Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Good news on Powers Crossroads Festival...

On one of my other blogs I had lamented about the decline of the Powers Crossroads Festival. They started taking in buy-sell, they alienated a lot of their artist regulars and generally it turned into a disappointing shadow of past days of glory.

I was just scanning down the column of blogs and saw that old blog had a comment pending approval. Someone left a comment saying Powers Crossroads had a new director and they were working hard to try and get it back up to snuff. They're reaching out to old art vendors trying to entice them back to the show.

Realistically once a show has a bad rep it takes a lot to get the vendors back to try it again. It costs a lot to travel to a multiple day show and pay hotel costs, gas, food, etc. You have to be pretty sure you'll be able to sell enough to do more than cover costs. It's a double whammy these days given the tough economy.

A lot of people, like me, have stopped going. I wanted art, and lots of it, and so after trying it twice and not buying anything I didn't go back this year. Not only do they have to reach out to the artists, they have to reach out to the buyers who expected quality and got a mish mash.

Don't get me wrong, there were some good artists at the show when I went! The really good artists just kind of got lost... There weren't as many vendors as usual the last time I went either.

The Powers Crossroads show and the Cotton Pickin' Fair were two that were always on my "must go to" list and I hate to see them struggling.

A number of artists from the Cotton Pickin' Fair were are my last two shows. They said they did horribly and wouldn't be going back to that one either. I think some of the problem is the economic times we're suffering through right now. But then again, those same artists did fabulously at the subsequent shows we participated in together.

I guess next year I'll go check out both of them and see if the quality has improved and if the artists are happy. If the artists are happy, I may give Powers a shot the following year.

I want both of these shows to succeed! This year Powers celebrated their 40th year. That's a lot of history and it was always a well-respected, very cool show.

Seeing red

Yep, I'm seeing red... and I'm becoming addicted! I've always gravitated to earth tones and ocean colors. However, in recent days I've been experimenting with reds.

I started back at Christmas, making a few pieces to give and sell during the holiday season. Then I started playing.

Next thing I knew I had a nice grouping of red pieces with purple and green highlights.

I use red clay as a rule, usually majolica because of the feel and the way it moves. A lot of my pieces are created while the clay is nice and wet allowing me to shape it in ways you just can't do when it's firm.

I made some bowls, a pitcher and a few smaller pieces. After the bisque firing I covered the entire piece with a black that has some hints of color. I let it dry, then sponged off the surface leaving the color in the grooves of the texture and on select parts of the smooth areas.

Then I brushed two different reds onto the raised surfaces, two coats, leaving some minimal areas without any color at all.

Next I lightly brushed two purples and a couple of greens across portions. On a few I fired, I didn't think I had enough of the color that I wanted so I added more red, green or purple.

One piece is simply red and black. The red has white specks in it giving it an interesting look, especially since the black was added on top of the red instead of underneath.

Then I got in one of these whimsical moods that strike me on rare occasions (the rest of the time I'm just nuts ;-). I had picked up some glass at Davens in north Atlanta to experiment with so I combined my red mood with my desire to experiment and made a series of brightly colored hearts.

I used reds, blues, greens, yellows, and other bright colors. They were a pain in the tush as I made them without thinking about how difficult they'd be to glaze!

If you wander through the slide show you'll see what I'm talking about with the bright heart series.

I put little hand-formed balls on them, took thin strings of clay to define squares then glazed inside... Yuk. I also added glass inside some of the squares and other places I'd left hollowed out for the glass. I had to fire some of them twice to get enough glass in the areas to tell I'd used it. Then I lost a few pieces as I gather glass doesn't quite like the temperature I fired to in one load. It bubbled the first time around.

Next time I'm in the mood to make these things I'm definitely going to think the design through a little better!

The idea was to make some pieces that were quick and easy, those impulse buy type items that are always good to have around. Unfortunately the glazing took so long it was not exactly cost effective.

I liked them though. I do want to try some more of them at some point. During the summer I'll be gearing up for my winter shows and plan to figure out an easier way to glaze that type piece.

I've included a few of the pieces in the following slide show. Believe me, I have more ;-)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Musings on selling art

In the scheme of venturing into actively selling, I'm a newbie. I've been involved in the Arts since I could pick up a piece of chalk, a pencil or a paint brush. I'd create, someone would see, someone would buy...

