Wednesday, 20 February 2013

This little piggy went to market...

... then another and another.

Sorry folks, yet again another regrettably long pause between posts. I haven’t abandoned you all! Life has crept in and stolen me away from blogland for too long.

I’ve been clay-making, glazing, preparing and then marketing on weekends.
As I’ve mentioned to the lovely jaihn recently, revolving this around family and my sick puppy-dog (Jack’s eleven, but still my pup), leaves me with little time to even clean the now very grubby windows that I look out of.

And, as it is summer, it’s been hot.
I’m not a hot weather girl. I’m an autumn/winter lover - I guess that's because I was born in autumn, maybe. When that cool, crisp-ness in the morning air tells me that soon, the mountain will be painted with a palette of russet, gold and red, my heart skips a beat.
I am content then to wait.
In the meantime, I muster up the energy and try to ignore the listless-ness that goes with walking through the days enveloped in warm, sometimes stifling, air.

Having an art/craft market stall is cyclical and dependent on so many variables. Throughout the year, we marketeers always hope for a “successful day”, but know that we are at the mercy of the seasons (holidays), the economy, customers' needs and predilections, trends - if what we do isn't "hot", then we may be passed by. The dilemma for some is whether to create what you love and be confident there will be others who'll love it too, or chase one's tail trying to keep abreast of the current craze in the art/craft world, which can often reflect current decor & fashion trends.
I tend to follow my heart and make what I like. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't. Trying to find a balance.
And, the weather can be a big influence on potential customers.
Too hot and it can send people to the beach for the day, or, they stay close to air-conditioning. Usually that means the large shopping malls – ughh, my least favourite places.
Too cold/rainy and people snuggle up inside at home or dash for the cafés, cinema or other sheltered interiors.
If we are lucky enough to snag an indoor set-up on a wet day, the chances of a steady stream of customers improve.

So, we all hope/wish/pray for a Goldilocks Day… not too hot, not too cold, juuuust right. Not too much to ask for, is it? Haha!

One of the good things about markets is that there is always a great selection of quality, delicious food stalls that entice people to venture out and be tempted to taste and buy a wide variety of fresh, home-made gourmet goodness. 
Those that come for food and drink, will usually browse the art & craft stalls.

Fortunately, the Abbotsford Convent Markets have a fabulous café, restaurant, bar and bakery in the grounds… bonus!

The temperature last Sunday was predicted to be 37°C (98.6°F). So, hubby and I were extremely grateful to be inside in the relatively cooler old convent building. And, we were placed next to a large open window that delivered, every so often, a gentle breeze. Bliss.


As the day progressed, we greeted ever increasingly red-flushed faces, seeking temporary respite from the sun’s bite. People stayed long enough to stop and chat, peruse and happily, buy.

It’s difficult to predict what my “best sellers” will be on the day.
Seeing as we move around far and wide. Each area has a different demographic and with that, a varied dynamic.
What sells well at one market, may not even be acknowledged at the next, over an hours drive away. And if I stop making something that hasn’t sold well for over six months, I will be asked randomly if I have any of that “discontinued” item. Go figure.
If I had the formula for what the most popular items at every market would be, well…

This time, the best sellers for me were mostly pendants, clocks, incense holders and brooches.

These cute little guys, were a favourite with most people and sold out early.

It seemed many people either had Scotties, or have very fond memories of one in their childhood. They make perfect gifts for dog lovers too.

And, my little natural leaf pendants were also snapped up. I love leaves and am ever inspired by the forest environment I live in.

This particular pendant is in my Etsy shop* here

*I'm still trialling my Etsy shop and have kept mostly small, light items on there as I've found the international postage prices from Australia expensive and, I imagine, off-putting to international customers.
So, I'm still undecided as to whether or not I keep the shop open. Any suggestions from seasoned Etsy sellers?

I do like attending markets. I love people watching and meeting others in person. And markets are one of the best places to do just that. I meet some of the loveliest people. And repeat customers are the sweetest!
Although, I’ve had my fair share of some incredible odd-bods that just love to cruise the markets and visit every stall. Some of their comments/antics can be quite alarming/disturbing/intriguing/mind-boggling. But, they are mostly harmless characters and are just having fun. I think they add to the almost carnival atmosphere of some markets.

