For the past four months the three organisers of the inaugural Sale Arts Trail; Sarah Malone, Jo Lavelle and myself, have been run off our feet. We have designed leaflets, booked venues and artists, spoken to the press, curated a pop-up shop, hung a huge group show, tweeted, facebooked, delivered leaflets and attached signs to posts around Sale under cover of the night.
So at 5.45pm on Friday 11th July, when all the hard work had been “done”, the three of us stood alone in the Waterside Group Show not knowing if anyone would turn up. We ordered 3 glasses of cold Pinot, clinked glasses and nervously asked each other if anyone would be coming. Five minutes later, in walked the first of about 300 visitors to the preview evening. We barely recognised a face for the first half an hour, which was brilliant as it meant the marketing had worked and it wasn’t just our lovely friends and family who had bothered to turn up. The wine we’d bought was soon depleted and Delfina’s amazing canapés from Felicinis Fabulous Buffets seemed to disappear in the first half an hour to rapturous praise.
There were positive comments about the talented artists and their amazing work on display and there was a general air of excitement about the weekend to come.
This turned out to be par for the course for the rest of the weekend. I opened my garden gates at 10am on Saturday morning and clicked 255 visitors through that day. Sunday was the same with another 230 passing through. Visitors were friendly and interested in the garden and the artwork on display. They buzzed about what a great idea the trail was and about the amazing work they’d seen. No one could believe the amount of talent a small town like Sale had hidden behind its front doors! Conversation turned to amateur artists and latent artists who had been inspired to start making again and local homeowners willing to open up their gardens and show more of our artists’ work next year. So many positive conversations.
Apart from my own paintings, I showed Nick Roberson’s beautiful stonecarvings around my garden and Gemma Truman’s stunning glasswork in my tree! The mix of work made the space a more visually interesting venue to visit.
The visitors were spotted in their droves marching the streets of Sale with arts trail maps in hand. And best of all those visitors weren’t just there to nosy at gardens, secret studios and houses. They were there to buy!!!
Whilst we haven’t added up the sales from the weekend in total yet, I know of one maker making £600 another making £2000 another over £1000. I personally sold 4 paintings and a print. Not bad at all for an exhibitor’s entrance fee of £20!
I managed to sneak out for an hour and saw the beautiful work by Sarah, jane Dzisiewski, Rachel Cooke, Tone Von Krogh, May Wilde and Sarah Thirlwell at Sarah Malone’s house. I even bagged myself some of her bargain seconds., a trio of ceramic stones that sit beautifully among my plants.
We walked as far as Serendipitea where me and my lovely friend Arwen stopped for tea and awesome cake, chatted about art and how we could update her wonderful gallery in Mumbles and I finally met the lovely Flo!
When we finally closed the gate at 5pm we locked the studio and off I went to join the organisers and some of the exhibitors at The Kings Ransom. No sooner had we arrived than the lovely Cheryl Law of Sallow Tree Concerts struck up the band and we listened to beautiful music whilst we drank wine and discussed the weekend.
No wonder it was with a heavy heart (and head) I woke up on Monday morning, removed the signs from outside my house and walked in to work. I can’t believe it’s over and can’t wait to get started on our next event!!!
Thank you to all the venues, artists, caterers (Delfina and Harrison!), musicians (Cheryl and the gang!) and visitors who wholeheartedly supported this weekend.