About seven years ago I was lucky enough to be able to set up a full-blown studio and have slowly ratcheted up my production and thus the need to find homes for my ceramic art. Again, I have been lucky in having a few galleries and high-end stores who "found" my work and wanted to sell it. But I am creating faster than they can sell it, and I'm a social creature, so I decided to start dipping my toes into the festival market.

I'm having a lot of fun meeting, talking, selling my work. It's interesting trying to find that "niche" though. I'm not what most think of when they hear the word "potter". I never do anything twice and I hand-build the majority of my pieces, although I will sit at a wheel at times.

I'm a bad marketer when it comes to my own things. I want, like most of my fellow artists, to do nothing but create. I don't like the idea of putting together a portfolio, trying to sell myself and my art to gallery owners (any more than they probably like being bombarded with artists!). I don't like balancing a check-book, doing taxes, all the yucky business stuff that goes hand-in-hand with making money.

I just want "it" to happen ;-)

But that's not the way it works. Sure there's a measure of luck and being in the right place at the right time in making it in the art world, just like any business. If you're an artsy type though, for most of us, it's like that nitty gritty side is stunted.

I do love sitting at the shows and talking with people. I love seeing my work in galleries, openings and events are fun, but being able to sit and listen in the background while people oooh and ahhh over my work feeds the soul. Getting to know fellow artists, picking their brains (and vice versa), hearing about their struggles and successes, is good, enjoyable and I love the connectivity.

It's funny watching the reactions of people. I like to sit across from my booth or far enough away that I don't intrude. It gives people the ability to talk freely without feeling like they'll hurt my feelings. Luckily I have yet to overhear anything that would, knock on wood!

At my last show I had someone pick up a piece they were eying, turning around, obviously loving. When they saw the price they quickly put it down, with regret, and told their friend that there was no way they could afford it, priced too high. A bit later another couple came in and obviously loved my work. They gravitated to the same piece, picked it up and I heard them say "sign of the times, a starving artist". They thought it was way under-priced. They bought another piece they liked better, so I was happy.

Finding shows that attracts more of the real art appreciators and those who understand all that goes into making a piece of fine art is part of learning to sell.

Pricing correctly is another part of learning to sell. Starting out it's hard to determine the correct pricing for your art. There's no way most starting artists get compensated for the time involved in the creation of their art! With pottery it's even more difficult I think... although in recent days I've checked out the price of canvas, oils, paint brushes, etc. and whoa have the prices sky-rocketed! Nothing cheap about being an artist, is there?

OK, I could muse on, but I'm ready for breakfast and I have to get ready to go to the Metro Market for another day of selling my work... and feeding my soul, 'cause I am eating up the compliments... yum.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

One more day at the Metro Market in Buckhead...

The Metro Market will continue on without me until July after tomorrow... I am having a great time meeting new people, selling my work, getting to know a lot of new artists and others. Hopefully when I'm next able to join the merry crew some of the same artists will be there so we can catch up!

June is another busy month for me and I don't think I can slide in a weekend that month, although I'd like to do so. I talked with them about coming back in July, which will work great for me as that's a downtime month. I'll keep you posted.

They'll be continuing the Mart at least through August!!! Yeah!

It's a great venue for artists --- indoors, air conditioned, easy in and out for loading, and they're doing more and more advertising to bring in buyers. They are looking for higher end art, no buy-sell. They also would like to have more food vendors so it will include a "farmer's market".

I'm really hoping the community will come out to support the new market. If you've been reading my blogs you already know it's styled on a European market theme with art, fresh produce, cheeses, hand-crafted jewelry, original design clothing, and more. Today some new artists came in giving me a whole new group to discover.

Artists can choose to be there for one weekend, multiple weekends or by the month. They're also considering a co-op type arrangement if there's sufficient interest and they can work out the details. Dori, Candace and their supportive families are all working together to build this into a successful venture.

I think the Market is going to catch on and pretty soon they'll have crowds floating through. I'll be stopping by to pick up some cheese and to grab a spinach calzone when I'm in the area!

