Jo

  • By sarah, Wed 28th Nov 2012 @ 10:05 am

    I was finding it instructive - I love hearing other peoples stories on this sort of thing. I will hopefully have a place at a comic book show thing in Bristol next September. I think the main thing I was upset about was that I was raising money for the school and loads of Mum's came and said hello but didn't even look at it and dragged the kids away that were trying to read the book!

    It is also a self confidence thing for me - which is why I wrote it up as a learning experience so that I could get something positive from it. I've got two readings coming up in December where hopefully there will be a more receptive audience.

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