Art Trail 2014

The website for Crag and this years Art trail is up and running. There are plenty of things to fix, add, and improve, but the basics are organised.
If you follow the link it takes you straight to the Exhibition page.
I have noticed a few issues using my iPad but on mum’s laptop it was fine.
There is an old picture of mum there, and in the open studios section I will also be with mum.
More information as and when I get it.

Link to Crag page

Jen

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New themes..

Simply put.
This blog got its new theme last week.
My work space is getting a new theme of Clean this week.

I’ve tidied up, but just like when you move house, I’m at the part where all the fiddly annoying things are. I need to just bite the bullet and get on with it. I’ve taken photos of some old but new pieces, and I desperately have to do something about my website.
I’m still tossing up how I work it.
Is it a gallery? Is it a shop?

The website is clean and as minimalist if as possible. Just needs a revamp.
Time to get moving, catch you all on the other side.
Jen ๐Ÿ™‚

(Nature) Postcards from Marcato Designs

It’s blog post overload today. Sometimes I’m on a roll. A friend has asked if I would be interested in having some of my photos as postcards to sell in her post office to the tourists that come through. Now this is not the first time that someone has suggested me using my pictures for monetary gain. And now this has come up I am seriously thinking about it. First up it was getting them on canvas and selling large versions. I’m not in that frame just yet, but I think I can manage postcards.
The idea is, for my friend, to get pictures of our village, ones that are quintessentially Woodbridge, so she can sell them.

Off to vista print I will go and see what their prices are and how I can go about it. Before I even take any pictures I will be sussing out the price.
Will it be worth it for my friend. While I am there I will be sussing out the option of getting a collection of my favourite pictures and having them made up to sell on my website and at markets.

Just out of curiosity – while I go and do some research – head over to my photographic blog and check out some of the nature and scenery pictures and let me know what you think.
Which ones would you like as a postcard, or just as the picture?

~update~ How much would you pay for a photo postcard (with envelope) if you knew the seller had taken it, in both standard and oversize sizes.

Box of Photos Blog

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Thanks in advance
Jen ๐Ÿ™‚

It was a green night for market preparation.

I’m not very happy. Last night I typed up this great post and send it to publish, and it disappeared. Obviously I pressed the wrong button, but it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. It was well written and beautiful. Now I just have to try and recreate it.

I had been having a wonderfully productive day and my night was set with making a couple of things. Then I was interrupted, twice. Now while they were good interruptions, it still puts you out of kilt and knocks the oomph out of the flow. Ah well. It is what it is.

The first make was a remake, this one was simply the beaded dangle on the ribbon ends, which was a choker length. I’m not liking the pale green ribbon, but everyone likes different things and it matches the beads. I simply added chain to be end of the ribbon and the centre bead . Much better and prettier.

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The other was some green wooden pendants that I matched with fine silver flowers. Adding the black chain and a left over piece of ribbon that matched perfectly and a simple asymmetrical necklace is made. I love the deep colour of the green that sits nicely with the silver and black.

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I spent part of the afternoon packing my boxes for the market this weekend. Re-sorting my jewellery and taking a good collection. I will be taking my smaller table for extra display space, so I had to sort through all my props and figure out what I want to do. Then I jumped on eBay to look for more large twine busts. Woah, expensive, which I knew, but still. I want at least 3 more.

The new market has their own Facebook page, and from the looks of it they like to take pictures and show everyone off. As I do with my market FB page. It’s going to be a little scary being on the other side of the camera, but I’m a believer of the adage that any publicity is good publicity. I’ll try not to shut my eyes or pull silly faces (not on purpose mind you, it just happens).

I’m hoping to get a few more things made tonight. I’m thinking a pre website special is coming up very soon.
Have a beady weekend ๐Ÿ™‚
Jen

Your area, room, studio…

Do you have a Crafty space, or crafty filled-to-the-brim-with-stuff.
Mine is often torn between the two. I have never been that good at keeping things tidy all the time, but there comes a moment where if I don’t clean up, then I’ll get lost and no one will find me again. I’m at that moment about now.
I love my crafty area. It is a large space, and while I have to share it with ‘the house’ it’s not too bad. I just need to find the right balance of where everything goes. Once I’m happy with placement I generally leave it alone. It’s finding that placement to start with. And then hoping the mess doesn’t creep up too quickly.
I had a few things to do, and it’s been a hectic week with not quite enough time to get started. I was still packing my boxes for market on the Saturday before I went in to set up. Which is unlike me. Friday night I usually have it done as Saturdays here are busy enough. Hubby being home helped a little, gave me those precious extra minutes to play with.

