We’ve just completed a nine day period of “Open Studio” as part of the Towy Valley Open Studios. As new members of the group we didn’t know what to expect or whether we’d do it again next year.
A London craft fair we did years ago carried the by-line “Find it. Love it. Buy it.” I thought that summed up pretty well the thrill of buying; the consumer addiction which we’re all touched by. And as an exhibiter, the perception of success or failure can sometimes be reduced to a single figure of total sales.
All the public events we do are a series of meetings, conversations, impressions etc. which can’t be quantified and I felt that particularly strongly during the Open Studios. I asked lots of our visitor about their experiences at other studios and realised it was still about “Find it. Love it, perhaps buy it, but “it” was also many things that money can’t buy.
The first “it” to find was the studio; providing an opportunity for a treasure hunt following numbered yellow arrows around our picturesque countryside – an excuse to explore narrow lanes and private tracks. I heard of a studio in the most amazing setting with stunning views; I heard of a maker who is “a total Sweetie”. Many of our visitors delighted me with compliments for our garden; many watched James throwing and learned about our making processes; some felt warm pots as we unpacked a kiln. We met new neighbours and potential friends. People came for many different reasons and it was lovely to meet all of them.
If you’re one of them, thank you (and I think we will do it again next year).