Monday, August 15, 2011

Slooowwww Sunday in Harwich





The reason we do these craft fairs this time of year is to take our pots to the people and hope that they connect with them and decide to trade money for them. So that we can buy more clay, or food, or paper towels ... or whatever.
Or, that's the reason I do the shows. Who knows why other people do them. I was in Harwich Sunday in the hopes that the August Cranberry Fesival show would be more productive than the July Cranberry Festival. (There are, by the way, no cranberries in evidence in the summer; they come in the fall.) Summer mythology among Cape Cod retailers holds that August people have more money than July people, or at least spend it more freely. Yesterday was abundant with evidence to the contrary of that theory, which I will add to my slowly-building store of local craft fair lore.
I sold precisely four pots, which I agree is four pots better than selling none. And one tiny soda-glazed vase sold for half-price to a young buyer (she might have been 10 years old) who came into the tent by herself, picked up lots of pots and then went off to get her mother. When she returned, she went directly to a little shell-stamped ink pot and picked it off the shelf. I took five dollars off the price, just to encourage the next generation to appreciate handmade things, and she went off happy. So, I struck a blow for handcraft if nothing else. And it was very nearly nothing else. That's how you learn what shows work and what shows don't, I guess.
And the possibility always remains that I just don't make appealing pots, or I don't know how to sell the ones I do make. That possibility is always on my mind. But the moaning from other craftspeople yesterday at least implied that buyers weren't buying much of anything, not just my pots.
Anyway, some photos are attached. The shiny teabowls in the photos are refired pots from the recent Harvard soda firing and Castle Hill salt firing.


9 comments:

Dennis Allen said...

Been there Hollis.I have stopped doing shows that don't have either POTTERY or ART in the name.People might come for the BBQ or in your case Chowder but I'm not the reason they came. It doesn't seem to matter how many thousands of folks walk past if they are in a hurry to get to the parade.The refires look great. If you ever do a show in Southwest Ohio i can promise you will sell at least one.

Judy Abdelaziz said...

I agree about the Pottery or Art shows, but this year has been sharply down from last year. I had 6 shows this spring and was down anywhere for 50-90%. My product has changed only slightly and my booth looks better, so go figure. I am hoping for a better fall. Hopefully the stock market doesn't suck the life out of our buyers wallets.

cookingwithgas said...

Love your small one shopping story- I have done this as well.
I use to make pots that cost 50-1.00 (really) back in the 80's for the wee ones.
Now they are more like 5-8.00 and one can hope.
We are sitting here in Seagrove sinking like a stone- where are those pottery buyers?
Where have all the flowers gone...

yolande clark said...

Ai. We have totally been there, too, Hollis. The craft show thing can be challenging. But I'm so glad that young admirer made a good connection with your pot and with you. There is a really neat article in this month's Ceramic Review (magazine from the UK) about one man's experience of becoming a collector, and how it was chance encounters with pots in his early life that whetted his appetite for a life filled with fired clay...Oh! And also, I can totally relate to that tiny little feeling that can come up during crappy shows...maybe the pots just aren't that great...No! Your work is beautiful. Keep on!

Elizabeth Seaver said...

Very frustrating! Been there.

Hannah said...

mmm chowder. Sorry I just got taken back to that fab stew dish you made at the party at your place.
I am still loving the mug I brought back from yours. Its a nice sort of cuddly one.
h

Hollis Engley said...

You all make me smile. Three-day show coming up starting tomorrow. We'll see what happens ...

Hannah said...

Good luck H, hope this one's more productive on the sales front.

Tracey Broome said...

All of my spring shows went just like this. They were all bad or it rained. I did one show where there were tons of people walking by all day and hardly any of them stopped at any of the craft booths. They were heading for the funnel cakes! Hoping for a better fall, I have several shows lined up so fingers crossed. I certainly don't think it's your work and you are a nice person so I don't think you are chasing folks away:) no one has any money, and the money they have at festivals they spend on crappy greasy food, go figure, grrrr......