Being an Exhibitionist Part 3

…and feeling Good.

I finally went ahead with my expo in the cave (cellar) of Cent Cinq, my friends’ lovely Chambre d’Hote in Apt. It was held during the first week of the autumn school holidays, so I thought there was a smidgeon of a chance that I might have a visitor or two per day.

I had worked hard to have my Christmas cards ready, but in fairness, it’s only the Americans who start thinking about Christmas once Hallowe’en has passed, so I shouldn’t have bothered – lesson no. 1.

The LSH and I set it all up on the Monday morning. It looked amazing. The owl cushions had their own little section, happily sitting on an antique childs bed which doubles as a little couch in the courtyard of Cent Cinq during the summer.

The next morning, the board was set out in the rain-soaked street and I settled down to a quiet morning of drawing, working on a sketch of a horse, just to practice a few techniques.

I had nobody at all in the morning, but in the afternoon things picked up – I had three visitors! I packed up as planned at four, but I felt there was a bit more bustle around town – perhaps it would have been worth waiting until five to close? I decided I might try that the following day.

The following day, Wednesday, was surprisingly busy. I had a steady trickle of people throughout the morning – I even sold some cards, and I think I would have sold Chouette 1, except I’d put a red sticker on him! I’ve decided that I like him way too much to part with him right now, so he’s going nowhere except my wall!

My in-laws arrived in force in the afternoon, and gave my sales a huge boost (thanks guys!) They left at about three, and the rain started to fall torrentially by about 3.30pm, so I decided to I bail out. I put all my cards and prints away in the laundry, just so they wouldn’t absorb the damp from the air in the cave, and I went home, sploshing through the torrents of water that ran down the street.

The rain fell and fell and fell. It fell in sheets, it fell in buckets, it fell in cats and dogs, it fell in ropes… it fell in every way possible that rain can fall, for hours and hours. I did wonder a little about whether the cave would stay dry, but I shrugged those worrisome notions away. It’ll be grand, it’s been there for hundreds and hundreds of years, I thought, and the heavy rain which had fallen the previous Saturday had had no impact on it at all. So I hadn’t even been the slightest bit anxious when I got the text from Jenny saying “A little bit of water had come in from somewhere, and had landed on the table” – where I’d had all my cards and prints! Good job I had moved them! But no need to worry about all my original pieces, they had moved the whole lot into the safety of the main house. (Again, thanks Jen and Chris!)

Lesson no. 2. You can’t be too careful where water and Art are concerned.

The following morning, everything was set up once again, with two dehumidifiers humming happily in the corners. I popped my head out for air after about an hour, to find a man looking at the poster outside the door.

“I’m in a hurry, I don’t really have time,” he told me in French. “But I can’t resist!”

In he came, and he ooh’ed and aah’ed his way around the whole exhibition. He completely fell in love with the Owl cushions, and left with one tucked safely under his arm, sending in another hapless passer-by on his way out.

That set the tone for the rest of the week. I had a steady trickle of visitors, so much so that I had no time to spend on my drawing practise. Drawing takes steady concentration, for me anyway, so I took to wrapping up my packs of cards in between visitors instead. Brainless work, but has to be done.

By Friday, I had sold a good few cards, the second owl cushion, had had very serious enquiries about commissions and had received lots and lots of very positive feedback.

Saturday morning is the insanely busy market day in Apt, so I had high hopes for more visits and more sales… This was the one disappointment of the week, but an important lesson nonetheless.

Market stallholders are assigned slots along the streets and alleyways of Apt, and there is a large cheese stall assigned the slot in front of Cent Cinq. It’s possible to get in and out, but it is not at all inviting, as the cheese stand literally blocks the door. I had a handful of intrepid visitors, but not a single sale.

Lesson no. 3 Next year, if Jen and Chris will have me back again in the summer, I will know that there is no point at all in opening on Saturday morning.

I will leave you with a little video of the whole exhibition.

As a final note, it was really exciting for me to see all my favourite pieces out on display together for the first time. Thanks again for everything, Jen & Chris, especially the photos! ❤ ❤

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