On Saturday I attended my first ever market as a seller.
It was a "suitcase market", at the local art gallery. When I was in highschool, I'd walk to the gallery and just wonder around, smirk at the paintings, thunder up and down the stairs. My best friend came with me most of the times and it was, really, just a way for us to fill our Saturdays.
The ceramic course I did a couple of years later was filled with members of the art group that met at the library - Friends of the Gallery. I have always wanted to get into something like, a group, or something, anything - anything to just do something with my scribbling. But I don't know. It has always been a private amusement, my drawing. A way to express ideas, half-formed stories and people. My etsy is the first time I've ever been... proactive about the things I can do, and even then that's still sort of safe; I can quietly, happily plod along in my tiny corner of the internet and never really get a instant reaction to what I can do.
When I saw the suitcase market advert on the Gallery website, I just... wanted to do it. It was at the Gallery, where selling art wouldn't seem so stupid in comparison to spare car parts and dirt-cheap books; My weekends are quiet, and it would be a fun day outside of the house; I'd seen pictures of the suitcase rummage in Brisbane and it all looked very trendy, and you know, if everyone jumped off a bridge...
There was also the added bonuses of:
a) I didn't have to set up a table, or have the stock to fill it. A small suitcase (or picnic basket in my case, which I found at St. Vinnie's for $3) would look nice, with the right props.
and b) It was only $5 a spot.
I rang the following lunchtime and managed to get the last spot, apparently. Not bad considering this was three days before the actual event. ;)
On Friday, Dad and I went out and got all the little things I needed; a suitcase, for one (the aforementioned picnic basket); something to drape/line it with, which I got in the form of a couple of pretty pillowcases; a small glass jar and lastly, some flowers, to brighten and soften the entire look.
That night I stayed up 'til 2 a.m., watching the Rocky Horror Picture Show and putting the finishing touches on everything: cutting and sizing the prints (which takes longer than you'd think), embellishing the wrapping, making the paper bunting flags (from pretty wrapping paper I had and doilies). Then there was finishing a painting, which was silly of me, but I really wanted it there.
The end result looked something like this:
|A close-up! Moira up the front went to a new home, as did my only copy of The Rose Swing. :)|
The set-up time was 7:30; I arrived at like, 7:53. I was so worried and tight that morning, trying to eat the breakfast Dad had made; my lack of sleep didn't help either, but that was my own fault. Now, I'm not entirely sure what I was so frightened of. That everyone would be Big Serious Artistes, I suppose. People who had done proper markets, who knew what kind of change/float you needed, who had more impressive things. And everyone's things really were beautiful, and eclectic; vintage wares, sew bunnies, carefully made jewellery. Movie memorabilia with a V mask. Bunting flags, which I love more than anything. It didn't help, being late; everyone had set up in full regalia, and there I was, some overgrown kid with a round face, carrying this tiny wicker case and a jar of flowers. When I was directed upstairs the first thing that anyone said to me was, "That's a little suitcase, isn't it?" which made me awkward, though I managed to get out that small was what I wanted.
The co-ordinator seemed a little surprised, too; again, I suppose coming late didn't help. I was really self-conscious by this point, and meekly set up in the corner I was put in.
The gratitfing part was peoples reactions, though, after I pulled everything out. The co-ordinator came along and after cooing over my display, moved me to the brick wall, which I liked very much - I could sit in the alcove of the side door, and have my suitcase in it's bright little corner. As this corner was by one of the side steps, one of the first things people saw was my little set up, and I got a lot of charmed smiles, more cooing. The funniest thing were the kids, the little ones that liked the bright colours.
I didn't really loosen up until about an hour and half, maybe two hours in. And whenever someone directly complimented the prints, my thank-yous came out in this awful, horrible whisper that makes me sound five. I had bought Frankie along, to read; that got a couple of comments too, hahaha, but it's an effective trick for looking busy. It was a little lonely where I was; the couple with me had this neat set-up of bric-a-brac and handmade things, and where very popular. They were also clever enough to prop up their suitcases to a better height for people too look in. A trick I might adopt, if there's another one. I ended up talking with them a little, though like I said they were very popular, and had evidently done things like this a lot; they knew a lot of people, and were always talking with someone. I bought a little glass perfume bottle, though, which I love. Then after that I spilt chai tea on a wooden display as I was talking to the husband about how often they do these things, which was embarrassing with me trying to wipe it, but the gentleman didn't seem to care.
Do I think I would have talked more to others, had I set up somewhere else? Maybe. I must of looked like one of those stall holders that I always feel sorry for, the bored ones that sit alone. But Frankie was with me, at least. I spent the first hour and a half solid just reading. Slowly. We got very well acquainted indeed (ha!). And when I got a little more sure of myself, I went walkabout, talked with a few people, met some lovely ladies.
Did I mention I had chai tea? It smelt amazing, and felt amazing to hold, though it turns out I'm not much of a tea fan without copious amounts of sugar. There were the poppyseed & orange muffins, which were amazing. It was weather for hot tea and muffins, that was sure. My dad ended up returning like, an hour after dropping me off, to give me my coat and even then I ended up just hugging myself (later on, my cough/flu got worse and I still really haven't shaken it, though now I have a very impressive rattling cough).
Strangely, if people had one question it was: "Do you do these yourself, do you copy them from another picture?" which was funny. People also seemed to think I was selling cards, too; next time, though, I know what to do, what signs I should have, so all that was good for the learning curve.
I did have fun though. It was quiet excitement, really - excitement I was doing something like this. Being trendy. And though I was torn between being unsure I would sell anything, and hoping like hell everything would go, I was so, so pleased when I sold!
Two prints, to two different people; a younger women, like me, who looked then came back to buy The Rose Swing. And then an older lady who seemed charmed; she bought Only A Dream.
It was so satisfying, seeing them go. Selling online, you never get that, the face-to-face interaction that shows you what you're doing right.
I'm excited to do another one, now I know what I need.