Welcome to the Gallery

Imagine is set in the Suffolk village of Long Melford.
This is an attempt to record the daily trials, tribulation and pleasure of running an art gallery.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Too many thing happen that aren't worth recording, and then too much happens in too short a space of time that I'm not sure what to write about, and when I do I wished I had recorded different events.
For me, it is a case of once a day has passed any events are history in my mind.
However, I must mention what has taken up the last few days.

I travelled far north to visit Jim Malone [the potter], this was a visit that I had to make but was also looking forward to as it coincided with a large ceramic fair which is held near Penrith.
I always enjoy this trip as it necessitates visiting and staying at my favourite pub
'The Green Dragon', in North Yorkshire.
Of course I don't have to stay there but it is good to break the journey, and I can't think of a
more pleasant "old fashioned" place to stay.
I did stay overnight but the following morning I travelled further north, and after a short stop at Jim's I travelled back south for twenty miles to Penrith to visit the ceramic fair.
I usually go each year, but wouldn't have bothered this year as the last two events have just featured the same ceramic artists showing the "same old, same old".
I had started to wonder how long this could go on for, but this year was a complete change.
It was full of many new potters and sculptors from around the world, and the quality of work on display was first class.
I was so pleased that I made the visit.
There were many people that I wanted to talk to and lots of different ceramics that I would have love to have left with, but even with a full day there wasn't enough time.
Most of the day disappeared talking with old friends so I had to restrict my choices.
Whose work did I really want to depart with?
I had to concentrate on forging a relationship with them.
Well actually "them" was one person.
She was Novie Trump, an artist from Washington who had come over for the event.
For me her work shone out like a beacon.
Unfortunately I have only been able to find one image to show you, but tomorrow when further pieces [that go with what I have] arrive I will photograph them and show the World.
I wasn't sure how to approach her because as usual when I like someones work I become very shy, in fact I am a very shy person but I fight against it when I fall in love with art.
This time it was made easy because her friend [and mine] and fellow American
Ruthanne Tudball [the potter] grabbed me by the arm, pulled me over to Novie and said
" Novie Trump this is John Foley and he owns a gallery and he loves your ceramics".

Well that saved me about half an hour of small talk so my opening words were
"I wonder if you would consider allowing me to try your work on consignment"?

"Oh thank you, you have made my day".
Wow! As it turned out we had made each others day, I loved her art and she loved the artists that we show, so as a result I left the show with some of the most unusual, different and beautiful objects that you have ever seen.
They are hard to describe and are made up from different elements, some of these being glass bottles which sit inside the sculptures.
Novie explained to me that usually she engraves the bottles with lettering and asked would I like her to engrave them and send them on to me.
Of course I have to have the finished piece as she imagined it, so when these extra objects arrive I will be able to display the finished pieces.
I can't wait.

Apart from visiting the fair the trip was good for me in lots of ways.
We have a lot going on at home at the moment and coupled with lots of things happening at the gallery I rarely have time to think further ahead than the next email that needs to be sent, phone call to make, advertisement or invitation to design, object to package or customer to deal with.
It is dealing with visitors [if they purchase or not] that is one of the best parts of each day,
but at times dealing with other "stuff" spoils this.
The result of this is that I can't ever see further than a few hours ahead each day, so having a
long journey provides me with time to think, about the "bigger picture" and more importantly
what is happening at home.
I felt much more contented after a days driving, but more was to come.
I had decided to stop overnight and sleep beside Ullswater in the Lake District.
Not in a hotel or pub, but in the back of my hired van.

Although I didn't sleep for long it was one of the best hotels that I have stayed at.
I found my own little private beach where I set up my stove and cooked a delicious meal of
rice and beans.
It made me feel young [what was in those beans] and took me back to more tranquil times.
I ate my meal, washed my pots in the lake, then sat with a can of beer and thought of home.

It was good for me. If I had a computer with me I could have done at least six posts.
They would have all been too personal, but the nice thoughts remain in my mind.
I dozed of to sleep on the banks of the lake, the mountains reflected darkly upon the water
disturbed every now and then by a Trout rising to catch mosquitoes, competing with the Bats that skimmed the surface of the water.
Eventually I climbed into my bed within the van and tried to sleep.

Breakfast and bath time.

Beans for breakfast, and bath?
Well, look at the picture and you will see my bath tub. I have seen worst bathrooms.

Then it was off across the Northern Pennines to Newcastle to visit Karen, but I think that's another tale.
So here above [in reverse order] are the pictures of one piece by Novie, my bedside scene,
my bathroom in the morning, a very lucky man catching his own breakfast as I left the lake,
plus a small cottage I passed high up in the Pennines, to the left were views to the Scottish mountains.
I feel a little better for it all.


  1. John, I'm sorry that we didn't get to do more than say hello at Penrith, but I too have a shy streak and was taken off my guard by being identified because of my blog without actually having met! It happened two other times last weekend and it will take some getting used to. I too visited Ulswater and later Blackwell House on Windemere. Stunning places both.
    Your gallery must be fantastic...I hope I can visit one day. Great writing, too...I'll be eagerly following!

  2. It was nice to say hello, and to find how young you look.
    You made me feel like a very old man, it was also lovely to put a face
    [physical] to the pots that I look at and admire.
    I hope you enjoyed your stay here. It's strange I have never visited Windemere, I think that it is a bit like us all that we never visit what is on our doorstep but when on holiday we go everywhere.

    I do hope to say more than just "hello" one day.

    Best Wishes