I have written before about the preparations for my exhibition at An Crubh (21-26 October 2019) – a local-initiative, funded and started in 2012 and opened in Spring 2017. Now, An Crubh is a thriving hub including a shop, exhibition/event space and shop serving both the local community and tourists. Its objective to provide a place to meet, eat and engage has been met in spades with a large footfall throughout the week.
I chose this venue to exhibit some of my work undertaken in FMP because it is probably the best and largest venue on Skye, closely followed by the Gallery An Talla Dearg that I exhibited at in July (27 June-17 July 2019). So, I wanted to try out An Crubh as a potential future exhibition space for my work (and as an example of a venue that is not exclusively a gallery). The gallery I used in July attracted people who wished to view an exhibition and as a consequence the daily footfall was small however, those that visited had a clear intention to view. An Crubh, on the other hand, has a number of visitors looking for food, to shop or use the facilities. Although, a number of locals visited because they had seen my posters, the local press coverage and information on social media, many of them had a primary intention other than to view photographs.
In terms of interest and understanding of my work, one of the significant learning points for me (that I have already experienced), is that it is the locals that understand my search for, and success in, delivering my intent – to reveal the essence of Skye. Almost without exception, they understand what it is I am looking for and confirm that “it” exists. Many agree with my interpretation of the Island rather than the more super-saturated images widely-available.
The 6 x concertina boards provided to hang my work worked well and the hanging system using hooks was robust, flexible and effective. This was in contrast to the hanging rails I experienced at An Talla Dearg that were very unstable and inflexible in achieving the desired hanging plan. When I arrived at the venue the concertina was put together in a different way to what I had envisaged and so I had to make some last-minute changes. I had anticipated that the first board would be facing the entrance with the join to the second on the right-hand side. However, those setting up the boards for me had put the first board flush with the wall thus meaning it faced into the café. As a result I decided to put the Introductory images and information about me and the price list on this board with the large images facing the entrance on boards 2, 4 and 6 rather than on 1, 3 and 5 as planned. I was happy with this change of plan.
I have really enjoyed showing my work at An Crubh. The staff have been hugely supportive and helpful. The Exhibition has provided me with further experience of producing work to a deadline, curating and editing my images, liaising with framers, and engaging in marketing activity to promote the event and working on site with venue staff.
I now have an inventory of work, framed prints, greetings cards, business cards as well as a new website and the first cut of a film about me and my work.
I have bought frames that I can open up and place new mounted prints in which I think will be a worthwhile investment.
I am becoming more confident and comfortable in talking about my work to people interested to learn more. As an introvert, I find the introductory engagement difficult and I still find selling my work a challenge. The selling skills I used throughout my working life elude me as the point of sale comes closer. When I do achieve a sale, I get a real buzz that someone is prepared to pay for my work.
I have booked two exhibitions for new work in the spring and autumn of 2020 to continue to improve brand recognition and awareness of my work on the Island.