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Open Studio Successes and Lessons

Open Studio Sale 2010

As you may know I held my first open studio and sale this past weekend.  It was a lot of fun and a good experience.   I definitely learned a few things, but I still have questions, actually the list of questions may have grown longer than it was before the sale.
I had pottery displayed in my tent, studio and kiln room.  This made closing up shop at night easier because everything that was in a building was safe and sound under a roof and behind a locked door.  The pots in my tent were boxed up at night for safety from the elements but the pottery in the studio actually received very little attention.  People were more interested in looking at the wheel and other equipment.  I had decorative pieces in there, naked raku, horse hair and porcelain.  These are not big sellers right now due to the economy so that may have been the issue too.  The shelves in the kiln room worked very well for a display, I'll be doing that again without a doubt.  Another thing I learned was that I need much better lighting in the tent, at least for this time of year.  I'd love to know if anyone has some good ideas for tent lighting.  Thankfully, I have electricity very close to the tent so that wouldn't be an issue.
I served some spiced cider that smelled as good as it tasted, I drank most of it so I wonder if I should continue that practice or not.  I also had homemade cookies, brownies & some veggie chips out.  Again, I ate most of them, very few customers did.  I think the lack of a party type atmosphere made the snacks less appealing because they were totally delicious.  I wonder if I should continue to offer them at my next studio sale or just skip it.  It does seem nice to have something to offer but it is also a waste if left untouched.  What do you think?
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Comments

  1. I am so proud that you hosted your first open studio and sale! Have you set the date for your next sales? Start spreading the word.

    Open studios are very important. They allow your collectors and buyers to actually see how you work. It makes your pottery more valuable to them when they know how you sit at your wheel, and what your tools and kiln and workspace look like.

    You've woven a strong cord into the relationship tapestry between you and each visitor this past weekend. Keep weaving the relationship tapestry with ebroadcasts, and social media posts.

    However you present your open studio, it MUST BE your own style. Visit as many open studios as you can in the next few weeks. See what others do... how they engage their visitors. Then choose whatever makes you the star of your studio.

    Build on this open studio and sale. The next one will be more fun, then the next one after that will be even better. Opening your studio enhance your artistic persona like nothing else can.

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  2. Camille, thank you for your kind words and enthusiasm. I don't have dates for my next open studio set just yet but I am considering doing something just before Valentine's day and/or in the summer. I'll keep you posted via this blog & facebook.
    I need to talk with you about Georgia Made Georgia Grown (but we can do that off the blog) it seems like an organization that shares my beliefs and that I should team.

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  3. We auctioned off my parent things. The auctioneers, a family business, told me that if you don't have something to snack on, it's hard to keep folks there for very long.

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  4. re: snacks, I always eat the brownies at open studio tours and I drink the cider, but then I LOVE food! Strange that no one was into that, too bad I wasn't there:)
    re: lighting: a friend of mine has a track light that she can attach to her tent and then she runs a drop cord down the side, It is a track that has a plug on the end. I like to string colored Christmas lights in mine any time of year, makes it fun. There are always those cheap silver dome lights you can get at the hardware store and they just clip right on. Lots of options.... your studio looks adorable!

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  5. All the open studios I've gone to have at least light refreshments, I don't always eat the food but Gary does for sure. Most I've been to folks are always eating. Did you have chairs for folks to sit down at? Sometimes that encourages folks to stay longer. Rope lights look nice under a tent, but don't put out much light.

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  6. I just looked at the photo of your studio, it looks very inviting, wish I could have been there.

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  7. Tracey, I like the track lights idea. I used Christmas lights & rope lights. Although they did look nice they didn't ad too much light to see by.
    Linda, chairs might have been a great idea but I wonder if it would have hindered shopping as it encouraged visiting. I can try it next time.
    Thank you both for the complements on the studio.

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