Friday, January 18, 2008

Twilight Market, Gig 2

Tonight was my second and last Twilight Market gig. I had a terrific corner spot, and met some nice people. I didn't sell any of my weaving, but I did sell Megg Hewlett's small pink bag, the one that was consistently the most popular in the two times I was there. Thank you, Megg, for loaning me those beautiful treasures.

So what do I think? Well, my prices are outside the "market" prices, so I probably won't be terribly successful even if I repeat my effort. And if I were to do this again, I was advised by other stall holders to sigh up for February slots, because this is when the older Kiwi and overseas tourists come, after the school year starts.

I get the feeling, if I'm in it just for the sales, market is not my best venue. I could, for example, prepare less expensive "market" priced merchandises, but I'll have to balance the time it takes to make these things, and the likelihood of my selling them. All very unpredictable, really.

I do, however, like talking to people who like textiles. I like talking to people who weave, or used to weave, or whose mothers and grandmothers wove, and I had plenty of chances this evening to do just that. I like watching people try on my pieces, how they handle them, and how they adorn themselves. And I do like mingling with other artists; I like being among them, and asking after their latest work, exhibitions, processes, experiences, or training, and being asked the same.

Almost two (or is it three?) years ago when I first met Martin Rodgers and learned about Nelson Arts Marketing, he repeatedly stated that one of his missions was to create places where artists can network. Back then I didn't understand that, but now that I've done a couple of years of being holed up in my basement toiling away on my own, (which I love), I do also love the chance to talk to others who, more or less, live like that.

At the risk of sounding pompous, I'll admit to having another reason I'm glad I did this: I believe, in my small way, I contributed to people seeing handweaving has changed since the 60's or the 70's or the 80's, and there are lots more variety of material available in New Zealand, and finer (skinnier, not better) work is being made. I'm still a newbie, and there are lots of superb weavers in this country, but at different levels we need to not only please ourselves or each other, but educate the public as to where handweaving is. That's the conclusion Lloyd Harwood (who is an artist and an art administrator but lives well outside the weaving world) and I reached at the debriefing of my exhibit almost a year ago, and it still stands.

Having a market stall is labor-intensive, and Ben did so much for me, from packing the car to setting up the tables and chairs and the mirror, to taking them down and putting them back in the house. I couldn't do all this on my own. I'm glad I did the market, and I had fun, but at this point, I'm not sure if I'll do it again next year, especially if this year proves to be as hectic as last year.

Tomorrow I go to Marlborough Weavers' first meeting of the year; Sunday I have a working breakfast meeting with Megg Hewlett. Then I have three weeks to weave two commission pieces, and around six pieces for an exhibition which opens on February 15, followed by one more commission piece. I can do this.

As you approached the market from Hardy Street, I was the first one on the right, and behind me were two of our all time favorite Nelson potters, Laughing Fish Studio's Shona McLean and Martin Lindley.

I stuck to the messy look; in fact, I spread even more of my pieces out today, so people felt and touched and tried on many more pieces than last time. Thanks, everyone; I enjoyed watching you.

4 comments:

  1. Lovely photo Meg - I too want to touch those fabrics, they look beautiful, I can see they drape well and the colours are super.

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  2. You're very kind, Dorothy. I've just returned from a weavers' group meeting and yet another experienced weaver said she vowed not to do markets a long time ago, so the common verdict is handweaving and markets don't go well together.

    Still, it was great fun and I was on a bit of a high last night, I couldn't sleep.

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  3. I have heard the same thing about markets. People want a bargain. That's not what your weaving is about.

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  4. Many weavers I've spoken to tend to agree, but then, like Sue Broad, there are weavers who sell, soooooo.... to me, it's a lot of work and really unpredictable... which is not just markets, but art/craft overall, I guess!

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