Today’s job of tidying up was not just my mess, but house mess, and sorting paperwork, plus I wanted to set up my table to allow for a smaller one with the new market. I always do a mock set up when going to a new place if the tables or arrangements are different. Helps me have some semblance of control when the time comes for real.
I got my table sorted and took pictures – although now I’ve done that I probably won’t need them for memory jogging, but better safe than sorry, and late setting up, frustrated and cranky.

I still have a way to go, but my desk is now tidy enough to start making again. A few papers to put away, more items to upload to the website and a small order to place. There is my sewing able to sort out yet, and the all my spare props. I have so many. Maybe I should try to utilise them in my new layout – and not have too many boxes to lug about. I am a stickler not wanting to have too many boxes, I like to keep them to a minimum when filling the car (especially for when the boys go out while I am at market).

Does your crafty room get super messy, or are you a neat crafter and pack things away regularly? I tried that, but it didn’t last very long. It’s just not me.

I’m going to be taking a break from the bags & canvas – well I already have really, it’s been so long since I made anything – but I want to concentrate on my jewellery and get it moving. I have a few ideas for some new Wraptures, and my new asymmetrical necklaces are getting many good responses.
I will get back into it at a later stage.

School holidays are coming, actually, tomorrow, so I will be busier than ever. Running the kids around, a weekend away with hubby and trying to get things done elsewhere.
It’s a never ending job.
image My table layout for the new market. Using all but two of the boxes I use now. I saw an ad in the local paper about the market and as I was under the assumption it was only starting in May I was surprised to see it. He must be looking for more people. I’m thinking I’ll make the trip on Sunday to check it out and see what it’s about. And be able to make a decision on whether I take my small table with a few extra pieces or not. I’ll try and get pictures to show. I also heard the organiser has done things like The Taste of the Huon (a super awesome food festival) so we figure he knows what to do marketing wise.

Keep beady, ๐Ÿ™‚
Jennifer

Photographs and website upload

After a weird and busy week I am now at the point where I will be getting everything, and I mean everything, uploaded onto the website.
I have just spent an hour or so going through all the jewellery and sorting it onto the table, then matching it with pictures and putting it away. What is left on the table needs to be photographed. Simple. But there is an awful lot. This would be because I haven’t taken pictures of earrings or bracelets when I usually take them to market only.

And then there is more confusion as I have so many folders of pictures. Once the website is done, a few new things made and the market over and done with, I will be going through all my albums and properly sorting them out. Deleting and moving as required.
This computer work is a pain but a necessary evil I must put up with.

I will also – in addition to the website – putting all my items up here (as a post) with the Price list page reflecting each item. This way if there is anything you would like, you can easily see if it has been sold and if not, click straight through to the website for purchase. A I make one of each item, I cannot make an exact match, but if you would like something similar I will endeavour to do so. Ay items that have multiples will be mentioned (eg: 2 and when sold, 1/2 Sold, then Sold Out).

I’ll leave you with a gratuitous picture because I can and I like adding pictures to my posts.
Have a great day. ๐Ÿ™‚

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thinking, working, making time

I’m in a bit of a muddle at the moment with four blogs, two fb pages and my markets and website to upkeep. And that’s without even thinking about the family side of things. While being able to multi task and be busy with many things, I do tend to be a bit of a one track mind and some things get left by the wayside til it’s desperate to fix them. That’s where I am now, oops.

I will be taking some time off to get everything sorted. All my picture files and what I do and don’t have have on hand, getting the website loaded so I can hide and show items on a rotating basis to allow for markets and keeping all sites fresh.
Fixing up the pages here with pictures of my market evolution, a price list page. I will be getting back into the UFO box as well as a basket of necklaces that are ready to be undone and re made into new items. Sure they’re still nice, but they are old and haven’t sold, so the beads get a new lease on life.

I will be posting things here on and off so please don’t stray too far.
Thanks for your consideration, ๐Ÿ™‚
Jennifer

Simple felt beads necklace

Two weeks ago at the last market I found some gorgeous felted balls which just screamed out for me to buy and make into something. They were sold incredibly cheaply, 10 for $5 I think it was. I had an immediate idea in mind and it has taken me this long to do anything about it.
Thankfully the idea worked.
Please excuse the crappy pictures, it is night here so only ‘fake’ light is available (as compared with natural light…) which means more shadows.