They'll be open Saturdays and Sundays through August and hopefully longer. If you're out and about tomorrow, stop by to see me! They're located just off I-85 on Piedmont Road. http://metromarketatlanta.com/

BTW... Next month some of my work will be on display at the bustling Fayette County Library. I'll tell you more about that in another blog sometime soon. This next weekend I'll be at a festival in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Beautiful area, expect I'll have fun.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I'll be at the Old Buckhead Design Center this weekend...

I'll be at the Old Buckhead Design Center Friday - Sunday, May 21 - 23. I hope you'll stop by and visit with me, some see some of my work in "real life" instead of just via photos!

It's a pretty cool venue, something different for me, but hey, I'll try almost anything once or twice. I love meeting new people, enjoy talking to new friends about my work! I have my work in stores, galleries, etc., but I really get a lot out of the one-on-one interaction shows afford. Plus, since I teach it's a good way to talk to potential students.

Even if you're not interested in MY pottery (how could you not be????), there's plenty to do at the Metro Market. If you're into organic food or grown enough to sell, they're looking for produce vendors. Come out and support the folks who're putting this together. They're working hard to make it a success!

Here's more info:


May 7th - 30th 2010
Yes the whole month of May!!!
Friday - Sunday Only
2133 Piedmont Rd
Atlanta, GA 30324
(The Old Buckhead Design Building)

Presenting another fun and exciting show.
Now you can enjoy the flavor of a European Style Market right here in Atlanta
Time :
FRIDAY 12pm -6pm,
SATURDAY 10am-5pm,
SUNDAY 12pm-5pm

Metro Market Atlanta is proud to present its Spring 2010 show. We open just in time for Mother's Day. It's true Atlantans love to Shop, so the Metro Market has put together the finest group of Local talented artists and a few artists from out of state. which includes unique handmade gifts, gourmet foods, children's clothing, jewelry, metal and fine art. Each Market has its own distinctive feel of a European indoor street fair. Come out and be apart of the experience. Check the website for the dates and times of our Buckhead Farmers Market......coming soon!



Looking for artists with a big heart...

If you are in the south metro Atlanta area, or beyond for that matter, and would like to use your art to help support some local charities do I have a great proposition for you ....

The local Realtors in my county (Fayette) have been getting together annually for umpteen years for an event called "Noel November". They ask local businesses and groups to decorate and donate a Christmas tree or wreath which they then auction off in November. They choose two or three charities to be the beneficiaries and give all the proceeds to them. Typically that's pretty close to 100% of the dollars raised, if not the entire amount.

It's a really nice event. They have music, food, a silent auction and usually have a great turn out. To raise money to cover expenses the realtors donate their time at local charities or just donate dollars. I was involved in it back when it first got started through a charity I was supporting. I designed their original logo and helped to put together the first two or three events. I bought a tree and donated a tree...

This year I thought it would be fun to ask my fellow artists to help decorate a tree. I have the tree already, it's 6ft and nice and full (picked it up from a decorator, very pretty). I'll do the decorating if I can get some of you to share your talents by making 6 - 12 ornaments to place on the tree, make a garland, a tree skirt for the bottom, etc.

I'm thinking about a rainbow color scheme but I'm open to suggestions as long as you suggest soon... We need some sort of color coordination as I want it to be the most stunning tree they've ever had!!!

I think silver would look good with rainbow colors, so if you're a metal artist or will be adding findings to your ornament try to stay with silver tones if you could. I was going to say gold, but that could get expensive...

If you're a fabric artist and would like to donate a rainbow garland (will have to be a couple of inches wide but long enough to wrap around the entire 8 ft tree) that would be spectacular. Also it'd be cool to have a tree skirt to go on the bottom.

We'll need a tree topper too if someone is so inclined, but let me know so I can let others know not to duplicate efforts.

What else do we need for a tree? I have the lights (clear so they won't clash).

The ornaments don't need to be large and shouldn't be too heavy. Love to have some stained glass and glass artists participate! Doesn't matter what kind of artist you are, there's a spot on the tree for your decorations!

I'll share ideas and photos on here as we're receiving things on here to spark ideas & help keep a somewhat similar color scheme. That is, assuming and hoping some of your participate!

