The Treasure exhibition finished yesterday, and I'm still buzzing a little now that it's over.
In the build up to the show there were never enough hours in the day. I'm sure people didn't believe me when I said I had no time to do anything other than visit Hatton Garden several times a week( to pick up castings, go home, clean them up, deliver them to the platers, go home again, collect them, take them to the assay office etc. etc. )
An endless round of chores that I could so easily have done without.
The mild panic I was having about the first group exhibition of our newly formed collective JeDeCo subsided when I was asked along with my friend Laura to curate our space. As we were exhibiting as a group within a larger show we were given a lot more leeway with regards to how we used our space. We decided to set aside a fairly substantial part of our exhibiting space to create a rather fabulous salon in which clients could try on our jewellery to their hearts content, flick through our lookbooks, sip a nice glass of wine and hopefully commission loads of jewellery from each of us.
We had 2 x chaises (or whatever the plural for chaise long is) Huge floor-length mirrors, rugs, side tables and lamps.
This proved to be a great idea. Not many sit down commissions, but lots of people drawn to our area, and in turn to our work. I'd recommend getting sponsorship from furniture companies. It worked for us because 'Treasure' was such a high-end show and companies wanted to be associated with it. The same goes for sponsors for the goody bags that we gave away on opening night. My advice would be to seek your sponsorship early, as it gives the sponsors time to get samples of their product to you.
Another TOP TIP would be to get some enthusiastic volunteers in to help with the labour. We were lucky enough to find some 1st and 2nd year jewellery students who welcomed the opportunity to help, as it gave them something to add to their CV's as well as experience of exhibiting at a top show. They filled our goodybags, polished cabinets, delivered leaflets and were generally fantastic.
None of them massaged our feet for two hours straight however, which would have been lifesaving.
You just can't sit around when you are exhibiting. It looks sloppy. Next year I plan to design a sterling silver crane of some kind, so that I can winch my poor exhausted body off the ground and give my tootsies a rest. It would be a talking point, and I could probably sell it to another exhibitor part-way through the show.
I know that this is not the first time I've complained about aching feet, but I'm beginning to think that they are inexorably related to being a jeweller. Who would have thought..?
So I spent a hour today in a hammock (which is something I'd recommend to anyone, aching limbs or not) and I had a wee reflection on the show. I was and still am amazed at how great our collective has turned out to be. We were all very supportive of each other throughout the show, both practically and emotionally. We looked out for each other, whether it was one of us frantically trying to find the missing colleague who'd popped out for a cigarette, whilst another kept the interested party at the stand til said colleague could be found, or just getting each other coffee.
I'm extremely pleased to be a part of such a great group. I very much hope that things continue in this vein, as I feel we've all become friends, and that's a good thing if you plan to spend time with anyone.
the jewellery designer's collective