Monday, November 26, 2012

'Tis the season (almost)...

I've decided that as window washers go, I'm a really good jewellery maker.  We spent a large part of the afternoon cleaning the windows of the ex-restaurant which is to be the venue for our annual vintage and handmade market. My friend and fellow stall-holder Sam came with me to pick up the keys and let the sunshine in, which we did - eventually. I have new and enormous respect for those people you see effortlessly squeegeeing in curvy shapes and leaving nary a smear or streak.  Scratch 'window cleaner' from my list of alternate professions and George Formby from my playlist.

While we scrubbed the urban cocktail of oil, grease, salt and dust (baked in the afternoon sun for 3 months till crispy) we chatted about the joy of 'curating' an art market. We talked about the dreaded 'stall creep' (where you get crowded by the person next to you, who wants to expand into your space - especially if you are 10 minutes late); market etiquette generally; and the gazillion little things that make a market happen.

Events like this don't randomly spring into being: there are 1000 jobs to be done and decisions to be made before the doors open, expenses to be incurred (and underwritten).  Posters and ads have to be designed and produced; ads written and booked (and paid for); venues found and organised; local councils appeased (even though the zoning is correct); stall holders invited, encouraged, vetted and sometimes rejected; furniture moved; finances and credit card facilities maintained and organised; cleaning (before and after) to be organised or in this case, done; the many different needs of participants juggled (working hours, space, times, allergies and alliances); and so on and so on and so on.

To provide a successful event, none of the above is cheap, yet everyone wants to pay the absolute minimum for their space.  The big places where costs can be reduced are, of course, venue and advertising.  If you want a few hours in all weather in a park, on the off chance someone will come by (and buy), then invest your $5 and take your chances.  If you want a good venue, in a CBD location, then you advertise - as does any business. Run of paper advertising (that's the ads NOT in the classifieds) isn't cheap but good ads will yield serious traffic.  Some radio advertising is really good, provided the right people are listening and I use a small, truly local outfit with a large listener base in the right demographic. Like anything else, you basically get out of it what you put in: invest correctly and reap the rewards.

You can't guarantee that people will buy.  That's up to the sellers and their stock. But provide a quality product at a reasonable price, and people will buy, provided you sell it to them.  It means hours of standing on your feet, engaging the customer, smiling till your face aches....working hard. And don't even talk about display, merchandising, promotion.  Or who will pay for the toilet paper and hand towels (and for that matter, the lightglobe in the loo).

So here's a big thank you to Sam, for giving up her Sunday afternoon and getting her hands dirty (literally). I suspect she's not considering a career in semi-professional squeegee-based services, either.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ransacked chic is the new new.

Well strictly speaking, old is the new new, but it's only 2 weeks till my main Xmas market, so my house is less a home than a loosely co-ordinated pile of - OMG.  If someone actually broke in they'd have an attack of deja vu or think it was Groundhog Day. I'm trying to sell myself on the 'ransacked chic' style of homemaking.  This was the last week for actual making (apart from a couple of special commissions I'm working on) so that now I can tidy up, price, display, record, package and pack.

Note to self:  buy tomorrow - milk, eggs, self-discipline.
I did work on the trunk table I had planned - there was a bit of restorative work before the whole leg thing could happen.  I like the outcome. Not entirely sure I can part with it now.....I shall be strong. Annotate note to self: skip the eggs and double the self-discipline.

I did locate the kitchen bench and I'm pretty sure there is a kitchen table under there somewhere. Small patches of floor are emerging, slowly.

I still have some original drawings to frame and pack, and some Christmas cards to work on. Do I really need ALL those vintage items? 

It's going to be OK, because I made a list. It's a very long list and I only crossed 2 things off but there's a whole 2 weeks to go. I may have to resort to Plan B, which is really just Plan A with an element of panic.

