Well Printfest 2010 came and went over the May Bank Holiday weekend. Worked really hard getting stuff together for it and then whooosh it’s over. The weather stayed mostly fine and warmish and there were a lot of people around Ulverston. I have visited many parts of the Lake District over the years but this was a new one to me. I rather liked the town. It’s small and not too touristy although of course like all such places tourism plays a huge part in the local economy. What was really nice is that it tries just hard enough without becoming a ‘plastic’ place. That weekend coincided with the flag festival and all the buildings sported glorious silk banner flags fluttering from their walls as if some sort of medieval carnival was taking place. One expected jousters to gallop towards each other down the High Street at any moment. During Printfest 2009 it had been the Laurel and Hardy Convention in town with look-a-likes wandering the town streets. A small Lakeland town whose streets, pubs and cafes were crammed with a mix of artists and ‘Laurel and Hardy’ devotees. I am sorry I missed that because that’s ‘another fine mess’ I really wish I had got into.
How did the selling side go? Well I was there most of Saturday and by 4pm we had only sold one of Frances delightul small etchings. Nothing else had been sold and the show closed at 5pm. I don’t know what Sunday brought but I would have thought I would have heard if we had had a bonanza. Been trying to analyse why sales were so sparse because the work we had on show was really good.
Of course times are tough financially at the moment for people and it’s often the luxuries that get sidelined in favour of paying the essentials however there were people buying. So what else do I think might have affected sales? I think the corner stand wasn’t as customer friendly or well lit as the Horsley Printers next to us who also had a double stand. Their’s was long centrally place stand also on the outside run. Our corner stand meant that even though we had the same amount of wall space as them it appeared more crowded because ours was made up of two short walls placed at right angles.
Also maybe were a bit too popular this year. I don’t mean with the buying public but with the Print Centre artists. There were so many wanting to take part and each artist was allowed to sumit two framed pieces for hanging plus six pieces of browser work. With over twenty artists, that’s a lot of work in a small space and of course a wide variety of styles, media, sizes etc to complicate hanging even more. Don and Sue, Frances and Alan and Kate made an excellent job of putting up such a big show so we are all really grateful to them and well done for taking that job on. Sue has obviously missed her true vocation because she is a born saleswoman.
We also perhaps came out rather expensive by comparison as even though artists selling independently have all the stand costs to bear, they don’t have commission to pay on sales and can even negotiate prices with potential buyers. We can’t discount other artist’s work.
These are just observations and despite the lack of sales I wouldn’t have missed going up there and seeing Printfest because it was a great learning experience in lots of ways. Roll on 2011 let’s really knock em dead next year.