I'm going to put together a small booklet to go with the tree with a one paragraph bio for each artist who donates. If you send me a jpg of one of your ornaments I'll also do a slide show and include your contact info, which I'll share on the Georgia Front Page and in as many other places as I can find to pop it. I'll also make sure we get some press coverage, do a press release, etc.

If you'd like to contribute, email me at janet@hummingbird-hollow.com (boy am I going to get bombarded with spam for adding that in here ;-) or comment on here and I'll follow up. I can pick up local ornaments or will share my shipping address if you'd like to send via mail.

Here's specifics:

~ 6 - 12 ornaments per artist
~ 3-4 inch ornaments (unless you're doing long & thin, then maybe 5 inches would be fine)
~ rainbow and silver color scheme
~ deadline: Halloween (Oct 31st...I have to have time to pull it all together & do some photos for press releases)
~ send 1 or 2 jpg photos to janet@hummingbird-hollow.com with your info
~ need ONE artist to make:
   - tree skirt
   - tree topper
~ need ONE OR TWO artists to make:
   - garland to wrap around fat 6 ft tree

I'll keep you posted on when the event will be, which charities they choose (usually something to do with children), and how the tree is coming along. Maybe if we get enough local artists to participate we can have a decorating party! That'd make a great photo op... and be a lot of fun, too.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Time for a break? Nope...

Just settled in at home after the Fayette Fine Art Show... and decided to blog about it while all was fresh in my mind.

I had a great time! It's a spectacularly well-run show with some of the best people around working together to make it all happen. Last night a bunch of the artists went to one of the show organizer's home for a lasagna pot-luck dinner. Homemade pumpkin bread, brownies, cake... oh, almost forgot, yep, there were a few things on the non-sweet menu, too! Watermelon, veggie and meat lasagnas, bread, salad... and more importantly, lots of good company.

It was fun sharing experiences with other vendors while we munched. Pretty much everyone lamented the downturn in the economy and the affect on sales.

Today was a much better day traffic-wise and sales-wise. However, it certainly didn't come close to what I experienced the other times I participated in the show. According to the other vendors that's pretty much par for the course in most shows.

I know I had considered doing the Powers Crossroads show and the Cotton Pickin' Fair in the past. Both used to be excellent shows. However they've let in a ton of buy and sell types and the quality has gone waaaayyy down hill. How do you sell a nice piece of fine ceramic art for $300 plus while in a booth next to crocheted toilet roll covers or mass-produced puppets?

There was a lot of discussion about which shows were doing well, which ones worked for various types of art, etc. I picked a lot of brains this weekend and now have a list of shows that may work better with my kind of art.

I'm too late for some of the shows as the deadlines have passed, but I'm putting them on the list for next year.

No rest for the weary though... and no time to really think much about future shows. Next weekend I'll be at the Buckhead Design Center in Atlanta Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I understand the traffic is up and they're doing extensive marketing to try and keep the crowds coming.

The following weekend I'll be in Hendersonville, North Carolina. I think I may have mentioned both of those shows in here already.

Back to this weekend's show in Fayetteville. I did OK. Not jump up and down great, but good. I learned a lot from artists who've been doing this for many, many years. I really appreciate everyone's openness and willingness to share! Aren't artists a fabulous group???

I got to see a lot of old friends, too. It was fun chatting and catching up with folks I haven't seen in a while. I made a few new friends also.

Overall, it was a good show. I'm hoping that we see an uptick in the economy that makes it a little easier for people to feel comfortable buying some non-essentials... well, in truth, I think art is an essential but that doesn't mean everyone else thinks the same way ;-) However, essential or not, I'm keeping my pocket book snapped a lot tighter, too. I understand perfectly well how hard it is to justify spending money on art when you're concerned about losing your job or have a pay cut looming on the horizon.

Anyone read this far? I'd have probably quit reading about half way through this long blog... or maybe I'd have slogged through hoping that the writer would come to some insightful point sooner or later... sorry, I'm tired and am just rambling. No profound insights, just a lot of disconnected thoughts tonight. Let me stop now before I start talking politics or cooking or something!!! Night all.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Fayette Fine Art Show this weekend...

