Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A New Review

Last Saturday was my final show of the fall season. The week before, I had been in Bellevue Ky. under bright blue skies.The crisp temperatures had told people it was OK to turn on their ovens and bakeware flew off the shelves. Not this week. We were at a new site at a park in Mason. It was not on a main road but I had been assured that there were to be plenty of signs and since it was an established show a reasonable crowd was expected.The rain that was forecast for Friday didn't start until late Friday night. By Saturday 5AM there had been about an inch and a half of rain and it was still coming down. It's not a game for sissies so I had a hasty (not tasty)  breakfast took care of the critters and headed down the road. I got to the show at my appointed time of 7AM and was directed to my booth. It was so beautiful that years a go they made a movie about it, "A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT" .That inch and a half of rain was all standing in my spot. I asked if any straw or anything was available and the volunteer said she would find out.They had a bunch of kids to help unload but nice as they were, they had never set up a booth before. Trying to pile everything on a table under a tent in the rain and still leave room to set up the displays is an awkward affair at best but we got it done. Another volunteer asked if I needed anything. I said straw. They said they would check. I started setting up racks and putting out pots as my 100% waterproof boots started to let the water in. About 9 the rain let up. About 10 a volunteer came by and said "Do you need anything?"  I said " Some way to deal with the water" He said" The park guys might have some plywood I'll see if I can get you some" This is a significant point. He had actually enlisted to help rather than pass the buck to someone else. ( I found out later that the first two bucks had not even been passed) Ten minutes later he came back with a sheet of flake board, 3 2x4's and a helper. My booth suddenly had a floor.Another few minutes and he came back with straw.Maybe this would work out. As wet as it was, I did not get my table covers out and stacked my boxes in plain sight in the corner of the booth. I was roughing it , not trying to look pretty. The show opened and I sold a couple of pots. People straggled in and I sold a couple of more.There were people strolling through the show all day but there was never a crowd. I had very low expectations and I was not disappointed. I ended up about a hundred bucks short of mediocre after a very hard day. My feet have almost dried out.

Overall thoughts from this season.

1. I had some really good shows and some crap awful shows.Overall, I think I am ahead of last year.

2. Everyone has their own thing to push and all shows are run by volunteers. I had speakers blasting into my booth at a couple of shows. I got them turned down but not enough. The sound guys always think people come to hear the music and crank it up. They are wrong. If people can't carry on a conversation in my booth, it costs me money.

3. The graphics folks seem to want to make the signs fancy. You can't read most of them from a moving car so they are useless. If people can read the signs, they need to be on the main roads and have arrows directing people to the show sites. I had complaints about poor sign placement last week. If people can't find the show, I can't sell them pottery.

4.It takes a while to establish a presence. I have had a lot of return business and people who come to certain shows looking for me.People like to know you are not just blowing through town.

5. I did not even apply for the local Christmas show. The date conflicts with a buddy's open house that I always help at and they always seem to find a juror who is looking for "ART" instead of functional ware. No point in paying to be insulted.

6. I still like doing shows but I need to keep refining which ones I do.

7. You don't need to go to Vegas when you roll the dice every Saturday.

Hope your fall season goes well. Thanks for stopping by. We haven't had a song for a while. You can add the harmony on this one.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FS3zPwhI40

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What Sold

Here are a few pictures I dug out of the archives just to show the stuff that has been selling. Squared and oval bakers sold like they were full of hotcakes last week. I went with 4 and came home with none. Five Pi plates have new homes and I have a request for several more. The big shino bowls both left Saturday and that was the last of the big bowls I had on hand. I even sold a big crock and as much as I like to make them, they are not fast movers around here. My last scheduled show for the season is Saturday at Cottell Park at Snider and Irwin Simpson Rd. near Mason, Ohio.Say you read it here and I'll give you 10% off everything.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The View from Bellevue

Hey everybody. Did you ever have one of those blogs where the author buried his camera in a crate in the middle of his van and may not find it for another week? Welcome to my world. Saturday started early this week. Up at 5 to get ready for Art in the Park in Bellevue Ky. It usually takes me an hour to get ready to go and Bellevue is about 40 miles away so I ended up getting there at about 7 as dawn was on its' way toward breaking. I know for an 11 am opening I don't have to be that early but it just makes things go better. I'm not a last minute guy. It lets me unload at my own pace and take breaks when I need to and very importantly, gives me time to see my friends. I have done this show for 5 years. I know all the potters as well as the organizers and volunteers. Except for all the hard work it is kind of like a family reunion.

Bellevue is right on the Ohio river with a view of the Cincinnati skyline. It is a beautiful spot but over the years, it had fallen on hard times. There is a very energetic group of people who work hard every day of the year to revitalize the town and it is working. It is a fun place to go with lots of nice people. They really take care of their artists and know that you came to sell stuff not just sit around and look pretty. Anything they can do to help with that, they do. I have customers who come back year after year and loudly rave about their Whistle Creek pottery in the middle of my booth. I love it. But we digress.( Like we have never done THAT before!) The heat broke in Cincinnati this week. Saturday morning we had low temps in the 40's and after a chilly start we may have gotten close to 70 in the afternoon. It was sunny, not too breezy and just a perfect early fall day for an art show.

People started coming about 10:30 we didn't officially open 'til 11 but what's a guy to do?? I started selling pots. People kept coming, kept selling. The cool morning must have told people it was safe to use their ovens again. I took a bunch of bakeware, thought I took too much. I was wrong. I sold out of square and oval bakers. I sold most of my round baking dishes. I sold all my Pi plates and found out that I have a customer who wants to give one to everyone on her Christmas list. I saw Patti who buys a couple of plates or baking dishes every year. I probably had 10 prior buyers show up. I even had a couple from Augusta stop by who had bought a big bowl in June. After I got home that day I found out that somehow I had screwed up my Square processing and their charge had not gone through. I figured I would never see them again and would have to eat the loss. Nope, they are going to review their statement and if it doesn't show at their end, send me a check. The world is full of nice people.That is the only foul up I've had with Square and I'm sure it was my own fault. For those of you who keep track of such things, About half my sales this year have been on Square and I rarely see a check from a customer . If you do shows, you need one. The crowd kept coming til about 4:30 but I sold up to about 5:15. Two huge bowls went out in the last half hour so I'm glad I didn't try to pack early.

Often this show is not as lucrative as some of the others I do but like all the other artists, I keep coming back because it is fun to do, and we are well taken care of. This year it turned out to be the best show I had since spring. At 5 pm I didn't know what time it was, didn't know how much was in my pocket and wasn't exhausted. That's how I like to end a show. I did well, my friends did well and Bellevue did well. Next Saturday, I'll be in Mason Ohio for my last show of the year. It is in the park at Snider rd. and Irwin Simpson rd. Hope to see some of you there.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Just Catching Up

I have some pots firing in the electric kiln tonight. I have a show in Loveland Sunday and hope to see some of you there. Maybe you can come wake me up. I have High School reunion stuff Friday and Saturday then up at 5:30 Sunday. It's going to be a long day but people like me down there and I usually do pretty well. Work on the house continues, my major projects are done, the gas is on, and we have people putting down new flooring on the main floor of the house.That's a lot for one week. I also got a couple of red hot shino pieces out of my friend Mike's kiln so I thought you might like to see them.