Well the past month or so has been a massive learning curve for me. #LoveBushColours, the series that I have been working on since the end of September this year, has finally reached the walls of Baker Williamson Studios. Opening night was Friday evening.
Now, Monday morning, I can finally sit back and reflect; What does it take to get an exhibition happening?
1. A body of work. Seems a bit obvious, and yet there has to be something to exhibit. One of my favourite sayings is "Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
If there hadn't been a body of work sitting on my table when the right person walked into the house, the invitation to exhibit would never have happened. Now I'm not saying that is the usual way for an exhibition to be born, and I won't be sitting around waiting for another willing venue owner with a vision to walk through my door. What I will be doing is continuing to create, explore the themes that speak to my heart, create images and art that comes from the soul, and actively plan to exhibit again. In the next few weeks I will set myself the goal of another exhibition. A place, a date. Something to work towards. A place to reach on the path.
2. A body of work that I am happy to show. During the lead up to the launch #LoveBushColours was whittled down from 37 pieces to 26. What fitted together stayed. What didn't was cut. Without mercy. Several were pieces I really like, and am proud of, but they wouldn't have enhanced the whole. #LoveBushColours wouldn't have benefited from their inclusion so they didn't make the cut.
3. A venue. Again obvious. It could be argued that I have been exhibiting my work online for some time, and yes I have been putting it out there. But a real exhibition, in a real place where people can physically go and experience the art, not through a screen but through their actually being in a particular place for the purpose of viewing my artistic creations is something I haven't done for a very long time - and never before have I done it on my own. A huge Thank You goes out to Baker-Williamson Studios for having me. Their showroom/ studio is an amazing space for so many reasons (which may very well be the subject of my next blog post) and I feel truly privileged to have had the opportunity to show my work there.
4. A launch date. In this case, it seemed sensible to launch the exhibition in the lead up to christmas. It meant a lot of hectic scrambling, but a couple of days out from the deadline it was clear we were going to make it, a fact that alleviated a fair bit of stress, thank goodness. Just for interest's sake, the exhibition runs from 28th November 2014 - 31st January 2015.
5. A clear path to follow. There is a lot of work involved in going from having a pile of paper on your table to having a collection of well presented artworks on the walls of a professional space. Each #LoveBushColours piece has been framed with either antique jarrah or western red cedar. These frames were handcrafted by none other than my awesome dad, who systematically refused any sort of help beyond the odd cup of tea. The frames are themselves beautiful objects, and to have them around my work - my work!! - is incredibly special to me.
In order to get the pieces ready for the frames, they needed to be mounted and put behind glass, a process that I happily farmed out to Peter at the Geraldton Framing Centre in Geraldton. His help was fantastic and even when I broke a piece of glass the day before the launch - eek!! - he was unflappable and easily (and quickly) replaced it. I recommend him to anyone.
5. Publicity. Spreading the word. One amazing lady who I am lucky enough to have as my friend and neighbour has the gift of putting her hand to something average and turning it into something really special. Everything from Facebook invites and banners, posters, catalogues, hard-copy invitations, you name it she made it look a million bucks. As if that wasn't enough, she gave some of that most precious and valuable commodity - time - to assist with printing everything. "Thanks" sometimes just doesn't seem enough.
6. Catering for the launch itself was a cause of some worry for me, mostly because my cooking ability is abysmal. I am a person who can literally get black smoke off water. (No joke - ask my husband, he was there.)
Step forward some wonderful friends to centre stage. Three gorgeous women who met Friday morning and cooked everything from scratch, who then transported it to the venue that afternoon, set up, kept it coming all night, and magicked the dishes away before anyone could even think about them. (And can I just say that cheesecake was to die for!!) Thank you all. So. Much.
7. Guests. An exhibition launch is nothing without someone to look at it. A huge thank you has got to go out to all the wonderful people who came and looked, commented, or bought a piece, a print or some cards from the #LoveBushColours series. You really did the make the night. The opportunity to purchase any of these items hasn't passed, though, as the originals are up until the end if January, prints are available well into the future, and Baker-Williamson Studios are for now the exclusive stockists for the #LoveBushColours Greeting Card range.
8. A future. #LoveBushColours will hang in Baker-Williamson Studios in it's entirety until 9am 15th December, when the sold pieces will be available to be collected by their purchasers. After this date, any piece sold will be able to be taken home straight away. The unsold portion of the collection will remain available for viewing until the 31st January 2015 - plenty of time to head down and check it out.
Prints are available by order only, so if you loved something and missed out on it, please do speak to Gemma in at Baker-Williamson Studios about how to order one.
A few thanks to. . .
My awesome family for being amazing and patient, during this whole process.
Some fabulous people who I am lucky to be able to call friends - you know who you are and "Thank You" just doesn't cut it, but never the less, Thank You.
The gorgeous girls in at Jacksons Art Supplies, Geraldton, WA. I understand internet shopping if something's impossible to get any other way, but I don't understand trading excellent face-to-face service for the sake of a few cents, and that is exactly what you get in my local Jacksons shop, no matter your skill level. They are just lovely.
Gemma Baker and the team at Baker-Williamson Studios (just incase you missed the link before) for having me and my art, for a wonderful opportunity, for amazing support and encouragement, for being professional, striving for excellence, and for making me feel at home. Thank you xx.
And to you, if you're reading this. Thank you for joining the adventure. . .
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