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.

Friday 9 October 2015

I have a lot of catching up to do.
Since last I wrote we have opened then finished one exhibition, we have another drawing to a close
and when that comes to a finish we have another that is approaching all too quickly.
This all interspersed with the frequent arrivals of beautiful pieces of non exhibition work
Is it possible that I maybe I have planned more than I can cope with?

No, of course not, a good dose of stress is good for you
[in moderation].

So I will do a few quick catch up posts in the attempt to bring you up to date on what has passed.
This is going to frustrate me as I just want to talk about what is happening today.
I will do that tomorrow
[or the day after or the next.........]

The Ceramics of Maureen Minchin

That is the exhibition that has passed, and although I shouldn't say it I am glad it is over.
Without a doubt it takes the prize for being the most stressful [on many levels]
exhibition we have held.
Of course it was a great success because it was Maureen Minchin.
A ceramist who has become one of the most collected potters in the UK, this is because she has worked
for many years to make this happen.
From her early days as an East Anglian potter, selling to the local population at giveaway prices she is now very sought after by galleries around the country.
All of them anticipating quick "sell out" exhibitions on their own terms.

Indeed they have created a culture of numbered "tickets" and number of pieces allowed per person.
This in turn has created queues and individuals bringing disinterested friends who will queue with them
just so that they can increase there allocation of ceramics.
We opted to go against this and to treat it as a normal exhibition, it just didn't seem fair that we should
have say to a customer who perhaps attends all of our events "sorry because you are number 25 there will be nothing left for you, but please come to our next exhibition".

I'm sure many people will think that I was wrong, but that's OK they can go and open their own gallery.

Personally, I would never attend an exhibition in the knowledge that if I wasn't there hours
before the opening then perhaps I would be only left with the second best.
I feel that if you are there on time at the opening then it should be equal opportunity.
It certainly never takes me long to spot the piece that is special to me.

So, yes of course we did have people outside hours before the opening, but when the door was opened
for us it was business as usual!

Unfortunately it wasn't, interest and politeness vanished.
There was pushing shoving, lots of shouting and even more rudeness
including many comments about myself.

Of course this was from the minority the keen "collectors"?
Those who purchase quantity not quality.
It was not an enjoyable experience.
In fact when Maureen arrived she was almost ignored, I'm sure that some people thought she was just another "punter" who might purchase a piece before they did.

As the afternoon passed more people arrived who had a genuine interest in Maureen and her work,
And of course they were still able to find a piece to cherish, more importantly
they had the pleasure of talking with Maureen at length.
In fact many long time collectors came just to talk with her, they didn't need to purchase as they already have a full collection of her work.
This was when the day became more relaxed and enjoyable.

In fact the majority of the major pieces sold over the next two days so why the big panic at the start
I just don't know.

The day finished as a great success but it had not been enjoyable.
The ceramics were wonderful but not the experience.
Still we both have time to ponder on the future as she only shows with a handful of galleries 
who are on a rota for exhibitions.
So in five years time who knows?

At least I have another piece for my own small collection
What's more
I didn't need a ticket number to purchase it.


  1. what a strange world this 21st C is...

  2. Hi Mo

    I just think some people [not all] buying just because her work increases in value year by year, and there is a large market "second" for it.
    I often quote the lyrics of the song 'Art for Art Sake' by the group 10cc

    "Art for arts sake
    money for Gods sake, gimme the cash......"

    I often feel that I am alone in showing
    'Art for arts sake'.
    Perhaps I should concentrate on the rest of the song.

    Best Wishes