I'll be at the Fayette Fine Art Show (also known as the Old Courthouse Fine Art Show) this weekend, Saturday and Sunday. We set up around the old Fayette Courthouse, which I understand is the oldest courthouse in Georgia. It's a beautiful setting and a very well-attended, well-known, well-respected show (enough well's for you? ).

This will be the 42nd year for the show and will be my third or fourth time at the show.

I won an award my first year at the show... am hoping maybe I'll pick up another but it really is dependent on the taste of the judges.

All the money raised from the show goes to support art scholarships for students which makes the show even better in my opinion! Patsy Gullet, an excellent artist who has a large following, and Debi Lenox, another artist and lover of arts, do a spectacular job of running the show. I'm sure there are others who help, I just happen to know those two.

Saturday night all the artists are invited to Patsy's for a pot-luck dinner. They provide the main food, the artists bring snacks and whatever they want to drink. I've had a conflict every year and have missed the fun.

This year I'm debating... There's an opening at The Seen Gallery in Decatur which I'd really, really like to go to... but it'll mean running home, showering and changing then getting over to Decatur. Chances are I'm going to be tired after a long day of selling, selling, selling (yes, I'm optimistic!).

I hope the weather holds out. There are other events --- Fayetteville Main Street's Taste of Fayette and the kids bouncy things and stuff, plus plenty of music and other talent.

OK, nuff. I'm running on and on, aren't I? Hope you'll MapQuest Fayetteville in Georgia and then stop by to see the show... and see me, too!

Fayetteville GA - Old Courthouse Fine Arts and Fine Crafts Show
May 15-16, 2010: Fayette Fine Art Show (a.k.a.Old Courthouse Fine Arts & Fine Crafts Show), courthouse square. 10am-6pm Sat; 11am-5pm Sun. Hosted by the Fayette County Art Assoc. Juried by slides. Only fine art show in affluent southside of Atlanta. Fine art, pottery, jewelry, sculpture. Awards: 1st, 2nd, 3rd places + 4 merits. Promotes the arts in Fayette County. All profits from artist booth fees is allocated to HS seniors who will study art in college.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Winning 1st Place is sweeeet....

What a great weekend! I signed up a while back to do a brand new show in Thomson, Georgia, "Arts in the Alley" on May 8th. I really didn't know much about it, but my parents lived right down the road (OK, 45 minutes away ;-) and it was being held in the home of blues great Blind Willie McTell. A strong arts community, a cool show name, blues in the neighborhood and an excuse to spend time with my Mom (and Dad) on Mother's Day weekend... what could be better?

It's a fairly new show, this is its second year. I can tell that it's going to grow and there will come a time when people are fighting to get in. Marion Ivey did a phenomenal job with every aspect of the show. It was well organized, the entertainment was great and I had a lot of fun talking with he and his cohorts. What a nice community! I had a lot of fun and very much enjoyed the experience... plus some of my work found some new homes with people who really seemed to love my art. Although selling my art is special, I think some days that I enjoy soaking up compliments just as much if not more .

To give the show a permanent place in my "fond memory" category, I won 1st place for a piece of my pottery! It's always nice to win, and even better, it's nice to be appreciated.

You can't tell much from the photo to the left but I don't have time at the moment to take a better photo. This photo is one I took a month or so ago while experimenting with ways to photograph my work. It's looking down into the piece. It's titled "Treading Water". It's one of my absolute favorites. I fired it five times to get the glaze affects I wanted. 

The "bubbles" cascade inside and outside. It's "wavy" to emulate the ocean, and has "coral" type flutes. Ocean colors of course. You can't see the variations of the blues and aquas in my poor photo, nor can you see the lines of the piece... Ah well, one more thing I need is a good photographer who's willing to trade with luck.

I came home from the show with a nice 1st place plaque, a stunning basket by Delores von Rosen from Chappells, South Carolina and a few nice pieces from another potter at the show. I haven't unpacked yet so I can't give you her name. I will once I unpack and find her card. Delores teaches basket weaving and if she were closer I'd be heading over to take some lessons. She had some very well made basket ART, true art... unusual shapes, beautiful colors and excellent color combos.

