It is hard to believe that our doors will close for the winter on Monday 31 May. The last six months have gone by so fast! I am happy to report that it has been a wonderful first season. We took a gamble that people would find us and they did. The friends we had already made at the Post Office, Garden Club and Yoga class came to lend us support in our opening weeks. Over the season, we have got to know many more of our neigbours from the village and surrounding area, and their visiting relatives and friends.
Fellow gallery owners called in from the Regional Gallery and Spiral Gallery in Bega, Narek Galleries in Tanja, The Crossing in Candelo and Bangles in Cobargo, and we had visits from other members of the thriving art and craft community here on the far south coast. Tourists and holiday makers came to view the exhibition, hearing about us from our advertising material, or by word-of-mouth or referral from other galleries. Travellers saw our sign on the highway and turned off, not quite sure what they would find at the end of the road. And a small but gratifying number of fans came to the region especially to visit us.
We were surprised and delighted by the number of potters who called in and shared their knowledge with us. These included Lisa Baier, Pru Baker, Margaret Brown, Jennifer Collier, Jane Crick, Janet De Boos (with a professor and 20 visiting students from Korea), Trisha Dean, Merran Essan, Janna Ferris, Simone Fraser, Jackie Gasson, Roger Graham, Wendy Jagger, Stefan Jakob, Kay Jensen, Ian Jones, Jan Kruizinga, Jacqueline Lewis, Monica Leone, Moirag McKenna, Helen Martin, Jenny Mein, Mike Moore, John Payne, Tim Moorhead, Petra Murphy, Anneke Paijmans, Maxine Price, Ben Richardson, Sergei Shatrov, Rominy Taylor, Bernd Weise, Lou Whiting and Joan Wilkinson (from Kalaru).
I am not sure why we hadn’t previously considered potters as a large part of our market. They said that they liked what we had to offer because:
- Few private collectors make their collections publicly accessible and very few make them available for sale.
- It would be hard to find as eclectic a mix in one location, with older and newer works, production ware and exhibition pieces.
- Young potters have very little knowledge of the history of Australian ceramics, or the early work of current masters.
- It is hard for students to visualise through pictures in books the different ways in which clay can be formed and surfaces decorated.
- For older potters, the collection brings back memories and introduces them to work they might not have had the opportunity to see when it first entered the market.
- Because of the number of unknown potters in the collection, the back room is a treasure trove of possible finds.
We haven’t attracted a lot of drop-in trade, and we are quite pleased about this. People coming in off the highway without knowing about us tend to expect a pottery, not a gallery/museum, and can be disappointed at what they find. We are not very good at producing six matching bowls (unless by Ian Sprague at $45 each). Nevertheless, we have sold over $20,000 worth of stock in our first season, either directly from the gallery, or via eBay or the online shop.
May has been a particularly slow month, confirming that there is not a lot of advantage in staying open through the winter, except by appointment. Many of the galleries here close during the winter months, and this will give us time to change the exhibition. We already have plans for the new exhibition, which will open on Friday 3 September.