Shirley Smith - Jeweller
'For the past couple of years I have been one of the many makers who sell their work on the Hereford Arts Markets. Although the majority of my business continues to involve selling through galleries and trade shows, being a part of the market has proved to have uses that often extend beyond the sales made ‘on the day’.
The passing trade of a market brings a constant flow of customers. Many have not seen my work before. Others have bought from me in the past. Like many other makers I tend to spend my working days in the isolation of my workshop so the feedback given by both sets of customers is invaluable. I now often trial out sample pieces on the market to see the reaction before developing new ranges. Similarly requests for additional pieces and commissions allows me to identify and fill any gaps in current collections.
The face-to-face contact with customers also allows me to promote my local, regional and sometimes national outlets. Although some customers already know my work and have bought it from galleries, others have not and are sometimes unaware of their existence. As gallery sales are vital to my business this promotional opportunity is invaluable.
By tradition, a market is a place to find a good deal!! End of lines, experimental pieces and slight seconds on sale at reduced prices are always popular with the bargain hunters and allow me to clear out older work from my stock box on a regular basis.
Finally, the online Arts Market shop has also had a part to play in expanding my business. An internet search for a square ring bought me my first international enquiry and a resulting sale to a customer in America!!'
To find out more about Shirley and her work please visit www.shirleysmithjewellery.co.uk
Stuart Houghton - Potter
I started potting again five years ago after training at Art College in the 1960's and spending the next thirty five years in the Giftware industry.
Most artists with a passion for making work on their own and I'm no exception, setting up my studio in Little Marcle in 2006.
Working alone can be quite daunting, often finding the huge broad range of skills needed to market your work and administer your business quite challenging.
My first public showing was when I opened my studio for Herefordshire Art Week closely followed by a stand at the Contemporary Craft Fair, where I was awarded the Newcomers Prize....at the age of sixty this gave me a great boost.
The Arts Team at the Council have been very encouraging and are very aware of the marketplace...only last week I delivered an order of pots to a Gallery who found my work on the Herefordshire Contemporary Craft Fair website.
I work in Herefordshire and I sell in Herefordshire, and as I write this article I'm preparing to open my studio for the Herefordshire Art Week Pre Christmas Open Weekend.
The Creative Arts in Herefordshire is alive and well.
Artists and craftspeople need access to new markets, including Galleries and the Public, and for me the Arts Team at Hereford have made a huge contribution to promoting my work.
by Stuart Houghton