If the lady has returned I will definitely be buying some more.
Strung simply on cotton or linked with wrapped loops and then added to chain makes a very simple and effective necklace. The chains are currently quite long, I will be taking some clasps and jump rings so if anyone wants it shorter I can fix it on the spot.
Selling these for $15 and $20

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The next market is this Sunday, 2 days before Christmas!! so we’re hoping for a boomer – combining the hot weather predicted and the usual last minute rush for presents.

Jennifer ๐Ÿ™‚

More advertising… Kind of.

What’s that old adage ‘any publicity is good publicity’ Well that’s the path I’m following on this one. Like hubby said, it does no good for my business at all, but I said the above and that it may not be all bad. Aside from being a realist, I’m also pretty positive about, well, pretty well everything. Cynicysm or negativity are not traits that come out of me very often. In fact I surprise myself when they do.

What’s all this about?
At the last market in Woodbridge a journo came form the local paper to do an article for this week’s publication and in time for the market this weekend.

Photos taken, names recorded, or so I thought, and off he went.

It came out today, and I flicked through it with wild abandon eargerly looking for the article. There it was, facing page, and in colour, you don’t miss it. And what is that caption?? My friend’s name under my picture. Geez, really. I even gave him my card. Is it that hard to get it right? Apparently. Now, without blowing my trumpet too much, people still have a reaction to the name Jennifer Hawkins. And having that there would have made more of an impact. But you can’t win them all. I sent an email letting them know of their mistake, I am yet to hear back.
The caption does state that my jewellery is perfect for Christmas gifts, so my thoughts that any publicity is good may just pay off.

I am a little disappointed that the link to the blog and FB page was not included, it would have had people looking and wanting to participate. Granted there is not much there currently, but until I either have more control or it picks up, I can only publish what I have access to.

Here’s hoping the weekend is a success (and sunny).

There is a website for the paper where you can read the paper online, but this week’s wasn’t available this morning. Here’s hoping that is fixed for anyone who wants to read it.
http://www.kingboroughchronicle.com.au. (Edit: I got it wrong and so did they. Where it says 4 November, it should be December, I was being blonde and didn’t process the mistake. It’s all there, read it and enjoy)

Jennifer-I’m-taking-all-the-publicity-I-can-get-Hawkins ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Market How-To

A market stall ‘how-to’. The basics. Utilising my experience and current markets as examples.
With each heading I have discussed how they can be used and how I do it.
Getting Started – Costs – Tables & Coverings – Display & Props – Time it – Product Wrapping – Photos – Storage & Transport – On the day

Getting started.
You’ve been busy with your craft and would like to start selling it. Family and friends can only be given so much after all.
But where do you start? First up visit lots of markets. Different markets are for different markets. (Or demographics) And you want to find the right one that fits your style of craft. While at each one be sure to take notes and pictures. Not just of the stalls that sell similar things to yours – this is important of course – but of the many ideas other products and displays on hand. You may be able to use something. If you’re up to it, ask stall holders where they got their props from – either if something interesting and different catches your eye, or they have a similar product – good stall holders will help you. The ones that don’t like to I find are the ones most insecure about their product and competition. ย People will remember those who helped, and if you are neighbours one day, you need to able to trust them in the case of loo break stall security.

Once you have a basic idea of what different stalls look like and how they’re set up you can start working on your own thoughts and plans.

Research, draw and shop.
Second hand shops can be a treasure trove of perfect and interesting display items. Many of my props are either sourced from my own things or second-hand. Some things need to be new though.

Cost
How much you spend on your market is your decision, and no one can change that. ย But the more you put in the better it will be, generally speaking. ย Slowly investing is a good way for those on a tighter budget. ย But what you have to think about is the cost of travelling to and from, how much float you’re going to need, the cost of stall (and insurance where applicable), what you are going to sell your product for, how many props you want/need/desire coz it looks awesome and will you be buying lunch or drinks while attending. Don’t forget, we all get market fever and quite often you’ll find other stall holders will buy your product… as no doubt you will want to wander and check out other stalls.
The ways to cost your products will differ with every person you talk to. Research it and find the best one for you. But importantly, keep it consistent.
Your float will again depend on your prices. My total has changed over the years, but I generally have more of the coin and small notes with several each of the larger ones.

Tables & Coverings.

One of the first things to organise are your tables – do you have to take your own or are they supplied, and more importantly the size. My craft tables I use at home are actually the same ones I used for my stall in Mt Isa, and are also a generic table that most market organisers/community halls have a supply of. In Australia I’ve noticed from friends’ market pics that we all use the same sort of table (180cm long and about 70cm wide) readily available from the hardware store for around the $50 mark, or the foldable version (this folds to make a square when transporting) for approx $10 more.

