Friday, 23 March 2012

Promotional rummagings

I've been sorting through a lot of my old files and photos from when I first set up Ruth Gordon Jewellery in May 2004 and it has been a real eye opener! I have found a lot of newspaper clippings, gallery leaflets and promotional cards from my early exhibitions. Back then I kept everything! If something mentioned my name with regards to an exhibition I kept it, scanned it in and made four hard copies of it!

I haven't had a solo show in a few years now so who knows how I will react when it happens again!

The first time I was in a newspaper article I had no idea it was happening until my mum opened the paper that morning and saw my work pictured. It was in the Courier and Advertiser in Autumn 2006 and the article was promoting Braveart, an exhibition I had been chosen to participate in with some of my fellow Scottish Art College graduates.

I haven't been able to attend most of my exhbitions in person as it would be too far to travel but at more local shows I always made sure I was at the opening/preview evening and bought the local papers!

I was very impressed with the amount of coverage I got from the Crawford Arts Centre (Now Fife Contemporary Art and Craft). I was in the visitors guide, had a showcase exhibition, I was featured on leaflets. I even cut out the listing in Artworks! I like I said before I kept everything!

Another Exhibition I received great coverage from was the Spring Exhibition at Panik Gallery in Killearn near Glasgow. The gallery was newly opened and was still getting lots of press due to this so there were several articles in different local papers and magazines about the show I was involved in. The biggest excitement came when I was featured on the front of the invitation/promotional card and when we got to Killearn there was a sandwich board with a huge picture of one of my bangles to direct people to the gallery.

The Press and Post. March 2005

Concept for Living. March 2005

Killearn Courier. March 2005
Uptown. April 2005

Maybe my favourite exhibition for promotional surprises has been 'gifted' at the National Museum of Scotland which I took part in during Christmas 2006 and 2007. Each exhibitor had their own promotional postcards produced by the NMS for visitors to take away but I was also featured on the main promotional leaflet which was great exposure.

It was both inspirational and self indulgent to have a few hours to go through these files and cuttings. I remember in the first few years of business it was the most exciting thing to have press coverage of any amount. No matter how small and seemingly insignificant the press was it made your day and sales were often an afterthought or a bonus! Now I feel like I am getting greedy, I would like both press coverage and sales. After all the two do go hand in hand.

Just after I had written this post I checked my emails and found out that my Silver and Cold Enamel brooch had been featured in a Folksy Newsletter. I literally squealed!

I checked my Google analytics this morning and I had 83 visitors to my Folksy page yesterday after the email was sent. Not a bad result!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Thinking too hard

The week started well with a 9(ish) mile walk with Doug, Laura, Rich and Geoff. It is 9ish miles because my Garmin watch ran out of battery at 6.3 miles so we had to guess the remaining distance!

It will end well too with a trip home to Scotland to see family and friends.

Throughout the week I have been busy in the workshop making bangles, bracelets, earrings and rings to accompany my semi precious bead necklaces.

Coral and silver bangle.

Aventurine and silver earrings 

I have also been promoting and networking online as well as ordering some more business cards and more materials. I have decided to add more pieces to my Folksy shop soon too.

I has been a busy week but not entirely satisfying in a way. I got a lot done yesterday for example but reached a certain point where I couldn't decide on anything. I couldn't decide which stones to put on each piece, I couldn't decide whether my pieces were polished enough or if they should be textured or matt or oxidised.

In the end I put down my pinny and left the room.

There are too many thoughts and ideas in my head. I think after our long weekend away in Dundee and Aberdeen I will be able to walk into the workshop on Monday and finish everything.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Adventures of a creative person

Days off.

Don't you just love them?

We have been getting very carried away with them recently though. Last week we went to three music gigs, two museums, a West End show, London twice, Leicester three times, Norfolk once, ate out three times, got takeaway once and had lots of coffee and did many sudoku and crosswords.

Don't get me wrong I also did a lot of work but I feel like a bit of a slacker now. An inspired slacker who wants to pour all the creativity they absorbed into their business.

Gren Bartley and Julia Disney played at the Musician in Leicester on 1st March. Gren was promoting his new album and brought along fellow musician Julia. He also had support from two other musicians on keyboard and harmonica.  Julia sang a song about not being like her mum, not liking 'Radio 2 or 3 or 4 because that's a bore!' (I'm paraphrasing a bit there). It made me laugh. Gren's songs made me feel nostalgic and I got thinking about being at University and about old friends. I might revisit some old memories/ideas/sketchbooks.