All in all, it’s not a bad way to spend the day – as long as I can cover my market fee (and then a little extra) in the quiet times. Mostly, I’ve been lucky enough to do that.

My experience has shown that July to September (winter in the southern hemisphere) are the most quiet months. Many outdoor markets close-down for the winter.

Last July, I attended an indoor market. My stall was well-stocked with a selection of goodies. But there were almost more stall holders than customers that day. And the people that came through held tight to their purses/wallets.
I was very glad to make enough to cover my stall and some expenses, but others didn’t fare so well. So, it can be very disheartening.

From now on, the winter months will be spent cleaning my studio and kiln room, trying out new ideas, re-stocking supplies and creating anew for the spring season.
Then, our corner of the world begins to awaken and people are on the move, shaking off the warm woolies and craving the coming festival season. Pockets are full and spending abounds, again.

Uh oh...

This Saturday, I'll be at another market. And, it just so happens to be the day that our old friend, Mister Trickster himself, Mercury slows down for his backwards shuffle-cycle! Proceed with caution indeed.
If you need a refresher on the mayhem of Mercury Retrograde, check out my post here

Now, I know to be aware, and there are plenty of "don'ts" associated with this time. 
But, frustrating as it might be, it’s not always possible to take time out. Life happens and things that need tending to, sometimes fall during retrograde cycles. And since I’ll be attending more markets this year, there are online applications (and subsequent email communications) due within this coming retrograde cycle.
So, there might be a bit of cosmic argy-bargy between the Universal Jester and I, as I need to be moving forward while he moves backwards. Oh well, should be interesting - I hope he’ll be kind :)
My fingers are crossed that the next few weeks are smooth-going and the computer behaves - if there’s another long absence from me... consider it may be Mercury’s fault, haha!

Saturday's market will be a part of the eagerly anticipated Buskers Festival, which will be held in the wonderfully arty town of Belgrave, Victoria.

Hosting the markets and graciously opening their grounds to provide a venue for some of the competition stages are the good folk at Earthly Pleasures café. One of our very favourite places to go for coffee or a meal. The staff are always friendly, the coffee superb and the food is heavenly. We are very partial to the berry crumble, mmmm. Delish.

I fell in love with this place the moment I saw it.

When you walk through the old stables gateway, at the rear of the building, you leave the 21st century behind and enter a world-gone-by… or so it feels. The cloistered courtyard, gardens and beautiful stone manor (built in 1931) retain the charm and atmosphere of yesteryear, yet are infused with a funky vibe that comes from being situated in a bohemian community.

The following pics were taken on a morning not too long ago. We arrived as they opened the doors for the day, so it was nice and quiet - a rarity for this bustling establishment.

I’m very excited to be a part of this community festival. It’ll be a wonderful opportunity to see and hear a variety of home-grown talent performing in venues and on street corners throughout the town.
So, for anyone in Melbourne who's interested in a great day out this Saturday, take a drive up to the mountain. Spend a few hours checking out Belgrave, gateway to the beautiful Sherbrooke Forest, and charming little villages just beyond. Then, end the afternoon/evening with a bite to eat at Earthly Pleasures.

*¤°.¸¸.·´¯` ° ☾ ° twilight market ° ☾ ° ´¯`·.¸¸.°¤* 
will be on from 4pm to 8pm

Come and browse the market stalls, be sure to say hello - I'd love to meet you, and be entertained by modern-day minstrels, troubadours, and bards.

I’ll have info and photos of the day in my next post. Til then, bye for now. Take care everyone!



  1. Oooh and aaah. I love your leaf pendant - having a giant weakness for leaves myself. I am also more than fond of markets...

    I hope that your next few markets are more than kind to you - and set you up for the much more pleasant cooler months. (I am decidedly not a fan of summer - despite being a summer baby.)

    1. Thanks EC. The markets often pick up around Easter before going quiet mid-year, so I'm looking forward to them.
      I'm keeping you in mind for a fridge magnet - will send you a note when I have some ready. There'll be ceramic leaves among the selection ;)

      There is an almost obsession with leaves that is sometimes bordering on manic - especially in autumn, when on weekend walks, I carry home pockets and pockets full of oak/elm/maple leaves in varying autumnal tones. Those that survive the trips get sticky taped all over the place, haha!

