Reflections on Christmas markets

Updated: Jan 11, 2019

I took part in two Christmas markets in November and December. The first was at the end of November at RGU's Sir Ian Wood building and the second was organised by my class as part of our New Designers fundraising in mid December at a community centre in Aberdeen. My aim was to raise money for New Designers and it was also a good opportunity to learn how to price my work and sell to the public for the first time.

I found pricing my work difficult. I didn't want to undersell my work but I worried that people would find it too expensive and wouldn't buy it. I did a lot of internet research into how other ceramic artists priced their work, I asked my friends and family for their opinions on how much someone would pay for my work and I tried to judge how much my materials cost and how much work it took to make. I think judging how much to price my work is something I'll get more comfortable with as I sell my work more.

One thing I found challenging was talking to people about my work and explaining how the lustre glazes are made. I found that I improved the more I spoke to people and the more I spoke about my work the more confident I got. I think this was great practice for talking about my work at degree show and at New Designers.

I found juggling my coursework and making work for markets a challenge. I tried to make a little each week from the start of October so I wouldn't have a lot to do last minute but I still ended up making work very last minute before the December market. Several kiln firings had errors and things didn't go to plan so I was taking work out a kiln the night before and on the morning of the market. This was a really useful lesson for me for future about planning. In future I want to be a self employed maker so will likely be selling at markets and will probably have to juggle a job as well as making. I do not want to be firing work as last minute as that and I think I've learned not to do that again.

Thinking about the display of my stand was something I enjoyed doing. I researched exhibition and stand displays beforehand and tried to think about a cohesive display. It was difficult finding a balance between trying to display as much work as possible and not having a cluttered space. I'd like to invest in some boxes or some sort display that could provide different height levels to display work at. I liked my display but I think it still needs some work, it's likely something I will work on as I do more markets.

Overall I think the experience of doing Christmas markets was a really good one and very successful for me. I managed to raise enough money to cover my exhibition fee, accommodation costs and travel for New Designers. It will be a big relief knowing that I won't have to worry about raising money in semester two. It was also a massive confidence boost for me knowing that the public engage with my work and are willing to buy it. I want to be a self employed ceramic designer after I graduate so it made me confident that this career is a feasible possibility for me. I'm much more comfortable talking about my work with people outside of art school and I think this will be really helpful for degree show, New Designers and my future as a ceramic designer.