I'm already gearing up for my next two shows... I'm still learning about which shows will work best for my kind of art. My work is what I'd describe as art sculpture. It's definitely not what most think of when they hear the word "pottery".

This weekend I'll be at the 42nd Annual Fayette Fine Art Show in beautiful downtown Fayetteville on the courthouse square (May 15 & 16). I'm not thrilled about the weather... it's supposed to be around 90 degrees! I'm in booth 36 if any of you would like to wander by and see me. It's a fantastic show, the first I ever did and one I'll always do as long as I live close enough. I won an award there my first year, too.

The Fayette show teams up with the Fayetteville Main Street organization and holds a number of different events throughout the weekend. They have the "Taste of Fayette" which showcases lots of local restaurants, caterers and chefs, plus a kids area with those big bouncy slide things and other fun activities for the kids. The Friends of the Library holds a HUGE book sale on Saturday, too. I'm a read-aholic so I'm a member and get to hit the show the day before the public. I'll cart away bags and bags and boxes of books.

The following weekend, the 22nd, I'll be in Buckhead (Atlanta) at another new show being held inside (yeah!) at the Old Buckhead Design Center. It's styled on a European market theme and will have arts, organic foods, events for the kids and other products. It's a last minute addition to my schedule. My son told me about it. He'll have a booth there so I thought it'd be fun to set up near him and if nothing else, bond. I'm trying to finish up a lot of smaller pieces as I think it's probably going to be more of that kind of show.

I don't do small pieces as a rule. Most of my work takes hours to make, not including the firing time. I need to get my butt in gear and get a nice portfolio and get my work in more galleries. My biggest problem in life is that I have way too many interests and don't focus on one well enough to do it right. I need a handler.

On another note, couldn't end without mentioned that they're having a blues festival next weekend in Thomson, GA. Go look up the McDuffie Arts Council or Thomson and Blind Wille McTell if you'd like to find out more... which reminds me!!! There was a very, very cool display by a wood worker at the Arts in the Alley show. Again, the card is packed or I'd tell you the name darn it. Anyway, he tracked down living relatives of Blind Willie McTell and received permission to use wood from McTell's old home. He makes gorgeous wooden knives and other items from the wood. He has prints of McTell playing framed in wood from the home. If you're a blues fan, you'll want to look this guy up and snatch up one of his pieces. Again, I'll share the name and info when I unpack.

Right now I'm heading to the studio to finish glazing some pieces I hope to have for this weekend's show...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Busy, busy bee...

I know you think I've dropped off the face of the earth, and maybe I have at times this past month or so! First I got sick, way back in February. I'm just now starting to feel about 98% and that's just cause I have found drugs that work...  

It's some sort of creeping crud that hit that went into something else that lingered and and and... who cares, I'm not one to whine about things like that. It didn't put me in the bed after the first week, just kept me working slower and not at full speed. Grrrrr...

This month is going to be a very busy one for me as I have a show every single weekend starting this Saturday. I'm excited cause three of them are new shows for me so I'll get to meet a whole lot of new people.

Here's the schedule:

2nd Annual Arts in the Alley
Saturday, May 8
Journal Street
Thomson, Georgia
Click here to visit web for more info & driving directions

42nd Fayette Fine Art Show
May 15 & 16
Downtown Fayetteville on the Square at the Old Courthouse
Metro Atlanta Artists Market
May 21-23
2133 Piedmont Rd
Atlanta, GA 30324
(The Old Buckhead Design Building)
Click to visit web for more information, driving directions

I don't have the details on the last show yet but it will be in Henderson, North Carolina on Memorial Day weekend. I'm going to be going up with my son which is really cool and something I'm excited about! I'll be helping him with his stuff and will just have a small bit of my pottery for sale. Next year if he goes again and it looks like a good show I'll spring for the big bucks to get my own booth maybe. He's also going to be at the Metro Atlanta Market for the month of May. I'm only doing one weekend, he has a booth for the entire month.

I'm going to write a separate blog about the Metro Atlanta Market later, it deserves its own spotlight! If you're an artist in the Atlanta area, or if you know of some organic farmers or similar, you may want to check into getting a booth for one or more weekends. Great concept, looking forward to working with the ladies who came up with the idea and put all the hard work into getting it going. I know it will be a huge success!