One of my tables – the one that never seems to be tidy…
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Once you have your table sorted, what sort of covering do you need?
Regardless of how much a business or hobbyist you are, seeing boxes and assorted crap under the table is unprofessional. A floor length cloth at the front (and sides if you want it to) is the neatest and best looking solution. The material is up to you, although consider that at the end of the day you may just want to scrunch it up into a bag or box – will it need ironing or can you just fold it up after. I use cotton sheets and try to fold them each time, unless its time to wash them, then it’s just stuffed into any spare space.

Tablecloth colour is up to you – your works will dictate how you lay out the table and colour schemes to use.
The best advice here – the less colours the better. A black or white base with no more than two highlight or contrast colours is best. Otherwise the display will take over from the product. Racks, stands, trees should all be kept in neutral colours so the product stands out.
Black and white are both well suited to jewellery although there are no hard and fast rules. Neutrals are decidedly better, so your jewellery will ‘pop’ and not fade into the table.
I use white cloths with a hot pink contrast – usually at the back over my risers. It is then half covered but still stands out. Pink being the colour of my business – cards, props, bags, tags. Even my little price cards and notices are white on a hot pink background.
My latest market table. ย I am really happy with this layout – my new girls and the basket at this end.
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Display & Props
You’ve been to markets, done your research and have some ideas of what you want. Here are some more for you.
Mirrors. A must if you have anything that people will want to try on. On the table is fine if there is room, as they help to add light and attract visitors. If you can’t or don’t want it on the table, have it handy for when needed. I have seen the odd stall with a full length mirror next to it. In that instance it would have been better placed with the stall in the corner and the mirror away from the traffic.

Using the front of the table. When having items hanging from the front of the table, I have noticed that many people just do not see them, and others cannot see them when there are more than a few around your table. So probably not always suitable. Leave the front looking clean and neat. If you get a banner it can be good on the table, or on the wall if you have that sort of space. In a gazebo, it can easily hung on any of the walls.

The height of your display is personal, but remember that everyone – even short people – will want to be able to reach and touch items. Height is good as it allows for space at the front and base of the stand to be utilised in other ways, and customers strolling will be able to see your stall even when there are people milling around. A good rule to follow though, is to have the taller items/props on the ends and stagger the props lower towards the middle. At the very least you need to be able stand behind and see and be seen by your customers.

If you don’t want an overly high display, but also don’t want items flat on the table, risers can be a simple way of adding height without too much trouble. They can be as simple as Perspex stands (shop display shops are a good place to start) and the small containers your product was transported in (if applicable). My first risers were sturdy shoe boxes. Covered with white cloth no one ever knew the difference but they worked perfectly. I still use a couple of small boxes, but I also have Perspex risers, and that plank of wood I bought the other day… Yep, two small containers to hold it up, and it is a continuous length of riser. No worrying about the gaps in between boxes or uneven heights causing busts to fall over. Plus it has made for less things to bring. The containers carry jewellery and the plank is flat so fits anywhere in the car.

You have all your props and are ready to head out. Pull back, and wait a second.
How are you going to set it up. A mock-up prior to your first (or a new) market is the way to go. You want to make sure that everything is easy to reach, items won’t be getting knocked over, and from your place behind the table (this is the usual place for a seller to be) you need to be able to pass their bagged item arose the table without elbows tipping props and product. For this reason I always have a small bust or an empty space at the centre back of the display. And above all, it needs to look good.

Layout practice will help with the visuals and each market may be a trial and error adventure getting things just right. Don’t worry too much. It’ll all come together in the end.
If I am changing my layout or want to try something new it is easy enough to set up a mock display at home – using props only – to gauge suitability.

Time it.

When you are ready to have a practice setting up your table. Time it. Don’t dawdle. Most markets will allow approx 90mins max for set up before the ‘official’ start time. The markets I have done while in Queensland I utilised every minute of the hour I had, and sometimes was still going when people turned up. It was an outback town, so everyone was pretty laid back and no stresses occurred. It is not all bad news, but your table needs to be 90% done at least by opening time. Most markets in city areas need you to be fully set up and ready to go at start time. For me, if it takes longer than an hour to set up, I have too much stuff, or it’s too fussy. When you get into practice, an hour is a long time and you can get heaps done.

