The Art Market at Holmfirth – putting your (he)art out for all to see.

Writing the last blog post has finally enabled me to catch up with more recent events that could only be written about after the last post (if that makes sense….) So much has changed since I am now concentrating more on my artwork and I have some very exciting plans in the works for the future. But a rather exciting thing has already happened.

Now I mentioned that I would not be applying for or exhibiting at any contemporary craft fairs for the foreseeable future and am instead focussing more on art shows and exhibitions (it pains me that there is such a distinction in this country, but unfortunately there is – craft and art are seen as two completely different things in the UK but that is a discussion for another post perhaps…..)

However there is one show that I have been lucky enough to have exhibited at for the 5th time just a couple of weeks ago and I think it is fairly unique in the fact that it champions both contemporary craft and fine art in equal measure, so therefor it is one that I have no hesitation in exhibiting at.

art market 2013

The Art Market in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire has just organised its 11th event and is going from strength to strength. Run by Victoria Robinson, Emily Stubbs and Brendan Hesmondhalgh and with the talents of PR and marketing expert Fiona Pattison of Happy 4pr (more on Fiona in the next post) they are dedicated to bringing together a diverse collection of artists and makers together for the viewing public – you can read more here.

art market 2013

I was rather more nervous setting up for the show as for the very first time (ever) I was exhibiting artwork only – no sculptures, no textile characters, no brooches… none of the quirky wee faces that usually draw people in, no smaller items that could be seen more as something to buy for a gift. Just a selection of larger framed paintings and smaller framed portraits, a few select prints and art cards – a very minimal display compared to previous times I have attended.

art market

It was a brilliant weekend. I felt very happy with my display in the end and I was satisfied that only having artwork made for a strong representation of my current work. Lots of people gave very positive and encouraging feedback and although lots of people commented on the fact that I did not have sculptures, not one person thought it was a negative thing. Out of the 7 small portraits I took, I sold 5 and had lots of interest in my larger pieces too. I had comments such as people thought that my painting had come a long way recently, that the emotion, storytelling and pathos were the strongest element of my work. One gentleman even said that he on viewing paintings he usually looked at and judged  technique first and subject matter second but that in my work the emotion draws you in and elicits a response but then the technique serves to back up the quality of the work – that might have been one of my favourite comments of the day!

Until….. a very elderly gentleman came up to me as I was packing up and told me that he had wanted to chat to me all day but that I had been so busy so he had waited till the end to see me. He wanted to tell me with great sincerity and emotion how much he loved my work, how much it moved him and how beautiful he thinks it. He almost had me in tears with his words and encouragement and he absolutely made my day.  Whenever I feel down about my work or have doubts, I will remember that lovely mans words – it makes it all worth it.

photo courtesy of the art market Uk

But that was not all. The icing on the cake was that I won the award for Outstanding Artist as judged and presented by local art legend Ashley Jackson. This is my second time winning the award – the last time I had a table full of sculptures and a rather emotional response. I have come such a long way since that show 2 years ago and whilst it is still nerve-wracking and completely out of my comfort zone standing there putting my work before the viewing public, I feel even more sure that I am a wee step closer to making the work that truly means the world to me. To receive an award for that, from such an esteemed artist makes it even better.

journal page

Well thank you for taking the time to read this novel of a blog post. I will just leave you with this handy hint for today – when exhibiting at an exhibition or an event – display an open sketchbook on your table or stand. I took my extra large painted moleskine sketchbook and it is no exaggeration to say that it received more attention than anything else on my stand. People took so much time looking through the pages and it was a greater opener to talking to people about my work. I had a few people asking if it was for sale (of course it wasn’t) but even more asking if I would do a printed book. Customers love gaining an insight into the artist behind the work. They love seeing the story, looking at works in progress and seeing all the work that goes into the end result of a finished painting.

Till next time.

x x x

A great weekend…

Marek, originally uploaded by gilfling.

Hello friends! I didn’t get to making my usual monday mosaic based on my flickr friends yesterday as I was absolutely exhausted after a long week of working 12-15 hours a day last week and then 2 days at SOCK at the weekend selling my wares. I will never get over how lucky I am to be doing a job where I don’t mind a bit working 70+ hours a week in order to ‘get-things’ done – I am very fortunate and enjoy every minute of it. Yesterday though, I had a much needed day off and spent my time pottering in the garden which was lovely.

The weekend was wonderful. My first fair of the year and the first event showing my new work in the form of these latest clay characters. It is always lovely to meet customers face to face, both existing customers and people seeing my work for the first time. I was a little nervous as to how people would react to my new work but am delighted to say that people were very generous in their comments and feedback.

Marek – the character above found a new home as did all the jointed characters that I made. As I was rushing to finish them right up until the last minute (Friday night – nothing like cutting it fine…) I did not even get a chance to photograph them properly and this chap only had his snapshot photo taken whilst the lovely lady was off to get the money to purchase him! As ever, I was more than a little sad to see him go as I was very fond of him but I either make this my hobby so that I keep everything I make or I get used to the idea that this is my living and just enjoy the fact that others like my work enough to take it home with them! Of course I am ever so grateful that they do. It means I can continue to make more and support myself in this strange world of creating for a living.

I want to do a proper post about the event at the weekend and also highlight some of my favourite makers who were also showing there as the standard really was excellent but that will be for another day – I am still exhausted and officially start back at my part-time job today after some time off. It has been a real luxury being able to focus all my attentions on my artwork these last few months so now I am just hoping and praying that I will be able to balance returning to my reminiscence work 2 days a week with continuing to create and make as I have been doing. I suspect it may be a little tiring at first although last week is a good indication that my energy levels are returning even though I was losing the ability to string a sentence together by Sunday!

PS I did bring 3 characters home with me and they are now in my etsy shop here, here and here.

PPS I received so many lovely comments here on my blog, my facebook page and my flickr site last week but just didn’t have time to reply to them all individually. Please know that I am so grateful for your continued support and encouragement. Thank you.

xxx

Fragments of nature

Fragments of nature – detail, originally uploaded by gilfling.

Well I have been busy creating some new work – finally! I have had the stirrings of these pieces in my mind for what seems like forever and an age and finally got down to creating them. My particular way of creating is that I have a wee notion of an idea and it bumbles around in my thoughts for such a long time, spinning around, developing and growing over a long period of time until I can’t leave it any longer and have to get to making.

It has been apparent to me for a wee while that my character sculptures have developed into a number of themes – nature – both painted and embroidered; oceon – lighthouses/ships/sea monsters; costumes and a sort of miscelaneous collection of birdcages/windmills etc. I have occassionally worked on a collection of remnants inspired by my reminiscence work with older people and now I find myself making these ‘fragments’.

Although I am still very much the early stages of making these pieces, they will be fragments of the themes that occur within my character sculptures and I am very excited about where they will take me. I have many more ideas for them and am hoping to very much make them a focus of my work along with the character sculptures in the coming months. So far we have this wee collection of embroidered brooches and am looking forward to working on the next set of images.

These will be first shown at the Southwell Minster Spring Craft Fair tomorrow which should be fun! You can see more images on my flickr page here.