Monday, July 18, 2011

looking forward to reading about stallholders!!

Copyright Robyn McPherson

One of the reasons for starting this blog was to have a space to talk about the stallholders that make The Olive Tree Market what it is. I sent out a list of questions to the stallholders a few days ago and their answers are starting to trickle in. It's actually rather exciting, as sometimes running a market, actually leaves you being the person who doesn't get to know the clever artisans. My brief glimpses on market day do reveal the lovely relationships that have sprung up between the stallholders. These relationships have grown outside of The Olive Tree Market and real friendships and collaborations have been made. Think Makespace in the Hunter St mall, which is a co-operative of artisans, many of whom met at The Olive Tree Market. But back to the surveys... I'll start to use the stallholders words to introduce them to 'blogland' what do you actually call this process??!! What I mean is I would like to create a dialogue that highlights all the incredibly talented people that belong to Newcastle's handmade community. Before I go, the images in this blog are by a talented lady by the name of Robyn Mcpherson!! She is one of my favourite local illustrators. Check her out at Olive Tree.

Copyright Robyn McPherson

Sunday, July 17, 2011

It's amazing how many talented women there are...

I'm not sure what it's like in other cities but I'm always amazed in Newcastle by the sheer number of creative woman that exist here. Not merely exist but who who dedicate themselves to their artistic life and careers with full force. So many of these women create their own luck in a city that doesn't offer up much in the sense of support or opportunities. We have some fine institutions but after being a student, and for those who may not have had that opportunity, people either fly the coop for bigger cities or have to make some big decisions about living in Newcastle. Most of the creative woman I know juggle many hats, I think I've mixed my metaphors there, and do some really amazing things. But it really is a long hard slog. I ran into one of our old stallholders at Bank Corner in Newcastle West this morning- check it out if you haven't. They have great coffee, play very cool music and the people that work there are lovely. Anyway...Kim Long of Clay is a ceramicist who makes simple but beautiful pieces. We were talking about the situation that faces a lot of artists and is really hard to negotiate. Kim decided to take a break from ceramics this year to create space in her life for inspiration and to build up some funds by working in a cafe. She still has pieces in shops and galleries around Australia and at Make Space in Newcastle but is taking a breather from Markets etc. Kim decided she needed to reassess everything after her experiences last year having success on a larger scale- she started doing bigger venues, like trade fairs, and her work really took off but in a way became too big. It was really difficult to keep up with the orders and she was faced with the difficult situation of either employing someone to help create the pieces or stopping. She chose to pull the pin for a while which I can imagine was a really difficult decision. Riding that wave must bring up so many questions as an artists and I'm not sure what the right way to go would be??? Do you employ an apprentice/assistant to help produce your work, and if you do, does the work still feel like yours and how does your art feel when it becomes a serious business as opposed to purely 'art'. I don't know the answer but I could really see the quandary. Maybe some of you out there have some good answers/suggestions... Anyway I've seen a number of women over the years stop practicing their art because of falling between the cracks of just surviving and 'success' ..... Back to Ms Kim Long. I know she has a kiln in her house in Islington and I hope she starts to use it again very soon.