I had my eyes tested and ordered new glasses this week.  I was about 6 months overdue, but still have the eyesight of a woman 3 weeks younger than me.  The nice man cleaned my existing glasses while I was there and wow - a new perspective - detail!  I've ordered nice new round frames, to replace my current round frames  (I'm obsessed with round frames).  They should be ready in a couple of days. I suspect I may be able to see dust I've been ignoring for quite a while...

Where did I leave that note?


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Einstein said, amongst many other pithy things, that creativity is the residue of time wasted.  If that's so, then I've wasted a lot of time....I spent a long time today photographing things I've been making because it's that market time of year again.  There are a lot of things.

I open a drawer and  discover a little collection of things I've put aside...and completely forgotten about.  Kind of like Christmas, but every day.  Ridiculously, I panic every year that I won't have enough stuff.  I do, I promise you.  I have enough stuff.  Really.  Truckloads.

The house is really full about now, festooned with bright shiny vintage jewellery, stacked with framed drawings and prints, and all the vintage bits and bobs that I can bring myself to let go.  Some things, which I mean to take to a market, are harder to let go of than others.  A while ago, I found some 1930's Australian matchbox labels.  No worries, methinks, this would look nice in a little frame...and so it does.  A bit too nice - I propped it up to photograph it and it looks so good just there...damn.  Luckily, there were others.

Of course the cataloguing of work uncovers unfinished and intended projects - I have a collection of  pics of the girlchild since she was quite small, I mount them on 8"x8" blocks.  Some are more elaborate than others - handcoloured black and white pics, and so on.  They are testament to a child who wholeheartedly embraced the 'selfie' at a very young age. I finished these two today, to add to the wall.

Even worse, is the dreaded new and bright idea...I was working on something new at about one this morning - sleep is for the weak and the uninspired - or those who are not completely obsessed.

There's also the need to display items for sale - I have trunks of that stuff too.   I saw this on Friday and thought it would come in useful.  It was covered with butterfly stickers and needed some TLC but it's come up quite nicely.  I'll just put it with the others.

We also finally unloaded the big workbench I bought a couple of months ago.  It's big.  It's gorgeous.  I totally have no room for it.  The wood on the top is all hand cut and still has the marks of the saw. I love it.

I'll make room, somewhere.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Why are Thursdays so long but Sundays so short?  

It's been raining, perhaps in some sort of attempt to make Sunday seem longer.  We even had thunder and lightning yesterday - one of those weekends with all sorts of weather, but none of it for very long.

I've been making some jewellery this week, some bigger statement pieces, as well as simpler pendants using images from my vintage French postcards.  

I've also been drawing some new fish, which are coming along rather well. If you've just joined us, these are fish drawn on vintage navigation charts.


And there are some interesting other projects which must stay hush hush for now...but all shall become clear very soon.

One of the wonders of the recently rearranged back veranda, apart from the marvellously spacious feeling, is that I actually have some space to work, so I spent a very short time on minor repairs to the recently acquired sun lounger, but a very, very, long time extracting a glass dome from an old light fitting.  The lounger took about 15 minutes and a drill, the dome a screwdriver, a can of CRC, a hammer, a wrench, a set of pliers, an hour and a lot of muttered bad language.  (I would have said it out loud but there was only the dog to hear.)  

And then I forgot to take a photo.  I still have to remove a lot of rubbery gunk from around the base of the dome, but they really made those light fittings to hang together (pun intended).  By the time it was done I'd forgotten what I wanted to use it for. Perhaps by the time I've removed the gunk and taken a photo I will have remembered.

I've also cleaned up the second of the veggie beds, and planted some never fail parsnips - or so says the friend who gave me the seeds.  So for nothing much is happening, but I only planted them a couple of days ago.  The strawberries are strawberrying, the spinach is spinaching, and you can guess what the rhubarb is doing. Bit of warmer weather and rain and the grass is knee high before you know it.

Oh- and I pruned the pooch and brushed him to within a inch of his life. He looks as though he's been used in interesting static electricity experiments, but at least I can make eye contact now.