Ah - the pic bears no real relation to this post as my fantasy studio/gallery does not yet exist and I wanted to post a nice pic to brighten up my words so here are some copper experiments for future work! Anyway on with the real guts of this post. I mentioned earlier that I would post about my gallery/studio sitting experience in Kendal over the summer. I used this time to consider my aspirations for having my own public shop front, to get a feel for the pros and cons of such a venture. I'm so grateful to Zohar and Thuline for giving me the opportunity.This is not something an artist can do lightly, it depends on funds and personality but for me the pros outweigh the cons. Okay, the three big cons...
It is very tying to have a gallery, no more 'oh its a nice day - I'll have a day off today and work another...' 'the kids are off today I'll spend quality time with them..' You have to be there when you state on the door/your website etc, you cannot afford to lose any purchases.
Disturbance... if you enjoy the ability to totally get in the 'zone' with your work and concentrate, well you will have to time this around opening hours!
A biggie - cost - rent, rates and utilities, they are huge compared to the cost of renting a studio only!
The client meets you and can develop a relationship with you, they are more likely to return - and it could be some day in the distant future but its all about building.
I do feel people are more likely to buy from you when they have met the creative person behind it all, its good to be able to discuss your work with people.
You can make the most of your shop front, allow it to reflect your work and personality, its totally in your hands to get people through the door.
There is so much handmade jewellery online, if you pick the correct location, there will be a lot more people viewing and taking note of your work.
People can pick up your jewellery, see how it feels, try in on.
You can build a reputation, I think with jewellery this can be a slow build, but if you do a good job it will build.
You are in control of selling your own work!
There are just a few there, more will spring to mind after publishing this post!
I guess its a very different use of your time, it is a good opportunity to work on social media, websites, photos, new designs etc.
I do really enjoy meeting people, studio work can be very isolating but I'm not the sort of person who could gallery sit all week, I'm a maker and get frustrated if I'm separated from my workshop for any length of time. For something like this to work for me I would have to combine the shop front with a workshop, maybe separate it with glass (health and safety....) so people could see the tools involved and get an idea of the processes ( intricate work will have to happen after hours!) I would still want to teach workshops, say an evening a week, viewing the workshop may motivate people to sign up for one. I would also like to sell other people's work, not just jewellery, my other passions are printmaking and ceramics...
All of this requires a lot of thought regarding opening times, I don't think I could be open as often or as long as other shops if I wanted to create my own work as well, hence other artists work.
It could be interesting to have a co operative with other artists, shop sitting time could be shared, plus ideas, rent and ... stress! A pop up shop could serve as a nice little taster for a bigger venture.
I hope this has been interesting and or helpful.... I'm sure there was more I wanted to say........