If at all possible, set up the day before. The two markets I attend allow for Saturday set up. I like this as it works well for my family commitments on said afternoon and I can relax a little more on market day itself. It also allows for any forgotten items to be brought along. Never leave your money at the stall, bring it with you on the day.
If I cannot set up the day before, I arrive with a good hour for set up. While I am practised, I like to make sure I can tweak things once I’m done. Pack up will be as quick as you need it to be. I can be packed and leaving in 20-25mins after market finishes.

Another time to remember is how long will it take to get there, the length of the market (I usually write off the day as I am stuffed by the time I’ve packed up and arrived home) and how long it takes to pack your car. Can you park close by or will you need to park/unload and then re park the car elsewhere. All these things take Time.

Product wrapping.
How you wrap your product is decided by your product – bags, boxes or both. But you need to bear in mind the space allocated for your stall and the ease of being able to wrap and package goods behind or on the table itself. (This is something I am still struggling with. Another small table would be perfect, but I try to make do with empty containers stacked next to me). I have yet to find my perfect solution, but I find customers rarely complain it takes too long to make sure their purchase is safe.
Having a logo or a brand identification is ideal for your overall look – bags and boxes – so people will recognise you at other venues, and can look out for you. Business cards are a must and can be relatively cheap to get printed. Just make sure that all spelling and numbers are correct before uploading. You want your wrapping to be easy, but also good enough for the product to be safe.

Photos.
Once you have set up your able I recommend taking a picture. What you do with it afterwards is your concern, but I find it vital to my set up, as I have often found a small ‘problem’ in the picture that I didn’t see while setting up. A picture will show you what it looks like from a customer’s point of view. It takes you out of the scene. You spend time setting up, and therefore may gloss over some things or not even see them in the bigger picture. A photo will make it stand out like the proverbial.
I keep most of my pictures, and I can look back at now I have evolved and my stall looks pretty good most of the time. Almost professional. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Storage & Transport
How many boxes to take? Well this depends on what you are selling and what sort of props are needed, the size of your vehicle, how strong you are and they have to be stored at home in between markets?
Having said that, I have more props than I can poke a stick at, and aside from the below list of containers there are three more stacked in the corner, a suitcase of bits and two more small baskets. Lucky I have the room (kind of) to store it all.
I have fine tuned my packing – many times over the years – but try to have no more than 3 plus my POS box (Point Of Sale, meaning anything to do with the table and sales. Cloths, business cards, cash tin, paper and pen, pliers & extra bits, small bags for earrings and tissue paper and tape…) This is always the same, and is usually the only one I don’t touch too much. Just top up or add to as required.

Too many boxes and you get tired just getting too and from the car especially at the end of the day. Will you be having help at the start and finish of your market? Great if your are, but you still want to be able to hide the containers, so less is better. I know a lady whose carry boxes are also part of her display. If you can do that, even better.

My other boxes are then dependant on what I choose to take. Jewellery, bags, canvas or a combination of all three. My passion is still jewellery so this is a big part of my boxes.
This is what I took to the market yesterday and will again take to this weeks’ market: (I have finished re packing since I started this post)
1 box, no lid with my new girls, other busts, wooden stand;
1 box with jewellery and smaller props like the earring stands;
the basket I had my canvases in (worked a treat and is easy to carry, store and pack in the car) and my POS box.
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and all ready to go on Sunday – I may take my baskets with the bags yet…
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On the day.
On the day things to take are my tote with camera, wallet phone and any extra items required plus my lunch bag with thermos and snacks. This bag from hubby’s work is perfect, small but big enough for my thermos, mug and everything else.

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The best things to take food wise, are those that don’t need to be hot – odds are when you want to eat, customers will appear – and are easy to nibble on. I usually take snagwhiches sandwiches, trail mix and small pieces of fruit. A water bottle is a must, and if you like a hot drink then a thermos is a good investment. I just bought one and by Christmas (5 markets) it’ll have paid for itself in coffee I haven’t needed to buy. Well, I am partial to a good cap so…. I think you get my drift here.
Above all, have fun! It’s as much about socialising and PR as it is about selling your product. Some days are good, some not so, don’t take a bad day to heart. It will take a few markets for people to get to know you. Don’t forget to smile and be enthusiastic about your product, after all, you are here because you love hat you do.

I hope you found this helpful and/informative. I have not added any links, as only you can search for things that are specific to your needs. Chances are, if you have been making things for any length of time, you will have seen numerous types of displays on the Internet while shopping for supplies, or in your local craft shop.

When all organised these things can run like a well oiled machine. My only spanner is hubby who is notorious for being late. If I’m ever late it’s because he had something to do with it…
Jennifer ๐Ÿ™‚