Sunday 23 June 2024

The Richard Randall Art Studio

Last week I installed Algalrhythms for its final showing at the lovely Richard Randall Art Studio. The intention was to enable a local viewing, as it had only been shown in regional venues, and to hopefully generate some sales of the remaining work (a number of pieces were acquired after the last official exhibition at Dogwood Crossing in Miles). I also included some wearable works, and created extra
botanically-dyed silk garments – tank tops, camisoles, scarves and ties – thinking that I would have the perfect audience and market, with the studio housed on the grounds of the Mt-Coot-tha Botanical Gardens. 

Unfortunately, the visitors were few, and the sales even fewer – not even a single botanically dyed piece sold! I did what I could to get the word out there, obviously using social media, Janet de Boer’s newsletter, the Brisbane City Council website, and even sent a media release to what media email addresses I could get. It’s so hard to keep up with them – they are constantly changing, and even their own websites can’t keep up. The council could certainly help a bit more – I sent the release to them, asking if they had any contacts they could send it to, but they just re-directed me back to the website where I had already submitted it. What they could have done is send it to their own Visitor Information Centre at the gardens – fortunately, the ladies there came and visited me and asked for some information to share with visitors. Guess what I gave them…?

However, this is not a tale of tragedy and woe. I thoroughly enjoyed my week there, from the massive day of install, to the days spent minding, less so the pack up on Sunday, which incredibly took just over an hour. I thank my years of working at markets, and my year of touring Australia in 2015 with the Craft & Quilt Fair for giving me the experience in the bump-in and bump-out (even my theatre years, with that terminology!) and the hours of sitting, and random chatting. 

What I enjoyed the most though, was talking to the people who got it, who were touched by my exhibition work, who felt something, who were inspired. Usually I don’t have this opportunity to see and hear the response – you install, open, then leave the exhibition for the period. Sometimes people write in a visitor book, but it doesn’t really convey the full response. It meant a lot to me, and was particularly timely and reassuring as I face the last few months of creation before my new exhibition opens. I also had the support of a lot of friends who made the effort to drop in, and purchase work.
Finally, it brought about a new level of organisation at home as everything returning had to be accommodated. The room where most was stored is now a room again, the wet area has been reorganised to accommodate Matt’s car so my kombi can finally go into the hospital bay and get worked on, and even the studio is pretty tidy considering the amount of work that is in process.

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