      Commiserating along with you in the heat. Roll on late March :)

  2. So great to have you back here, Vicki! I so much enjoy hearing about your market and art adventures. LOVE seeing the photos of the place/venues you show you art for sale. Trying to sell my own art is often a feast or famine kind of thing, so I can very much relate and empathize. LOVE, love, love the leaf pendant! It is gorgeous! It looks sooo real. :o) The Scottie brooch is so sweet. We've talked about Etsy before, and it's not always easy, especially in regards to postage prices being so high and trying to appeal to international customers too. The markets sound like fun. A lot of work, but fun sometimes. Since you do make sales at the markets, perhaps you wish to concentrate you efforts in that, and just keep your Etsy shop to "test" items or new designs? Just a thought... But oh, Mercury... again! LOL... :o) ((LOVE & HUGS))

    1. Hi Tracy. Thanks, I do enjoy making the little leaf pendants. And they look lovely on.

      Yes, I'm very grateful for the chance to attend quite a few markets here. Just three months of the year that I will avoid and concentrate on mid-winter making.
      And, I'll see how Etsy pans out for the rest of the year.

      Yep - good ol' Mercury Retro again. I hope he is kind to you in the next three weeks.
      At least when I know he's preparing to do his Michael Jackson moonwalk, I see it as "forewarned is forearmed" and to be aware :)

      Loving what you're creating too. Happy making!
      Hugs xx

  3. i'm tired of mercury and his retrograding. tell him to get with the program! if we are all forced to move forward then so is HE.
    oh Vicki ~
    don't ever apologize for taking long to post. when you do post ~ it is always so worth waiting for.
    i feel as if I've spent a lovely morning or afternoon with you. and that is a treasure.
    you know how good Italian cooks say the food is good because it's 'made with love?'
    well . . . i think that about your art. there really is love in each piece.
    you love your life and nature so much. you love and share that beauty in your work i think . . .
    how i would enjoy sitting at that beautiful old place to have a meal or a cool drink on the terrace.
    we have pseudo old places. fake. they try for that atmosphere. but it's never the same.

    can't mention jack here without tearing up. keep me posted. I have no email right now. DRAT. i have it.
    but i never know if it's going to work properly. and it shuts my whole system down for some reason.
    looking into it. oh-oh. this is WAYYYY too long for a comment. sorry!
    LOVE and HUGS,

    1. I know Tam. Sometimes his shadow looms and affects aspects of our lives even before he begins to wreak potential havok!
      All I can say is, "be prepared little scout" :)
      Although, I'm hoping he'll leave you and George alone now.

      I think you would LOVE Earthly Pleasures. It really feels like you're in another time - a special place.

      Jack wasn't well at all, but is a little better now, thankfully. I'm so glad that I can be home to be with him and treat him. Slowly, slowly.
      He is fussed over even more than ever and is much loved and cuddled :)
      Passing on your love to him too :)

      Take care, thinking of you.
      Huge hugs xxx

  4. oh. I can breathe a little bit easier now.
    they just get into our hearts. and he is in mine. xo

  5. Hello, Vicki---I tried leaving a comment and somehow it disappeared. Is it this Mercury fellow messing with me? ;) It came up with a little line--slight delay in publishing comment---but no letters and numbers to decipher. Hopefully this time it will work...
    I always enjoy reading your blog. I make a little pot of green tea and peruse and delight...The leaf pendant is luscious. Is that an oribe glaze? Lovely photo, too.

    1. Hello Charlene. Thanks so much for your kind words. Likewise, your blog posts are always a delight for me - your art is heart-touchingly soulful.
      My little leaf pendants have an translucent earthenware glaze to emulate green-brown oribe. I love wearing mine, it helps me feel connected to nature when I'm away from the forest.

      Yes, I think Mercury is getting in early as his shadow looms closer. I know people are already being influenced by his tricks. Emails and communications are going awry already. Fingers crossed for the next three weeks :)


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