The second gig was the reason for London trip number one. Free Swim at the Spice of Life in London on Friday 2nd March. It was nice to catch up with friends and hear some music then be able to catch the last train home at 12.15am. Yolanda the bass player was a big hit and there was excitement at the end of the gig which lead to Paul having to play the keyboard on the floor and a slightly bent guitar. I had met Paul from Free Swim before and it strikes me that he loves to play and has a great passion for it. He has several projects on the go, very inspiring.

Fairport Convention at Cromer Pier on 4th March. A very good gig, we recognised lots of the songs Fairport played at Cropredy last year. The weather was terrible! We had thought we would go for a walk during the day but the weather forecast the night before showed high winds and lots of rain so we decided just to go for the gig and dinner. The photo isn't mine but it gives you an idea of the weather! We could hear the elements over the music at some points! The pavilion was great, properly old-fashioned with red seats and ushers. It looked beautiful all lit up in the night sky.

London trip number two was a proper day on Tuesday 6th March. We drove to Stanmore and got the Jubilee line to Baker Street where, after a coffee, we went to the Sherlock Holmes Museum.

 It was full of curios, books and so on, a little treasure trove. I really enjoyed the museum and found all the 'memorabilia' quite beautiful. There were some lovely old books too. I always enjoy looking at old books, even just the covers. They are so beautiful and ornate, the type is lovely and they just feel nice.
After lunch we walked into town and had a quick burl around Forbidden Planet. Then we went to The British Museum where we saw the Lewis Chessmen, the Rosetta Stone and the Portland Vase which we learnt about during a talk about some Roman artefacts. The Great Court in the British Museum is beautiful, the roof is just stunning. I love repeat patterns.

The Portland Vase is a Roman Cameo glass vase currently dated to between AD 5 and AD 25. It was made by blowing a very dark blue vase then dipping this in white glass, blowing it again then allowing it to dry. A skilled gem cutter then cut away at the white glass to produce the scenes depicted. It is thought to have taken about two years to complete. In 1845 the vase was smashed by a drunk man and was then painstakingly pieced back together.

'William Lloyd was arrested and charged with the crime of Wilful Damage. When his lawyer pointed out an error in the wording of the act which seemed to limit its application to cases of the destruction of objects worth no more than five pounds, he was convicted instead of the destruction of the glass case in which the vase had sat. He was ordered to pay a fine of three pounds or spend two months in prison. He remained in prison until an anonymous benefactor paid the fine by mail' - From Wikipedia.

It is an exquisite object and the I have complete admiration for the skilled craftsmen and women who made objects like this. It was nice not just to hear about the history of the object and it's restoration but also how it was made. The volunteer who gave us the talk on Ancient Greece and Rome was very passionate and I learnt a lot of interesting information.

The Rosetta Stone is an ancient Egyptian granodiorite stele inscribed with a decree issued at Memphis in 196 BC on behalf of King Ptolemy V. The decree appears in three scripts: the upper text is Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, the middle portion Demotic script, and the lowest Ancient Greek. Because it presents essentially the same text in all three scripts (with some minor differences between them), it provided the key to the modern understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphs. (text from Wikipedia)

The stone was beautifully inscribed and it's always quite special to see an artefact that is so old and so important to world culture.

The Lewis Chessmen are so quirky. We had seen the other half of the set at the National Museum of Scotland so we were keen to see the men in the British Museum. The Chessmen were found on the Isle of Lewis in 1831 where they were buried, perhaps by a merchant travelling from Norway to Ireland. They are thought to have been made from walrus ivory and whales' teeth in about AD 1150-1200 in Norway. A board large enough to hold all the pieces arranged for a game  would have measured 82 cm across. Records state that when found, some of the Lewis chessmen were stained red so the chessboard may have been red and white, as opposed to the modern black and white.

Dinner was a Thai pre theatre special of green curry, pad thai, cashew chicken and Chang beer. I always enjoy Thai restaurants not just for the food but the decor and even the cutlery and tableware. We ate with beautiful hand crafted cutlery with a hammered texture on the handles and a twist in the metal at the neck.

We went to the Gielgud Theatre to see the Ladykillers which was excellent! Peter Capaldi, James Fleet and Ben Miller starred with Graeme Linehan's witty writing. The set was amazing, a huge revolving house, slanty floors and the chase scene was cleverly done with toy cars. Really clever.


As I mentioned previously I am bursting with creative energy from all these activities and I need to put it to good use so you will see many more posts on here in the near future showing off all this energy put into practice.