The British craft Trade Fair, My Art Blog, Glass art, Studio

So..............what now..........?

Welcome, I have decided to share my experiences as a self-employed Artist with you. This has come to me after attending a show last week. A show which I had put a great deal of time and finance into, but not only that, I had invested part of me too. And things didn’t quite…..well let’s say…they didn’t go to plan.

When I first started this journey, 15 years ago now, I had no idea just how hard it might be. But I keep telling myself ‘if it was easy everyone would be doing it’. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, and it’s so rewarding. Seeing people’s faces and eyes light up when they see your work. No amount of money can buy the feeling that comes from that. That is what I hold onto at times like these. 

Last week I attended my first ‘Trade Show’. The most bespoke trade show for makers in the UK. It’s left me out of pocket, and with very mixed emotions. I met some lovely fellow makers and the standard of work there was outstanding. However, sadly it didn’t receive the visitors through the door - you can’t sell your work to people who aren’t there. The few that took time to stop to and talk were very positive about what I do. But keep in mind the work they see isn’t about its beauty, it’s about the price, their mark up and its potential profit margins. Others simply didn’t want to engage -perhaps fearful of a hard sell. 

This, for me, was the hardest part. I have attended many high profile retail shows over the years and the buzz from that is amazing. I get to meet lovely people, who want to chat, hear my story and give their feedback. Also, hopefully, to buy my work, but not always, sometimes simply taking the time to appreciate it. That’s the difference - they are buying it because they love it, or know someone who will love it. They see the love, the skill, the originality that’s gone into creating each piece. Not the cold hard figures and profit margins that come from it. 

So maybe this is not the way I should develop my business, it was a hard way to learn this lesson, but I am grateful I have. The support I get for my work is amazing, I should not forget this, not be distracted by other business models. This route isn’t for everyone, after all do I want to work on a production line? Or do I still want look at each piece with the love I felt creating the first?

So…where do I go now? I’ve decided to write a Blog. To inspire me to keep going, keep creating and loving what I do. Maybe to guide others, to inspire them and give readers an understanding on just how hard, but amazingly enjoyable, working for yourself can be.
Along with the blog I am starting to create a new collection of work. These last few weeks have taught me a thing or two. I must take more time to enjoy what I have achieved, to stop being so hard on myself, dwelling on what I haven’t done, or what I think I should be doing. Something I think many of us self-employed, creative folk are guilty of.

My new work will be a collection inspired by ‘The Little Things’. Stopping to take time to absorb the small things in life that make me happy. A moment in time, a beautiful thing, kind words or maybe a feeling. Whatever it is, using it to inspire me. To help me stop, to take these things on board and take the time to enjoy them. From these ‘Little Things’ I’m going to create art pieces that capture that moment and share it.
So follow my story and see the collection develop. Not all my blogs will be this lengthy, this is just to introduce my story. But I hope it inspires you, whether you’re a creative or not, it might make you think, help you to take time out from your busy, rat race, high pressure life to look and see…take time…appreciate a moment …………to be thankful for ’The Little Things’



10/04/2017 by Norma Ross

You are a very wise and talented young woman. Best wishes for everything success with your Little Things.

10/04/2017 by Kathy Nolan

Kirsty what a lovely idea this is. I get from your words the show wasn't great but put it behind you and move forward and it will be onwards and upwards! No it's not the way to go, having to set up a production line. You and I and other creative people have to work in a way that guides and motivates us, not by producing same after same. If you then factor in the costs of exhibitions, mark ups etc you are lost somewhere in the mix and you, as the Artisan, is less important than you should be. Be proud of being a true Artisan. Every piece you create is unique, beautiful and made with love and passion for your craft. Never lose sight of that. I'm looking forward to watching the collection of The Little Things develop and grow!

10/04/2017 by Ailsa

As you know I am a big fan of your work Kirsty. Every piece I have I love and treasure and because each one is pretty unique, full of colour, imagination, detail and handmade in Scotland by a fine wee lass:-) Xxx

11/04/2017 by Jane

What a great idea to turn a negative into a positive. Go for it!

20/04/2017 by Jane

Hi - good to read your blog and to end on a positive note. I'm sorry BCTF didn't work for you ( I assume that's the trade show you talk about) . It was my first trade show too and I perhaps had a more positive experience. Something a gallery owner told me was not to be disheartened by the buyer who don't want to engage - they are most likely just not looking for glass/ jewellery/textiles or whatever on this occasion. She said it wasn't that they wouldn't like to look but many come with a set agenda/ shopping list and just don't have the time to look at other things. Hope you enjoy writing your blog - I shall enjoy reading it! And most of all, enjoy your creating. Good luck.

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