Friday, 29 April 2011

Can't Win 'Em All.

Well the day came to open the Cinema Gallery to the public. Flyers had been mailed, leaflets had been put out, posters had gone up, local papers had printed my submissions. Myself and Thom, who was sharing the space with me and showing some of his wonderful wood carvings, had worked hard on Thursday to get everything in and set up. I have to say that when we had finished I think the display was the best I have ever been involved with, Thom's work complimenting mine very well to make an interesting and eclectic mix to hopefully please a lot of people. We even had a small display of jewellery made by Janet (wife of Thom) from silver with re-claimed glass pieces from the beach. Very interesting and quite beautiful.

Here are a few snaps of the gallery as we set up.

The views from the door

 Looking back from the front of the room.
Setting out some of Thom's work in the centre of the space

Finally ready!

Well, as I opened the main doors and put the 'Open' signs up outside a couple immediately came in. That's good I thought, although they seemed a little lost. Then the man came over to me and asked if we had a power point for an electric shaver as there wasn't one in his accommodation. Hmmmm! What part of 'Art Gallery, Exhibition Open' is so difficult to understand. Why did they think the best place to go for help with a shave would be an art exhibition organised by a bearded artist? I looked hard but couldn't find any reference to public conveniences on our poster or flyers, so I sent them packing.

The next person to make his way up the steps went straight over to Thom and asked directions to the Peter Pears gallery. WTF! Was this a sign of things to come? Sadly, it turns out it was.

The day warmed up and up, the hottest in April ever. Aldeburgh was heaving but most people went out to the beach or the various beer gardens and outside events happening over this Easter weekend. With noses pressed sadly against the windows we watched the world go about it's business as the hours dragged on.

We did both manage to make a few small sales but on the whole we had a very quiet first day.

.....and second day

.....and third............and so it went on.
It didn't get much better as I walked back to my van after this most sweltering of bank holiday weekends. As my van, parked alongside the beach, came into sight I thought it didn't quite look right. As I approached nearer I could see it had been the target of every bloody seagull in town.....absolutely covered in shit! It looked as though someone had emptied a dustbin full of porridge all over it. I knew it wasn't porridge, they don't eat porridge in Aldeburgh.

As the weather cooled things livened up slightly for the final days of the exhibition so that we both covered our costs plus a bit more but on the whole it was a desperate week. Not just the scarcity of sales, the lack of foot fall being the biggest disappointment.

On the bright side a number of friends called in for a chat and I met a few more local artists. We also had the opportunity to talk over a few ideas for the future. We'll definately be teaming up again and I'm booking up the Cinema Gallery for another go towards the end of the year, hopefully it will be better in the cold weather and approaching Christmas.

I'm a big fan of Thom's work. It was great to have another dimension and added interest to the exhibition. I'll be featuring some of his pieces on the Mighty Fine Art website when I get time to do it. Meanwhile here are a few images of what he does.

Don't you just love that Avocet? The dark marks are caused by Spalting by a wood fungus, much in demand by wood carvers and here Thom has used the effect to give the impression of the birds wings. Very clever. He has also exploited the wood grain in the base to look like ripples in shallow water. The legs and beak are made up from layers of veneer offcuts. The time spent on each piece, particularly the finishing, is immense but second to none in my opinion.

In future he is going to concentrate on some larger pieces, including otters and some more speciality furniture. Can't wait to see it.

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